Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.1

Well hello there! After taking part of December and January off for a bit of a break, we’re back to the regular bi-weekly newsletter.

I hope you and your family are doing well. Everything is “OK” here at SoftwareArchitect HQ. The winter has been mild so far, and I hope that continues until Spring. 🙂 As you can tell, I’m not much of a “winter sports” person. If you’re a skier, I’m sorry that this winter has not been good for that so far.

Let’s get into the Azure news.


In Azure exam news, a few of the core Azure exams are undergoing some changes. As happens every few months, Microsoft has decided to do some minor (and no so minor) tweaks here and there to keep the exams relevant.

The AZ-104 Azure Administrator exam had 2 new topics added relating to Blobs. Very minor changes. I’ve already updated my AZ-104 course with videos covering the new stuff.

The AZ-303 Azure Architect Technologies exam had 1 new topic added relating to Firewall Manager. I’ve already updated my AZ-303 course with a video covering that.

The AZ-304 Azure Architect Design exam had a couple of minor wording changes to the requirements, but nothing substantial was changed. My AZ-304 course will get some updated videos because it’s time for me to go through that course and ensure it’s entirely up-to-date.

The AZ-900 and AZ-204 exams did not see any changes in January.

Perhaps the most significant change has been the “merging” of the DP-200 and DP-201 exams into a single exam – DP-203. The changes here are more substantial. The DP-203 goes into Beta in February and DP-200/DP-201 retires in June.

I have not decided how to handle these changes in the existing DP-200 course. I created a video covering the changes, here:


Years ago, in my Azure courses, I used to have to explain the difference between the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) model of deployment and the Azure Service Management (ASM) model. I was able to remove that video after a year or two, once the Classic model was no longer recommended or even supported in many places.

Well… I’m going to have to record a new video explaining deployment models again…

There are now THREE Azure deployment models: Cloud Services (classic), Cloud Services (extended support), and ARM.

If you’ve been using Azure for some time, you’ll remember the old Azure Service Manager (ASM) deployment model. This was referred to as the Classic model once ARM was introduced. Now in January 2021, the model has been renamed again as Cloud Services (Classic).

Cloud Services (extended support) is a new model but is compatible with the Classic model. I view it as a bridge between the old model and ARM. Azure promises to maintain feature parity with the old Azure Service Manager (ASM) deployment model, but also add access to some new features that the Classic model doesn’t currently have.

If you’re still running on ASM, (sorry, I mean, Cloud Services (Classic)), you have two ways of redeploying your existing Cloud Services to Cloud Services (extended support). You can deploy your services to the new model and delete the old one, OR you can upgrade the deployment “in-place”.

No word if the Cloud Services (Classic) will ever end support. But I think they’re trying to make it REALLY easy for the leftover classic customers to run in an ARM environment. So that signals something.


Microsoft is expanding its presence in South America with a new datacenter region being announced for Chile.

In addition, late last year Azure opened another datacenter in Brazil, so there are two – Brazil South and Brazi Southeast. Brazil Southeast will even support Availability Zones.

Seems there is a new South American push from Redmond.


It’s been a couple of months since I sent the last newsletter. It’s very hard to cover every single thing that has changed in that time, but here are a few that caught my eye.

  • New Azure datacenter regions announced for Denmark and Chile
  • Azure Stack Edge now supports Virtual Machines and Kubernetes clusters
  • Azure Functions now supports custom handlers, allowing you to use other languages for Functions such as Go, Rust or PHP
  • App Service Environment v3 now in public preview
  • App Service Anti-Virus logs in public preview
  • New Azure Purview for data governance in public preview
  • Azure Storage Account recovery from the portal
  • Azure Digital Twins is now generally available
  • Azure Free Trial Account now has access to 5 more free services, including archive storage, container registry, load balancer, service bus, and VPN gateway
  • Cosmos DB now supports the LIKE keyword for queries

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


Happy 2021!

I recently re-recorded my AZ-900 course, and that’s currently being edited by my video editor. People who own that course on Udemy will get access to a whole new course by the end of the month.

I started recording a new course in the past week or so. I hope to launch an AI-900 course very soon. Shh, this is a secret. If you’re interested at all in Azure AI and Machine Learning, this is a good foundational course for that.

I will record some new videos for AZ-304 after that. That will have my attention in the month of February.


And that’s it for issue 2.1. Thanks for reading this far.

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