Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.16

August 25, 2021

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

We’re coming to the end of August, can you believe it? I actually like fall weather in Canada. September and October are some pleasant months. If you’re ever planning to come visit Canada, fall is a great time to do it. 

When November comes, it starts to get colder and jackets are required. That’s when the weather stops being so nice. So I have to enjoy it before then.

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You get 700+ practice labs across Azure, AWS, Linux, Cybersecurity, Windows Server, and more. You get 3 attempts at each lab and over 700 labs to try. That is hundreds of hours of practice over the next year. And each lab comes with access to Azure or AWS cloud accounts for free! There are no additional costs to you to learn Azure or AWS using hands-on labs besides this one price for the next 12 months.

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Find out more details about the labs here including a video that demonstrates:


Microsoft has announced the next Microsoft Ignite for fall 2021, from November 2-4.

I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about Ignite. And you can’t register for it yet. But the dates are announced, so you can add it to your calendar and tell your boss you won’t be available for those days.


Microsoft has released its quarterly updates to the exams. Several exams are seeing minor updates as of September 24, 2021. So you have some time to adjust before then, and none of the changes are major.

  • AZ-104 has added a single new requirement. So the changes are minor. 
  • AZ-303 has added Bicep to the exam requirements, so there are some interesting changes there. 
  • AZ-304 and AI-102 saw only wording changes, with nothing else changing. 
  • AZ-900, DP-900, AI-900, SC-900, AZ-204, DP-100 : no changes, so far. 

Of course, I will make changes to the relevant courses before then. 

AZ-303 seems to have the most changes to its objectives of any exam I’ve seen:


I personally took the AZ-700 exam in beta within the last couple of weeks, and the exam was interesting. To say the least.

The exam had a lot of questions that followed a common format. Such as, “you have a Virtual Network named VNET1, which has two Subnets attached named SUBNET1 and SUBNET2. SUBNET1 uses NSG1 while SUBNET2 uses NSG2. There is also a gateway subnet named GATEWAYSUBNET with a network gateway named GATEWAY1….”

My brain gets a headache by the end of the first paragraph on a question like this, and there are three more paragraphs to read. For some reason, I just can’t keep all of the details in my head at the same time when they are written out as a paragraph like this. And of course, we can’t scribble notes on a piece of paper so we can’t organize them in a way that helps.

By the time the question asks “What is the result of trying to connect to VM1 using VM2 over port 80?” I’ve forgotten all of the details of what network VM1 belongs to and all of the various details of what security restrictions VM1 has on it.

Anyways, long story short, this exam was tougher than I expected. Time was a factor. 59 questions over 120 minutes averages to around 2 minutes per question. And I can’t even read a question like the above in 2 minutes, let alone answer it.

The few people I have talked to that took AZ-700 described similar experiences of running out of time and finding the questions more difficult than expected.

Oh well. I hope Microsoft Worldwide Learning gets valuable feedback on the questions that work and the questions that don’t. Maybe it’s me. Or maybe it’s the exam. We’ll see in the fall when those exam scores come back…


The following announcements were made in the last two weeks: 

  • Azure Defender for SQL now GA for Azure SQL Virtual Machine
  • Private Link for Azure Managed HSM now GA
  • ExpressRoute Global Reach has 2 new locations
  • Global disaster recovery via Azure Site Recovery in GA
  • Azure VPN client for macOS
  • Azure Migrate can containerize apps for AKS and App Service in preview
  • Azure VMs can now auto-upgrade extensions
  • GitHub Codespaces in GA
  • Azure Blob storage Inventory now in GA
  • Azure Cosmos DB: Continuous backup with point in time restore now in GA
  • Application Insights auto-instrumentation of .NET apps on Linux in public preview
  • AKS support for Kubernetes 1.21 in GA
  • Azure Archive Storage events for easy rehydration of archived blobs in GA
  • Azure Blob storage – Last access time tracking now in GA
  • Windows 11 public preview is now available on Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Apply settings inside machines using Azure Policy’s guest configuration in public preview

This past fortnight, there were a TON of announcements of services being retired. Be aware of the following services and version numbers going away in the next couple of years.

  • Select Azure Cognitive Search skills will be retired on 31 August 2024
  • Upgrade to Text-to-Speech Neural Voice  by 31 August 2024
  • Update Java SDK 3.x to Java SDK 4.x by 31 August 2024
  • Tomcat 7 reached End-of-Life on 23 March 2021
  • Migrate your Azure IoT Central apps to version 3 before 1 March 2022
  • Basic and Standard A-series VMs will retire on 31 August 2024
  • HB-series Azure Virtual Machines will be retired by 31 August 2024
  • H-series Azure Virtual Machines will be retired by 31 August 2022
  • NC-series Azure Virtual Machines will be retired by 31 August 2022
  • NC v2-series Azure Virtual Machines will be retired by 31 August 2022
  • NV-series and NV_Promo Azure Virtual Machines will be retired by 31 August 2022
  • Azure AD B2C redirect URL will be retired on 31 August 2022
  • Version 2.x of the Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK will be retired on 31 August 2024
  • Community support for PHP 7.3 is ending on 6 December 2021
  • Azure Data Factory Compute Optimized data flows will be retired on 31 August 2024
  • Cloud Services (classic) deployment model is retiring on 31 August 2024
  • Machine Learning Studio (classic) will retire on 31 August 2024
  • Log Analytics agent in Azure Monitor will retire on 31 August 2024
  • Transition to new work item integration in Application Insights by 31 August 2022

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


I was hoping to have launched my next course on SC-300 exam by the time this newsletter goes out. Unfortunately, I may be a few days delayed on that. Oh well. In the next newsletter, I’ll provide a discount link to my SC-300 course.

Coming up after that, I want to finish up some more practice test questions for AZ-700 based on my experience taking the exam in beta. And maybe I’ll need a nap after that.

Thanks for reading this far! 


And that’s it for issue 2.16. Thanks for reading this far.

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