Category: Azure Stack HCI

How to Learn Microsoft Azure in 2020

How to Learn Microsoft Azure in 2020

The year 2019 is almost over, and usually, we take the time to look back at the year and also to find some New Year’s resolutions for the new year. Why not take all that energy and prepare for the cloud computing era and advance your career by learning Microsoft Azure. In this post, I try to give you a quick look at how you can get started to learn Microsoft Azure in 2020.

Azure hands-on experience

There is nothing better than hands-on experience, so get started with a free Azure account. Your Azure free account includes a limited quantity of free services for 12 months. Within these limits, you have the flexibility to use the free services in various configurations to meet your needs.

Learn with Free Azure services

Learn with Free Azure services

To learn more, see the Azure free account FAQ

Create free Azure Account ☁

Create your Azure free account today and get started with 12 months of free services!

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn was introduced at Ignite 2018 as a free learning platform for a lot of different Microsoft technologies, not just Azure. Microsoft Learn provides you with various learning paths depending on your job role or the skills you are looking for. Most of the learning paths give you a hands-on learning opportunity so that you can develop practical skills through interactive training. And it is free! You get instant in-browser access to Microsoft tools and modules, no credit card required.

Microsoft Learn 🎓

Up your game with a module or learning path tailored to today’s IT Pro, developer, and technology masterminds and designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

Become Microsoft Azure Certified

Another great option to learn and verify your skills is to take Microsoft Azure certification exams. A couple of months back, I wrote a series of blog posts on why you should become Microsoft Azure certified, how you prepare for Microsoft Azure exams, and how you take and pass Microsoft certification exams. Taking the new role-based Microsoft certification exams will help you to find the right topics and structure to learn, depending on your current or future job role you are looking for.

Microsoft Certification

Earn certifications that show you are keeping pace with today’s technical roles and requirements.

If you are just getting started with Azure, have a look at the AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam. You can also have a look at my experience with the different Azure exam certifications:

More resources to learn Azure in 2020

There are a couple of more resources I want to point you to, to get started and learn Microsoft Azure in 2020.

Azure Architecture Center

Azure Architecture Center

  • Azure Architecture Center – The Azure Architecture Center contains guidance for building end-to-end solutions on Microsoft Azure. Here you will find reference architectures, best practices, design patterns, scenario guides, and reference implementations.
  • Cloud Adoption Framework – The Cloud Adoption Framework is the One Microsoft approach to cloud adoption in Azure, consolidating, and sharing best practices from Microsoft employees, partners, and customers. The framework gives customers a set of tools, guidance, and narratives that help shape technology, business, and people strategies for driving desired business outcomes during their adoption effort. This guidance aligns to the following phases of the cloud adoption lifecycle, like Strategy, Plan, Ready, Migrate, Innovate, Govern, and Manage.
  • Azure Migration Center – Get all the tools and resources you need to migrate your apps, data, and infrastructure at your own pace, with confidence.
  • Azure Architecture Framework – A successful cloud solution requires to focus on these five pillars of architecture excellence: Cost, DevOps, Resiliency, Scalability, and Security. The Azure Architecture Framework helps you to build on these pillars.
  • Application architecture guide – The Azure Application Architecture Guide presents a structured approach for designing applications on Azure that are scalable, resilient, and highly available. It is based on proven practices that we have learned from customer engagements.
  • Azure Cloud Design Patterns – The Azure Cloud Design Patterns are useful for building reliable, scalable, secure applications in the cloud. Each pattern describes the problem that the pattern addresses, considerations for applying the pattern, and an example based on Microsoft Azure. Most of the patterns include code samples or snippets that show how to implement the pattern on Azure.
  • Azure Reference Architectures – The Reference Architectures are a set of recommended architectures for Azure. Each architecture includes best practices, prescriptive steps, and a deployable solution.
  • Architectural decision guides – The architectural decision guides in the Cloud Adoption Framework describe patterns and models that help when creating cloud governance design guidance.
  • Cloud Operating model – Establish an operating model for the cloud
  • Get started guide for Azure developers – The get started guide helps developers to get started with Azure and tools.
  • Azure Quickstart Templates – Deploy Azure resources through the Azure Resource Manager with community contributed templates to get more done. Deploy, learn, fork, and contribute back.
  • Code samples – Get started with Microsoft developer tools and technologies. Explore our samples and discover the things you can build.
  • Azure Hybrid – Learn about Azure Hybrid Cloud with features and services like Azure Stack, Azure Arc, and many more.
  • Azure for AWS Professionals – This article helps Amazon Web Services (AWS) experts understand the basics of Microsoft Azure accounts, platform, and services. It also covers key similarities and differences between the AWS and Azure platforms.
  • Azure Security – Learn about Azure and security
  • Azure compliance – Get an overview of compliance in Microsoft Azure, with more than 90 compliance offerings
  • Azure privacy – Learn more about Azure data privacy and protection.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLA) – Read the SLAs to learn about our uptime guarantees and downtime credit policies.
  • Azure pricing – learn about how Azure pricing works and how you can save costs and get the best value at every stage of your cloud journey.
  • TCO Calculator – Estimate the cost savings you can realize by migrating your workloads to Azure.
  • Azure Support Plans – Explore the range of Azure support options and choose the plan that best fits, whether you’re a developer just starting your cloud journey or a large organization deploying business-critical, strategic applications.

