Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.5

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021. Thanks so much for subscribing.

We are approaching the end of March, which means the year is almost one-quarter over. It feels like the year is just getting started! Sorry! Didn’t mean to get you down so early in the newsletter, but it’s true. Writing these newsletters just always reminds me of how quickly time passes because it seems like I only wrote the last newsletter a week ago! But it’s been two weeks!

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!


A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft introduced Azure Percept during their Ignite conference.

Percept is “edge computing” hardware and technology, in that it extends some Azure services (in this case, intelligent IoT applications) into your own data center.

These intelligent IoT applications are powered by Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Machine Learning Services.

Cognitive Services are those pre-built machine learning models that Azure offers by API – including vision, voice, text, knowledge management, and chat-bots. The Azure Machine Learning services allow to you train and deploy your own machine learning models based on your own training data set.

Azure Percept – I like the name – is a combination of actual hardware that you install at the edge, a development kit, and various cloud-based development tools.

Forbes published an interesting article on it here, if you want to learn more.

Or you can go to the Azure Percept documentation and see a video about it with this link:


On March 15, Azure suffered an embarrassing outage when Azure AD went down for a few hours. As the authentication provider, Azure AD is the bridge you have to cross to access many services including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Xbox Live, and many third-party applications that rely on it.

This highlights one of the downsides of the centralized nature of the cloud. We usually try to plan around regional outages but have to rely on Microsoft to do all the work to keep the global services up and running.

Microsoft later explained that the issue was caused by an error that affected the rotation of signing keys. As a security practice, Microsoft regularly updates its cryptographic keys. This means creating new ones and removing the old ones.

Well, Microsoft needed to keep the old keys for a migration purpose, yet the automation that swaps the keys deleted the old key anyways.

It’s not really an excuse, anyway. For something so critical such as Azure Active Directory, that just needs to always work. There needs to be a way for it to know it’s not working and quickly get back to a state where it works again. Now deleting the keys is a complex problem no doubt, because you can’t just roll back code to a prior version. And keeping a backup of security keys kind of defeats the purpose of deleting the old security keys.

But maybe there needs to be a two-stage delete or something. I’m sure they’re working to improve the system.


Encouraging news for those looking for signs of normality starting to return in 2021. It looks like it’s back to work for some people at Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

Last year, Microsoft said it was targeting July 2021 for when it’s offices will be fully open. But that happens in stages, and next week will be a new stage.

Microsoft is moving from “strongly encouraged to work from home” to “encouraged to work from home”.
I guess this means that offices will be open for those who want to go in, as opposed to being actively shunned away. That’s good news, I guess.

No word yet on when or if they’ll resume conferences and in-person events. But that might be a while.


So we are now a couple of weeks after Ignite, and the number of new announcements has died down significantly. Here are a bunch that caught my eye from the last couple of weeks.

  • Azure Functions now supports .NET 5 in production
  • Python Durable Functions now generally available
  • For those handling credit cards, PCI-DSS certification now available across all Azure regions
  • Availability Zones now launched in Brazil South
  • Cost Management and Billing now supports alerts on forecasted costs! That’s great!
  • You can now create Shared Access Signatures (SAS) on directories; previously you could grant access to single files or to the container itself

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


It’s been relatively quiet here. With the weather improving, I’ve been taking the chance to be outside more. It’s a good season for walking here in Canada.

  • My next course, on DP-100, is soft-launching this week. The official launch date for that course is March 30. If that’s something you’re interested in, keep an eye out for that.
  • Some new labs have gone live on . I just published new labs for DP-203 and DP-300. If you’re looking for practical assignments in Azure, with labs and access to an Azure account to try them, check out the link above.
  • I just published a new blog article on Udemy’s Blog called “How to Pass the AZ-900 Exam”. Many of you are beyond that, but if you’re interested, here’s the link to that:


And that’s it for issue 2.5. Thanks for reading this far.

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

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