Azure World Newsletter – Issue 1.19

Welcome to the NINETEENTH bi-weekly edition of the Azure newsletter. Thank you SO much for signing up to receive this. As always, if you don’t want to receive this, don’t worry! You can click the unsubscribe link at the bottom, and we’ll remain friends!


The top story I guess is that Microsoft announced its Q3 revenue. And it was a good quarter for them. They continue to do well in the various software and services they offer, including LinkedIn, Teams, and Azure cloud.

Microsoft Azure revenue grew 48% year-over-year.  It wasn’t that long ago (well, 3 years or so) that Azure revenue was growing 100% YoY, but 48% is still a respectable pace. We’ve seen a few growing pains over the last few months with stability, but they continue to take more than their share of the cloud space.

By comparison, Amazon AWS grew 29% from a year ago. So Azure can still be proud of their success in this area. They’re even growing a bit faster than Google Cloud as well.

Since these companies are not great at breaking out the specific revenue from their clouds, it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison to know if Azure has overtaken AWS for the #1 cloud provider. But they continue to show strong growth.

That’s good for “us” as this means companies will continue to value Azure skills.


Microsoft keeps developing new data center regions. Last newsletter, I talked about Austria. They also announced a new data center region in Greece. This week, they’re announcing a new data center region coming soon in Taiwan.

As you know, regions are more than just data centers. They host many services including Azure and Office 365. They contain availability zones and are paired with another region for failover. 

This brings the number of existing or planned regions in the world to 66.


We’re coming to the end of the year, and Microsoft rolled out it’s “November” updates for the certification exams. Most exams saw very little or no updates.

No or few updates:

  • AZ-104
  • AZ-303
  • AZ-204
  • DP-200
  • DP-900

Some updates:

  • AZ-304
  • AZ-900

Of course, the related courses will see new content relating to these updates. 

But since we’re at the end of the year, it makes me stop and think about the state of Microsoft and Azure certifications. Microsoft made the transition from the old certifications (“70-*”) over a year ago, made some big changes to them earlier this year, and now are not making very many changes to them.

Azure is becoming a more stable platform overall. You cannot expect a lot of big changes in areas like Virtual Machines, App Services, Networking, and Storage. The basics of those are fixed, and the only changes we can expect to see are small and incremental improvements over time.

Database services are fairly mature as well, although there is also a lot more innovation and change going on in Big Data and Data Processing such as Data Factory, Jupyter Notebooks, and Synapse. 

Most of the innovation and changes will come outside these core spaces. AI and machine learning, no doubt. Windows Virtual Desktop too. Teams. 

At least, I am hoping that the core set of knowledge is starting to settle down. Microsoft can certainly upend everything next year with all new exams and all new codes. I hope they don’t. But it’s not “impossible”.

So the future of Azure certification (AZ-*) and Database certification (DP-*) looks fairly stable to me. You can learn these skills and build on them with future skills in different areas. This knowledge becomes a solid foundation on which you can specialize in your career.


Some interesting updates this month. 

  • Soft delete for Azure files now GA
  • Azure Database for MySQL supports up to 10 read replicas
  • SQL Server for Virtual Machines now have their own “VM agent extension” which will apparently unlock cost savings and other features
  • Azure App Service Premium Plans now have a dev/test discount
  • Azure Kubernetes Service now supports Azure Spot instances, for deeply discounted compute for low priority work
  • Azure Kubernetes Service now supports proximity placement groups, the opposite of availability sets
  • Support for PHP 7.4 ending in 1 year for app services on Windows
  • Adding support for Java 11 in Functions
  • A new region in Taiwan, coming soon

Be sure and check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.


November is here, and I’m finishing a few things before the end of the year. I am working on an exciting new “100% hands-on” type course that is not aimed at a specific exam so much as general Azure knowledge. I hope to have that out in the next couple of weeks.

I sent out a survey to you, and placed it in a few other places such as the Facebook group and in the Udemy courses, to get your feedback and find ways I can improve going into next year. Thanks in advance to all of those who have filled that out. And I appreciate your time helping me to serve students better.


And that’s it for issue 1.19. Thanks for reading this far.

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