Tag: Cloud Computing

Passed AZ-303 and AZ-304 Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

Passed AZ-303 and AZ-304 Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

I just got the great mail in my inbox that I passed the AZ-303 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and AZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design exams to receive and renew the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification. Back in 2015 I received my first MCSD Azure Solutions Architect certification and renewed it in 2019. A couple of weeks back I took the new AZ-303 and AZ-304 beta exams online, to future proof my knowledge on Azure cloud architecture. When you take a beta exam you get the test results after a couple of days the exam in generally launched, and today was the day.

What is the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect certification?

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 IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance–this role should manage how decisions in each area affect an overall solution.

Candidates for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification should have subject matter expertise in designing and implementing solutions that run on Microsoft Azure, including aspects like compute, network, storage, and security.

Responsibilities for this role include advising stakeholders and translating business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable cloud solutions.

An Azure Solution Architect partners with cloud administrators, cloud DBAs, and clients to implement solutions.

A candidate for this certification should have advanced experience and knowledge of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance–this role should manage how decisions in each area affect an overall solution. In addition, this role should have expert-level skills in Azure administration and have experience with Azure development and DevOps processes.

You can find more information on the certification here. To earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification you will need to pass two exams.



The Az Update Show

The Az Update Show – News on Microsoft Azure!

Did you ever feel what there are so many things happening in the cloud, and especially around Azure, that is hard to keep up with all the news? Now we have a solution for that called The Az Update Show. In the Az Update Show, Anthony Bartolo and I (Thomas Maurer) are giving you a weekly update on the news around Microsoft Azure. Anthony and I are both Cloud Advocates at Microsoft and cover different topics around technologies around Azure, Windows Server, Developer Tools, IoT, AI, and many more.

We will be live-streaming the Az Update Show on YouTube. You can check out the latest episode here: www.aka.ms/azupdateshow

We will be live later today (Friday, April 24) 4 pm (CEST)

This week we will be discussing:

I hope you tune in and see you in the live stream! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, follow me on YouTube when I will go live today for my second live stream at the Global Azure Virtual 2020 event.



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.



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.



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 at 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 complete 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. This will make your knowledge much broader and will allow you to have a better understanding and overview of specific 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 technology. It allows you to understand better, 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 have 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 that you can have a look at, most importantly, Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn has an Azure Fundamentals learning path with different modules. I also highly recommend having a look at my blog post: How to learn Microsoft Azure in 2020.

You can also have a look at my Microsoft Certification exam study guides:

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 posts 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!