Tag: Cloud

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Learn about Azure Stack Migration in this Video Series

Together with Tiberiu Radu from the Azure Stack Product Group, I worked on a series of videos to show how you can migrate workloads to Microsoft Azure Stack. This includes basic workloads like Active Directory Domain Controllers, File Servers, and SQL Servers. We are not only adding videos about Azure Stack Migration, but we also added a couple of tips on how you can take advantage of some of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) features on Azure Stack, like Azure Resource Manager templates and extensions.

The journey to the cloud provides many options, features, functionalities, as well as opportunities to improve existing governance, operations, implement new ones, and even redesign the applications to take advantage of the cloud architectures.
This video series was created in the context of the End of Support (EOS) motion for Windows Server 2008/2008R2 and SQL Server 2008/2008R2, with the target to highlight some of the migration options. The EOS program could be a good opportunity to start this process and it’s not only about the lift-and-shift or move your servers and forget about them, instead it could be the start of a modernization journey. As part of the EOS motion, Azure VMs running Windows 2008/R2 and SQL 2008/R2 on Azure and Azure Stack, offer 3 years of free Extended Support Updates. That means you can enable the same operational processes, use ARM templates, and use the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform on both Azure and Azure Stack, to start this journey.
– Tiberiu Radu

Azure Stack Migration Introduction

Check out my Azure Stack Migration introduction video, which will give you a quick overview of migrating workloads to Azure Stack.

Video Series

You can find the full playlist with the complete Azure Stack Migration video series on YouTube.

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

If you want to read more, check out my blog post on ITOpsTalk.com. There we have some detailed blogs on these videos. I also recommend that you check out the IaaS blog series from the Azure Stack team, which includes different features around running virtual machines on Azure Stack.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



VeeamON Virtual 2019

Experts Lounge at VeeamON Virtual 2019 Conference

I am happy to announce that I will be part of this year’s VeeamON Virtual Conference for Cloud Data Management. I will be part of the virtual expert’s lounge during the online event. As a Veeam Vanguard, this is a great opportunity and I am already looking forward to being part of this event. VeeamON Virtual will be on November 20, 2019, and you can find more information here.



Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines VMs

New Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines with 12TB Memory

Girish Bablani Corporate Vice President Microsoft Azure, just announced that the new huge Azure Mv2 virtual machines (VMs) with up to 12TB of memory and 415 vCPUs, which are optimized for SAP HANA. The new Mv2 size will become generally available and production certified in the coming weeks. You will get these new VM sizes in the US West 2, US East, US East 2, Europe North, Europe West, and Southeast Asia regions. And in addition, you also more M-series availability in other Azure regions up to 4TB in Brazil, France, Germany, South Africa, and Switzerland.

He also announces a couple of other improvements to SAP applications running in Microsoft Azure, like the private preview of Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions. These announcements make Microsoft Azure even a better place for SAP workloads.

A few months back, at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event, we announced the availability of Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines (VMs) with up to 6 TB of memory for SAP HANA. We also reiterated our commitment to making Microsoft Azure the best cloud for SAP HANA. I’m glad to share that Azure Mv2 VMs with 12 TB of memory will become generally available and production certified in the coming weeks, in US West 2, US East, US East 2, Europe North, Europe West and Southeast Asia regions. In addition, over the last few months, we have expanded regional availability for M-series VMs, offering up to 4 TB, in Brazil, France, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Today, SAP HANA certified VMs are available in 34 Azure regions, enabling customers to seamlessly address global growth, run SAP applications closer to their customers and meet local regulatory needs.

– Girish Bablani Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure

You can read the full announcement blog post here.

If you want to learn more about Azure Mv2 VMs, check out the following Microsoft Docs. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Tips on how to take Microsoft Azure Certification Exams

Tips on how to take Microsoft Azure Certification Exams

As I wrote a couple of blog posts on Microsoft Azure Certification exams, like why should you become Microsoft Azure Certified, how you pick the right Azure Certification path or how you prepare for an Azure exam, I now got the questions if I have some tips to share about how to take the Microsoft Certification exams. I know that everyone takes exams differently, but I want to share what helped me to pass the exams. So here is a short list with tips on how you can be more successful when you take your Microsoft Azure Certification Exams.

Make sure you are prepared 💪

As mentioned in my blog post how you prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure Certification exam, you need to go through the topics and prepare. There are a lot of great resources to prepare for this exam. Great free resources I use usually are Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, make sure you check out my blog post to get prepared.

There are also Microsoft Official Practice Tests available which are a great way to build your confidence and validate your skills, allowing you to identify gaps that you might need to resolve before you take your Microsoft Certification exam. Another resource you might find helpful is the Exam Replay offer, giving you the opportunity to retake the same exam if you failed the first time.

Empower your brain ⚡

Now it is essential to make your mind work best during the exam. Make sure you had enough sleep, and you have the right amount of sugar and caffeine in you. Depending on the exam, you will be spending quite some time on the exam, and you will read a lot, so make sure you have enough energy to get the answers out of your brain. Questions often come with a lot of different information. Parts of that information is relevant for the answer, and other parts are not. You will need to focus on sorting relevant and irrelevant information.

Plan enough time and avoid stress ⌚

If you are going to take the exam at a test center, make sure you show up early. It is not great if you have to rush into the exam room because you came late. The same applies when you are taking the exam from home. I like to be ready for the exam more-less half an hour before the exam starts. This gives me a little bit of time to get in exam mode and make my brain switch from the thing I was doing before, to the exam topic.

Get into the topic 📄

For some people switching context between different things isn’t a big deal. For me, it works best if I have some ‘stress-free’ time after the last thing I did, before getting into the exam mode. I usually do an extra round on Microsoft Docs to get my brain thinking about the right context.

Get comfortable 🛋

Make sure you are relaxed and ready for the exam at least half an hour before your exam is scheduled to start. Also, make sure you used the restroom, you had your coffee and water because you are not allowed to take a break during the exam, and you can’t have these things close to you during the exam. And again, be relaxed, if you don’t pass the exam it isn’t the end of the world, you can still retake the exam another time. That said, also make sure you take advantage of special offers, like exam replays.

Read the questions carefully 👓

Make sure you read the questions carefully, to understand what is really asked. It also helps you to navigate through the exam, usually, you can go back to specific questions later. However, in some cases, the exam will let you know that you cannot access the question later after you have clicked next.

Answer all questions and use the mark question feature ✔

Now, when you start with the exam, you will maybe find some topics you are not familiar with, and you might not be sure about the answer. In these cases, you can mark this question and come back to it later, so you don’t lose too much time on it. If you don’t know the answer, make sure you at least select an answer, it is always better to have a small chance in guessing the right answer, then not answering the question at all. If you want to know more about the different types of questions in a Microsoft exam, check out my blog, which has a couple of additional tips on how to prepare and pass the exam.

Write down what you have learned 📝

For me it doesn’t matter if I have passed the exam or not, I always write down things I didn’t know the answer to. This allows me to look them up later and learn more. Make sure you don’t share this information since that would violate the testing policies.

Do you have tips to take a Microsoft Azure Exam? 🤔

I hope this blog post gives you some useful tips on how to take a Microsoft Azure Certification exam. Do you have any suggestions and tips? Let me know in the comments!

By the way, make sure you take the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Survey from Global Knowledge and be one of the first to get the results of the report early next year.

Getting started! 🧪

Are you also interested in becoming Microsoft Azure Certified? Check out my blog posts about why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified and how to pick the right Azure exam certification path. And have a look at my Azure exam experience with the different Azure exams.



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.