Azure's new look

Azure at Ignite, Day 3: Reference Architecture, SQL Database Managed Instances

Wednesday most people could be found at any of the hundreds of seminars performed across the Orange County Convention Center. I spent the majority of my day taking in sessions on containers and DevOps pipelines in Azure.

Pinehead, our mascot, took some time to meet Mark Russinovich, Azure’s CTO, and Aaron Margosis, the co-author of Windows Internals, outside the convention bookstore.

Microsoft loves Linux, and Pinehead! Aaron Margosis (left) and Mark Russinovich (right).

Trust me, if you want to stand out at a Microsoft conference, being a giant penguin head is a good way to do it. Microsoft loves Linux and Ignite attendees love Pinehead!

During Wednesday’s seminars, I learned more about Azure SQL Database Managed Instances and Microsoft’s reference architecture for microservices-based applications.

Second things first. (more…)

Azure's new look

Azure at Microsoft Ignite, Day 2: Migrate, Availability Zones, and Planned Maintenance for VMs

Day 2 of Microsoft Ignite is in the books and I spent the majority of it at the Linux Academy and Cloud Assessments booth (no. 2169, rear of the exhibit hall, across from the bookstore), talking to people about their enterprises.

The Linux Academy/Cloud Assessments booth crew on Tuesday. From left, Doug Vanderweide, Matthew Shaw, Winnie Guan, Chaz Wallace and Justin Overstreet.

The refrain I heard consistently from people stopping by the booth was that their companies want to move to the public cloud but don’t know how. Many attendees were at Ignite to explore the questions around exactly how to do that. (more…)

Azure's new look

Azure at Microsoft Ignite: Three New Certifications, One New Workload, One New Logo

Greetings from Microsoft Ignite in sunny Orlando, where the Linux Academy and Cloud Assessments Azure team is manning booth 2169 (back of the exhibit hall, across from the Microsoft Bookstore), talking with students like you, and learning about new developments in Azure!

The Linux Academy sales and marketing team at Microsoft Ignite booth 2169. Stop by!


Azure Virtual Machines

Azure Announces Burstable VM Instances

One of the benefits of the cloud is the ability to scale to your workload. At least, that’s the idea: Only buy what you need, when you need it.

But depending on your cloud provider and your needs, this is often more of an ideal than a reality. In the case of Microsoft Azure, for example, “burstable” virtual machines have been an obvious omission.

Until this week, however. Azure announced on Tuesday that a burstable VM tier is in public preview, and is finally starting to catch up to Amazon Web Services (which has had burstable VMs since July 2014) and Google Cloud Platform.


Azure Event Grid: The Missing Link For Serverless Domination

Two weeks ago, Azure announced what is arguably its most significant feature change since Azure Resource Manager. Thing is, most people don’t have much use for it today, and might not for a while, so you may not recognize it as such for quite some time.

But make no mistake: Azure Event Grid, now in public preview, is critical to the future of Azure, because it’s the missing link in the microservices architecture and makes serverless computing a first-class citizen in Azure.

For the uninitiated, let’s take a moment to review what it means to be serverless, and how that fits into a microservices architecture. (more…)

Azure DocumentDB is Now Cosmos DB: A Global Scale, Flexible NoSQL Database

One of the big announcements at Microsoft Build 2017 is Cosmos DB, a new NoSQL database service from Azure that aims to provide a globally scaled, high-performance NoSQL data store.

It’s fundamentally a replacement of DocumentDB; or, to be more charitable, an expansion of DocumentDB that adds additional features. Effectively, DocumentDB is now Cosmos DB, with many of the same features and managed in many of the same ways.

But the documentation now refers to CosmosDB, not DocumentDB, and you can no longer provision a DocumentDB. Instead, you provision a Cosmos DB. However, you can still query Cosmos DB using the DocumentDB APIs, which are available for the .NET Framework, .NET Core, Java, Node.js, Python and Xamarin. (more…)

Microsoft Build: Azure Adds Azure Database for MySQL, Azure Database for PostgreSQL

A significant announcement at Microsoft Build 2017 was support for MySQL and PostgreSQL as a service. Both offerings are now in preview.*

Azure has technically supported MySQL as a service for several years, through its partner, ClearDB. I’d say it’s safe to report that few Azure users were impressed with the offering, which was expensive, especially given its limitations.

Last summer, Azure also announced the ability to create MySQL databases within an App Service app, but these were limited to operating within a specific app instance and therefore couldn’t scale, couldn’t be reached from outside the app and had their performance limited by the capabilities of the App Service instance.

So the offering of MySQL as a service from Microsoft itself, as well as PostgreSQL, is a welcome development (pardon the pun), mostly because it promises to be truly scalable, which the ClearDB offering was not, and will overcome the limitations of running databases in App Service instances. (more…)

Microsoft Build 2017 Announcement Predictions

Microsoft Build 2017 is scheduled for May 10-12. This is Redmond’s big developer conference, and it’s also where Microsoft tends to make major announcements about its technology stacks.

(The other “big announcement” event is Microsoft Ignite, scheduled in the fall. Linux Academy will be in attendance, and hopefully so will I.)

For example, at Build 2016 Microsoft announced Azure Functions, its serverless offering; Service Fabric, which is basically a container technology for microservices;  the free availability of Xamarin, a cross-platform mobile development toolset; native support in Windows 10 for bash scripting over Ubuntu; significant improvements to IoT Hub; the Bot Framework, which is designed to host automated chat responses; and more.

So what will be announced at Build 2017? I’m not sure, but I have some guesses: (more…)

Azure Header Background Image

Certification Paths for Microsoft Azure

In’s community, we’re periodically asked questions about how best to get certified in Microsoft Azure. Those questions range from what exams are needed and the steps to get certified, through which order the exams should be taken and what students should expect from the exams.

So let’s tackle all those questions here, starting with an overview of the core Azure certification exams.

At this writing, there are three central Azure certification exams. Each of them measures your understanding of Azure from a different viewpoint. (more…)

Windows + Linux

About That Steve Ballmer Comment …

Search the Internet for “Microsoft and Linux.” Go ahead; open a new tab and run that term through Bing. *rimshot* I’ll wait.

Notice a common thread? I sure do. Virtually every top result harkens back to 2001, the year that Steve Ballmer is credited with calling Linux “a cancer.”

For nearly two decades, Microsoft waged a holy war against Linux – I’ve actually had Microsoft employees tell me that the first thing they learned from Redmond were the evils of open source – until 2015, when Microsoft declared its love of Linux and later went on to join the Linux Foundation.

When you consider the circumstances, however, it’s not at all surprising. (more…)