Category: Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020 Prague

After my first three Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) stops in Shenzhen, London, and Milan, I am happy and honored that my fourth stop of Microsoft Ignite The Tour will be in Prague. By the way, if you are interested in taking a Microsoft certification exam for free, check out the following blog post: Free Microsoft Certification exam voucher at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020. We also offer the free certification vouchers at Microsoft Ignite in Prague.

  • Date: February 24–25, 2020
  • Location: Prague Congress Centre

Microsoft Ignite The Tour Prague

Our industry-leading conference is hitting the road—and coming to a city near you. You don’t want to miss the very latest in cloud technologies and developer tools with guest speakers, industry experts, and more. Get on the list today!

I will be speaking in the Microsoft Ignite The Tour learning paths. I am thrilled to show you some cool stuff about PowerShell, Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Azure Arc, and much more! I will be presenting the following sessions:

MSI20 - 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.

MCO20 - Azure governance and management

Tailwind Traders’ deployments are occurring in an ad hoc manner, primarily driven by lack of protocol and unapproved decisions by various operators or employees. Some deployments even violate the organization’s compliance obligations, such as being deployed in an unencrypted manner without DR protection. After bringing their existing IaaS VM fleet under control, Tailwind Traders wants to ensure future deployments comply with policy and organizational requirements. In this session, walk through the processes and technologies that will keep Tailwind Traders’ deployments in good standing with the help of Azure Blueprints, Azure Policy, role-based access control (RBAC), and more.

I am looking forward to speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020 in Prague. Let me know in the comments if you are going too, and I hope to see you there!



MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer 2020

MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer 2020

I am happy to let you know that I just got the confirmation that I requalified as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) in 2020. After being a Microsoft Certified Trainer in 2017 and in 2019, I am happy to be part of this community again. Being an MCT again is a great honor and I am happy to be part of this community, even I am now working for Microsoft.

Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts in Microsoft technologies. Join this exclusive group of worldwide Microsoft technical training professionals and reap the benefits of MCT training certification and membership. You will get exclusive benefits as an MCT including access to the complete library of official Microsoft training and certification products, substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products. In addition, you will be able to use Microsoft readiness resources to help you enhance your training career and engage with other MCT members in an online community forum. You will also receive invitations to exclusive Microsoft and local MCT community events.

Microsoft Certified Trainer MCT 2020-2021

Microsoft Certified Trainer MCT 2020-2021

If you want to know more about the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) program, you can have a look at the following resources and pages:

If you want to know more about the latest Azure Certification and exams like AZ-103, AZ-30X or AZ-900, check out my blog posts.

You can find a general overview of the new Azure Certifications here. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



How to Reduce the Costs of your Azure IaaS VMs

How to Reduce the Costs of your Azure IaaS VMs

Azure Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offers significant benefits over traditional virtualization. With benefits like the possibility to quickly spin up a couple of virtual machine in any Azure region around the world whenever you need it, is pretty powerful. There are a lot more benefits to Azure IaaS virtual machines. However, that’s not part of this blog. This blog post is focused on helping you saving money by reducing the costs when you are using Azure IaaS virtual machines (VM). Some of the tips here will help everyone out there, some of the tips

Pick the right Azure VM series and the right Azure VM size

Reduce cost by picking the right Azure VM size

Reduce cost by picking the right Azure VM size

First of all, obviously, you pay more for larger virtual machines. Something I realized by working with a lot of customers is that they take the on-premises VM size and use the equivalent size in Azure. Not realizing that the VM size they had was way to oversized. But since they had the static capacity on-prem, they didn’t’ care. Now when you pay for more capacity in the cloud, the story is different. So make sure you realize that the Azure VM sizes are not oversized. You can still change the size later to a larger virtual machine if needed. And if you are looking at tools like Azure Migrate to migrate your existing VMs to Azure IaaS, you will have some additional advantages. Azure Migrate asses your environment and helps you pick the right Azure VM size depending on performance data history. Azure Migrate works with Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines, if you want to know more about Azure Migrate, check out my blog post. If you are already running the virtual machine in Azure, Azure Advisor can be helpful to figure out that your virtual machine is underutilized. Picking the right size will help you to save money and reduce the cost of Azure IaaS VMs.

