Category: Microsoft Azure Stack

Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

Speaking at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking online at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI Day. The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI is an online event, organized and presented by Microsoft MVPs as part of the MVPDays. MVPDays was founded by Cristal and Dave Kawula back in 2013. It started as a simple idea; “There’s got to be a good way for Microsoft MVPs to reach the IT community and share their vast knowledge and experience in a fun and engaging way”.

The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays is a full-day online event on October 23. you can find out more here. In my session, I will be speaking about Azure hybrid management services and how you can connect your Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment with Microsoft Azure.

Hybrid Management Technologies using Azure Stack HCI

Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI and Windows Admin Center not only provide you with great hyper-converged solutions but also enable you to connect to Azure Hybrid Cloud services. In this session, Thomas Maurer will show you how you can connect Azure services like Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, Azure Monitor and many more to your on-prem Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment.

If you want to know more about it check you the following blog posts:

I hope you will join us at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays. Let me know if you have any questions.



Azure IaaS VM enable Update Management

How to Manage Updates for Azure IaaS VMs

As a lot of customers are moving their workloads to Azure and specifically moving virtual machines to Azure Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), the question is how do I manage my Azure virtual machines (VMs) efficiently. The great thing about Azure IaaS, it is not just another virtualization platform. Azure IaaS also offers a lot of other benefits versus classic virtualization. Azure IaaS and Azure Management provide a lot of functionality to it make it more efficient to run and manage virtual machines. One of them is Azure Update Management. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can efficiently manage updates for your Azure IaaS VMs.

Overview and benefits Azure Update Management ☁

The Azure Update Management solution is part of Azure Automation. And with Azure Update Management you can manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux computers in Azure, in on-premises environments, or in other cloud providers. That is right, it is not only for your Azure VMs, it also works with all your environment and provides you with a single pane of glass for your Update Management. It allows you to quickly assess the status of available updates on all virtual machines and servers, and manage the process of installing required updates for servers.

  • Azure Update Management works with Azure IaaS VMs, on-premise servers and even servers running at other cloud service providers.
  • Update Management supports Linux and Windows servers
  • It is directly integrated into the Azure portal and onboarding of Azure VMs is very simple.
  • It works with existing update sources like Microsoft Update, WSUS or on Linux with private and public update repositories.
  • Azure Update Management can be integrated into System Center Configuration Manager. You can learn more about Azure Update Management and System Center Configuration Manager integration on Microsoft Docs.
  • You can onboard new Azure VMs automatically to Update Management in multiple subscriptions in the same tenant.
Architecture

Architecture

How to onboard Azure IaaS VMs ✈

Onboarding Azure VMs to Azure Update Management is fairly simple and there are many different ways you can enable Update Management for an Azure VM.

One thing I want to highlight is, that you can set up automatic enablement for future virtual machines. With that Azure virtual machines, you create in the future, will automatically be added to the Update Mangement solution.

Onboarding

Onboarding

Since this blog post is all about managing updates for Azure VMs, I will keep it short, but if you want to add servers running on-premises or at other service providers, you can have a look how you can configure Azure Update management from Windows Admin Center. If you are running Azure Stack, you can also easily add your Azure Stack VMs to the Update Management solution.

Update Assesment 📃

Azure Update Management Compliant Assessment

Azure Update Management Compliant Assessment

After you have enabled and connected your virtual machines, Azure Log Analytics and Update Management start to collect data and analyze it and creates a continuous assessment of your Azure VM infrastructure and the additional servers you added. It will let you know which servers are compliant and which updates are missing. In the Azure documentation for Azure Update Management, you can find the schedules and time new updates will be added to the assessment.

Manage and deploy updates to Azure VMs 🔧

After you know which servers are compliant or not, you can schedule an update deployment, to update your servers.

Update Azure VMs using Update Deployment

Update Azure VMs using Update Deployment

An update deployment configuration is done very easily.

  1. Enter a name for the update deployment
  2. Select which operating system you want to target with the deployment (Linux or Windows)
  3. Choose the machines you want to update. You can select specific Azure virtual machines, non-Azure machines, groups, AD, WSUS, SCCM groups and filters.
  4. Select the Update Classifications you want to deploy
  5. Include or exclude updates
  6. Schedule the deployment. You can also create recurring update deployments for example for monthly patching.
  7. Configure pre- and post-scripts
  8. Configure the maintenance window size
  9. Configure the reboot update after the updates are installed

View update deployments ✔

Update Azure VMs Status

Update Azure VMs Status

During and after the duration of the update deployment, you can see an overview of the deployment, which updates on which machine were installed and if they were successful.

