All posts by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has 15+ years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Microsoft Certified (MCSD) Azure Solutions Architect. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

Big DataCertification

70-475 Big Data Analytics Exam – Feb 2017 Update

The 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions certification exam was first published Oct. 27, 2015. Many features and services in the Microsoft Azure platform have changed since the exams initial release. This is true of all the certification exams that cover Microsoft Azure services. For this reason, Microsoft published updates to these exams periodically. The latest update to this exam was published in February 2017. This article outlines the current state of this certification exam.

Certification Target Audience

The focus of this exam is on Big Data Analytics solutions in Microsoft Azure, and as such the exam is targeted towards data management professionals, data architects, data scientists, and data developers who are designing Big Data Analytics solutions in Microsoft Azure.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on this exam. The percentages next to each represents the number of questions on the exam are in each category.

  • Design big data batch processing and interactive solutions (30-35%)
    • Ingest data for batch and interactive processing
    • Design and provision compute clusters
    • Design for data security
    • Design for batch processing
  • Design big data real-time processing solutions (30-35%)
    • Ingest data for real-time processing
    • Design and provision compute resources
    • Design for Lambda architecture
    • Design for real-time processing
  • Operationlize end-to-end cloud analytics solutions (30-35%)
    • Create a data factory
    • Orchestrate data processing activities in a data-driven workflow
    • Monitor and manage the data factory
    • Move, transform, and analyze data
    • Design a deployment strategy for an end-to-end solution

The official page for the Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions (70-475) exam lists out more details on the full exam objectives that are measured.

Training Material

In the previous post about the 70-475 exam, I listed out the exam objectives and not too much in regards to study materials. The reason for this as the exam was still so new there really wasn’t many study materials available. Below is an outline of what study / training materials are available today for this updated version of the exam.

Opsgility has a number of Data focused on-demand courses you can take to help you study for passing this exam. This is a pretty large list of courses, so please refer to the Opsgility website for more information on the list of courses available.

For an instructor-led or “traditional classroom” training option, you can find a great class from Opsgility. Just go to the following link for more information:

Instructor-Led Training Classes from Opsgility

As far as text books… There still isn’t an official Exam Guide for the 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions certification exam. This is 1 of a few exams that Microsoft Press hasn’t been publishing Exam Guides for. Thankfully, in addition to the above course resources, you can also use the official Microsoft Azure documentation as it does cover all the different exam objectives tested and measured. Unfortunately, you may have to choose your own study adventure rather than a structured one that a Exam Guide book could provide.

Practice Exams

In addition to using multiple training / study material sources for learning all about the exam objectives, there’s another very important companion when studying for any certification exam. This is a good practice test that will really help prepare you for taking the real exam.

MeasureUp one of the leading practice test vendors for Microsoft certification exams, and even though the 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions exam is still relatively new (at the time of writing this) they already have a practice test available for purchase.

You can find it at the following link:

http://www.measureup.com/Designing-and-Implementing-Big-Data-Analytics-Solutions-English-P5940.aspx

Happy Studying!!

Certificationdatabase

70-473 Cloud Data Platform Solutions Exam – June 2017 Update

The 70-473 Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions certification exam was first published Oct. 27, 2015. A lot of things with Microsoft Azure have changed in the time since it was first published. For this reason Microsoft does publish updates to the various certification exams, and this past June 2017, Microsoft published an update to the exam to bring it in line with the current state of the Azure data platform. This article outlines the current state of this certification exam. Read More

DevelopmentHardwareInternet of Things

Azure IoT Developer Kit Preview Started Shipping

A couple months ago Microsoft announced the availability of the new Azure IoT Developer Kit Board. This is a board that has integrated sensors, buttons, LCD screen and a few other features. This board makes it even easier to get started developing Azure IoT based solutions without the need to solder, connect wires, or even really have any low level electronics knowledge. Recently, Microsoft started shipping out the first set of Azure IoT Developer Kit Preview version boards for application requests that were submitted over the last couple months. While it’s been stated there’s limited quantity, it’s unclear how many of these Preview version boards will be made available. Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: July 24, 2017

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Sponsor

opsgility-new-high-res-logo-no-gear-with-taglineOpsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

We provide live, instructor-led (onsite and virtual) courses as well as self-paced, online courses that go above and beyond simple videos or blog posts. Each course is designed to comprehensively guide the student through the subject by providing expert instructors, step-by-step hands-on labs, and knowledge measures to assess and ensure new skills are mastered.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: July 17, 2017

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Sponsor

opsgility-new-high-res-logo-no-gear-with-taglineOpsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

We provide live, instructor-led (onsite and virtual) courses as well as self-paced, online courses that go above and beyond simple videos or blog posts. Each course is designed to comprehensively guide the student through the subject by providing expert instructors, step-by-step hands-on labs, and knowledge measures to assess and ensure new skills are mastered.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure StackHardware

Microsoft Azure Stack is ready to Purchase!