To make it easier to pick the right size, Azure offers you different type or also called VM series. You can find a broad set of different virtual machine types in Azure, which give you a choice depending on your use cases, scenarios, and application needs. From general-purpose VMs, compute, memory or storage optimized, VMs with GPUs, and HPC workloads. You can find some documentation on the different VM types and sizes here.

Run them when you need them, shut them off when you don’t

Another great benefit of Cloud Computing and next to the large scale are the Pay-per-use options. If you don’t need a virtual machine, you can shut it down, and you are only paying for the existing storage, but not for the computing power anymore. This helps you with workloads, which will need to scale up and down using virtual machines. Or simply with virtual machines in test/dev environments or labs, which don’t need to run 100 percent of the time.

Commit and use Azure Reserved VM instances

Azure Reservations Reserved Instances and reserved capacity

Azure Reservations Reserved Instances and reserved capacity

Now, I know that shutting down virtual machines is excellent in theory if you have the right workloads and applications running in these virtual machines. However, what about the virtual machines which need to run 24h 365 days a year. For that, Microsoft has something called Azure Reservations, and if you are thinking specifically about Azure IaaS VMs, it is called Azure Reserved VM Instances (RIs). Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances can help you save money by pre-paying for one-year or three-years of virtual machines. Pre-paying allows you to get a discount on the resources you use. Reservations can significantly reduce your Azure IaaS virtual machine, SQL database compute, Azure Cosmos DB, or other resource costs up to 72% on pay-as-you-go prices. If you want to know more about Azure Reservations, check out my blog post about how to save money on Azure using Azure Reservations.

Using Economical burstable VMs

B-series are economical virtual machines that provide a low-cost option for workloads that typically run at a low to moderate baseline CPU utilization, but sometimes need to burst to significantly higher CPU utilization when the demand rises. If you want to know more about B-series Azure VMs, check out the following Microsoft Docs.

Azure Spot Virtual Machines for batch processing jobs with significant cost savings

With Azure Spot Virtual Machines (Spot VMs), you’ll be able to access unused Azure compute capacity at deep discounts, up to 90 percent compared to pay-as-you-go prices. Spot VMs are ideal for workloads that can be interrupted, providing scalability while reducing costs. Using Spot VMs allows you to take advantage of our unused capacity at a significant cost saving. At any point in time when Azure needs the capacity back, the Azure infrastructure will evict Spot VMs. Therefore, Spot VMs are great for workloads that can handle interruptions like batch processing jobs, dev/test environments, large compute workloads, and more. You get unique Azure pricing and benefits when running Windows Server workloads on Spot VMs. Spot VMs are currently in preview and you can find more about them on Microsoft Docs.

Leverage the Azure Hybrid Benefit

If you already have existing Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises licenses with Software Assurance, you can use them for Azure virtual machines (VMs). This will allow you to save the Pay-as-you-go cost for Windows Server and SQL Server licenses. The Azure Hybrid Benefit applies not only to Azure VMs but also on Azure SQL Database PaaS services and the Azure Dedicated Host. If you want to know more about how to take advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit, check out the Microsoft Azure Docs page.

Cost Management to Analyse your Spendings

Azure Cost Management

Azure Cost Management

With Azure Cost Management, you can monitor your cloud spending by tracking resource usage and manage costs across all your clouds with a single unified view. It also helps to analyze and optimize your cloud spendings and cloud efficiency. It gives you a transparent view across your organization and helps you to identify resources to optimize. Sonia Cuff wrote a great blog on Step-by-Step: Finding and Analyzing Microsoft Azure Cloud Usage Costs.

Reduce the Costs of your Azure IaaS VMs using Azure Advisor

Azure Advisor Recommendations

Azure Advisor Recommendations

Azure Advisor is a personalized cloud consultant that helps you follow best practices to optimize your Azure deployments. It analyzes your resource configuration and usage data to recommend solutions that can help you improve the performance, high availability, security, but also the cost-effectiveness of your Azure resources. It will recommend you to right-size or shutdown underutilized virtual machines, buy virtual machines reserved instances to save money over pay-as-you.go costs and much more. If you want to know more about Azure Advisor, you can check out the Microsoft Docs.