Pricing – What does it cost? 💵

Now I know what you are thinking now, this is great, but I am sure Microsoft is making me pay for this. No! there are no charges for the service, you only pay for log data stored in the Azure Log Analytics service. You can find more pricing information here.

Conclusion and Learn more 🎓

Update Management is a great solution to keep your environment up to date. If you want to know more, check out Microsoft Docs or follow this tutorial to onboard Azure VMs. There is also a very good blog series by Microsoft MVP Samuel Erskine. If you don’t have Azure today, create an Azure Free account.

Create free Azure Account ☁

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

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.



Microsoft Azure Certifications

Why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified

If you have followed my recent blog posts, you might have seen that I used the time to get the Azure exams done and get Microsoft Azure Certified. In this blog, I want to show you why you should do the exams, and certifications to become Microsoft Azure certified. In another blog post, I will try to show you how you can become Microsoft Azure Certified. If you want to know which Azure certification and exam is right for you, check out my blog post.

Boost your career 💵

If you look why you should get Microsoft Azure certified, career reasons are always one of the first to come up. Of course, Microsoft and other industry certifications became interesting for companies to recruit new employees. IDC whitepaper (IT Certifications: Shorter Road to Valuable Positions) shows that Microsoft certification makes technology professionals more likely to get hired, demonstrate clear business impact, and advance their careers. The study shows that on average, Microsoft certified technologists earn 15% more than their uncertified peers. It is also needless to say that people holding a certification are getting hired faster. Don’t get me wrong; certification doesn’t mean that you are better than someone else. However, it is a great way to have validated your skills and have the validation on paper.

The potential of Cloud Computing ☁

Cloud is becoming more critical than ever, an IDC white paper (Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professional, May 2017) says that by 2021, 38% of IT positions will be cloud-related. Companies are actively looking for the right skills of their employees, and getting your Azure certifications, will help you in your career. This doesn’t mean that you will immediately deal with a cloud-only environment, but it helps to strengthen your position in the future.

If you have a look at the growth rate of Azure, a career in the cloud business has tremendous potential.

Stepping out of your comfort zone 🛋

It doesn’t matter if we have been working in the industry for a while or if we are pretty new, cloud computing brings a new set of different challenges and things to learn. In my option, you will need to get a broader knowledge of different technologies, concepts, and services. Cloud services are changing fast and are usually well documented. This means if you worked with a service a couple of months ago, the chances are high that the service changed and became better. I don’t think that this is a big problem, we have documentation for that. However, I think it becomes more and more essential to understand different services and how they could work together.

Living in this fast-changing cloud world, also shows that you are willing to keep on learning and adapt to new technologies.

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification 🎓

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

One question which comes up a lot from IT professionals as well as of people hiring IT professionals is: what certification does matter for which job. To make this easier, Microsoft announced a new strategy to create role-based certification at Microsoft Inspire in 2018. For the Azure certifications, this means that you can now pick your exam depending on your job role. If you want to get a whole overview of the Azure Certification exam, check out my blog post.

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Currently, you will find the following role-based Azure applications and infrastructure certifications:

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Data & AI certifications

And the following Azure Data & AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist
  • Microsoft Certified Azure AI Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

Verify your skills and learn more 🤹‍♀️

Microsoft exams and certifications are not just here to get a better job and boost your career. For me, exams are also there to verify my skills and learn more about specific topics. This also applies to the Azure certifications. Taking an exam and preparing for an Azure certification, give you a defined set of technologies and topics you should learn, depending on the exam you take. I use certifications as a guide through different topics, to make sure I cover a base of all the relevant topics. This helps me to get some structure in my learning path. Whenever I take a Microsoft exam, I learn a lot, not just while preparing for the exam or about the topics I am looking for, but also many things around the exam. I called it the four stages of Microsoft exam learning, which will boost your knowledge.

  1. Preparing and learning of the Microsoft exam topics – These are the topics and technologies which are validated in the exam, and I focus on learning. These are mostly the topics listed on the skills measured page of the exam.
  2. Learning about related topics – While you are learning about the exam topics, you will also learn a lot about related technologies and concepts, which are not directly asked in the exam. However, these can be very important in your job or even another exam. For example, if you learn about Azure storage or databases, at one point, you will also learn about encryption and Azure key vault. This can be super helpful in the future, and it is a low hanging fruit since you are just discovering it while focusing on something else.
  3. During the exam – To me, it happens often, and I am always surprised by how much I learn even while taking a Microsoft exam. Depending on the questions and answers, I learn about new scenarios or how different services can work together. I agree, this is not the ideal time to learn a topic you should already know, but it is a subtle side effect.😁
  4. After the exam – Usually, there are always questions and topics you are not 100% sure about or even completely unaware of. It can help you to check out and read about these topics after the exam. Even when you passed the exam, it can improve your knowledge if you follow up on the topics you were not sure about. Especially if you consider that the questions which are asked during an exam are also most important for you to understand the topics.

