Passed – AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam

I decided it was time to branch out into other clouds. We live in a multi-cloud world and it does not hurt to at a minimum understand what other clouds offer and how they work. I decided to go after the base level AWS certification. On 7/24/2020 I took the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam and passed!

Here is my Acclaim badge for it: https://www.youracclaim.com/badges/309a8223-fd41-4e5a-876a-0066f4d32e23

I am still primarily Azure focused but you might see me working with AWS a little more. I may decide at some point to pursue some more AWS certs and potentially GCP.

Here is what I used to study:

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course on Pluralsight:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/aws-certified-cloud-practitioner/table-of-contents

AWS to Azure services comparison:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/aws-professional/services

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Study Guide blog post by Janeice DelVecchio and Scott Selikoff (includes a PDF):

https://www.selikoff.net/2019/01/20/how-i-recommend-studying-for-the-aws-certified-cloud-practitioner-exam/

The test was not super hard. Good luck if you plan to take it!

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Inside Azure Management Sessions now on YouTube

I recently presented at the Inside Azure management event. This event was packed full of Microsoft MVP’s and community experts from around the world. The focus on the event was around Azure Management based topics with some Kubernetes, AI, and DevOps topics sprinkled in.

My session was “Azure Policy Insights & Multi-Tag demo via Azure Policy” Here is what it covered: “Azure Policy is a great tool when it comes to auditing and ensuring your cloud governance is met. In this session 9 time Microsoft Azure MVP Steve Buchanan is going to take you on a full-speed ride on the ins and outs of Azure Policy and land you with a recipe for handling a multi-tagging strategy with Azure Policy. Some of the key topics you will learn from this session include:

  • Overview of Azure Policy
  • Azure Policy Configuration best practices to meet compliance (NIST, PCI, ISO, HIPPA)
  • Securing Azure services: AKS / Networking / SQL / App Service
  • Azure Policy vs RBAC
  • Overview of Azure Policy Guest Configuration
  • Tagging and more

The event has passed and if you didn’t make it no worries! All of the sessions have been recorded and uploaded to the Inside Azure management YouTube channel to be watched at your leisure. Here is the link to the YouTube channel where you can watch all the sessions:

https://bit.ly/azurevideos

The event coordinators have also set up some Youtube playlists to make it easier to find videos on the topics that pertain to you. They broke these out in the following categories: Azure Management, Artificial Intelligence in Azure, Cloud Governance, Cybersecurity, and DevOps.

You can watch my session right here:

Also here is the direct link to the video of my session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EfAiITcExK0

Thanks for checking out my session and others from this event. Stay tuned to my blog for info on where I will be speaking next!

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Third Pluralsight Course Published – Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options

Today my third Pluralsight course has been published. This course is titled “Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options“. It is a part of an AZ-900 learning path that will help you prepare for the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 exam. Learn more about that exam here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-900 .

I was excited about this course as it is a part of my day to day focus on Azure. Also, this is a chance to help those that are getting started with Azure. Here is what you will gain from this course:

This course will teach you the fundamental knowledge about the pricing and support options in Azure one of the core skills measured in the AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals exam.

In this course, Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options, you’ll learn to estimate the pricing and support of Azure cloud services. First, you’ll explore Azure subscriptions, subscription management, and management groups.

Next, you’ll discover, plan, and manage Azure costs. Finally, you’ll learn how to understand Azure SLA’s, various Azure service lifecycles, and how to select the right support options. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge of Azure pricing and available support needed to estimate Azure costs and select the right support options.

Please check out this new course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/microsoft-azure-pricing-support-options

Also, be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Speaking at Inside Azure Management Summit

I was recently added to the speaker lineup for the “Inside  Azure Management Summit” happening on 7/23/2020. This event is a FREE 1-day virtual event. It features the Microsoft cloud experts from the authoring team of “Inside Azure Management” book, Microsoft MVP’s, and community experts from around the world.

Attendees will get a day full of deep-dive technical sessions across a variety of Microsoft cloud topics including:

  • DevOps and Automation
  • Cyber Security
  • Cloud Governance
  • Migration and Monitoring
  • Docker and Kubernetes
  • AI and Identity

The sessions will span a 13-hr period to allow audiences from around the world to join a portion of the event.

