Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.14

July 28, 2021

Welcome to the fourteenth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021. 

I’ve been heads-down working on new things over the past couple of weeks. And so, as usual, the time just flew by. I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying your summer (if it’s summer where you are). 

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A few weeks ago, Microsoft pre-announced a new exam for Azure, AZ-700 Design and Implement Azure Networking. Networking is one of those topics like security which is foundational to computing and will always be a required skill. So this was a brilliant move.

Now, they’ve moved the exam into Beta:

Beta exams, as you may know, are a bit special in that they are a bit longer than normal exams and you don’t get your score right away. Microsoft will ask a few additional questions during the beta, evaluate the results across all of the candidates, and only later decide which questions count and which get “tossed in the bin”.

If this interests you, you can find details of the exam here on the exam objectives page:

And if you’re looking for 6-hours of video training covering all the key Azure elements of the exam, well then I have something for that too.

Special launch pricing of US$9.99 or local currency equivalent.

This course is brand-new, recorded in the last couple of weeks, and covers all of the requirements of this beta exam. Be one of the first students of this course, and be one of the first people to book and take the AZ-700 Azure Networking exam. You’ll gain an Azure Networking Engineer badge as a reward for passing.

(Note: Udemy Business students should already see this course in their company’s course catalog.)


Microsoft just released its fourth-quarter earnings. Once again, they blew away expectations from analysts.

Total Microsoft revenue was up 21% from a year ago, earning $16.5 billion in the quarter in profits. That’s a couple of billion more than analysts were expecting.

Microsoft Azure specifically posted 51% annual revenue growth compared to last year. I remember when I first started teaching Azure and it was 100% YoY growth. 51% is still spectacular, years later. 

Congratulations to the whole Blue Badge team on the continued amazing results. Let’s do it again in the next fiscal year.


Azure has released Azure Firewall Premium with a new set of advanced features.

Azure Firewall Premium includes:

  • TLS inspection – the ability to decrypt outbound traffic, process the data, and then encrypt it again
  • IDPS, Intrusion Detection and Prevention System – allows you to monitor network activities for malicious activity, log information about this activity, report it, and optionally block it.
  • URL filtering – you can filter part of the path of a URL, not just the domain
  • Web categories – you can filter websites that have been categorized such as gambling, social media, and other things you might not want your users to be doing

As well, Azure Firewall has changed to work on a “Firewall Policy” model which makes it easier to manage policies using Azure Firewall Manager. “Firewall Rules” is now being moved to “classic” status and Firewall Policies will be the new method going forward.

The new AZ-700 course above contains a section covering the new Azure Firewall / Policy setup. It’s pretty interesting.


Very few announcements in the last couple of weeks. Summer is here: 

  • AKS smart defaults in public preview
  • Always Encrypted with secure enclaves for SQL Database now generally available
  • Azure Maps Creator v1 to be retired by September 6, 2021
  • Migrate Azure Data Lake Storage from Gen1 to Gen2 using the Portal in preview
  • Session and cache provider using Azure Cosmos DB in general availability
  • Shared disks on Azure Disk Storage are now generally available on all Premium SSD and Standard SSD sizes
  • Azure Firewall Premium general availability
  • Azure Active Directory support for Azure Relay now in public preview

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


This week is about cleaning up some loose ends around here. I have a couple of videos remaining for AZ-700 and then to tell more people about it. I want to loop back to some of my existing courses and make sure all the videos are up-to-date. Especially with this new Firewall Policy change.

I ran a poll in the Azure User Group (unofficial) Facebook Group asking what course I should create next, and people seem to want me to create either an AZ-400 or an AZ-500 course next. Quite surprising because those exams have been out for a while, but actually I should probably put a plan together for something around those.

I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I’ll let you know when I do.


And that’s it for issue 2.14. Thanks for reading this far.

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