I am usually excellent in phase 2 and 3 because they are more-less happening automatically and don’t require a lot of effort 😉. This is not ideal. I believe that the right focus for preparing the exam helps you and following up on topics you had difficulties, will improve your knowledge a lot. Getting Microsoft Azure certified can also help you to study and learn new technologies.

Become better at your job 👩‍🏭

Now, this might sound very obvious to you, but with more knowledge, you become better at your job. Microsoft certifications usually don’t just test you on a particular topic, but most of the time, you will be preparing and learning a lot of different topics. Which will make your knowledge much broader and will allow you to have a better understanding and overview of certain technologies. This means you can be much more impact-full in your job, influence decisions, and become a leader in your organization. If you are a consult and salesperson, it gives you more in-depth and broader knowledge about the technology. It allows you to better understand, and solve the customer challenges, which will be rewarded with more trust from the customer.

Microsoft competency for partners 🤝

If you are working for a Microsoft partner, certifications also help your company to get a higher Microsoft competency membership like gold or silver or even the Azure Expert Managed Services Provider program. And of course, it demonstrates your, and your companies proven expertise in Azure technologies.

How to become Microsoft Azure Certified

Since you are now convinced that becoming Microsoft Azure Certified is right for you, you might want to know how do I get started with Azure Certifications. Luckily for you, I am currently writing another blog post which will exactly cover that topic 😉. If you don’t want to wait until then, I would recommend that you get an overview of the role-based certification paths. If you are entirely new to Microsoft Azure, it is helpful to start with the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam. To prepare for this exam, there are a couple of resources which you can have a look at, most importantly, Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn has an Azure Fundamentals learning path with different modules.

Microsoft Learn 🎓

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

In the next days and weeks, I will release a couple of post about how you can get started with your Azure certification and different study guides for the Azure exams to help you learn and prepare.



Techmentor 2019 Redmond

Speaking at Techmentor 2019

I am currently on the Microsoft Redmond campus for some internal meetings and training, during the same time, there will be the Techmentor 2019 Microsoft HQ conference in Redmond. I am happy to announce that I will be one of the speakers during that conference. Since I am already on the Microsoft campus it is great to take some time to speak about some cool Azure things. Techmentor 2019 is a 5-day conference from August 5-9, 2019 on the Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond.

My Sessions at Techmentor 2019

I will be delivering two sessions about Cloud Shell and Azure Stack, as well as being part of a panel discussion.

A Look into the Hybrid Cloud Lifestyle of an Azure Stack Operator

Microsoft released Azure Stack as an Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate Azure Stack in your datacenter. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation, Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experiences during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP). You will learn: How to integrate Azure Stack into your Datacenter How to operate Azure Stack and how it is managed How to troubleshoot Azure Stack installations

Mastering Azure Using Cloud Shell, PowerShell, and Bash!

Azure can be managed in many different ways. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

You will learn:

What cloud Shell is
Some new things in PowerShell Az
Tips and tricks on Azure command line options

Supercharging Hyper-V with quantum computing

Okay, I am not really talking about quantum computing, but hey there are some cool features in Hyper-V you should definitely know about! In this session, Thomas Maurer will talk about “hidden” Hyper-V features everyone should know about. This covers different features for Hyper-V on Windows Server as well as on Windows 10, like Containers, Windows Sandbox, WSL 2, VM Gallery and much more. Be prepared for a lot of demos!

Panel Discussion: The Future of IT

If something is certain in IT it’s change. With the current pace of getting new operating system versions twice a year and keeping the management tools around them up to date it’s no wonder one feels a little dizzy with the amount of things to learn. Take this opportunity to hear from industry experts what is most important to focus on and how to deal with this rapid change in real life. The panel includes experts on multiple technologies and topics and will include a Q&A portion to get all your questions answered.

Want to experience IT training at the mothership? Join TechMentor this August as it heads to Microsoft Headquarters for a full week of training, featuring our NEW full-day Hands-On Labs. I hope to see you there!