 I will be giving a session on Azure Policy. Here is my session info:

Session Title:

Azure Policy Insights & Multi-Tag demo via Azure Policy

 

Session Abstract:

Azure Policy is a great tool when it comes to auditing and ensuring your cloud governance is met. In this session 9 time Microsoft Azure MVP Steve Buchanan is going to take you on a full-speed ride on the ins and outs of Azure Policy and land you with a recipe for handling a multi-tagging strategy with Azure Policy. Some of the key topics you will learn from this session include:

  • Overview of Azure Policy
  • Azure Policy Use Cases
  • How Azure Policy can meet NIST standards
  • Azure Policy vs RBAC
  • Overview of Azure Policy Guest Configuration
  • Tagging and more

Here is the direct link to my session:

https://insideazuremgmt.com/session/azure-policy-insights-multi-tag-demo-via-azure-policy/

Be sure to register for this event to check out all the great sessions including mine on Azure Policy.

Here is the link to the official site:

https://www.insideazuremgmt.com

Here is the link to register:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inside-azure-management-the-virtual-summit-tickets-109230577598?aff=ebdssbeac

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Microsoft MVP for the 9th year!

Wow! Today I was honored to be renewed as an MVP again. This marks year #9! Here is a screenshot of the official email from Microsoft:

I never take this award for granted. It is not guaranteed. Every year when July 1 rolls around I never truly know if I will be back in the MVP program or not. 2020 has been a tough year with the COVID19 pandemic and racial tensions in the US coming to a head. Me being renewed as an MVP this time around is a boost of much needed good news.

This marks the second year for me as a Microsoft Azure MVP! It is not easy to be a part of these ranks with so many talented people in the cloud space.

I am looking forward to the 2020-2021 MVP award year with some things already in the works such as guest spots on podcast shows, speaking at some virtual conferences, organizing an Azure user group, speaking at user groups, more courses, and of course, more blog posts to come around Azure, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Hybrid Cloud, and more.

This year I also aim in doing my part to exposing the MVP program to underrepresented people and encouraging them to contribute to the tech community at large potentially even having some new faces join the ranks as an MVP.

As always I am honored to remain a part of MVP ranks. I will continue to do all that I can in the Azure, Azure Stack, AKS, and CloudOps/DevOps communities this year.

My Microsoft MVP Profile: http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Steve%20Buchanan-4039736

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Guest on “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast EP13

I recently had the honor of being a guest on the “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast. Lisa is a Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Strategist and an influencer in the hybrid cloud community based out of Scotland. She runs a blog and this year she started a popular podcast.

On Lisa’s podcast, she covers Careers in Tech and Microsoft Hybrid Cloud and a range of other topics with experts across the tech community.

This is an episode you don’t want to miss. This was one of the most entertaining podcasts I have been on. It took some interesting turns in regards to topics and very engaging. In the podcast episode Lisa and I talk about:

  • Evolving your career as technology evolves
  • Transformation of IT dept to Strategic Business Partner
  • DevOps
  • Containers 101
  • Azure Kubernetes Service
  • Diversity in tech

You can listen to the episode here:


or here
https://anchor.fm/lisaattheedge/episodes/EP13—Career-Development–Containers-101-and-Diversity-in-Tech-with-Steve-Buchanan-efnjrp

You can stay up to date with what Lisa is doing in the tech community here:

Lisa at the Edge Podcast – – https://anchor.fm/lisaattheedge
Lisa at the Edge Blog – https://lisaattheedge.com/blog/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/lisaattheedge

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Second Pluralsight Course Published – Monitor and Maintain a Software-Defined Datacenter with SCOM

Pluralsight has recently published my second course. This course is Monitor and Maintain a Software-Defined Datacenter with SCOM. This one took me back to my System Center roots focusing on Operations Manager.

This course prepares you for the 70-745 exam, while simultaneously showing you how to use SCOM for your datacenter.

In the course you will learn:

  • How to plan, deploy, and configure Operations Manager.
  • Then, you will discover how to tune Operations Manager.
  • Finally, you will learn about monitoring infrastructure and virtual machine workloads.

By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how monitoring works using SCOM.

Please check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/monitor-maintain-software-defined-datacenter-scom/table-of-contents

Also, be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing an Azure course soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

 

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HashiCorp – Terraform Certified Associate exam & Study Guide

Yesterday HashiCorp announced their Terraform and Vault certification exams have gone public! This is exciting news for those that want to get certified on these technologies. Here is the blog announcing this: https://www.hashicorp.com/blog/announcing-hashicorp-cloud-engineering-certifications/ .