In the early days of Microsoft Azure, back in 2010 when it was called Windows Azure, Microsoft had announced plans to make the Azure services available to be run / hosted in on-premises datacenter. Shortly after the announcement they released Azure Pack which wasn’t quite what we had all hoped for. Then about 2 years ago, Microsoft started talking about “Azure in your datacenter” again! The started talking about this new product offering called Azure Stack. We’ve seen a couple technical previews of Azure Stack so far, but not much in the way of a GA (Generally Available) release. That is until now. This week, Microsoft announced that in coordination with hardware OEMs you can now order Azure Stack integrated system hardware, with the first systems beginning to ship in September. There is also some pricing information, and an Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) being made available.

This is an exciting time for Azure Stack, now that we can finally see it all coming together where we’ll finally be able to run Azure services natively in on-premises datacenter or absolutely anywhere else. Read More

Certification

New 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter Certification Exam

New exams are announced every so often as Microsoft continues to grow the array of Microsoft Azure and Cloud certifications to compliment the broad array of services they offer. These exams test and verify the skills necessary to work with, build with, and manage these various services. One of the latest exams being added is the new 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter certification exam. This exam will test and verify your skills in building a modern datacenter; one that uses software-defined networking using Windows Server 2016 and Virtual Machine Manager (VMM); rather than the traditional hardware-based networking model from the old days of on-premises datacenter.

NOTE: At the time of writing this exam summary of the 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter certification exam, the exam was just recently released as a Beta exam. There is limited information available on the exam at this time, but I will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Certification Target Audience

The 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter certification exam is geared towards IT Professionals with experience building out, securing, and managing Software-Defined Networking (SDN) environments for hosting Virtual Machines and Storage solutions. The exam will test your familiarity and understanding of Software-Defined Networking using Windows Server 2016 and Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

Skills Measured

Here’s a very high level list of the skills and objectives measures on the 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter certification exam:

  • Plan and implement System Center Virtual Machine (VMM) Core Infrastructure
  • Implement Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
  • Implement Software-Defined Storage
  • Implement DataCenter Compute Solutions with Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
  • Secure your Software-Defined Datacenter
  • Monitor and Maintain the Software-Defined Datacenter

Training Materials

Being a newly announced exam (at the time of writing this) there is still a very limited amount of training / study material available for the 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter certification exam. You’ll want to focus mostly on the Microsoft documentation for Windows Server 2016 and Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) when studying at this time.

Fortunately, there is also a Exam Reference book announced from Microsoft Press to be coming soon. The Exam Ref 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter book will offer you the ability to hone in your studying to focus on the specific objectives and skills measured by this exam.

The Exam Ref 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter preparation book from Microsoft Press currently scheduled for release on July 25, 2017.

Happy studying!

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: July 10, 2017

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Microsoft did not announce any Azure service updates over this last week. Hopefully we’ll see more updated next week!

Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Sponsor

opsgility-new-high-res-logo-no-gear-with-taglineOpsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

We provide live, instructor-led (onsite and virtual) courses as well as self-paced, online courses that go above and beyond simple videos or blog posts. Each course is designed to comprehensively guide the student through the subject by providing expert instructors, step-by-step hands-on labs, and knowledge measures to assess and ensure new skills are mastered.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: July 3, 2017

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Sponsor

opsgility-new-high-res-logo-no-gear-with-taglineOpsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

We provide live, instructor-led (onsite and virtual) courses as well as self-paced, online courses that go above and beyond simple videos or blog posts. Each course is designed to comprehensively guide the student through the subject by providing expert instructors, step-by-step hands-on labs, and knowledge measures to assess and ensure new skills are mastered.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Internet of Things

Deciding PaaS or SaaS for Building IoT Solutions in Microsoft Azure

Building out an IoT (Internet of Things) solution can be a difficult problem to solve. It sounds easy at first, you just connect a bunch of devices, sensors and such to the cloud. You write software to run on the IoT hardware and in the cloud, then connect the two to gather data / telemetry, communicate, and interoperate. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s actually not as simple as it sounds. There are many things that can be difficult to implement correctly. The biggest problem area is Security, as it is in most other systems types as well. Then you can device management, cloud vs edge analytics, and many other aspects to a full IoT solution.

