Microsoft Azure Switzerland - Microsoft Cloud Switzerland

Microsoft Azure Regions in Switzerland now available

Today is an excellent day for cloud adoption in Switzerland. Back in March 2018, Microsoft announced the plan of opening a new Azure Geography with two Azure Regions in Switzerland. Today, Microsoft announced the availability of new Azure Regions in Switzerland, next to 31 new Azure edge sites. With the Azure Region Switzerland West and Switzerland North, Microsoft addresses the need of customers to have cloud regions and datacenters available in Switzerland. The availability of these Swiss Azure Regions and Microsoft Cloud datacenters will address data residency, sovereignty, compliance, resiliency, and latency requirements of Microsoft customers and partners.

Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure:

Today, we’re announcing the availability of Azure from our new cloud regions in Switzerland. These new regions and our ongoing global expansion are in response to customer demand as more industry leaders choose Microsoft’s cloud services to further their digital transformations. As we enter new markets, we work to address scenarios where data residency is of critical importance, especially for highly regulated industries seeking the compliance standards and extensive security offered by Azure.

 

Microsoft Azure Switzerland

Reliable, secure data residency in Switzerland Your data. Your solutions. Local cloud. Global scale. More about the Swiss Azure Regions

Microsoft Azure Switzerland is not only interesting for Swiss organizations which need low-latency access or have data residency requirements, but also for companies outside of Switzerland which want to store their data in Switzerland.

Understanding Azure Regions and Geographies

Azure Geographies

A geography is a discrete market, typically containing two or more regions, that preserves data residency and compliance boundaries.

Geographies allow customers with specific data-residency and compliance needs to keep their data and applications close. Geographies are fault-tolerant to withstand complete region failure through their connection to our dedicated high-capacity networking infrastructure. You can find more information on Azure Geographies here.

  • Geography: Switzerland

Azure Regions

A region is a set of datacenters deployed within a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network. This allows customers who are having data residency requirements to have disaster recovery and geo-redundant within the same country.

Microsoft Azure Switzerland - Swiss Azure Regions

Microsoft Azure Switzerland – Swiss Azure Regions

With more global regions than any other cloud provider, Azure gives customers the flexibility to deploy applications where they need to. Azure is generally available in 46 regions around the world, with plans announced for 8 additional regions. You can find more information on Azure Regions here.

  • Switzerland North
  • Switzerland West
Microsoft Azure Regions Map with Swiss Azure Regions Switzerland

Microsoft Azure Regions Map

As of today, Microsoft will offer two Azure regions in Switzerland called Switzerland North (Zürich region) and Switzerland West (Geneva region). Switzerland North will become the main available region for this geography, while customers can request access to Switzerland West if needed. You can find more information about Microsoft Azure locations here.

Microsoft Cloud Switzerland

With the opening of these new Swiss Azure regions, Microsoft will deliver cloud services directly from Switzerland. This will not just include Microsoft Azure, but also Office 365 and Dynamic 365. However, Office 365 and Dynamics will be available later after the initial launch. The Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland will provide you with more than 90 compliance certifications, including over 50 specific to global regions and countries, such as the US, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, India, and China. And, get more than 35 compliance offerings specific to the needs of key industries, including health, government, finance, education, manufacturing, and media. Find out more about Azure compliance.

The Microsoft Azure Switzerland regions will offer multiple benefits for customers and partners.

  • Enterprise-grade performance, flexibility, and reliability
    Get all the cloud benefits to accelerate your business growth using an extensive collection of cloud and secure data services.
  • Remove barriers
    Financial services and other regulated industries can accelerate their digital transformation to the cloud with unique services tailored to meet their needs.
  • Regional paired Swiss datacenters
    Azure Switzerland will enable customers to meet local data residency requirements within Switzerland. Customers will also have the ability to pair the geographically separated Switzerland North (Zurich) region with Switzerland West (Geneva) for regional disaster recovery scenarios that maintain data residency.
  • Compliance you can trust
    One measure of Microsoft’s commitment to the privacy of customer data is Microsoft’s adoption of the world’s first code of practice for cloud privacy, ISO/IEC 27018. Upon completion, the Swiss Azure datacenters will have global Azure certifications, including SOC 1-3, ISO 27001, and others. Visit the Microsoft Trust Center for more information.

Azure Services available in Swiss Azure Regions

The availability of Azure services will be a staged process, with some services available as of today and additional services following in the coming months. Also, remember that not all services are available in all Azure regions. As of today, you can find more information about the products and services available in the Swiss Azure regions on the Azure website.

