Tag: cloud

InfrastructureVideo

How big is the Microsoft Azure Cloud?

The Microsoft Azure Cloud is huge. Or should I say H-y-uuuuu-ge! It’s the largest cloud provider in the world with 38 Regions currently (30 online) spread across the globe, and Microsoft keeps adding more regions every few months. Microsoft has been betting the future of their Enterprise business on Azure since the initial General Availability in 2010, and they’ve increased their efforts over the last couple of years as the “Cloud Wars” have been speeding up.

Microsoft has been a little vague over the years. They publish how many Azure Regions there are, and what cities they’re located in. I’ve put together a map that plots the city location of each of the Azure Regions to help visualize things on the Region side of the equation. However, they don’t disclose the street addresses of the data centers, and until recently they haven’t exactly stated how many data centers make up the 38 Azure Regions. That is until recently, where Microsoft released a short video showcasing a few details and images of their data centers around the globe.

Here are some facts about Microsoft’s Cloud Infrastructure that powers Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Xbox Live, and many other services:

  • The Microsoft Cloud is made up of more than 100 datacenters worldwide.
  • The Microsoft Cloud serves over 140 countries.
  • The Microsoft Cloud is comprised of MILLIONS of servers, and growing!
  • The Microsoft Cloud is built with the latest hardware innovations to maximize efficiency.
  • The Microsoft Cloud is connected by enough fiber to stretch to the Moon and back 3 times!
  • Microsoft processes Millions of network requests per second backed by high availability infrastructure.
  • Everything is monitored 24x7x365
  • The Microsoft global infrastructure is 100% carbon neutral.
  • Microsoft has built one of the most connected networks in the world so you don’t have to.
  • Microsoft Azure is used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies.

Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure. The birds eye views of the data centers are really interesting to see, along with a few peeks inside some of them.

On the note of being 100% carbon neutral, Microsoft states that about 44 percent of their datacenter energy comes from Wind, Solar, and Hydropower. Microsoft is also aiming to increase that figure to 50 by 2018. If you’re interested in a little more detail on Microsoft power usage, and the deal to power the new Cheyenne, Wyoming datacenter on Wind power, I encourage you to read the “Microsoft Azure: Cloud datacenter goes fully wind powered in landmark energy deal” article over on ZDNet.

Certification

MCSD: App Builder Certification

Along side the Ignite 2016 conference, Microsoft announced some changes to the Microsoft Certified Professional program. These changes outlined 5 new MCSE and MCSD certifications, along with MCSA certifications to go along with them. One of these new MCSD certifications is the new MCSD: App Builder certification. This certification requires 3 exam to be passed to earn, and it also will get you an MCSA certification on your way to earning the full MCSD: App Builder certification. This post gives a brief explanation on the exam that are required and / or qualify for the  MCSD: App Builder, as well as the MCSA certifications you can earn on your way to obtaining the full MCSD! Happy studying!

On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA certification will first be earned.

MCSA Foundation

On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification will first be earned. It’s really good to have a milestone along the way, instead of having to pass a ton of exams before claiming any single certification title / credential. Additionally, instead of just a single MCSA to earn on the path to MCSD: App Builder, there are 2 tracks to choose from based on your unique combination of expertise and interests.

The list of both MCSA certifications and their required exams are as follows:

  • MCSA: Web Applicationspass both of the following exams:
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform – pass both of the following exams:
    • 70-483: Programming in C#
    • 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps

As you can see the MCSA foundations for the new MCSD: App Builder certification require you to pass 2 exams. While not an extensive set of choices, the tracks to pick are either Web Application development or UWP (Universal Windows Platform) App development.

MCSD: App Builder

Once a qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSD: App Builder certification! And, the best part is that you get to choose from a fairly long list of exams to make that happen.

Here’s the current list of Elective exams that can be taken to build on an MCSA to earn the new MCSD: App Builder certification:

  • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
  • 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
  • 70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
  • 70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
  • 70-496: Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio
  • 70-498: Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management

Regardless of the MCSA track you choose to start with (Web Apps or UWP Apps) you can continue on with earning the MCSD: App Builder with an exam in that topic area, or any of the other elective exam options.

