With all of the excitement over the launch of our new cloud hosting solution over at Everleap, I overlooked announcing that we have successfully renewed our Microsoft Partner Gold Hosting Competency for 2014! We are going into our 9th year of maintaining our Microsoft Gold Partner status.
Even though we’ve been announcing our Microsoft Gold Partner renewal annually, it is no small feat to continue keeping this status. Microsoft has raised the bar significantly to attain the Gold level status over the last few years.
To earn a Microsoft Gold Competency, organizations must employ more Microsoft Certified Professionals who must pass various up-to-date certification exams related to the competency, submit multiple customer references and demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction by participating in an annual survey and score well. There are Cloud marketing assessment tests to pass as well.
Achieving the Gold level status is an investment that we make every year because it truly shows our commitment to stay on top of Microsoft-related technologies, helps us maintain a strong relationship with Microsoft, and serves as a big differentiator among all the other hosts.
As an example of our commitment, it is through this strong relationship with Microsoft that we were able to be the first host to launch a production scalable cloud hosting solution for websites and web applications using Windows Azure Pack.
I went to HostingCon last week which took place in Miami Beach, Florida. I picked up my badge and found this yellow tag on it.
Turns out it’s HostingCon’s 10th year anniversary and I’ve been going to this event every year since it started. I was honored and felt like an old geek at the same time! I saw a handful of like geeks walking around and commiserated with some of them.
So why do I travel all the way across the U.S. to hang out with hosting competitors? It may sound strange but I like going to this event just because it’s great to check in with all the other hosting companies.
While we are all in the same hosting business, there are many different technology niches and customer segments, so all of us approach hosting at different angles. There is plenty of room for everyone and we can all learn from each other.
But what’s more important is that we all share the same issues too – be it dealing with spam, software licensing, hardware, DDoS attacks, abuse issues, and regulatory issues. Many of these issues are bigger than one host and it takes many hosts working together with other vendors to help improve things for the entire hosting segment – which also translates to making hosting work better for all customers.
In fact, HostingCon was the place that the i2Coalition first started – as an idea during a lunchtime gathering of like-minded hosting professionals a couple of years ago – at first to deal with the SOPA act in a collective way.
We decided to participate as a founding member and the organization is now helping educate our elected officials on what we do as hosting providers and how we contribute to the economy and jobs and is helping guide federal policies that affect all hosts and their customers.
Luckily, next year the event will be in San Diego which will make traveling a little easier.
Managed TFS is our premium TFS hosting solution; your own instance of Team Foundation Server on a dedicated VM all to yourself. No sharing involved. Because you’re on your own server, we can offer server-side customization that is not available with shared TFS – for example, we can install special software on the server for you. More information on hosted TFS features here.
For our Managed TFS 2013 service we offer both the TFS Basic and TFS Full configurations. TFS Basic includes source control and work item tracking (our Shared TFS Hosting service is TFS Basic). The TFS Full option adds SharePoint and Reporting.
If you are interested a Managed TFS Hosting solution, please contact us for a quote.
If you are considering a Managed TFS solution but are not 100% sure if it’s right for you or your team, you can always try the 30 day free offer for our Shared TFS hosting solution (for up to 5 users) and test it to see if the hosted TFS ALM system works for you before you commit to a managed TFS solution.
1. Windows 2012 R2 Refresh: ASP.NET 4.5.1 / MVC 5 / Visual Studio 2013 Support
Q4 2013 was a busy time for us. Microsoft released their Windows 2012 R2 update along with Visual Studio 2013 and updates for ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC. We have always done our best to keep up with all the new Microsoft technology releases, so we quickly refreshed to Windows Server 2012 R2 for our hosting platform and launched support for ASP.NET 4.5.1 and ASP.NET MVC 5. Our hosting platform is Visual Studio 2013 ready!
