Azure World Newsletter – Issue 1.6

Well hi there, once again. Welcome to the sixth issue of this bi-weekly Azure newsletter temporarily being called Azure World until I can come up with a better name.

It’s quite likely that Azure is not on your mind much these days, with all that’s going on. I totally understand if it’s not. We’ve clearly entered into an uncharted territory worldwide, with businesses being shut down and the majority of focus being on containing this pandemic.

First and foremost, take care of yourself and the ones you love. Wash your hands thoroughly, avoid crowds, and follow the advice of your local health officials. This includes regular exercise, breaks away from the computer, and even fresh air as you can do it.


ONE.

Many businesses are rushing to work efficiently with remote workers. Companies like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Dropbox are seeing records of new signups. The switch to “online” tools is on.

Microsoft Teams is offering 6-months free for businesses not currently using it. It’s also free for educational institutions.

https://products.office.com/en-ca/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

Unfortunately, the surge in demand brought some challenges and there was an outage just over a week ago. Since that problem, I have not heard about any other outages with Teams. Although in February, Teams forgot to renew their HTTPS certificate and also suffered an outage.

Of course, other Microsoft tools are designed for communication with Office 365 being out for years. But I can imagine those that still rely on their Word docs all being local are quickly seeing the benefit to online collaboration.


TWO.

In exam news, Microsoft announced some updates to those interested in certifications:

  • More online proctoring capacity to meet the demand of people wanting to take exams from home. Online proctoring has been popular, and even AWS and other certification vendors are rushing to turn that on. Microsoft has had it for years, and now it’s growing again.
  • The MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certification retirements will be delayed until Jan 31, 2021. A lot of people were complaining about the short expiry for these, and this is being extended more months for people to attain them if they were in the process of doing so. This probably means the replacement exams/certs have been delayed.
  • If you have a current role-based cert (Azure Architect Expert, Azure Developer Associate, Azure Administrator Associate, etc), the expiry date has been extended another 6 months. People who attained those roles at the end of 2018, and were set to expire in late 2020, don’t have to worry about renewing for a little while longer.
  • Any exam vouchers set to expire in the next few months will be extended to Jan 31, 2021, as well. Many people have vouchers from Ignite and Ignite The Tour, and those should be good a while longer.

More details here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/community-blog-post.aspx?BlogId=8&Id=375289


THREE.

A lot of my courses are on sale, until Friday, Mar 27, 11 AM PDT, if you’re interested.

The coupon code SAVEINMARCH is required for this special 3-day sale. Expires March 27, 2020. Be sure and verify this coupon is used at checkout. Usually, it’s better to “buy now” than to “add to cart” to ensure you get the best price when buying multiple courses.

I won’t include all the links to everything. But here are a few that I am especially proud of.

*NEW* Azure Deep Dive: Complete Virtual Machines (VM) Course

https://www.udemy.com/course/azure-vm/?couponCode=SAVEINMARCH

*UPDATED* AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Prep In One Day

https://www.udemy.com/course/az900-azure/?couponCode=SAVEINMARCH

*UPDATED* AZ-103 Microsoft Azure Administrator Exam Prep https://www.udemy.com/course/70533-azure/?couponCode=SAVEINMARCH 

Again, you can use SAVEINMARCH on Udemy for any of my courses.



AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.

I expect there to be fewer Azure Platform updates during this time. Many companies are not at full IT strength, and so rolling out platform changes might cause extra work for operations and developers which would be hard to handle. But there are a few changes to announce.

  • The new ability to reserve Azure Dedicated Hosts for cost savings
  • The new ability to reserve Azure Database for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB for cost savings
  • The new ability to reserve Azure Cache for Redis for cost savings
  • Azure Private Link going into General Availability for multiple Azure services
  • Adding Private Link support to Azure Container Registry (in preview)
  • Adding Private Link support to Azure SQL Database (in preview)
  • Expanding Azure Functions Premium to 16 more regions
  • Adding VNet integration support to Azure Functions Premium
  • Adding WAF (Web Application Firewall) support to Content Delivery Networks
  • Azure Shared Disks for clustered applications (in preview)

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

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/


COMING UP FOR ME.

Two new courses launched from me on LinkedIn Learning. If you have a subscription to Lynda or LinkedIn Learning, you can check them out here.

https://www.lynda.com/Scott-Duffy/1993589682-1.html

Not much to report otherwise. I am coming up to the end of a 14-day self-isolation period because of a recent international trip I took. But the government is telling people to stay home unless absolutely necessary, so what can I do?

I’m working.


WHERE TO FIND ME.

Thanks for sticking it out this far! This is the end of issue 1.6! Hopefully, you found it valuable, at least a little bit! 

What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/softwarearchitect/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottjduffy/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/softwarearchitect.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scottjduffy

Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/user/scottduffy2/

LinkedIn Learning: https://www.lynda.com/Scott-Duffy/1993589682-1.html

See you in two weeks!