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 in Switzerland

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 will be following later after this initial release. This will allow Office 365 customer data-at-rest to stay in Switzerland depending on the service. You can find more information about where Office 365 stores your customer data on the Office 365 page. If you are an existing Office 365 customer, you will be able to move your Office 365 tenant later. More information on tenants move can be found here.

Azure Pricing

Azure pricing is different depending on the Azure region you pick. You will be able to find the Azure pricing page for the specific Azure regions.

Request access to Swiss Azure Regions

If you login to the Azure portal today, don’t be surprised that you won’t see the Azure Switzerland regions, Switzerland North and Switzerland West. To get access today, you will need to request access by creating a support ticket, which will give you access to Switzerland North. This managed onboarding process of customer access to the Swiss Azure datacenters will be removed later.

Azure Portal Region Switzerland North and Switzerland West

Azure Portal Region Switzerland North and Switzerland West

In Switzerland, where Microsoft has been operating for 30 years, Azure is now available from new cloud datacenter regions located in the areas of Zurich and Geneva. A selection of more than 30 early adopter customers and partner organizations are already using Azure services. Microsoft is helping Swiss organizations embrace cloud services for improved efficiency, innovation development, and increased productivity. General availability of Azure is anticipated for all customers in the coming months. Additional early access customers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Request access to Azure Switzerland

Innovate Switzerland Event

Innovate Switzerland is an event where Microsoft celebrates Swiss innovation driven by the cloud and the Microsoft datacenters in Switzerland together with customers and partners. On Thursday, August 29, Microsoft hosts three parallel events in Geneva, Bern, Zurich and many other locations with our partners, to demonstrate Swiss diversity.

Primo Amrein, Cloud Lead at Microsoft Switzerland

Partners are in the core DNA of Microsoft. That is why we offer Innovate Switzerland as an enabling platform for our Swiss partner ecosystem. There will be a live broadcast from the three Microsoft-led events including content from all regions. This stream is shared with Microsoft partners, enabling them to hold their own customer event at the same day/time. Thereby, partners can add their relevant content around the overall broadcast from Microsoft.

With that, join our partner events in a location near you!

Create free Azure Account ☁

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

I hope this gives you an overview of the Microsoft Cloud Switzerland and the Swiss Azure datacenters. I hope you will be joining us at one of the partner locations or online in the live stream for Innovate Switzerland and also check out the latest Azure Certification exams to get your Microsoft Azure Certification. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. And please refer to the official Microsoft documentation and resources on azure.com. You can also find the Microsoft Switzerland announcement here.



Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 WSL2 on Windows Server

How to Install WSL 2 on Windows Server

A couple of months ago Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), which is a successor of the Windows Subsystem for Linux shipped a couple of years ago. WSL 2 is currently available for Windows Insiders running Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917 or higher and with the Docker Tech Preview, you can now even run Docker Linux Container directly on WSL 2. With the latest Windows Server Insider Preview build 18945, you are also able to run WSL 2 on Windows Server. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows Server. The Windows Subsystem for Linux was already available in earlier versions of Windows Server; however, WSL 2 brings a lot of new advantages.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux was in Windows 10 for a while now and allowed you to use different versions of Linux on your Windows 10 machine. With WSL 2, the architecture will change drastically and will bring increased file system performance and full system call compatibility. WSL 2 is now using virtualization technology (based on Hyper-V) and uses a lightweight utility VM on a real Linux kernel. You can find out more about WSL 2 in the release blog or on the Microsoft Docs Page for WSL 2.

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows Server

Here is how you can install WSL 2 on Windows Server.

Prerequisites:

After you have installed a new Windows Server with the Windows Server Preview build, you will need to add the following features:

  • Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  • VirtualMachinePlatform

To enable these features, run the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
 
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform

These commands will need a restart to complete.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 WSL2 on Windows Server

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) on Windows Server

Now you can install your Linux distribution which is available in WSL. You can also find the links to the Linux distro packages here: WSL distro packages. In my case, I am going to use Ubuntu 18.04, which is currently working with WSL 2.

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1804 -OutFile ~/Ubuntu1804.zip -UseBasicParsing
md C:\Distros\Ubuntu1804
Expand-Archive ~/Ubuntu1804.zip C:\Distros\Ubuntu1894

Before you start and configure your WSL distro, I recommend that you set the WSL default version to 2. This will make the setup of your distro much faster.

wsl --set-default-version 2

Now you can start ubuntu.exe to run WSL.

C:\Distros\Ubuntu1894\ubuntu1804.exe

I hope this gives you a step-by-step guide on how you can install WSL 2 on Windows Server. Remember this is currently in preview, and not for production use. If you want to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server 2019, check out this blog post: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server.



