Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Passed Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Today I am on my way to Geneva for a customer meeting. Before I left I quickly check my email and had some exciting news in my inbox. I got the confirmation that I passed the Microsoft Exam AZ-302 Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Certification Transition, which together with my previous exam, 70-535 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions, gives me the certification as Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert.

Earning the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification demonstrates skills and knowledge to advise stakeholders and translate business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable solutions. Candidates have advanced experience and knowledge across various aspects of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data management, budgeting, and governance – managing how decisions in each area affects an overall solution.

I took this exam as a beat exam back in September at Microsoft Ignite 2018. For people who do not have already done 70-535, you will need to take AZ-300 and AZ-301 to get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect certification. The AZ-Series are basically the new edition of the Microsoft Azure Certification path. These exams were announced at Microsofts Partner conference, Microsoft Inspire in 2018.

There is a great blog post by Chris Pietschmann, about the state of the current Microsoft Experts exams.

I am happy about getting the confirmation about my second successful Microsoft Azure exam this year, after passing AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals last week.

If you want to know more about the exam and the skills measured in this exam, check out the official Microsoft Exam page for AZ-302. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

Congrats to all the others which got the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification today. Otherwise I wish you good luck taking the exam, let me know how it was in the comments.



Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell

Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell

There are multiple ways to interact and manage resources in Microsoft Azure. You can use the Azure Portal or command line tools like the Azure PowerShell module or the Azure CLI, which you can install on your local machine. However, to set up a cloud management workstation for administrators and developers can be quite a lot of work. Especially if you have multiple machines, keeping consistency between these machines can be challenging. Another challenge is keeping the environment secure and all the tools up to date. This any many more things are addressed by the Cloud Shell.

Cloud Shell is not brand new, Microsoft announced Cloud Shell at Build 2017. This blog post is about how you can master Azure with Cloud Shell and to give you an overview about the possibilities of Cloud Shell.

What is Cloud Shell

Cloud Shell Azure Portal

Cloud Shell offers a browser-accessible, pre-configured shell experience for managing Azure resources without the overhead of installing, versioning, and maintaining a machine yourself. Azure Cloud Shell is assigned per unique user account and automatically authenticated with each session. This makes it a private and secure environment.

You get a modern web-based command line experience which can be accessed from several end points like the Azure Portal, shell.azure.com and the Azure mobile app, Visual Studio Code or directly in the Azure docs.

In the backend Azure uses containers and automatically attaches an Azure File Share to the container. You can store the data on it, so your data is persistent. This persist your data across different Cloud Shell sessions.

Cloud Shell Bash and PowerShell

You can choose your preferred shell experience. Cloud Shell supports Bash and PowerShell and included your favorite third party tools and common tools and languages. If something like a module is missing, you can simply add it.



Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will both be out of extended support within the  next 12 months (detailed dates below). This means if you have these versions, you’ll need to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server or Windows Server or buy Extended Support soon to maintain support and receive security updates and fixes. Buying Extended Support is not cheap. Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the full license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server. A lot of customer should start migrating to newer versions of these products to avoid these extra costs.

Extended Support dates

  • Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019.
  • Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020.

However, in mid-2018 Microsoft announced a new option for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support. Customers running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server in Azure virtual machines will get Extended Security Updates for free. This will give customers some extra time to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Or even better, to Azure PaaS and serverless computing like Azure Functions.

The great thing about this, is that you can also combine this with your Azure Hybrid benefits, to use your SQL Server and Windows Server on Azure with your on-premise licenses.

Extended Security Updates on Azure Stack

If you are thinking to migrate to the cloud, this new option will bring down costs for you. However, not everyone is fully ready to move all their servers to the public cloud. You might still need or want to run some servers on-premise in your datacenter. This will leave you with buying Extended Support or what a lot of people don’t know, you can also run your SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack and get Extended Security Updates for free, since it is basically Azure!

This is great, especially since Azure Stack also comes with great IaaS capabilities. And if you are thinking about using Azure in the mid-term, Azure Stack provides you with Azure capabilities, but still allows you to stay in your own datacenter.



AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

Passed Exam AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

I just took a little bit of my time to do one of the latest Azure exams. The Azure exam AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is, as the name suggests, a basic fundamental exam covering some general knowledge about Microsoft Azure. The exam covers a basic understanding of cloud concepts, core Azure services, security, privacy, compliance and trust, as well as Azure Pricing and support.

AZ-900 is a good exam if you are just starting with Azure and the cloud. It is not just a marketing and sales exam, even do it is a very light exam. you will need to have some technical know-how. If you are planning to take this exam I have some recommendations for you. Understand the benefits of cloud computing and the different cloud models. Go trough the list of Azure services, make sure you know what services are available and for what you would use them. Also make sure that you understand the concepts of Azure in general and in Azure governance, like Subscriptions, Management Groups, Azure Policies, Azure Resource Groups, Role-Based Access Control and many more.

You can find more detailed information on the Microsoft exam website. There you will find all the skills measured in this exam.

Microsoft Learn

I also highly recommend that you make an Azure free (or paid) account and try out different Azure services. But if you really wanna get ready for the cloud and especially for Microsoft Azure, and exam AZ-900, check out Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn is a great free learning platform, where you have free guides, walkthroughs and a hands-on experience. Microsoft Learn also provides you some more advanced trainings and guides, to get some deeper understandings of Microsoft services.

With that I wish you happy learning and good luck with the AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam!



Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs

Listed in the Feedspot Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs To Follow in 2019

Another great thing I found out about today. My blog, ThomasMaurer.ch is listed in the Feedspot Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2019. I am super excited to be on this list, next to other top blogs and websites. As you can imagine you will find even more about Microsoft Azure on my blog in 2019. You can follow my blog on Feedspot or just check out my Subscribe page, to get my latest blogs.

The Best Microsoft Azure Blogs from thousands of Microsoft Azure blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing my blog! If you have some topics or ideas I should cover in 2019, please let me know!



Windows Insider MVP

Windows Insider MVP Award

I am proud to share with you today, that I received the Windows Insider MVP Award from Microsoft, for my contributions in the Windows community in the past year. The Windows Insider MVP award is an additional award to the Microsoft MVP award. It was created and announced in 2016, and is focusing on Windows and Devices for consumers. It is an honor to be awarded for my work and contributions in 2018.

Congratulations! Thank you for your contributions to the Windows community, we are excited to welcome you as a Windows Insider MVP. This award is a token of our appreciation, your leadership and passion help make Windows the best yet. We look forward to collaborating with you and all of our Windows Insider MVPs as we continue to strengthen the Windows Insider MVP (WI MVP) Program.

Working with the Windows community to share the latest an greatest about Windows 10 is just a lot of fun. The Windows Insider team as a fantastic job with enganging with the community and work with people all over the world, to make Windows better.



Thomas Maurer Travel

My 2018 – I call it a year!

This is my last blog post of 2018. I just came back from my last flight in 2018 and I am happy to spend a relaxing New Year’s Eve with my close friends and girlfriend. 2018 was a great, intense and challenging year, with a lot of learnings and a lot of good things happening. I just want to thank all my friends, colleagues, supporters, blog readers and followers for everything. People who read, like, comment and share my blogs and tweets, people who listen to my talks and videos, people who I have conversations with, you all give me the motivation to keep on doing this.

I also want to use the chance to thank my sponsors, your support and partnership helps me a lot.

For years now, I had the chance to travel around the world, engage with the community, learn, make new friends and even find love. For that, I am happy and thankful and that the hard work pays off.

There were a lot of highlights, like traveling, speaking, new gadgets, server releases, hybrid cloud platforms, the Microsoft MVP Award and devices, this year and it is hard to name them all, so I just let them be 😁

I am looking forward to 2019 and a new year full of new challenges and experiences. 2019 will have some big changes coming up, so stay tuned.

With that I want to thank you all and wish you all the best and a good start into 2019!

Happy New Year! 🥂🎉🥳

– Thomas