Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.3

Welcome to the third edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021. Thanks so much for subscribing. I was expecting it to be a quiet couple of weeks before the Microsoft Ignite conference kicks off, but I was wrong. There are a few announcements being made, and I’m sure we’ll learn more next week.

I do intend to watch quite a few sessions, especially the ones on certification (which is my interest, of course). If you haven’t signed up for Microsoft Ignite, it’s online and it’s free. Go check that out if you want to watch some interesting sessions covering lots of Azure and Microsoft-related topics.

Once again, Microsoft is offering a Cloud Skills Challenge where you can earn a free exam voucher if you’re interested in that.

Now on to the newsletter! As always, if you don’t want to receive this anymore, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom. No worries!


This Solarwinds hack story keeps getting deeper and deeper.

To me, the depth and scope of this hack have been fascinating to watch.

If you haven’t been following the news, hackers found a way to add code into a network monitoring tool called Solarwinds Orion. This allowed them to get access to a wide array of private computer networks, including inside the US government.

Microsoft President Brad Smith called the attack the “largest and most sophisticated” ever.

Well, it was not just the US government having its sensitive secrets exposed, even a small portion of the source code for Azure was accessed during the hack. The hackers were searching for secrets in code, and Microsoft does not allow secrets in their internal code.

“There was no access to the vast majority of source code. For nearly all of the code repositories accessed, only a few individual files were viewed as a result of a repository search.”

Microsoft views this as a reinforcement of their “zero trust” mindset.

Hopefully, thousands of companies and organizations have strengthened their security posture to protect against a future attack.


Azure Quantum is now in Public Preview.

Wait, what? Quantum computing is now available for anyone to play with?

Can you mine bitcoin with it? Someone will certainly try! You can now spin up a Quantum computer in Azure and deploy your bitcoin miner to solve challenging math problems in fractions of a second.

OK, OK, it doesn’t work quite like that. But you do have access to Honeywell and IonQ’s Quantum computers in Azure. They are making available a system that allows you to write code in Q#, their Quantum programming language. If you can make a bitcoin miner out of that, go to it. Quick, before anyone realizes the impact of this.


Azure Purview is a brand-new feature in public preview.

It allows you to have a unified view of your data governance – across Azure, on-premises, and even on other cloud platforms. You can create and visualize a map of your data landscape.

Purview has a data discovery component so that it can find where your data lives. You can also mark data as sensitive.

Using this map, you can then enable semantic search to help you discover where your data lives. Think of this as not searching the data itself, but searching the metadata. It’s a data catalog.

And, finally, you can track how your data travels from the source to other parts of your organization. Do you want to know how your customer’s contact information gets updated in various apps, you can find that path.

Here’s an overview of Purview:


Lots of public previews this week. And a few “service retirement” announcements too! I guess Microsoft is prepping for some announcements at next weeks’ Microsoft Ignite conference, and some of this stuff can’t wait. Still, there should be some interesting announcements next week.

Here are a few that caught my eye from the last couple of weeks.

  • Azure “East US 3” data center is planned for the state of Georgia, USA
  • Azure Backup for SAP HANA increased from 2TB limit to 8TB
  • Azure Government now has the “Cost Management” feature, but I’m not sure anyone will use it… (Just kidding, kidding… Of course, the government cares about costs.)
  • Azure Firewall Premium now in public preview
  • Automatic Azure VM Extension upgrades in public preview
  • Cross-Region Restore (CRR) for Azure Backup now generally available
  • The oddly named Azure Purview is now in public preview…
  • Azure Front Door Standard and Premium is now in public preview
  • Datadog integration with Azure: Public Preview
  • Azure Image Builder Service now generally available
  • Data flows in Azure Data Factory and Azure Synapse now support Reserved

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


Lots of things have happened recently. If you’re a student in one or more of my courses, you might be interested in this:

  • The AZ-900 course has been completely re-recorded, and there are now two complete courses inside the Udemy course. You don’t have to watch both. Eventually, one course will retire and there will only be one course. 🙂
  • The AZ-304 course has been updated with new videos and sections. Just a general refresh in areas that needed it. And to make sure the exam requirements are all properly covered.
  • A brand new AI-900 course has launched on Udemy. It’s already available in Udemy for Business too if you have access to that.
  • I’m close to finishing a new DP-100 course for machine learning data science. Keep an eye out for that in March.


And that’s it for issue 2.3. Thanks for reading this far.

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

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