Microsoft Cloud Workshop

The Microsoft Cloud Workshop (MCW) program maintains a number of Workshops that are used to train Microsoft’s own Cloud Solution Architects, as well as Microsoft Partners all over the world, how to use Microsoft Azure services. Currently there are a total of 36 Microsoft Cloud Workshops that cover a wide range of enterprise scenarios within Azure. These include Interest of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cost Optimization, Cloud Migration, Microservices, Serverless, and much more!

Open Source Hands-on Labs and Design Sessions

From within the “Microsoft/MCW” GitHub repository, you can view the full list of Microsoft Cloud Workshops and navigate to the GitHub repository for each of them where you’ll find the lab guides you can go through completely free.

You can find the main Microsoft Cloud Workshop repository here:

Not only are these Microsoft Cloud Workshops made available for free via GitHub, but they are also licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License. As a result you can use and reuse this content in many ways so long as you give attribution in accordance with the license.

Also, as all Open Source software goes, if you find bugs or issues with these, please submit Pull Requests on the repositories. Microsoft doesn’t officially solicit PRs from the community on these, but I’m sure the MCW team would appreciate any help you might be willing to offer.

How are these used?

For your use, you can navigate to a Microsoft Cloud Workshop of interest, and then just go through the Hands-on Lab to learn more about Microsoft Azure and how it applies to the constructed scenario of the workshop. The main file of the repository will give you an introduction to things. Then, the other files within the repository will give you access to the full content.

Each workshop has a couple folders organized for accessing the content. Here’s the main folders and their purpose:

  • “Hands-on Lab” – This folder contains the Hands-on Lab portion of the workshop
  • “Whiteboard design session” – This folder contains the design session part of the workshop.

To do the “Hands-on Labs” you can navigate to that folder for the workshop of interest, then perform the steps listed. You can open the markdown (.md) files right within the GitHub repo and it will display as HTML for you to follow along. You’ll want to start with the “Before the HOL” file to get started, then move on to the “HOL step-by-step” file for the remainder of the lab.

Microsoft Cloud Workshops: Free Microsoft Azure Hands-on Labs 2

Once you open the markdown file for the “HOL step-by-step” guide, it will render as HTML with images and formatting. You can scroll down and follow along with the steps. The labs even start with giving you an outline of the enterprise scenario for the lab and an introduction to what you’ll be building.

Microsoft Cloud Workshops: Free Microsoft Azure Hands-on Labs 3

The “Whiteboard design session” folder for the Microsoft Cloud Workshops contain the full Trainer and Student guides that are used to deliver the “Design Session” portion of the workshops. These offer great exercises for teams to run through together to get practice designing Azure solutions in a structured and guided manner for the given enterprise scenario of the workshop.

Microsoft uses these Workshops to train their Cloud Solution Architects in Microsoft Azure services and architecture. They hold internal events for their Cloud Solution Architects every couple months where they will have a couple hundred or more in attendance to train up on Microsoft Azure services and architecture. These same CSAs then take this knowledge and workshops to Microsoft Partners to help them design and implement solutions using Microsoft Azure services.

(NOTE: I’m mentioning the events that Microsoft uses these themselves, but these are largely internal events only. I’m not certain how many partners, if any, get to attend these internal events. So, please don’t go asking how you can attend. But, please do look through the list of workshops and use them for your own learning pleasure.)

With these workshops being Open Source, anyone can benefit from this great resource of enterprise and Microsoft Azure architecture and implementation best practices!

My Involvement

I have had the pleasure to work on updating the content, best practices, and architecture designs in a few of the Microsoft Cloud Workshops over the last couple years. I have even authored new workshops over this time as well!

Here are the Microsoft Cloud Workshops (MCWs) I built out new and had since been involved in updating:

I have even been involved in going out to Seattle for the regular events that are held every few months to train Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Architects using these workshops. These events are an internal Microsoft event that they use to train a couple hundred or more of these CSAs at a time. Any large training event is always packed with tons of energy and is like a mini-conference. It’s been pretty cool to have been a part of these.

Also, if you have any suggestions or comments about these workshops, please post them as Issues within the GitHub repositories for the Microsoft Cloud Workshops themselves. I’m sure the MCW team would be appreciative of the feedback.

Overall there is a fairly large team of people involved in the authoring and updating of this large number of Microsoft Cloud Workshops. I’m just happy to have been involved and able to help put together new enterprise scenarios for the Microsoft Cloud Workshops (MCWs) I have built.


Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect and developer, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.


  1. Thanks Chris.

    With all due respect these are just free hands-on lab guides not labs themselves. Some of these require existing uncapped subscription. Majority of MS courses are there as well (
    Microsoft learn for example provides true but limited sandbox (

    IMHO the title is misleading.

    P.S. For people who exhausted free trials on all credit cards and emails and haven’t got paid subscription it is still a challenge to have hands-on labs to try things out.


    1. Chris Pietschmann April 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Right these don’t provide the lab environment, as they are “just” hands on lab guides. Still very useful.


  2. Click Bait BS! How about re-name to hands on lab GUIDES. Have a look at if you want to see what proper hands on labs look like.


    1. Chris Pietschmann April 30, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      This really depends on your definition of the word “lab”. If you’re looking for free Azure credits you can always sign up for an Azure Free Trial. Also, I know not everyone appreciated Free and Open Source stuff, but isn’t it always nice to get access to free learning materials when made available? Thanks for your feedback.


  3. […] Microsoft Cloud Workshops: Free Microsoft Azure Hands-on Labs  by Chris Pietschmann […]


  4. […] Source: Microsoft Cloud Workshops: Free Microsoft Azure Hands-on Labs […]


  5. Great stuff!! Thank you for sharing


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