Hello everyone, this week was pretty busy as one of the large projects I’ve been working on, the large Azure RFP response I’ve been mentioning in these posts, moved to a different phase and didn’t require as much of my time this week. That let me start to get caught up on a ton of other work. One item was an Azure training course we are developing for delivery at Microsoft’s big internal technical conference called TechReady. If you haven’t heard of TechReady think of it as TechEd/Ignite only for Microsoft full time employees. It’s a one week event, usually with 6 – 8,000 people attending and hundreds of sessions delivered by the product groups and MCS/Premier field resources.
I typically present one or two sessions at TechReady and for the last year or so I’ve been one of the people who helps select the sessions in the cloud and data platform track. That sounds cool but is actually pretty difficult because there are far more session proposals submitted than we are able to accept, so a lot of good content unfortunately doesn’t get in. Since we fly in thousands of people to Seattle twice a year for TechReady, we also wrap additional training events around that week. For this TechReady in early February, we are creating a 5-day class that will run the week before TechReady and then we’ll deliver it again the week after.
The course is an update to one we created last year and we call it “Azure: Make it Real” and the interesting part about it is that there is almost no PowerPoint, it’s all scenario based where we create small teams, each team gets a conference room and a dedicated instructor/proctor and we provide a complex customer scenario and a long list of requirements. Each team then needs to create and present an architecture to address the requirements. The proctor reviews the approach and provides some guidance, then the team has to go and build their solution in Azure. The really interesting thing about the course is that we mix architects, developers, and infrastructure consultants into teams, as we would on real Services engagements. The scenario is designed to challenge each role and drive collaboration. Feedback for the deliveries last year and recently in Europe were pretty good and we’re making a bunch of improvements so we’re pretty excited about it.
This week as always there were some significant Azure and other Microsoft announcements.
Glimpse at Application Insights Telemetry
There are people who love Application Insights, there are people who love Glimpse, and there are people who haven’t heard of these great tools.
Glimpse is great for profiling and debugging your web app during development, while Application Insights is the tool for diagnosing issues and monitoring performance in live production. Because you need both, we decided to integrate these products.
Application Insights monitors your web application in production for performance, availability and usage. It helps you understand what your users do with your app, diagnose failed requests and exceptions, and find performance issues in browser, web server or backend services. Glimpse at Application Insights Telemetry | Microsoft Azure Blog
I spent part of this week with a team of folks doing a lot of deep work on monitoring with Azure Operations Management Suite (OMS) and Application Insights. Both of these are picking up features very quickly. One of the focus areas of both is enabling the data they collect to be leveraged by other monitoring tools. This article shows one example.
Cloud backup of enterprise data gets better with Azure Backup
Continuing our journey to make Azure Backup enterprise grade, we previously announced support for protecting volumes up to 54TB on file servers and have seen very good adoption. We’ve seen cloud backup of very big file server volumes with large numbers of files – the largest so far with over 13 million files!
We also announced broad availability of Azure Backup server to protect business critical workloads such as SQL, SharePoint, Exchange and VMs with Azure Backup. Today, we are releasing a slew of features to further optimize cloud backups for enterprise data. Cloud backup of enterprise data gets better with Azure Backup | Microsoft Azure Blog
Seems like every week Azure Backup gets a slew of new capabilities. If you haven’t taken a recent look at Azure Backup you should definitely check it out.
Announcing Azure Resource Manager support in Azure Automation runbooks
As more and more functionality of Azure is introduced via the new Azure Resource Manager management layer of Azure, we on the Azure Automation team are asked more and more for out-of-the-box support for the Azure Resource Manager cmdlets in Azure Automation, allowing all new Azure functionality to be easily automated. We’ve shown how to import the modules manually in the past, to help users unblock themselves and use Azure Resource Manager in Azure Automation, but out-of-the-box support was missing … until now. I’m excited to announce we’ve started to ship the Azure Resource Manager cmdlets in Azure Automation! Announcing Azure Resource Manager support in Azure Automation runbooks | Microsoft Azure Blog
This has been a long awaited scenario and we’re finally I think closing the loop between ARM and Azure Automation and unblocking most of the integration scenarios. At customers I’m still seeing a general lack of awareness of all the automation capabilities in the Azure platform and that is something I’m going to dive deeper on in the new year, hopefully getting back to my roots some in the automation space.
Azure Resource Manager Explorer with David Ebbo
David Ebbo has created an amazing tool at https://resources.azure.com. You can explore the RESTful APIs that Azure exposes in this rich tree view! A fantastic resource for developers, you can see generated Powershell, Documentation, even POST to a live API from within the browser!
You can explore the RESTful APIs that Azure exposes in this rich tree view!
A fantastic resource for developers, you can see generated Powershell, Documentation, even POST to a live API from within the browser! Azure Resource Manager Explorer with David Ebbo | Azure Friday | Channel 9
If you haven’t checked this out its a very nice tool.
puppetlabs/azure Puppet Forge
Microsoft Azure exposes a powerful API for creating and managing its Infrastructure as a Service platform. The azure module allows you to drive that API using Puppet code. This allows you to use Puppet to create, stop, restart and destroy Virtual Machines and eventually manage other resources, meaning you can manage even more of your infrastructure as code. puppetlabs/azure Puppet Forge
If you are using Puppet as your automation platform of choice, a new module was added to Puppet Forge for managing Azure resources in your Puppet automation.
MCSA: Linux on Azure
MCSA: Linux on Azure. This certification demonstrates your ability to design, architect, implement, and maintain complex cloud-enabled Linux® solutions that leverage Microsoft Azure open source capabilities. It also validates your Linux system administration skills to show that you are fluent in today’s cloud-native world. MCSA: Linux on Azure | Microsoft
This certainly caused a splash in the “mainstream” tech media Microsoft has a Linux certification! Whuuuut??? That shouldn’t be a major surprise to anyone reading this blog but exciting nonetheless to see the evolution here.
Red Hat CloudForms 4 extends management support to Microsoft Azure and containers
Red Hat has released the latest version of its CloudForms management tool for hybrid cloud deployments, adding the ability to manage workloads on Microsoft servers and Microsoft’s Azure cloud, as well as support for containers alongside virtual machines. End users can also now access a self-service portal for provisioning resources.
Available immediately, CloudForms 4 is the latest incarnation of the platform Red Hat developed from technology it gained through the acquisition of ManageIQ three years ago. However, ManageIQ is still maintained as an open source project, and Red Hat bases CloudForms on this.
CloudForms already enabled customers to manage workloads on multiple platforms, including VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation, but the new release extends support to Hyper-V and Microsoft’s Azure public cloud as well as containers running on Red Hat’s OpenShift platform as a service (PaaS). Red Hat CloudForms 4 extends management support to Microsoft Azure and containers – IT News from V3.co.uk
Speaking of open source… This is one of the key enablers coming from the Red Hat on Azure announcements from a couple of weeks ago.
That’s it for this week. Let me know in the comments if there were any other interesting articles or resources you found this week.