I hope these resources give you a great summary of how you can start learning Azure in 2020. If you have any questions, or you feel that some resources are missing, let me know in the comments. Also, subscribe to my blog to learn about the latest updates.



Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 - Azure Stack HCI

Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 – Azure Stack HCI

At Microsoft Ignite 2019, I had the chance to interview different people across the Microsoft product groups on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage. In the next couple of weeks, I will share with you the links to the recordings of these videos. In this video, I was able to speak to Cosmos Darwin from the Windows Server team about how to get started with Azure Stack HCI. Azure Stack HCI is another part of the Microsoft Azure Stack portfolio, next to Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack Edge.

Video: Azure Stack HCI

Hyperconverged infrastructure is rapidly becoming the most common way to deploy servers. Join Cosmos Darwin from the Azure Stack HCI team to how affordable and approachable HCI can be!

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated hardware to run virtualized workloads on-premises. You can also optionally connect to Azure services for cloud-based backup, site-recovery, and more. Azure Stack HCI solutions use Microsoft-validated hardware to ensure optimal performance and reliability and include support for technologies such as NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote-direct memory access (RDMA) networking.

Azure Stack HCI is a solution that combines several products:

  • Hardware from an OEM partner
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition
  • Windows Admin Center
  • Azure services (optional)

I hope this gives you a short overview of Azure Stack HCI. You can check out the following links to get more information:

Microsoft Ignite 2019 was a lot of fun, and you can also watch my session about Hybrid Cloud Management at Microsoft Ignite. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 - Hyper-V Containers

Video Microsoft Ignite Live – Hyper-V and Containers

This is the last set of recordings of Microsoft Ignite Live stage recordings I am going to share. Today I am going to share two videos, in one I had the chance to speak with Craig Wilhite and Vinicius Apolinario about why you should care about containers and how to get started. In the second one, I spoke with Ben Armstrong from the Hyper-V team about some of the great fun bits the team is doing.

Video: Windows Container

A lot has been said about containers recently, but why should you care? Containers are not an “all or nothing” situation and understanding when they can be beneficial is key to a successful implementation. Come and learn from the containers team how you can get started with this technology and some tips and tricks that will help you with your containerization journey!

Video: Hyper-V

Ben Armstrong, Principal Program Manager on the Hyper-V team talks about some of the challenging, interesting, quirky, and just fun changes that have happened in virtualization over the last year.

I hope this gives you a quick look at some of the fun parts the Hyper-V team is doing with containers and Hyper-V. You can check out the following links to get more information:

Microsoft Ignite 2019 was a lot of fun, and you can also watch my session about Hybrid Cloud Management at Microsoft Ignite. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

As you know Windows Admin Center enables you to not just manage Windows Server machines with a web-based user interface, but also to easily connect Azure Hybrid services to your on-premises Windows Server environment. Windows Admin Center allows you to connect services like Azure File Sync, Azure Update Management, Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery and many more to your Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment. With the latest release of Windows Admin Center (WAC) which was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019, we get another hybrid cloud feature. We get a new Azure Cloud Shell extension in Windows Admin Center. Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, authenticated, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. It provides the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work, either Bash or PowerShell. We are able to use Cloud Shell directly from the Azure portal, shell.azure.com, in Visual Studio Code, in the new Windows Terminal or even in the Azure mobile app. Now with the new solution/extension, administrators can also run Cloud Shell directly within WAC.

