Category: Work

All about my Work


Microsoft Teams Video Call

How to host Tech Workshops and Trainings online

I just got asked by one of my blog readers, who is a consultant and trainer, about what tools I use to give online tech workshops and trainings. I thought this would make a good blog post; that’s why I want to share with you how you can provide tech workshops and trainings online. This can obviously also be used in day to day collaboration and meetings.

How to give Workshops and Trainings online

In my previous job, I worked with a lot of customers and provided workshops and trainings. Here are some of the tools I used, and I am still using. I know that there are a lot more applications out there which can give you a great experience. Some of them are optimized for public streaming, others for collaboration. The same is true for my list; depending on the use-case, meeting, workshop, or content you have, maybe one tool is better than the other. So have a look at these tools and decided which one works best for your workshop or training. I also need to point out that you can use them not just as a standalone app, but also in combination with each other.

Microsoft Teams

The first tool which pops in mind and is the one I use the most is Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a fantastic collaboration tool. It lets you do a couple of things like meetings and video calls with screen sharing and PowerPoint presentations as well as included whiteboard experience. In addition to meetings and chats, you also get a rich collaboration space with teams and channels, which you can also use to share workshops and training material over time. You can provide an excellent experience for your customers and team members even after the workshop or training is done. There are many features in Microsoft Teams. The best thing is to check out the product page to see all the capabilities of Microsoft Teams. You can invite people outside of your organization as guest accounts to have a collaboration space.

Microsoft Teams Video Call

Microsoft Teams Video Call

I want to share two of the live chat and video experiences that you can use in Microsoft Teams for online meetings, trainings, and workshops.

Microsoft Teams Online Meetings – This is the experience most users probably are familiar with. With Microsoft Teams online meetings, you can host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone, and you get features such as scheduling assistance, meeting note-taking, screen sharing, meeting recording, and instant messaging.

Microsoft Teams Live Events – With Microsoft Teams live events you can broadcast video and meeting content to large online audiences. This can be inside and outside of your company. Live Events are meant for one-to-many communications where you are leading the interactions, and audience participation is primarily to view the content shared by you. Live events feature is excellent if you want to organize things like webinars. While the online meetings functionality has a chat, the live events comes with a Q&A feature, which makes it easy to keep track and answer questions.

If you want to learn more about how to present PowerPoint in Microsoft Teams, check out Sarah Lean’s blog post.

Microsoft Whiteboard

Another tool I use a lot is the Microsoft Whiteboard app, and I already wrote a blog post about why IT Pros should use the Microsoft Whiteboard app.

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard

The Whiteboard app is a digital whiteboard that allows you to invite people online to collaborate in real-time. It also integrates into Microsoft Teams as well.

PowerPoint – Present Online and record Presentations

PowerPoint Present Online

PowerPoint Present Online

As mentioned before, you can use Microsoft Teams to share and present your PowerPoints. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that PowerPoint already has an integrated sharing feature. You can share and broadcast your PowerPoint presentation online directly within PowerPoint, without the need for an additional tool.

Present Online in PowerPoint

Present Online in PowerPoint

You can also record PowerPoint presentations and share them online later on.

Record Slide Show

Record Slide Show

 

Visual Studio Code Remote Share

When it comes to code, Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code (VS Code) offer you a feature called Visual Studio Live Share. Live Share allows you to share your code in real-time. You can collaborate and work with multiple people on the same code. New is that you can not only join using VS Code or Visual Studio, but you can now also join by just using a browser.

Invite people with Visual Studio Live Share:

Visual Studio Code Live Share

Visual Studio Code Live Share

Collaborate on the same file:

Sharing code online with VS Code Live Share

Sharing code online with VS Code Live Share

I hope this blog was helpful and gives you a couple of ideas on how you can provide workshops and trainings online as well as collaborating in real-time with people. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Thanks to Martin Dimovski, who gave me the idea of this blog post.



Azure Friday - Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Azure Friday: Manage hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Last Friday, I had the chance to join Donovan Brown on Azure Friday to talk about how you can manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc. I showed how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, similar to how you manage native Azure virtual machines. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. You can watch the full episode here on Microsoft Channel 9.

Azure Friday - Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Azure Friday – Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

If you want to know more about the Azure Arc and Azure Hybrid services, check out the following blog post and Microsoft Docs articles:

If you want to check out my other Azure Friday episode, in which I was joining Scott Hanselman to talk about how you can connect Windows Server to Azure Hybrid Cloud services using Windows Admin Center. And how you can use other Azure Hybrid services to improve your on-premises environment, check out my blog here.

I hope you liked this Azure Friday episode about how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, using Azure Arc for servers. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. And yes, this is a Surface Pro X.