PolarConf 2019

Speaking at PolarConf 2019 in Helsinki

Today I am excited to let you know that I will be speaking at this years PolarConf 2019 in Helsinki Finland, also known as the most northern Azure conference for IT professionals. PolarConf is a two-day, single track, conference focusing on Microsoft Azure and is organized by the Finland Azure User Group. PolarConf 2019 takes place from 16-17th of October in the Scandic Park hotel in Helsinki.

PolarConf is a two-day, single track, conference for all things Azure for IT Professionals, Architects and technology leaders. PolarConf will bring a world-class speaker lineup to Helsinki, Finland. Join us in Helsinki to hear the latest on cloud technology and tooling straight from the experts!

PolarConf 2019 is organized 16-17th of October in the Scandic Park hotel in Helsinki, Finland.
During the two fully-packed conference days, you will learn about the latest announcements, best practices and survival stories on the following topics:

  • Azure Platform, Tooling & Automation
  • Azure Case studies
  • Hybrid Azure solutions

PolarConf is built for modern technology professionals, who want to learn from experts speaking about their real-life production-level implementations, not slideware. PolarConf is a Finland Azure User Group event.

In my session, I will be speaking about Azure Cloud Shell.

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!

This will be my first conference in Finland, and I am super excited. I hope to see you there!



Microsoft Azure Exam Certification Path

How to pick the right Azure Exam Certification Path

In my blog, why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, I described why it makes a lot of sense to work on your Azure skills, take the exam, and become Microsoft Azure certified. Microsoft offers a wide variety of Azure certifications exams and role-based certifications to help you keep pace in your career with today’s business requirements. In this blog post, I want to help you, how you choose the right Microsoft Azure certification, exam, and learning path.

The question which comes up a lot is what Microsoft Azure exam should I take and which certification does matter for my job. To make this decision easier, Microsoft announced a new strategy to create role-based certification at Microsoft Inspire in 2018.

Overview and summary 📚

Before you read the whole article, here is the quick rundown of how you can pick the right Azure exam and certification path for you.

  1. Select the Azure solution area you want to achieve certification. This can be Azure Applications & Infrastructure or Azure Data & AI.
  2. Define if you want to get started with fundamentals or directly with the role-based certifications. The fundamental exams are optional to the certification process. However, by taking the fundamentals exam, you can make sure that you have the right base knowledge for the role-based exams, It also helps you if this is the first Microsoft certification exam you are taking, it makes you familiar with the testing process and the different types of questions.
  3. Select the role you want to achieve the certification. Depending on the solution area and type, you have different role-based certifications available.
  4. Read and verify the requirements like skills and exams for the specific certification.
  5. Select the first exam with which you want to start.
  6. Start learning 🎉

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification 🎓

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

The new Microsoft Azure exams and certifications are role-based. That means you have different exams and certification paths, depending in which role you are working.

Azure Solution Areas

Picking the right solution area is your essential starting point. There are two main solution areas of Azure certification and exams:

  • Azure Apps and Infra (Applications and Infrastructure)
  • Azure Data and AI (Data and Artifical Intelligence)

In both solution areas, you will find different role-based certifications available.

Microsoft Azure Certification Types

Microsoft Fundamentals and Role-based certification

Microsoft Fundamentals and Role-based certification

As you might have seen, the terms MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solution Associate), MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert or formerly also known as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) are going away. The new concept of certification is evolving our training and certifications away from product-focus, and more towards role-based focused.

Former NamingNew role-based certification
MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)Fundamentals
MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)Associate Roles
MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer) or
MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer)
Expert Roles

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications and exams

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Azure Apps and Infra certifications are mainly designed for IT professionals and developers. There are the following role-based certifications are available in apps and infra:

Fundamentals

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – With a focus on cloud concepts, core Azure Services, Azure pricing and support, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust. It builds the foundation of the Azure exams and requires the base knowledge about Microsoft Azure and cloud computing in general.

Associate and Expert roles

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate – Has a focus on implementing, monitor, and maintaining Microsoft Azure solutions, including primary services related to compute, storage, network, and security. It covers topics infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and others, which makes sure you have the technical Azure foundation. This is the certification I recommend to most people to get started with after they have done the Azure Fundamentals. It is not just for administrators, it helps everyone to understand different base Azure services.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate – Main focus on designing, building, testing, and maintaining cloud solutions, such as applications and services, partnering with cloud solution architects, cloud DBAs, cloud administrators, and clients to implement these solutions. With this focus, the certification is great for developers to understand different Azure services.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate – Focuses on implementing security controls and threat protection, managing identity and access, and protecting data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of the end-to-end infrastructure. This certification goes through different security configuration, architectures, and services across Azure.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert – Azure DevOps professionals combine people, process, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end-user needs and business objectives. This exam not only focuses on Azure DevOps but also on different general DevOps practices, such as source control, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert – The Azure Solution Architect exam focuses on expertise in compute, network, storage, and security so that they can design solutions that run on Azure. This exam has a strong emphasis on understanding different Azure services and architecting solutions on Azure.