2. Shared Team Foundation Server 2013 Hosting
Along with Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft released Team Foundation Server 2013. So we launched support for shared TFS 2013 hosting in our US and UK-based data centers. TFS 2013 adds more collaboration tools like Team Rooms, has enhancements to improve productivity like un-dockable details panes, and includes GIT integration. We posted a Getting Started with TFS 2013 Hosting video.
3. Snapp beta – .NET PaaS with Staging
In May we unveiled Snapp – a .NET platform-as-a-service solution that comes with a staging and production site for each application. Snapp is built on top of Windows Azure Pack – the same technology that runs Windows Azure. The Snapp service is currently in free beta mode so interested developers can sign up and test it out and provide us with feedback. Over the year we’ve launched some enhancements including hostname support, scheduled deployment, an asynchronous task notification alert system, and enhancements to the exception management system.
4. DevPro Best Hosting Service Bronze Award
With huge companies like Amazon moving into the hosting space, smaller independent companies like DiscountASP.NET find it increasingly more challenging to fight for mindshare. But despite the entry of the giants, for the fourth year in a row, we’ve placed in the top 3 for the award for Best Hosting Services in DevPro’s Community Choice poll. Thanks for your votes, and for your continuing support that allows us to remain independent, agile and responsive to your needs.
We expanded our activity on the Google+ platform in 2013, hosting a few Google Hangouts and going live with our own Michael Ossou conducting some great Google-on-air interviews with top-notch developers like Chander Dhall, Scott Allen and Dan Wahlin. Add us to your circles! If you aren’t on Google+, you really ought to check it out.
6. TeamExpand Partnership
We partnered with TeamExpand to offer a fully-managed hosted TFS Timesheets solution. TeamExpand’s TX Chrono application installs on top of TFS and is a web-based tool that allows developers to submit Timesheets for project work items and provides project managers with the ability to review and approve Timesheets.
7. SQL 2012 Reporting Services
We launched SQL 2012 Reporting Services as a new add-on option for our hosting customers.
8. Standalone TFS Build-as-a-Service
Some of you asked if it was possible to use just the build portion our TFS service. The idea (and challenge) intrigued us, so we created and launched a standalone TFS Build-as-a-Service solution. If you host your TFS repositories on-premises or at other TFS hosting services but require a customized TFS Build solution, our Build-as-a-Service is right up your alley. The Build solution is fully-managed and customizable. We can support FTP or WebDAV access and install code signing certificates and customized test frameworks. You can install Web Deploy and deploy straight from the build server. We can support complex build solutions that require multiple build servers and multiple build agents – in other words, all the flexibility of a custom build environment with none of the maintenance headaches.
9. Microsoft Gold Partner Status Renewal
I mention this every year as an accomplishment because in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to attain Microsoft Gold Partner status. While we’ve seen other Gold partners drop by the wayside, we’ve been able to maintain our Gold status for eight years running. Every year is a challenge and we’ll continue to do our best to maintain our Gold status.
10. Free Community Hosting Sandbox
We truly enjoy helping the development community, so as you may know, we offer a lot of free beta hosting programs. This year we worked with Microsoft to offer free hosting sandboxes to allow developers to test out new technologies like ASP.NET 4.5.1 on Windows 2012 R2 and Web Matrix 3. We will continue our tradition of offering beta hosting via our labs program whenever we can.
If it looks like we were busy in 2013, we were! But we have something up our sleeve for 2014 that we think a lot of you will enjoy, and we’re not going to make you wait too long to see what it is. Stay tuned! Things are about to get interesting…
TeamExpand’s TX Chrono (TFS Timesheets) is a web-based tool that allows developers to submit time spent on project work items and provides project managers the ability to review and approve timesheets.
Traditionally TFS Timesheets have been adopted by businesses using TFS on-premises but through this partnership TeamExpand users have a hosted option as well.
For more information about TFS Timesheet hosting, check out our web site.
For more information about TFS Timesheets, visit TeamExpand.com