Select the right Azure region

Today, Microsoft Azure offers up more than 54 Azure regions worldwide, more than any other cloud provider. This has not only a massive benefit of having the capability of deploying Azure resources and virtual machines where ever you need them. But it can also help you to reduce costs. Not all Azure services are available in all Azure regions, and not all Azure services cost the same in every region. Azure resource prices can depend on operational costs and other factors in the specific region. Usually, you want to deploy your virtual machines as close as possible where you need them, and you place them in the specific Azure regions. However, if there is no need to deploy them within a particular region, you can run your VMs in the cheapest available regions to reduce the cost for your Azure virtual machines.

You can find a list of services and products available by region here.

Move services to PaaS and SaaS

Azure Migrate and modernize with cloud migration strategies

Azure Migrate and modernize with cloud migration strategies

This is obvious to many of you, but by analyzing your workloads running inside your virtual machines, you will find specific workloads that can be modernized to run on Azure Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) services or even migrate into a Software-as-a-service solution. For example, if you think about Exchange or SharePoint, instead of migrating these applications into Azure virtual machines, you can reduce costs by migrating to Office 365. Don’t understand me wrong. I know that modernizing applications can be a lot of work and can cost a lot of time and money. The Azure Migration Center gives you an excellent overview of your cloud migration journey, including assess, migrate, optimize, secure, and manage.

The Azure Migration Center also helps you with your cloud migration strategies. And it enables you to define your journey to the cloud. Migration and Modernization by rehosting, refactor or rearchitect, using cloud-native by rebuild or create new, or using SaaS and replace the existing application.

Receive free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2

A year ago, Microsoft announced new options for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 end of support. Support for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 already ended on July 9, 2019, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 followed on January 14, 2020. Customers who are still running Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 do have different options. First, migrate to a newer version like Windows Server 2019, or buy extended security support, or migrate your Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to Azure, to get free extended security updates for thee years. This offer not only works for virtual machines running on Azure but also running on Azure Stack Hub.

Conclusion

Many different ways allow you to save money and reduce the costs of your Azure IaaS VMs. If you combine, for example, Azure Reserved VM Instances, the Azure Hybrid Benefit, and the free extended security support for Windows Server and SQL Server, you will gain massive price reductions. Even if you are only following one of these tips, you might save a lot of money.



Microsoft Ignite The Tour Milan 2020

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020 Milan

After our leading Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando in November 2019, and my first two stops in Shenzhen, China, and London, I am happy and honored that my third stop of Microsoft Ignite The Tour will be in Milan, Italy. By the way, if you are interested in taking a Microsoft certification exam for free, check out the following blog post: Free Microsoft Certification exam voucher at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020.

  • Date: January 27–28, 2020
  • Location: Milano Convention Centre

Microsoft Ignite The Tour Milan

Our industry-leading conference is hitting the road—and coming to a city near you. You don’t want to miss the very latest in cloud technologies and developer tools with guest speakers, industry experts, and more. Get on the list today!

I will be speaking in the Microsoft Ignite The Tour learning paths. I am thrilled to show you some cool stuff about PowerShell, Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Azure Arc, and much more! I will be presenting the following sessions:

THR30033 - Top five new features of Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is Microsoft’s most rapidly adopted server operating system. With Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 end of support upon us, learn about some of the amazing new features included in the latest version of the Windows Server operating system. In this session, learn about the top new features in Windows Server 2019, including Windows Admin Center, Storage Migration Service, hyperconverged storage improvements, System Insights, Cluster Sets, Azure integration, Linux Containers, and Kubernetes integration.

MSI20 - 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.

MSI30 - Migrating IaaS workloads to Azure

Now that the migration of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019 is complete, Tailwind Traders wants to begin the process of “lift and shift”: migrating some of their on-premises VMs they’ve been running in their datacenter. In this session, learn about how Tailwind Traders began the process of migrating some of their existing VM workloads to Azure and how this allowed them to retire aging server hardware and close datacenter and server rooms that were costing the organization a substantial amount of money.

MCO20 - Azure governance and management

Tailwind Traders’ deployments are occurring in an ad hoc manner, primarily driven by lack of protocol and unapproved decisions by various operators or employees. Some deployments even violate the organization’s compliance obligations, such as being deployed in an unencrypted manner without DR protection. After bringing their existing IaaS VM fleet under control, Tailwind Traders wants to ensure future deployments comply with policy and organizational requirements. In this session, walk through the processes and technologies that will keep Tailwind Traders’ deployments in good standing with the help of Azure Blueprints, Azure Policy, role-based access control (RBAC), and more.