This means you have to take the following exams:

LevelCertificationExams to takePrerequisites
FundamentalsAzure FundamentalsAZ-900none
AssociateAzure Administrator AssociateAZ-103none
AssociateAzure Developer AssociateAZ-203none
AssociateAzure Security Engineer AssociateAZ-500none
ExpertAzure DevOps Engineer ExpertAZ-400AZ-103 or
AZ-203
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-300 and
AZ-301
none

Azure Data & AI certifications and exams

Azure Data and AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

In Data and AI, you have the following Azure Data & AI role-based certifications are available:

Fundamental

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – With a focus on cloud concepts, core Azure Services, Azure pricing and support, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust. It builds the foundation of the Azure exams and requires the base knowledge about Microsoft Azure and cloud computing in general.

Associate and Expert roles

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate – With the main focus on applying Azure’s machine learning techniques to train, evaluate, and deploy models that solve business problems.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate – Focuses on designing and implementing the management, monitoring, security, and privacy of data using the full stack of Azure data services to satisfy business needs.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate – Includes a strong focus on using Cognitive Services, Machine Learning, and Knowledge Mining to architect and implement Microsoft AI solutions involving natural language processing, speech, computer vision, bots, and agents.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert – The Azure Solution Architect exam focuses on expertise in compute, network, storage, and security so that they can design solutions that run on Azure. This exam has a strong emphasis on understanding different Azure services and architecting solutions on Azure.

This means you have to take the following exams:

LevelCertificationExams to takePrerequisites
FundamentalsAzure FundamentalsAZ-900none
AssociateAzure Data Scientist AssociateDP-100none
AssociateAzure Data Engineer AssociateDP-200 and
DP-201
none
AssociateAzure AI Engineer AssociateAI-100none
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-300 and
AZ-301
none

Conclusion 📝

As you can see, there are many different certifications and exams available depending on your job-role. If you are new to Azure, I recommend that you start with the optional Azure Fundamentals exam. If you are confident with cloud computing and Azure, you can directly go to the role-based associate and expert exams.

You can also have a look at my experience with the different Azure exam certifications:

If you want to get started, check out Microsoft Learn and your Azure Free account.

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.

Create free Azure Account ☁

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

I hope this gives you a good overview of the available Azure certifications and exams. It should also give you an idea of where to start and pick the right Azure exam certification path. In the coming weeks, I will publish a blog on how you start learning for an Azure exam to get Azure certified. If you can’t wait until then, check out Microsoft Learn, which will provide you with different learning modules. If you want to know more about Microsoft Learn, check out my blog post called: Microsoft Learn – A Great Place To Learn!



Download the new Windows Terminal Preview

How to open Windows Terminal from Command Prompt or Run

This is a really short blog post and more of a reminder than anything else. You might have seen the new Windows Terminal for Windows 10 was just released in the Windows Store as a preview. However, in the last couple of updates to the Windows Terminal app, it got to a state which already makes it my default terminal. The Windows Terminal allows you to run Windows PowerShell, PowerShell Core and even Bash using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Especially the integration of the Azure Cloud Shell is a great plus for me. In this blog post, I am just going to show you how you can open the Windows Terminal from command prompt or Run (WIN + R).

To open Windows Terminal from the command line (cmd) or in Windows Run (WIN +R) type:

wt
Open Windows Terminal start wt

Open Windows Terminal start wt

 

If you want to know more about the Azure Cloud Shell integration, read the blog of Pierre Roman (Microsoft Cloud Advocate) on the ITOpsTalk blog.



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.



Create Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Host for your Azure VMs

Last week Ziv Rafalovich, Principal Program Manager in the Azure Compute team, announced the Azure Dedicated Host Public Preview. Azure Dedicated Host is a new Azure service which enables customers to run Windows and Linux virtual machines on single dedicated physical servers. Usually, the Azure host is used by multiple tenants, and the virtual machines are isolated using a multi-tenant hypervisor, with Azure Dedicated Host, the physical server only runs workloads from one tenant/customer. This gives customers the visibility and control on what physical hardware their virtual machines are running, and it allows to address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

Azure Dedicated Host Preview provides physical servers that host one or more Azure virtual machines. Your server is dedicated to your organization and workloads—capacity isn’t shared with other customers. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As you provision the host, you gain visibility into (and control over) the server infrastructure, and you determine the host’s maintenance policies.