Certification

New MCSA: Cloud Platform Certification

mcsa_cloud_platform_certAmong the many Microsoft Certification changes and updates announced around the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference recently is the addition of the brand new MCSA: Cloud Platform certification. There are a total of 5 Microsoft Azure specific exam, and this new MCSA certification wraps those up into an easier certification to achieve. But, don’t worry, you only need to pass 2 of the exams to earn the new MCSA: Cloud Platform certification.

What exams qualify?

With the recent changes there have not been any new certification exams announced, so currently there are the same 5 Azure exams we’ve had for awhile now. Here’s the list of exams to choose from for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification:

As you can see, the topics covered by the exams for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification have a fairly good range in areas around the Microsoft Azure cloud; from infrastructure, to development, to architecture, to data and big data.

Which exams should I take?

mcsa_cloudplatform_certificateThe requirements for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification are setup similarly to the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification that it’s a foundational path for. You pick the specific exams that fit your expertise, work role, and/or interests in a way that tailors your MCSA: Cloud Platform certification in the direction you want. However, it can be difficult to choose which exams to take, so here’s a list of some example “expertise areas” and the suggested exams you could take to earn an MCSA: Cloud Platform certification that’s tailored for that area:

  • Azure / Cloud Developer
    • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Infrastructure and Architecture
    • 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
    • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • Big Data Architect
    • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Data and Big Data
    • 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Big Data Developer
    • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions

The above are just a few examples of the different combinations of 2 exams you could take to earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification.

Foundation for MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certThe MCSA: Cloud Platform is one of the 4 different new MCSA certifications that provide the foundation to earning the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. There have been some “foundational” type paths in Microsoft certifications in the past, but the new changes to the program offer different certification paths in a fairly easy to follow way. You can choose the path that fits you best with the appropriate exams, and there’s plenty of room to turn it up to 11 and earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification.

The path from MCSA: Cloud Platform to MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification only requires a total of 3 exams to be passed. You take the first 2 to earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform (as shown above), and then you take 1 additional elective exam to upgrade that MCSA to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification!

The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure offers a total of 10 elective exams to choose from! This give you full flexibility to tailor your certification to your own interests, expertise or work role with plenty of options to choose the path best for you!

Happy studying!

Certification

The New MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Certification

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certThere are a total of 5 Azure specific certification exams available from Microsoft currently. If you pass each of these individually you will earn a Microsoft Specialist certification for the topic/skills area the exam covers. Also, until this week if you took the 3 Azure Solutions exams you would earn the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect. Well, the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification is being retired, and instead replaced with an entirely new redesigned and restructured set of 5 MCSD and MCSE certifications. There are many changes afoot in the Microsoft Certification realm, so if you were targeting to obtain the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification you might be wondering, “What do I do now?” What ever you decide, don’t stop studying! See it through because the exams are still here, along with a clear path to proving those hard earned skills!

On the path to earning the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification an MCSA certification will first be earned.

The MCSA Foundation

On the path to earning the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification an MCSA certification will first be earned. It’s really good to have a milestone along the way, instead of having to pass a ton of exams before claiming any single certification title / credential. Additionally, instead of just a single MCSA to earn first before the MCSE, there are 4 tracks to choose from based on your unique combination of expertise and interests.

Here’s the list of the 4 MCSA certifications and the exams you need to pass to achieve them:

As you can see the MCSA Foundations for the new MCSE, while they require you to pass either 2 or 3 exams depending on the track, offer a pretty wide range of expertise paths to follow! Anywhere from Azure/Cloud only, to Windows Server 2016 or 2012, to the MCSA: Linux on Azure that is a mixture of Azure and Linux!

The New MCSE

mcse_cloudplatform_certificateOnce an qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification! And, the best part, is you get to choose from a fairly long list of exams to make that happen.

