Tag: Cloud Computing

Azure Reservations Reserved Instances and reserved capacity

How to Save Money on Azure using Azure Reservations

I wanted to quickly share something which existing for quite some time but talking with customers still a lot of people don’t know about it yet. And since yesterday the Azure team also shared some news on it, so it is the perfect time to have a look at Azure Reservations (Azure Reserved VM Instances or Reserved capacity). Usually, you pay Azure services in a Pay-As-You-Go model, which gives you the pricing flexibility and agility you expect from the cloud. But, a lot of customers have services like virtual machines or databases which need to run continuously for the next years. With purchasing reservations for these Azure services, you give the Azure team visibility into your one-year or three-year resource needs in advance, and this allows the Azure team to be more efficient with capacity planning. In return, reservations will give you back these savings to you as discounts of up to 72 percent.

The significant change which was announced yesterday is that there are now monthly payment options available for Azure reservations. Which means you can now pay reservations upfront or on a monthly basis. You can find more information about Azure Reservations on Microsoft Docs.

Azure Reservations Chart

Azure Reservations Chart

No worries, you can mix Azure reservations for your predictable capacity needs, with the Pay-As-You-Go model for your unpredictable capacity needs. While purchasing reservations is only a few simple steps in the Azure portal, we also understand that your workload and application needs may change, and exchanging reservations is easy. You can even cancel your reservation at any time and get the remaining months returned for a termination fee.

Azure Reservations are currently available as Azure reserved instances (RIs), for Windows and Linux virtual machines. As well as Azure reserved capacity for Azure data services, like Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. But there are also a lot of other services available.

Azure Reservations Reserved Instances and reserved capacity

Azure Reservations Reserved Instances and reserved capacity

Combining the Azure Reserved VM Instances and the Azure Hybrid Benefit, you even can save up to 80 percent. To learn more about Azure RIs or reserved capacity, check out the following pages:

To find out more about reservations, check out the Azure reservations page. You should also have a look at the lastest new options like the Azure Dedicated Host and VMware solutions on Azure. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Microsoft Azure Certifications

Why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified

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

Boost your career 💵

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

The potential of Cloud Computing ☁

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

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

Stepping out of your comfort zone 🛋

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

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

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification 🎓

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

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

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

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

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Data & AI certifications

And the following Azure Data & AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

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

Verify your skills and learn more 🤹‍♀️

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

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

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

Become better at your job 👩‍🏭

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

Microsoft competency for partners 🤝

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

How to become Microsoft Azure Certified

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

Microsoft Learn 🎓

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

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



Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019

Listed in the Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019 by Whizlabs

I am proud and happy that Whizlabs listed me as one of the Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019. I am honored to be on that list next to other top Microsoft Azure Influencers.

10 Best Azure Influencers You Should Follow
Azure influencers are the people who have either done the significant job in the Microsoft Azure or putting their efforts to help people learning and moving to Azure. The case of improvements in features and services provided by Microsoft Azure has contributed to the best azure influencers. This article aims at illustrating a list of the most notable Microsoft Azure thought leaders. The information about the experience of the top azure influencers in Microsoft Azure as well as their body of work is the prime highlight of this article.

After having my blog listed in the Top Microsoft Azure Blogs to follow in 2019 by Feedspot, this is a great honor to be listed as one of the top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019. I want to thank everyone how is following me and is reading and engaging with me on my blog. Having that engagement is driving my motivation.  If you have some topics or ideas I should cover in 2019, please let me know!



Joining Microsoft

Joining Microsoft

Today is a great day! I’m excited and proud to announce that as of February 1st, 2019, I’m joining Microsoft. I will join the Microsoft Azure Engineering (Cloud + AI) team as a Senior Cloud Advocate. After being a Microsoft MVP for seven years and working very closely with Microsoft in the last couple of years, this is a great new opportunity and an exciting time ahead.

Microsoft Cloud Advocate

Microsoft Azure Cloud Advocate

The Microsoft Cloud Advocate Mascot by Ashley McNamara

My role is part of the Microsoft Developer Relations group and more specific the Cloud Advocates. I’m joining the AzOps team of Rick Claus, which many of you know from Channel9, Microsoft conferences and his overall work at Microsoft. Our team is focused on the IT Ops and IT Pro community. This allows me to do what I love most, which is being an advocate for customers in the Azure product group, sharing knowledge and engaging with the community.

