Azure World Newsletter – Issue 3.01

January 26, 2021

Welcome to the first edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2022. 

I started the year with some good news. I was awarded the Microsoft MVP for Azure award in 2022. It’s a great honor to be recognized for my work with the Azure community. I am thankful to the Microsoft employee who nominated me, and to the tens of thousands of you who are in this wonderful Azure community. I hope to do even more in 2022 to bring lots of up-to-date Azure knowledge to you on a regular basis.

I am writing this newsletter from my new home office in Portugal. I can’t say we’re 100% completely set up, as there is still a lot of work to do. But being able to record videos again feels like a big accomplishment. (You have to celebrate the little stuff too!) So I’ve been taking your feedback on things that need fixing and updating course videos this week. If you see something in one of my courses that can use a refresh, please let me know in the Q&A section of the course.

It’s been a couple of months since I sent a newsletter, and so this edition will cover that period.

The unsubscribe link is at the bottom if you want to stop receiving these emails.


If you’ve been paying attention to Apple over the past few years, one of the more interesting moves was when they started making their own computer chips. While the common wisdom at the time was to standardize on commodity hardware like Intel x86, Apple decided to go the other way with it and make their own chips. 

After all, it’s better to let the chip companies focus on making chips, since they are the world’s experts at it, right?

Apple had been making its own chips for the iPhone for years (the A-series). But recently they started making chips for their personal computers. The M1 chip is surprisingly much faster than the previous Intel chips they were using. The low power usage alone doubles the battery life of a Macbook. That’s an amazing improvement by making their own chips.

And so it might come as no surprise that other companies now want to make their own chips.

Azure recently hired chip designer Mike Fillipo from Apple, who has also previously worked at Intel and ARM. The rumor is that they are going to be making their own Azure server chips.

Now if Azure can get a competitive advantage over AWS and Google Cloud by moving off the Intel and AMD chipsets and onto their own custom chips, that can be worth billions of dollars to Microsoft. And of course, ultimately reduce costs to the end-users.

Of course, the rest of Azure’s hardware is custom-designed already. There have been some interesting talks by Azure CTO Mark Russinovich on how the Azure datacenter is designed if you’re interested.


Microsoft released it’s Q2 earnings yesterday, and they beat Wall Street expectations. Unfortunately, the Azure Cloud growth has slowed to a 46% annual growth rate. It was 48% annually last quarter.

Obviously, the pandemic has changed the trajectory of cloud adoption. Initially, it accelerated it. I remember reading a quote from an Azure VP that said that they saw adoption accelerated by a few years in 2020. Everyone needed to move their apps to the cloud, to enable their employees to work from home without complicated VPN setups. 

But now that adoption has largely occurred, and so it’s not surprising that growth has slowed.

I don’t want to make this an us vs them type competition, but it’s worth nothing that Amazon AWS has been growing at under 40% since 2019, and so Azure is still growing at a slightly faster pace. Actually, it’s fair to say that the “competition” between Azure and AWS has largely been silent (except for the occasional big government contract dispute) since both businesses are massive and prevalent throughout all major enterprises. We’re reaching a saturation point.


Since the last newsletter was sent at the beginning of December, a lot has happened. Here’s a summary of the highlights.

The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:

  • Azure Communication Services now supports short codes in SMS, in Preview
  • AKS node image auto-upgrade now in GA
  • AKS auto-certificate rotation now in GA
  • Create AKS clusters without local user accounts now in GA
  • Azure is renaming “action rules” to “alert processing rules” which is clearer
  • SQL Server IaaS Agent extension for Linux SQL VMs now in GA
  • Virtual Machine restore points now in public preview
  • Availability Zones now generally available in India Central 
  • Immutable storage with versioning for Blob Storage now in GA
  • Azure Communication Services interoperability with Microsoft Teams
  • Azure Storage: Attribute-based Access Control (ABAC) conditions with principal attributes now in public preview
  • Azure Storage: Secure access to storage account from a virtual network/subnet in any region now in public preview
  • Automated key rotation in Azure Key Vault is now in public preview
  • Soft delete for blobs capability for Azure Data Lake Storage now in GA
  • Azure Policy support for Azure Site Recovery now in GA
  • Azure Ultra Disk Storage in West US 3 now in GA

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


I don’t have any new courses on the immediate horizon, but it’s a good time to go back to all of my existing courses and give them a refresh. I’ve already begun recording and editing videos for AZ-104, AZ-304, and others. Rest assured that I remain focused on the latest exam objectives for each exam code, and ensuring my courses contain up-to-date material.

If you have ideas for Microsoft exams that could use a course, feel free to post them in the Facebook group (link below) or tag me on Twitter (also below). I’m always looking for new ideas on new ways to help students.


And that’s it for issue 3.01. Thanks for reading this far.

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

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