Home Office Setup 2020

My Home Office Setup 2020 – How does yours look like?

A couple of days ago, Microsoft and other companies recommended that people work from home (if they can) due to the Corona disease (COVID-19). Since I am part of a remote team, I work mostly from home when I am not traveling, and so let me share my home office setup 2020 with you. I did share my home office setup already in 2018 after we just moved. Since then, I have upgraded my home office with a couple of new things, which I believe make working from home even more productive and enjoyable.

This is it, this is my Home Office Setup in 2020

Here is a quick view at my desk setup:



Azure 10 Birthday

A decade later: Microsoft Azure at ten – Interview on Nigel Frank

Microsoft Azure just celebrated its 10th birthday. I had the chance to be interview by Nigel Frank International about the last ten years, today and the future. Right for the 10th birthday of Microsoft Azure. you can read the full interview here, where Microsoft MVPs, Mark Scholman and Charbel Nemnom together with myself answer a couple of questions like:

  • Did you encounter any skepticism in the early days, surrounding both Azure and broader cloud technology?
  • In the ten years since Azure’s official launch, has the product evolved as you expected?
  • How does each of you view the influence Azure has had on the cloud technology industry?
  • Can you pinpoint any turning points over the last ten years when Azure stood out as something of a game-changer?
  • Finally, what would you like to see next from Microsoft Azure?

Originally titled Windows Azure upon its official launch in February 2010—a moniker that would change to Microsoft Azure some four years later—the cloud platform has changed the face of computing on a scale previously unimagined.

A decade on, the service has arguably developed beyond recognition, expanding and adapting at regular intervals to help businesses of all shapes and sizes. The freedom to build, deploy and manage applications on a global scale is just one consequence, with 95% of Fortune 500 companies putting their faith (and trust) in the product.

To mark the platform’s tenth birthday, we sat down with Azure Stack consultant Mark Scholman, Microsoft Senior Cloud Advocate Thomas Maurer, and Cloud Architect and ICT Security Expert Charbel Nemnom—three Microsoft MVPs who have used Azure in all of its guises on a daily basis—to talk about the journey so far and the future of cloud computing.

I am looking forward to the next ten years of Microsoft Azure, especially since I am now part of the Azure team. And if you want to learn more about Microsoft Azure, check out my blog post about learning Microsoft Azure in 2020!

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Azure Hybrid – Learn about Azure Hybrid Cloud with features and services like Azure Stack, Azure Arc, and many more.
  • Azure Security – Learn about Azure and security
  • Azure compliance – Get an overview of compliance in Microsoft Azure, with more than 90 compliance offerings
  • 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.

I hope you enjoy the interview. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.



Tom Microsoft HoloLens

One Year at Microsoft

Time went by so fast, that I almost missed that this is my one year work anniversary at Microsoft. I have to admit that this year went really fast. I got to work on a lot of exciting projects, had the opportunity to meet and work with insanely brilliant people, and was able to work on things I enjoy.

Since I am treating my blog kind of like my diary, I think this deserves a short blog post. I am currently back in Redmond for our annual Cloud Advocate Summit, and yes, it is the same time as the internal Microsoft Ready conference. I am a little jetlagged, and so I can use the early morning to write this blog. And that reminds me of my start in February 2019, where I also traveled to Redmond on my second day of work.

People often ask me, how are you doing? are you still happy with your decision? iI can only say yes, it was a great decision to join Microsoft, and I have no regrets leaving my old job. Not because I didn’t like my old job, I really did enjoy it. But after seven years working for the same company, it was time to take on a new challenge.

Another question is, what are your highlights? Well, there are too many to count and list them all but expect being part of an awesome team and working on the thing I enjoy, I have a couple of things I want to highlight. The first thing I want to share is it is insane how helpful everyone is, and I can’t remember how many times I got the words “tell me if I can help you”. Most importantly, I realized that these were not just words, but every one meant it. If I had questions or needed help, every single person was there to help. The second thing I want to highlight is how much I was able to learn. Working with so many clever and talented people helps to learn new things, get fresh perspectives, and new ways of achieving something. The company is also set up with this learn it all, versus know it all mentality.

Of course, there are also things you might don’t like that much, especially if you join a large corporation. However, since I was working with Microsoft before, I knew what I was getting into, and I knew what to expect.

One year after joining Microsoft, I want to say thank you to my team and my manager, who hired me and gave me this opportunity. I also want to thank people I worked with inside and outside of Microsoft as well as my girlfriend, who needs to deal with my travel schedule 😉 and supports me. I am also really looking forward to the time in front of us, and keep working with the Microsoft community.



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:

Exam Study Guides

I also wrote a couple of Microsoft certification exam study guides, which might help you as well.

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.