Tag: Cloud

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 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.



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!



Nigel Frank Migrating and extending with Microsoft Azure

Article about Azure Migration on Nigel Frank International

This week my blog post on Azure Migration and Hybrid Cloud on the Nigel Frank International blog went live. The title of the article is, Migrating and extending your on-premises environment with Microsoft Azure. In that blog post, I what your advantages are by using the cloud and some of the different approaches to use Microsoft Azure. Before I then go deeper on different Azure scenarios and topics.

I cover a lot of different Azure options like:

Nigel Frank International

The public cloud is becoming more and more important for companies that want to stay agile and flexible to meet their business demands. But if a company decides to move to the public cloud, what are the best ways to migrate to Microsoft Azure? In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at what services Microsoft offers to make your cloud migration easier.

It was fun to work with the team at Nigel Frank International and I hope you like the article.



AZ-500 Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate

Passed Exam AZ-500 Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate

The new Azure Security exam just came out of beta, and I took some time to learn and see if I would pass it. I am happy that I just passed exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies, which focuses on Microsoft Azure security engineers who implement security controls, maintain the security posture, manages identity and access and protects data, applications, and networks. After passing this exam, you can call yourself a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate. Azure Security Engineers implement security controls and threat protection, manage identity and access, and protect data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of the end-to-end infrastructure. That means this exam covers different topics across the Azure infrastructure and many various Azure services like Azure AD, Azure IaaS, Azure Networking, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Databases, Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center and many more.

Exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Candidates identify and remediate vulnerabilities by using a variety of security tools, implements threat protection, and responds to security incident escalations. As a Microsoft Azure security engineer, candidates often serve as part of a larger team dedicated to cloud-based management and security and may also secure hybrid environments as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

Candidates for this exam should have strong skills in scripting and automation, a deep understanding of networking, virtualization, and cloud N-tier architecture, and a strong familiarity with cloud capabilities, Microsoft Azure products and services, and other Microsoft products and services.

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

How to prepare for the AZ-500 exam

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn

Exams always have a specific focus; this one covers a broad set of Azure security topics over different Azure services. This means you not only need to have particular security know-how, but also a good overview of the various Azure services. If you don’t have that right now, I recommend that you might start with other exams, such as AZ-900 and AZ-10X for the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate. But if you want to go forward with the AZ-500 exam and become a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate, first have a look at the more detailed information on the Microsoft exam website. Start reading through the Microsoft Docs about the different security topics mentioned in the skills measured, and also get some hands-on experience by trining out the various technologies. My favorite place to learn and understand some tutorial about different topics is Microsoft Learn! On Microsoft learn, you can use a lot of different learning modules, and some of them are focused on Azure Security. If you want to know more about Microsoft learn, check out my blog post: Microsoft Learn – A Great Place To Learn!

At Microsoft Ignite The Tour, our team also presented a session on securing your Azure environment, my session in Amsterdam was recorded, you can watch it here: Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019 Azure Hybrid Session Recordings.

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-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies exam!



Azure Stack Familiy - Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI – New Member of the Azure Family

Today, the Azure team is proud to announce a new member to the Azure Stack family, the Azure Stack HCI solutions. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is Microsoft’s hyper-converged solution available from a wide range of hardware partners. Azure Stack shipped in 2017, and it is the only solution in the market today for customers to run cloud applications using consistent IaaS and PaaS services across public cloud, on-premises, and in disconnected environments. With adding the Azure Stack HCI solutions, Microsoft is offering customers a great new choice for their traditional virtualized workloads.

Today, I am pleased to announce Azure Stack HCI solutions are available for customers who want to run virtualized applications on modern hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to lower costs and improve performance. Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same software-defined compute, storage, and networking software as Azure Stack, and can integrate with Azure for hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based backup, site recovery, monitoring, and more.

Adopting hybrid cloud is a journey and it is important to have a strategy that takes into account different workloads, skillsets, and tools. Microsoft is the only leading cloud vendor that delivers a comprehensive set of hybrid cloud solutions, so customers can use the right tool for the job without compromise.

It is built on a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated and certified hardware to run virtual machines and workloads on-premises. Azure Stack HCI also allows you to optionally connect Azure services for BCDR, management and more. Azure Stack HCI solutions use Microsoft-validated hardware to ensure optimal performance and reliability. It includes support for technologies such as NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote direct memory access (RDMA) networking, to get the best possible performance if needed. You can find more about this Hyper-converged system on azure.com.

What is behind Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI Product Overview

Azure Stack HCI is based on Windows Server 2019, parried with validated hardware from OEM partners. With the Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition, customers get Software-Defined Infrastructure and Software-Defined Datacenter technologies like Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct and many more, which are the base of Azure Stack HCI. Paired with Windows Admin Center, you can use existing skills, gain hyper-converged efficiency, and connect to Azure services.