How to run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

First, you will need to enable and install the new Azure Cloud Shell solution. For that open Windows Admin Center, go to Settings and in the menu click on Extensions.

Extensions

Extensions

Under available extensions, you will find the new Azure Cloud Shell (Preview) extension. Click on Install, the WAC portal will refresh automatically.

After the page has refreshed, the Cloud Shell option will show up in the top menu.

Start Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Start Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

If you start Azure Cloud Shell for the first time, you will need to login to Azure.

After that, you can run the PowerShell or Bash experience, depending on what you prefer. You also have access to the clouddrive which comes with Cloud Shell.

Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

In that, you can run tools like the Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell and much more. If you want to learn more about Azure Cloud Shell, check out my blog post, Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell. Windows Admin Center is a free download to use with your Windows Servers, you can download Windows Admin Center here. If you want to know more about the Hybrid capabilities, check out my blog post on ITOpsTalk.com.

I hope this gives you an overview of how you can run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.



Azure Hybrid Cloud Bus

An Overview at the New Azure Stack Portfolio

Last week at the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference, the Azure team announced a lot of new updates. One of the significant focus topics at this year’s Ignite was the investment in the Azure Hybrid Cloud offerings. Starting with the buses driving attendees to the conference venue, over the Ignite keynotes, to the expo floor and breakouts, Hybrid Cloud was everywhere. Today, organizations rely on a hybrid technology approach to take advantage of utilizing cloud innovation in combination with their on-premises investments. Azure is Hybrid by design, and Microsoft is continuing the investment in our hybrid cloud technologies with the announcements of Azure Arc (link) and the new Azure Stack portfolio (link). I already was able to get an early look at Azure Arc for Servers, in this post, I am going to focus on the new Azure Stack portfolio with Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge, and Azure Stack HCI.

At and after Microsoft Ignite 2019, I got a lot of questions around the Azure Stack announcements. So in this blog, I want to give you a quick overview of that, and if you want to know more, check out the blog post from Talal Alqinawi, Senior Director Azure Marketing.

Azure Stack Portfolio

Azure Stack Portfolio

The Azure Stack family now consists of three members, Azure Stack Hub, formerly known as Azure Stack, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge (formerly known as Azure Databox Edge). This offers customers new capabilities, form factors, and solutions in the Azure Stack portfolio, to ensure that the customer has the right solutions for their edge infrastructure.

Azure Stack Hub

Azure Stack Hub (formerly known as Azure Stack) will continue to be the cloud-native offering for enterprise and public sector customers, especially those interested in operating a cloud environment that is disconnected from public internet or meeting regulatory and compliance requirements. It will continue to bring Azure services to locations where you need them. The Azure Stack Hub team also announced some new capabilities and features, which the team is working on:

  • Working on support for N-Series virtual machines (VMs) which included GPU support
  • Event Hubs Public Preview in 2020
  • Azure Stream Analytics Public Preview in 2020
  • General Availability (GA) of Kubernetes on Azure Stack with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) engine to automate the creation, update, and scaling of Kubernetes clusters.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Private Preview
  • Azure Data Services with Azure Arc Private Preview

Azure Stack HCI

A couple of months ago, I already wrote a blog post about Azure Stack HCI, which enables customers to run a highly efficient hyper-converged virtualization infrastructure. From small 2-node deployments up to high-performance and high capacity clusters, the Azure Stack HCI catalog offers solutions for every scenario. Together with Windows Admin Center, you can also easily connect Azure hybrid solutions and services. With the new automated deployment of Azure Stack HCI clusters, it becomes even easier to deploy new installations. I had the chance to talk about this new feature with Cosmos Darwin on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage, and you can watch the recording here.

I also have an article on ITOpsTalk.com about how Azure Stack HCI fits into the Azure Hybrid Cloud offering.

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge (formerly known as Azure Databox Edge) is an Azure managed appliance that brings the compute, storage, and intelligence of Azure to the edge.