Here’s the current list of Elective exam options to grow that MCSA certification into a brand new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification:

Even if you chose to focus on Windows Server 2012 or 2016 with the MCSA you earned, it’s very likely you will be mixing in some Azure / Cloud expertise and learning with the elective exam you choose to take for upgrading to the MCSE. Unless of course you go with the “Securing Windows Server 2016”, but that exam isn’t available yet so we don’t fully know what Azure / Cloud stuff might be on it; I’m guessing there’ll at least be a bunch of Private Cloud stuff given the direction that Microsoft is taking even on-premises Windows Server.

Once an qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification!

From MCSD to MCSE

If you followed along the paths above for MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, you may have notices the 5 Azure specific exams, in particular the Developer 70-532, Infrastructure 70-533, and Architect 70-534 exams, and how if you pass all three you will now earn the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification instead of the old MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification that will soon be retired.

The new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure path replacement for the old MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect with the exact same exams looks as follows:

mcsa_cloud_platform_certStart by earning the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification by taking and passing any 2 of the following exams:

Then round out the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification by taking and passing the 1 remaining exam of the 3.

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certBasically, take all three of these exams and you’ll now earn the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, instead of the (soon retired) MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect. The new certification title for the same exams is a little more ambiguous as it doesn’t specifically have “Azure” in the name. Also, there are many Developers who won’t be as interested in the new certification since it’s now an MCSE and not an MCSD anymore.

Lastly, for those disappointed in retiring the “Architect” certification, it is important to remember the “E” in “MCSE” stands for “Expert”. The gives the new certification the full title of:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

Happy studying!

Internet of Things

MkeAzure Slides: Getting Started with IoT using Azure, Windows IoT and Raspberry Pi

On Aug 17, 2016 I gave a “Getting Started with IoT” talk at the Milwaukee Azure group. In my talk I covered the basics of IoT Messaging Architecture and Azure IoT Suite (specifically IoT Hub and Stream Analytics), along with other Azure services such as Service Bus Queus, DocumentDB, and Azure Functions. No, IoT solution is complete with out an actual hardware device, so I showed what’s necessary to get started with Windows IoT development on a Raspberry Pi 2/3 along with an Adafruit BME280 Temp/Humidity/Pressure sensor and an LED wired up to the device. Read More

ArchitectureBookCertificationDevelopmentInfrastructure

35 Azure and Cloud eBooks for Amazon Kindle

Blog articles and Technical documentation are nice for learning technologies, but there are times when a good book just can’t be replaced. This is especially true when getting information from blogs that may have a snippet of “found code” that might or might not work as expected. At least properly technically reviewed book will have working code snippets and other directions / information.

So, here’s a bunch of eBooks on Azure topics that are available for the Amazon Kindle. After all, what better to read about the Cloud than with a “Virtual” book! Read More

ArchitectureBook

Free eBook: Planning and Preparing for Microsoft SharePoint Hybrid

FreeEBookPlanningPreparingMSSharePointHybridThe “Planning and Preparing for Microsoft SharePoint Hybrid” eBook from Microsoft Press has been made freely available for download. This book is written by Jeremy Taylor. This is part of a series of books covering SharePoint Hybrid solutions from SharePoint on-premises to Microsoft’s cloud services. Topics covered include: foundational topics with Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, architecture planning, platform hygiene and preparation, directory synchronization, as well as how to configure a seamless single sign-on (SSO) experience for users. Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: July 18, 2016

Are you having difficulty keeping up to date on all the frequent changes and updates in the Microsoft Azure space? Then the Build Azure Weekly has the solution you’re looking for. Build Azure Weekly is a weekly blog post 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 these in your email, then don’t forget to Subscribe!

Service Updates

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

Read More

ArchitectureDevelopmentInfographic

Azure Infographic: Cloud Design Patterns

Curious about how to design applications for the cloud? The Cloud Design Patterns infographic from Microsoft provides a nice reference of cloud architecture design patterns. This infographic depicts the most common problems in designing cloud-hosted applications, and it provides some design patterns to offer guidance to help you design better cloud-hosted applications within Microsoft Azure!

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.28.42 AM

You can download the full infographic PDF at the following URL:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/infographics/cloud-design-patterns/