Microsoft continually updates the content of the different Microsoft Azure certification exams, but it’s been almost 2 years since they really updated the Microsoft Certification paths to be more Azure focused / integrated. Great news is that Microsoft is making further changes to keep improving the various Microsoft Azure Certifications and associated exams that are offered. During the Microsoft Inspire 2018 conference, the Microsoft Learning team announced the introduction of this brand new Azure certification track tailored for Azure Administrators. Read More
The AZ-102 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition certification exam tests and validates your expertise as an Azure Administrator around managing cloud services that span storage, security, networking, and compute capabilities within the Microsoft Azure cloud. This exam provides a upgrade / transition path from to the Azure Administrator certification for anyone who has already passed the older, existing 70-533 Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification exam.
This exam will be retired on June 30, 2019. Read More
There’s so much competition in the cloud computing space. According to Forbes, the Cloud Providers at the top in the current “Cloud War” are Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM, followed by many other players in the industry. This battle is made up of these major corporations spending Billion or Trillions of dollars investing in cloud innovation and advancement. While each of these companies would like to be the victor and win the “Cloud War”; it’s probably best for everyone that there is no clear “winner” in the end.
Polynimbus is the term used to refer to the strategy of an organization utilizing multiple Cloud Providers. Polynimbus is also referred to as “Multi-Cloud”. This enables organizations to utilize the best features and pricing of each cloud provider for different solutions where they fit the solutions, data, and workload best. This is an extremely common pattern in use by all major corporations as they migrate to the Cloud to replace their on-premises datacenters.
Polynimbus Cloud Strategy: A cloud computing strategy that involves multiple Cloud Providers / Vendors.
Polynimbus is not just a great strategy to gain the benefits and features of multiple Cloud Providers within a single organization, but it’s something that benefits the technology industry in many other ways too.
Benefits of Polynimbus for the Enterprise
There are a number of benefits that a Polynimbus cloud strategy brings. These benefits range from effecting a single organization, all the way to effecting the entire Internet.
Here’s a list of the most notable benefits that a Polynimbus strategy brings to an individual organizations overall cloud strategy:
- Time to Market – Services and Feature comparison and trade-offs are able to be made to choose the best cloud provider for deploying, hosting, and managing solutions in regards to cloud capabilities, and Developer/IT Pro ramp up curve and time to market.
- Cost Optimization – Cost comparisons and trade-offs are able to be made to choose the best cloud provider for deploying, hosting, and managing solutions in regards to hosting cost and budgets.
- Integration Between Clouds – While most applications and systems will be most appropriately hosted utilizing a single Cloud Provider for that single system, there are times where it may be appropriate to utilize services and features across multiple clouds to best build, deploy, and manage that single system.
The above benefits of Polynimbus may sound a bit simple, but they are pretty broad reaching in their effect on an organization. The benefits factor into some major implications to the future of the solutions hosted, as well as the overall cloud strategy an organization is adopting.
Benefits of Polynimbus for the World
The overall Internet and technology industry benefits of Polynimbus Here’s a list of the most notable benefits that a Polynimbus strategy brings to the Internet, the overall technology industry, and beyond:
- Decentralized / Distribution of Control – While each Cloud Provider does implement multiple data centers that are geo-distributed around the world, they are still owned an operated by that single corporation that controls that particular Cloud Provider platform and ecosystem. The best design the Internet has come up with is to build the DNS system as a distributed system spread all across the world. This same strategy is probably best for Cloud Computing as well, so that no single entity is in control of the entire Cloud. This is one benefit that comes from the competitive nature of the current state of the cloud.
- Competition – Just all other industries benefit from competition, the technology industry benefits too. Having multiple players in the Cloud Provider space increases the amount of competition between players. With this increased competition comes an increase the the variety and push for innovation across the different Cloud Computing platforms being offered. If you look at the history between Microsoft and Amazon (for example) you’ll see they’ve been leap frogging each other on Cloud features and capabilities over the years. This offers great variety and innovation for all companies to take advantage of regardless of the Cloud Provider they’re using.
A Polynimbus Future
Just about every organization adopting the Cloud, as well as migrating their on-premises or co-lo hosted data centers to the Cloud, are adopting a Polynimbus Strategy involving multiple Cloud Providers. They might only be adoption a single Cloud Provider, such as Microsoft Azure, at first. However, down the line the pattern in the industry is showing that corporations are adopting multiple Cloud Providers.