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge

This is a first-party appliance which customer can order and run as an Azure service with no upfront costs (billed monthly with your Azure bill). In addition to the name change, the Azure Stack Edge team also announced that it soon will be supporting new compute and AI features and capabilities like:

  • Virtual machines on Azure Stack Edge
  • Kubernetes clusters
  • NVIDIA GPU support
  • Support for high-availability

The Azure Stack Edge will also be available in a rugged version as well as in a battery-powered form-factor that can be carried in a backpack.

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series with battery

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series with battery

Next to talking to Cosmos Darwin about Azure Stack HCI, I was also able to have Stephanie Krieger and Chris Dickens on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage to talk about Azure Stack Edge. You can watch the recording here.

Hybrid Cloud in combination with Azure Arc

In conjunction with Azure Arc, which brings Azure services and management to any infrastructure. With Azure Arc, you can deploy Azure Data services on any Kubernetes cluster. Azure Arc and Azure Stack portfolio are complementary.

You can combine the benefits of Azure Arc with Azure Stack portfolio where Azure Arc can manage virtual machines, containers, and run Azure Data Services on Azure Stack portfolio of validated and integrated systems while leveraging the compute and cloud capabilities of Azure Stack.

If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out my blog post, Azure Arc – Cloud-native Management for Hybrid Cloud, or you can watch my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session about Hybrid Cloud Management.

I hope this gives you an overview of the new Azure Stack portfolio, which was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Microsoft Ignite 2019 Thomas Maurer Speaking Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Hybrid Cloud Management Session

Last week I had a fantastic time presenting and speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, FL. As mentioned before, I was presenting in the “Modernizing Server Infrastructure” learning path a session called “Integrating cloud technologies”. As you might realize, we had a little surprise in that session. Since we announced Azure Arc on Monday in the keynote, I was able to finally add the topic to the session description. You can now watch my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session about Hybrid Cloud server management online on-demand.

My Microsoft Ignite Session about Hybrid Cloud Server Management

In this session, I am talking about how our demo company Tailwind Traders uses Azure Hybrid Cloud services like Azure Update Management and Azure Arc to make their hybrid server environment, which is Azure, on-prem, edge and multi-cloud, even better.

Hybrid management technologies

Tailwind Traders has now migrated the majority of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019. Now, they are interested in the Azure hybrid technologies that are readily available to them. In this session, learn how Tailwind Traders began using Windows Admin Center and Azure Arc to manage its fleet of Windows Server computers and integrated hybrid technologies, such as Azure File Sync, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Update Management, to improve deployment performance and manageability.

I am speaking about technologies like Azure Arc, Windows Admin Center, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Update Management, Azure File Sync, and many more.

Here are some links to the technologies I am talking about:

  • Azure Arc for Servers – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Update Management – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure File Sync – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Site Recovery – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Stack – Azure.com (link)

I hope you enjoyed watching my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session, please let me know what you think and if you want to see more of that content.



CloudSkills FM Azure Arc and Hybrid Cloud Management

CloudSkills.fm Podcast – Azure Arc and Hybrid Cloud Management

This week I am at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, where we launched great new products and services like Azure Arc. I was honored to be part of a CloudSkills.fm Podcast episode with Microsoft Azure MVP Mike Pfeiffer. CloudSkills.fm is a weekly podcast with technical tips and career advice for people working in the cloud computing industry. This show is for developers, IT pros, or anyone making a career move into the cloud.

CloudSkills.fm is a weekly podcast with technical tips and career advice for people working in the cloud computing industry. This show is for developers, IT pros, or anyone making a career move into the cloud. Episodes will be short and to the point and will regularly feature experts who share their experiences.

This show is hosted by Mike Pfeiffer, a twenty-year tech industry veteran, entrepreneur, Pluralsight author, and Microsoft Azure MVP. If you enjoy the show and want more tips delivered to your mailbox every week, subscribe to Cloud Computing Weekly at askmike.io/subscribe.

In this episode, we were talking about the new Hybrid Cloud announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2019, like Azure Arc, Azure Stack, and the new Performance Monitor in Windows Admin Center. Check out our episode right here.

CloudSkills.fm

046: Azure Arc and Hybrid Cloud Management In this episode I chat with Thomas Maurer, Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, about the new Azure Arc service and how to get started with hybrid cloud management. Azure Arc – Cloud-native Management for Hybrid Cloud New Performance Monitor for Windows Server Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell

It was a pleasure to meet Mike in person and be part of his fantastic podcast. So listen in and let me know what you think!