You can find more information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host scenarios

The Azure Dedicated Host offers a couple of benefits and enables some new scenarios.

  • Host-level isolations for compliance requirements
  • Visibility and control over the server infrastructure to manage host maintenance policies, load on the server, fault domain count.
  • You get control over the full performance and capacity from a single Azure host which is not shared with other customers.
  • You get the advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts using the Azure Hybrid Benefit.

If you need these scenarios, then the Azure Dedicated host is an excellent option for you. However, if you don’t need them, you are more flexible with the shared Azure virtual machine experience.

Licensing and Pricing

Dedicated Hosts are charged at the host level and not on the number of Azure VMs you run on the host. However, software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. There are no upfront costs or termination fees. Currently, the Azure Dedicated Host is a pay-as-you-go service, and you only pay for what you need.

You will have different dedicated host types and VM series/families available. During the preview period, you will be able to choose between Dsv3, Esv3, and Fsv2 VM series.

Dedicated Host Typ 1

Dedicated Host Type 1 is based on the 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) processor and can achieve up to 3.5 gigahertz (GHz). Type 1 host has 64 available vCPUs.

    • Dsv3 Series
    • Esv3 Series

Dedicated Host Type 2

Dedicated Host Type 2 is based on the Intel Xeon® Platinum 8168 (Skylake) processor, which can achieve maximum single-core clock speeds of 3.7 GHz and sustained all core clock speeds as high as 3.4GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. Type 2 host has 72 available vCPUs.

    • Fsv2 Series

Dedicated Host configuration table

This is the Dedicated Host configuration table during the Public Preview. This might change later, and you can find the current pricing information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Additional cost reduction

You can use your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance benefits, or subscriptions with equivalent rights, when you migrate your workloads to Dedicated Host (Azure Hybrid Benefit).  Different the before is that with the dedicated host you get unlimited virtualization rights for Windows Server and SQL Server. For more information on the updated Microsoft licensing terms for dedicated hosted cloud services, check out this blog post. With this running Windows Server 2019 in Azure becomes even more attractive.

We are also expanding Azure Hybrid Benefit so you can take advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts. Customers with Windows Server Datacenter licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights in Azure Dedicated Hosts. In other words, you can deploy as many Windows Server virtual machines as you like on the host, subject only to the physical capacity of the underlying server. Similarly, customers with SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights for SQL Server on their Azure Dedicated Hosts.

You’ll also get free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2.

Azure Reserved VM Instances are not available for purchase during the preview on Azure Dedicated Host.

Deploy VMs to an Azure Dedicated Hosts

To deploy a new Azure Dedicated Host, we first need to create a host group. After that, we can add hosts to this group, which will be used for our Azure virtual machines. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can deploy a new host and after that, how you deploy Azure VMs on that host using the Azure portal. If you want to know more and if you want to see how you do this using Azure PowerShell, an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template or the Azure CLI, check the Microsoft Docs.

Create a host group

Azure Host Groups

Azure Host Groups

You can find a new Azure resource called Host Group. Create a host group and configure the host group with specific settings like availability zones and fault domain count.

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Deploy an Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Hosts

Azure Dedicated Hosts

After you have created your host group, you can start creating new hosts and add them to your host group.

  • Select the location (region) of the host
  • Select the dedicated host VM family and hardware generation. You will only be able to provision VMs on this host in the same VM family. During the preview, we will support the following host SKU values: DSv3_Type1 and ESv3_Type1.
  • Configure the fault domain for the host.
  • Enable or disable of automatically replacing the host on a failure.
  • Configure cost savings like the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
Create Azure Dedicated Host

Create Azure Dedicated Host

Your host will be deployed in a couple of minutes. Important, your Azure subscription will need to have enough resources (CPU/Cores) enabled. Some subscriptions are limited to a specific amount of cores you can deploy in your subscription, in that case, you will need to open a support ticket, to raise the number of cores available in your subscription.

Create a VM

Now you can create a virtual machine on the Azure Dedicated Host. There area few things to consider about that VM. First, make sure the VM is created in the region you have created the host. Secondly, choose a virtual machine size of the VM family you had configured when you created the host.

During the creation process, you will find the section Host in the Advanced tab. Here you can select your host group and your host where the VM will be deployed on.

For more information, check out the Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion

The Azure Dedicated Host service enables new scenarios and addresses, especially customers with host-level isolations for compliance requirements. It makes the Azure IaaS platform even more exciting, and together with Azure Migrate, you can quickly move your virtual machines to Azure. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.