Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.2

I hope you’ve been doing well. It has been two weeks since I last sent the newsletter. It’s hard to believe how time flies. I’ve been hard at work these past couple of weeks on a new course, which I’ll introduce to you later in this email. But first, let’s talk about the biggest changes in the world of Microsoft Azure.


Just as I sent the last newsletter, Microsoft released its quarterly earnings. And once again, they showed impressive growth when it comes to the Cloud.

Microsoft Azure revenue grew 50% year-over-year. That’s still a very impressive growth rate for something as large as the Azure Cloud. They now have over 60 regions worldwide and are adding data centers into areas of the world that are traditionally underserved, like South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Scandanavia. 

They’re also getting deeper into “sustainability”, as the new region in Sweden coming later this year will be powered 100% by renewable energy sources. I wouldn’t think I would see such power-intensive things like data centers powered entirely by renewable energy, yet here we are.

This quarter was the first quarter where cloud revenue exceeds all other sources of income for Microsoft, including Office.

Here’s an interesting chart that I saw:

Good to see Microsoft as the fastest-growing line on that graph.


I attended Microsoft Ignite 2020 back in September, as did many of you. What I didn’t realize at the time is that Microsoft Ignite was broken into two parts. So “part 2” of ignite is coming up in March.

Ignite Part 2 runs March 2-4. There will be the usual keynotes, technical sessions, and even another chance to get a free exam voucher with the cloud skills challenge.

Be sure and register for this free online event if you’re interested.


Speaking of free exam vouchers, I am not even joking when I tell you what I used my Ignite 2020 free exam voucher on…

I took the AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals exam.

Like any fundamentals-level exam (AZ-900, DP-900, and the others), this exam really is about the concepts more than the practical uses of Azure Machine Learning.

But the concepts are important. Understanding and mastering the concepts of a topic become a solid foundation for building additional skills on top of it. With the concepts mastered, you could go on to learn the AI Engineer skill or the Data Scientist skill.

Introducing my latest course, “AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals Exam Prep In One Day“.

The AI-900 exam is intended for people with both technical and non-technical backgrounds.

As with other “900 level” exams, it really is a fundamentals exam covering the absolute basics of AI and machine learning. It’s not a prerequisite for any of the associate level exams or higher. But it will set you up with a good foundation if you wish to advance to those higher levels in the future.

This 3-hour course covers the fundamentals of machine learning.

We will learn:

  • Common AI workloads
  • Microsoft guiding principles for responsible AI
  • Common machine learning types
  • Core machine learning concepts
  • Core tasks when creating a machine learning model
  • No-code machine learning in Azure
  • Computer vision ML
  • Natural language processing ML
  • Conversational AI

Please use this special launch coupon to grab the course for US$9.99.


With Microsoft Ignite coming in a couple of weeks, I expect Microsoft is holding back some of the better updates. The first March newsletter should have some interesting updates. Here are a few that caught my eye from the last couple of weeks.

  • South Central US now has Availability Zones
  • Germany West Central now has Availability Zones
  • 99.99% uptime SLA for Azure AD Premium coming in April 2021
  • Resource Instance Rules allow access to a storage account to specific instances of Azure resources (in preview)
  • Azure Service Fabric Mesh is being retired in April this year
  • Microsoft Azure Attestation now helps you ensure that you are actually connecting to your resources in Azure (instead of spoofed ones)

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


So I mentioned the AI-900 course above. You’re welcome to check that out if Machine Learning is a topic that interests you. Remember that it’s a fundamentals exam, so don’t expect deep exploration into ML algorithm math, nor the ideal settings of Azure ML Studio for each scenario.

I’ve also completed a re-recording of the AZ-900 course. If you’re already in that course, you get the updates for free. Look for the “New course for 2021” section for the new videos. I will keep the old videos around for a few weeks, in case people are in the middle of taking that path and don’t want to start over.

I’ve already made some updates to AZ-304 this month, and there’s more to come. So if you’re a student in that course, look for the videos marked *NEW*. 

I already have some thoughts about new content for March. So I’ll let you in on the plans for that in the next newsletter.

Of course, Microsoft Ignite will be in March as well, and I’m expecting that Microsoft will have a few surprises for me too.


And that’s it for issue 2.2. Thanks for reading this far.

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