Traditionally you would need to build all this out yourself, however, with offerings from Microsoft there are a few options available for building out IoT solutions. The Azure IoT Suite offers PaaS (Platform as a Service) capabilities that are flexible for any scenario, while the newer Microsoft IoT Central is offering more managed SaaS (Software as a Service) capabilities to further assist in easing development, deployment and management.

PaaS IoT with Azure IoT Suite

There are many Microsoft Azure cloud services that can be used to build out an IoT solution. In order to more easily choose which services, Microsoft has created a marketing umbrella called the “Azure IoT Suite” that includes the following core services:

  • Azure IoT Hub provides 2-way device messaging to the cloud with full device management and security integration among other IoT features.
  • Azure Notification Hubs enables the ability to implement mobile push notification easily within the cloud that supports all major mobile platforms from iOS to Android and Windows.
  • Azure Machine Learning provides the ability to build powerful cloud-based predictive analytics tools using pre-built machine learning algorithms that greatly lower the barrier to embracing machine learning for your solutions.
  • PowerBI allows for rich visuals to be displayed providing easier analysis and reporting on your data.
  • Azure Stream Analytics is a Real-Time event stream processing pipeline in the cloud thats built for high scale and ease of integration.

In addition to the listed services, you could really use any other Azure service that fits your particular solution. For example you may integrate Azure Storage, Azure CosmosDB, Azure Functions, among many others to build out the full capabilities of your own IoT solutions. It’s really up to you to choose what Azure services fit your scenario best and build out the best solution for your needs.

The Azure IoT Suite is based on using Azure PaaS (Platform as a Service) offerings to build out your solutions in a manner where you don’t need to manage any of the underlying Virtual Machine, Operating System updates / patches, and so on. These underlying VM in the PaaS services are fully managed for you within Microsoft Azure. This allows you to focus on your solution, your business, and your data; essentials you only focus on what matters to your core business in building out your IoT solutions.

SaaS IoT with Microsoft IoT Central

With the announcement of Microsoft IoT Central, Microsoft is entering into an area of offering a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering for building out and managing IoT (Internet of Things) solutions. This mean that not only do you benefit from the managed VMs and other aspects of the Azure IoT Suite PaaS offering, but you will also benefit from a great level of abstraction and managed services built / designed specifically for IoT form the ground up.

I speculate that Microsoft IoT Central is in fact running on top of Azure IoT Suite at it’s core; this is the pattern Microsoft operates with when adding higher levels of abstract in the Azure cloud. Similarly, Azure Functions provides serverless compute and execution of method of code in the cloud, and is built as an abstraction layer on top of the Azure Web Jobs PaaS feature of Azure App Service.

The further abstraction of Microsoft IoT Central creates a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering from Microsoft for more easily implementing and managing IoT solutions using a SaaS model. This is great for organizations that do not have much cloud solution and device expertise. It also helps those organizations build IoT solutions that offer more predictable pricing without the necessity to completely build the entire IoT solution themselves.

Choosing PaaS or SaaS for Your IoT Solution

Choosing PaaS (Platform as a Service) or SaaS (Software as a Service) is a choice that’s similar to the options of hosting a traditional application using either IaaS or PaaS. It’s really a comparable analogy. When deciding which of them to choose, here are some highlights of each option that you can use to help decide between a SaaS-based IoT solution or a PaaS-based IoT solution:

SaaS-based IoT Solution

  • Fully managed solution
  • Less flexibility – you will need to use the pre-built or builtin features to build out your IoT solution
  • More features builtin – You don’t have to build everything yourself, as there are more features builtin that you can “automatically” take advantage of
  • Lower barrier to entry

PaaS-based IoT Solution

  • Fully customizable solution
  • More flexible – you can implement pretty much any IoT solution you need
  • Implement more yourself – With more flexibility, comes an increased responsibility to implement more of the various features of your IoT solutions yourself
  • More expertise required

Looking at the previous highlights of PaaS vs SaaS based IoT solutions, it really does appear that SaaS is the better option. This really may be the case. Coming back to the IaaS vs PaaS analogy for hosting application, you want to start with the more managed service and then go more customizable if you need the flexibility. The same thing goes for IoT solutions as well. You’ll want to evaluate the SaaS based services that Microsoft IoT Central offer you before starting to build out your IoT solution. If SaaS offers you everything, then the more managed system will likely be best for you to use. However, if there is anything you require than SaaS (via Microsoft IoT Central) doesn’t support, and you really truly do require that feature in your solution, then you’ll likely want to go the PaaS route with Azure IoT Suite to build your own custom implementation.

I hope the outline provided in this article helps you decide whether SaaS-based or PaaS-based framework and services are the most appropriate choice for your organizations next IoT solution.