Just about every organization adopting the Cloud, as well as migrating their on-premises or co-lo hosted data centers to the Cloud, are adopting a Polynimbus Strategy involving multiple Cloud Providers.
One such example of a major corporation utilizing a Polynimbus Strategy is that of Apple. For a long time Apple was utilizing both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure to host the backend of its iCloud service. More recently, there’s been indication that Apple may not be using Microsoft Azure anymore, as they may have migrated to using a combination of Amazon AWS and Google Cloud instead.
It can be extremely beneficial to utilize a Polynimbus Strategy, as well as a Hybrid-Cloud Strategy that still make use of the on-premises data center investments where they make sense. Going all in on any specific technology or platform is generally not the best approach to building out any solution. It’s best to choose the right tool for the job at hand, and to utilize multiple tools to truly customize the solution to fit the need and requirements in the best possible way.
It can be extremely beneficial to utilize a Polynimbus Strategy, as well as a Hybrid-Cloud Strategy that still make use of the on-premises data center investments where they make sense.
If you have any suggestions on designing a Polynimbus Strategy, Hybrid-Cloud Strategy, or Both, please post them in the comments. I’m sure everyone joins me in their eagerness to hear the communities suggestions on what to keep in mind when designing your organizations Polynimbus and Hybrid Cloud strategies.
History Fact: The term “Polynimbus” used to refer to a “Multi-Cloud” strategy of adopting multiple cloud providers / vendors was first coined by John Adams in 2016 while he was working as a Senior Cloud Solutions Architect at Opsgility.
When I first heard that you could run nested VMs with Azure, I ran over to my laptop to deploy one of those shiny new Version 3 VMs!
Once my Host was provisioned, I got right to work. Quickly adding the Hyper-V role and after a quick reboot, I started downloading ISOs! And before you know it I was disappointed. Yeah, I had a VM running, but after searching the internet for hours, I gave up. I never could get the thing talking to the Internet.
Well, fast forward a few months and a client of mine asked if we could build a self-provisioning Nested Hyper-V Host in Azure that would pull down pre-configured VMs and start them with only one click? I was excited. There is nothing cooler than getting to figure something out while you are getting paid. Well, it wasn’t easy to figure out, but what I have for you here is the fruit of that labor! Read More
Studying for all certifications can be difficult, as all you have to go on is a short list of the exam objectives and the services/technologies covered. It’s nice to get some kind of targeted resources or training that is targeted towards the specific certification exam you’re studying for. The new Second Edition of the Exam Reference book from Microsoft Press for the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification exam is now available. This book will guide you through all the different topic areas you need to know in order to take and pass the 70-533 exam, then become a Microsoft Azure certified IT Professional. Read More
The 70-537 Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack certification exam is now available. The exam was originally announced back in November 2017, has now finally been released. Plus, the full exam objectives have now been announced as IT Pros are able to start taking the certification exam. Read More
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.
There 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.
This exam was retired December 31, 2018.
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:
- MCSA: Windows Server 2016 – pass all 3 of the following exams:
- 70-740: Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016
- 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016
- 70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016
- MCSA: Cloud Platform – pass any 2 of the following exams:
- MCSA: Linux on Azure – pass all 2 of the following exams:
- 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
- LFCS: Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator
- MCSA: Windows Server 2012 – pass all 3 of the following exams:
- 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
- 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
- 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
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
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! 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:
- 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
- 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
- 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
- 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016
- 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
- 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
- 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud
- 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud
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:
Start by earning the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification by taking and passing any 2 of the following exams:
- 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
Then round out the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification by taking and passing the 1 remaining exam of the 3.
Basically, 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
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
Build Azure Weekly is a regular series that brings you the latest news, blogs, videos, and other content around the Microsoft Azure ecosystem from the week. The links shared include those from the community as well as from Microsoft as well. The goal of Build Azure Weekly is to help you keep up to date in the latest news and general happenings surrounding Microsoft Azure for the week.
Here’s the list of Azure Service Updates that have been announced by Microsoft over the week:
- Batch send notifications to device tokens using Notification Hubs
- Azure Search: Update to the Search Traffic Analytics dashboard in Power BI
- Azure Site Recovery: Scout 8.0.1 Update 3 is available
- New capabilities available on the Azure Batch service