I am proud to say that I helped contribute to the Terraform Certified Associate exam. Check out my badge here: https://www.youracclaim.com/badges/077f51e4-74cd-478a-af4b-ec338dae8559 . I plan to contribute more in the future.

I am also happy to announce that I was a tech reviewer on the first study guide for this cert titled “HashiCorp Terraform Certified Associate Preparation Guide“. You can find it here: https://leanpub.com/terraform-certified/. This guide was authored by fellow Microsoft MVP Ned Bellavance and Microsoft CSA Adin Ermie. Huge thanks guys for letting me be a part of this project!

If you work with Terraform I hope you get certified and be sure to use the study guide!

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Passed – Docker Certified Associate (Study guide)

Today I passed the Docker Certified Associate exam! In this post, I will share some details about the exam and the resources I used to study for it.

The certification is good for 2 years after passing the exam. It demonstrates that you have foundational real-world Docker skills. It is multiple choice with 55 questions, you have 1.5 hours to finish it and costs $195 USD. It is recommended that you have 6 to 12 months of hands-on experience with Docker before taking the exam. You can read about and sign up for the exam here: https://success.docker.com/certification.

I have had some folks ask me why I would waste my time taking the Docker exam. They say to focus on Kubernetes and Open Shift instead of Docker. Lets talk about why I chose to pursue the Docker certification. First off you have to run containers on those orchestration platforms mentioned before and chances are you will run Docker containers on them. Therefore before diving into an orchestration platform it is important to be knowledgable on containers. Also, I have seen many scenarios in the cloud where it makes sense to run containers directly on the cloud platform itself and again chances are those will be Docker containers. Docker is still a leader in the container space. There are several reports and articles that point to this. Here are some of the reports and articles backing this up:

Docker listed as the leader in the “Container Tools Used” section of the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report” here:

Docker is listed as #2  with 31.35% market share on Datanyze 2020 “Containerization Market Share Competitor Analysis Report” here:

Source: https://www.datanyze.com/market-share/containerization–321

In “Sysdiags 2018 Docker usage report” they show “What container runtimes are in use?” showing Docker as the leader. 

Source: https://sysdig.com/blog/2018-docker-usage-report/

And finally this article arguing that Docker is better than LXC here:

https://www.upguard.com/articles/docker-vs-lxc

I will call out that the Docker exam covers Swarm mode orchestration platform that is included with Docker. Swarm mode is a lot easier to learn and use compared to Kubernetes however, Kubernetes has won the orchestration platform war. It would be nice if Docker would revamp the exam reducing or removing Swarm and replace with some Kubernetes objectives. This would make more sense because there is a strong chance Swarm will not be used in the real world. 

The Docker exam was not an easy exam and you definitely want to have some hands-on with Docker before taking it. There are a ton of resources out there that you can leverage beyond hands-on to assist in your study for this certification. There are many books available. You can do a quick search on Amazon and check the reviews for one that would be a good fit for you. I have read a couple of books on Docker and have co-authored a book on AKS with a chapter dedicated to Docker in it.

Here is the list of what I used to study.

Free Hands on Docker labs (This resource was huge for me. It gave me environments to use and scenarios for training with Docker and Docker Swarm mode.):

I attended a “Docker JumpStart Virtual Workshop” by Microsoft MVP Mike Pfeiffer and Microsoft MVP/Docker Captain Dan Wahlin (This workshop ocurred in the past but I beleive you can sign up and watch the recordings from the workshop.):

Free Docker Certification review questions here (This blogger has a bunch of review questions to help you get in the right mindset. They cover all the exam areas.): 

Docker courses and learning checks on Pluralsight (The courses are great. I found the learning checks very useful becuase it was a good way to check my knowledge in all of the exam areas.):

Spent time working with Docker on some projects (self explanatory).

Overall the Docker certification is a good move for your career as an IT Pro, developer, if you work in DevOps, and with cloud. I definitely recommend getting this certification. If you decide to go after it good luck!

Stay tuned for more blog posts with insights on certifications in the future.

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Cloud Governance, Bringing Order To Your Cloud Chaos – Podcast

Recently I was a guest on the “Day Two Cloud” podcast hosted by fellow Microsoft MVP/Pluralsight author Ned Bellavance.

We talked about how native Azure governance & management tools Azure Policy, Tagging, and Blueprints can be used to bring order to your cloud environments. Listen now here:

Check it out here:

https://packetpushers.net/podcast/day-two-cloud-033-cloud-governance-bringing-order-to-your-cloud-chaos

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