We are advocates for the IT community within Microsoft. Using the products, listen to customers, and help the product teams to prioritize their work. We develop tools to help use the products, we write documentation and tutorials, and we build connections between the community and the engineering teams.

Our team’s charter is to help every technologist on the planet succeed, be they students or those working in enterprises or startups. We engage in outreach to developers and others in the software ecosystem, all designed to further technical education and proficiency with the Microsoft Cloud + AI platform.

A large part of our mission is to make Microsoft Azure the best platform to run your applications and services, as well as making migration to the Microsoft Azure ecosystem simple. Our team looks for common pain points and works with the product teams to address them. In other cases, we build the missing pieces like tools and documentation.

My focus is going to be on the Azure and Microsoft hybrid cloud strategy. Besides the Azure services, this will include products and services like Windows Server and Azure Stack, which will help to bring that consistent cloud experience to life, so our customers can make the best out of the Intelligent Cloud and the Intelligent Edge.

If there’s anything, you would like us to improve reach out to our team or me. We listen to your needs and consider your feedback in our future developments.



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 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 through 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 want to 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 hands-on experience. Microsoft Learn also provides you some more advanced training and guides, to get some more in-depth understandings of Microsoft services.

Are you also interested in becoming Microsoft Azure Certified? Check out my blog posts about why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, how to pick the right Azure exam certification path and how to prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure certification exam. 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!



Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate

Passed AZ-103 Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

After the announcement of the new Microsoft Azure certifications at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, I decided to take the beta exam, which was available to upgrade my current Azure certifications. Since I had already passed Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, I needed exam AZ-102 to do the transition. Today I got confirmation that I passed the Microsoft exam AZ-102 and earned the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate certification. Since that time, Microsoft changed the exams, and you will now need to take exam AZ-103 to get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator certification. The overall content and exam subjects are still the same, but instead of taking two exams, AZ-100 and AZ-101, you only need to take AZ-103.

I already took the new available beta Exam for the Microsoft Certified Azure Architect at Microsoft Ignite; however, for the results, I still need to wait a bit.

What is Exam AZ-103 Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The new certifications are based on different job roles, like Azure Administrator, Azure Developer, and Azure Architect. You can read more about the new Azure Certifications here on my blog.

Earning Azure Administrator Associate certification demonstrates understanding of services across the IT lifecycle, and ability to take requests for infrastructure services, applications, and environments. Candidates for this certification are typically Azure Administrators who manage cloud services spanning storage, security, networking, and compute cloud capabilities. They recommend services to use for optimal performance and scale, as well as provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources.

This is excellent news to start in the day while I am flying to a customer in Paris today for some more Azure work.

Exam Preparation

The skills measured in AZ-103 are a mix of the former AZ-100 and AZ-101 and will focus on Azure Infrastructure and deployment, Azure Integration, and Azure Security. If you are just getting started with Microsoft Azure, I recommend that you take first the exam AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals. This is not a required exam, but it is a great way to validate your knowledge. However, if you feel comfortable you can also directly start with the Azure Administrator Associate exam. To prepare for the Azure Fundamentals exam, check out the following Microsoft Learn module.

I often get asked how I prepared for exams such as this. It makes sense to certify the knowledge you already have. I usually use Microsoft free online courses on Channel 9, Virtual Academy and now the new Microsoft Learn. However, I realized that also the Azure Documentation is a great resource to learn. I recommend you check the skills needed for the exam, in this case, AZ-103 and read the specific Azure Documentation for these topics, and also try it out. The best training and learning experience you always get by trying things out. You will not just learn the specific subject you are looking on, but you will also learn a lot about other related topics.

AZ-103 Microsoft Learn Certified Azure Administrator

Microsoft Learn Azure Administrator

Microsoft Learn gives you the chance to filter the modules by related topics and is one of the best, if not the best starting point for the AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator exam.

Are you also interested in becoming Microsoft Azure Certified? Check out my blog posts about why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, how to pick the right Azure exam certification path and how to prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure certification exam. I hope this helps you to prepare and study for the AZ-103 exam and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.