Thomas Maurer Speaking at Experts Live Europe

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019 in Prague

Today, I am proud to announce that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019 in Prague on November 20 – 22, 2019. This is a great honor, and it will be my 7th Experts Live Europe event I am speaking at, all the way back to the first event, when it still was called System Center Universe Europe. I have presented several sessions at each event previously hosted in Bern, Basel, Berlin, and Prague. This will be the second time Experts Live Europe will be hosted in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic. I am looking forward to speaking at this Microsoft community event again. The conference has a strong focus on Microsoft Cloud, Datacenter, Security, and Modern Workplace topics and brings together the community from all over the world.

This year the conference will be three days again, with a pre-conference day including a couple of different pre-conference deep dives, as well as two main conference days with over 70 breakout sessions in 6 parallel tracks. This year the conference will have not only over 40 top expert speakers but also a vast Microsoft presence. You will not just find Microsoft Cloud Advocates and Program Managers, but people from all across the organization. Guess what, this is a perfect time to connect and network with us, but also with other members of the Microsoft community.

Another big highlight for me this year is the track specifically focusing on Windows Server and System Center, presented by Cloud Advocates, Program Managers, and Microsoft MVPs.

My sessions at Experts Live Europe 2019

I am happy that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019:

Windows Server 2019 - The Next Generation of Software-Defined Datacenter

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server and Windows Admin Center. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage, and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Cloud Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview of the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations in Windows Server 2019 and the Semi-Annual Channel including: ○ Windows Server Containers ○ Azure Integration ○ Hyper-V features ○ Storage ○ Networking ○ Security ○ Windows Admin Center And more!

How to become Azure Certified!

With Cloud Computing becoming more and more important, proofing your skills and becoming certified will not only boost your career but will also make you more successful in your job! In this session, you will learn why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, what different Azure exam certification paths there are available, how you prepare, take, and pass an exam. This session will focus on the overall available Microsoft Azure Certifications.

Azure Stack Experts Panel

Join this global list of Azure Stack Experts for an open question and answer session as we discuss real world scenarios.

If you want to know more about the event and register, check out the Experts Live Europe website. I hope to see you in Prague!



Nigel Frank Migrating and extending with Microsoft Azure

Article about Azure Migration on Nigel Frank International

This week my blog post on Azure Migration and Hybrid Cloud on the Nigel Frank International blog went live. The title of the article is, Migrating and extending your on-premises environment with Microsoft Azure. In that blog post, I what your advantages are by using the cloud and some of the different approaches to use Microsoft Azure. Before I then go deeper on different Azure scenarios and topics.

I cover a lot of different Azure options like:

Nigel Frank International

The public cloud is becoming more and more important for companies that want to stay agile and flexible to meet their business demands. But if a company decides to move to the public cloud, what are the best ways to migrate to Microsoft Azure? In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at what services Microsoft offers to make your cloud migration easier.

It was fun to work with the team at Nigel Frank International and I hope you like the article.



Experts Live Switzerland 2019

Speaking at Experts Live Switzerland 2019

I’m excited to be chosen again as a speaker at Experts Live Switzerland 2019. Experts Live Switzerland 2019 will take place on June 20 in the new Workspace Welle 7 in ​Bern Switzerland. Experts Live Switzerland is a one-day event with 17 sessions in three parallel tracks focusing on Microsoft Cloud, Datacenter and Workplace Management topics, with Microsoft MVPs, speakers from Microsoft and other industry experts.

I am happy to speak about Microsoft Azure Stack and how you can extend Azure to your locations. I will also give an overview of the newly announced Azure Stack HCI solutions.

Extend the Intelligent Cloud to the Edge with Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack allows you to extend Azure to your datacenter and run Azure Services under your terms. With Azure Stack HCI, the latest member in the Azure Stack family, we also offer a great hyper-converged infrastructure solution, with optional Azure connected services. Find out more about Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI, how these solutions can help you to in your Hybrid Cloud strategy. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience.

Experts Live Switzerland 2019 is limited to only 200 attendees, so make sure you reserve your ticket right now! There will be a lot of other great sessions and a lot of experts from the Microsoft Cloud community. One of the main advantages of joining the Experts Live events is that you get this great networking opportunity to learn from each other.

Some more information about the conference:

  • 1-day event
  • In the heart of Switzerland (Bern)
  • Keynote about Azure Switzerland
  • 17 sessions
  • 3 parallel tracks
  • Top Community speakers
  • limited to 200 attendees
  • Partner booths in the expo hall
  • modern location
  • focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technology

I hope to see you all there!