I am looking forward to speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020 in Milan. Let me know in the comments if you are going too, and I hope to see you there!



Free Microsoft Certification Exam at Microsoft Ignite The Tour

Free Certification Exam Offer at Microsoft Ignite The Tour

You may remember some of my blog posts around Microsoft Azure Certification, like Why you should become Azure Certified or how to pass an Azure Certification exam. Now you have a great chance to get a free exam offer. If you are attending one of the Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019-2020 events, you are getting a free certification exam voucher for one of the following exams. You don’t need to take the exam at the event itself. You will get a voucher that will allow you to register and schedule an exam later. And yes, if you were at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, you can register for that too.

Offer details

If you attended Microsoft Ignite 2019 or a Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019-2020 event, you may be eligible to receive one free Microsoft fundamentals, role-based, or specialty certification exam. The free exam offer is available for redemption from the beginning of the event, which you are attending, and is valid for 180 days after the last day of the event. If you do not schedule an exam within that timeframe, you will not be able to redeem your offer.

Free Microsoft Azure Certification Exams at Microsoft Ignite The Tour

Here are the Azure certification exams you get a voucher if you attend Microsoft Ignite The Tour. You can also take other exams for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform. If you need to know more about how to pick the right Azure Certification path, check out my blog.

This exam offer is not valid for, and may not be redeemed by, either: 1) government officials; or 2) residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland, Israel, Germany, or Sweden. *This offer is not available to government officials or residents of the countries noted as it exceeds the limits permissible under Microsoft policy and local law. You can find more terms and conditions for the free Microsoft Certification Exam offer at Microsoft Ignite The Tour here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.



Azure Cloud Solutions Architect Podcast

Azure Cloud Solution Architects Podcast 11 – Azure Hybrid using Stack & Arc

I had the chance to be part of the Azure Cloud Solution Architects Podcast to talk about Azure Hybrid Cloud using Azure Stack and Azure Arc. Anand Kumar, who is a Cloud Solution Architect (CSA) at Microsoft, created a great podcast and already had a couple of great guests, like Sarah Lean or Mike Pfeiffer from CloudSkills.fm, on his podcast.

“Cloud Solution Architects” podcasts brings you the wealth of wisdom from solution architects across the globe working on azure solving critical business problems and changing the world with azure. We also talk to the human side and explore what it means to be successful in the cloud computing space.

In this episode we talk with Thomas Maurer who works as a Cloud Advocate in Microsoft. We talk about how Azure Stack helped his customer realize the value of Azure even when there were compliance need for the data not to leave the customer’s datacenters. Tom talks about how he keeps himself up to date with everything that’s happening in the Cloud world and his e-commerce website too.

You can find Azure Cloud Solution Architects Podcast Episode 11 here.



Microsoft Ignite The Tour Milan 2020

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020 London

As mentioned before, one of our big projects this year is going to be Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020. After our leading Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando in November 2019, we started to bring Microsoft Ignite The Tour to 30 cities around the world. While I am traveling to Microsoft Ignite The Tour in Shenzhen, I am happy that my second stop of Microsoft Ignite The Tour will be in London. Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019 London was already the first Tour stop for me, and the first conference after joining Microsoft, and I am thrilled to be back.

  • Date: January 16–17, 2020
  • Location: ExCeL London

Microsoft Ignite The Tour London

Our industry-leading conference is hitting the road—and coming to a city near you. You don’t want to miss the very latest in cloud technologies and developer tools with guest speakers, industry experts, and more. Get on the list today!

I will be speaking in the Microsoft Ignite The Tour learning paths. I am pleased to show you some cool stuff about PowerShell, Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Azure Arc, and much more! I will be presenting the following sessions:

MSI20 - 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.

MCO20 - Azure governance and management

Tailwind Traders’ deployments are occurring in an ad hoc manner, primarily driven by lack of protocol and unapproved decisions by various operators or employees. Some deployments even violate the organization’s compliance obligations, such as being deployed in an unencrypted manner without DR protection. After bringing their existing IaaS VM fleet under control, Tailwind Traders wants to ensure future deployments comply with policy and organizational requirements. In this session, walk through the processes and technologies that will keep Tailwind Traders’ deployments in good standing with the help of Azure Blueprints, Azure Policy, role-based access control (RBAC), and more.

I am looking forward to speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020 in London. Let me know in the comments if you are going too, and I hope to see you there!