Speaking at DevOpsDays Minneapolis 2021

I have been attended DevOpsDays Minneapolis for 4 years. Its always a great event with rockstar speakers and great content. I also always meet some great folks in the DevOps space.

This year I will be speaking at DevOpsDays Minneapolis! This is a huge honor for me as I have a lot of respect for the event organizers and its always world-class event! I will be speaking about Kubernetes and GitOps. My session can be found here: https://devopsdays.org/events/2021-minneapolis/speakers/steve-buchanan

The event is July 20th-21st. It will be a hybrid event (in-person & virtual). I will be speaking in person on the 20th.

Here is my session info:

GitOps and Kubernetes: a Winning Combo

GitOps is an emerging pattern for cloud-native applications. This operating model simplifies Kubernetes ops while simultaneously improving the developer experience. GitOps enables continuous delivery of configuration updates and application deployments to Kubernetes.

Through the lens of GitHub, Argo CD, and Azure Kubernetes Service, we’ll explore use cases and benefits, principles and practices, architecture and tooling, and what GitOps changes in our day-to-day.

Check out the full program for the event here: https://devopsdays.org/events/2021-minneapolis/program

For those that won’t be attending in person you can Live stream it on YouTube here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_L5NW8kmClZyYz-HFgKsKA

———-Update 7/21/21———-

Today I delivered my session on GitOps and Kubernetes: a Winning Combo. This was my first in-person event since the pandemic in the US started. I went on stage right after Ian Coldwater gave the keynote. Ian had an amazing keynote talking about community, how the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd impacted Minneapolis last year along with how the community came together. I presented to a crowd of a few hundred as well as another couple hundred online.

The online reach of this event was amazing. I even received a message that my session was watched by some folks in Japan!

In my session, we went on a journey through how companies should focus on being software businesses moving to digital, how the pandemic accelerated companies and consumers going digital as well as companies using Kubernetes and GitOps as a way to help power digital transformation.

The conference organizers did a great job pulling off another excellent event while ensuring everyone followed safety guidelines.

Here is the day 1 stream recording. You can find my sessions at 54:23:

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about GitOps check out my Pluralsight course titled “GitOps: The Big Picture” here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/gitops-the-big-picture

Read More

10th Year as a Microsoft MVP!

Happy to be a Microsoft MVP for the 10th year even though this is not like the other years. As always 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.

This is my third year as an Azure focused MVP. Again I am honored to be among the ranks of taltented Azure folks. I am looking forward to the 2021-2022 MVP award year full of exciting community stuff. I plan to do more speaking, podcasts, books, and of course Pluralsight courses. I also plan to pick up blogging again and getting a little more active posting blogs on here.

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

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

Read More

Guest on New Relic Observy McObservface Podcast – GitOps, Kubernetes, Linux on Azure, AI, Blockchain, and more

I was recently a guest on New Relic‘s Developer Relations team podcast “Observy McObservface” with Jonan Scheffler.

Jonan Scheffler and I talk about Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Linux on Azure, how Microsoft’s been successful at working in enterprise and open source, where I believe GitOps & Kubernetes is eventually going to go, and my excitement in regards to AI and blockchain as well as how they’re going to impact the world. You can listen to the podcast and read the article links below.

Listen to the Podcast:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1225223/8618776-open-is-not-optional-shifting-sands-and-faxing-on-blockchains-with-steve-buchanan

Read the Article:
https://www.therelicans.com/mandymoore/open-is-not-optional-shifting-sands-and-faxing-on-blockchains-with-steve-buchanan-495p

Read More

9 Pluralsight Courses

I recently published 2 new courses bringing my total Pluralsight courses to 9! These two new courses wrap up my time authoring courses for the SAP on Azure path. These 2 new courses are Migrating SAP Workloads to Azure and Designing an Azure Solution to Support SAP Workloads.

This brand new path is Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads (AZ-120). This path also has a course by Tim Warner as well as two more being developed right now! Also, I should mention this path also contains my SAP on Azure: The Big Picture course.

This new path will help you prepare to take the AZ-120 exam to earn your Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty certification and ramp up on SAP on Azure in general.

Check out the path here: https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/planning-and-administering-microsoft-azure-for-sap-workloads-az-120

I hope you find value in this new SAP on Azure learning path on Pluralsight. Again these two new courses bring me to a total of 9 courses now published on the Pluralsight platform! Next up I will start working on some Azure courses. These new courses will cover managing servers and Kubernetes with Azure Arc. I am very excited about my next courses. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release these new courses! 

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

Read More

Workforce for the Future of Work Tech Panel

Recently (April 2021) I was invited to be a panelist during an event for the Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County. At this event, we discussed how to leverage tech skills and the Ramsey County tech ecosystem to support a transformative workforce recovery. This panel was hosted by Tony Lusiba, WIB Tech Committee Chair.

The panelists included:

Some of the topics that were discussed

  • Trends to think about as we pivot our workforce post-COVID-19.
  • New skills that job seekers should have as companies move to hybrid models vs going back to the office 100%.
  • Technology enhancements employers should adopt to provide support for this new hybrid working model.

Here is a blog post about the event:

https://www.ramseycountymeansbusiness.com/workforce/workforce-news/p/item/34678/preparing-our-workforce-for-the-future-of-work-recording-now-available

Here is a direct link to watch the the recording:

Preparing our Workforce for the Future of Work panel discussion

Read More

How to get started with SAP on Azure Including Hands-On

SAP is the #1 business software in the world. You will find SAP applications running in a majority of Fortune 500 companies powering their business. Becoming an expert in SAP is a great career move for anyone in tech and business.

Azure is a major cloud player in the public cloud space. Microsoft has done a lot of work to make Azure the best fit for running SAP in the public cloud. Becoming an expert in Azure is also a great career move.

Both SAP and Azure are in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. Building a combined SAP and Azure skillset to become an SAP on Azure SME can have a huge positive impact on your career.

Considering the number of organizations that run SAP with most of them looking to migrate it to the public cloud or deploy SAP new on the public cloud means you would be a key to these organizations if you have SAP on Azure skills.

One of the challenges with SAP has always been-how can one get experience with it and get some hands-on with it? It is no secret that SAP is expensive and therefore is not the easiest to get access to for anyone that is ramping up on it. In this blog, I will highlight some options for learning SAP on Azure as well as how to get some hands-on with it.

First off Microsoft has an SAP on Azure certification. This is AZ-120: Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads. This certification is for anyone that wants to demonstrate knowledge of both SAP and Azure along with the ability to run SAP on Azure public cloud. If you are a SAP Basis person, on-premises SAP administrator, Azure administrator, sysadmin, cloud admin, solution architect, business analyst, and more then this certification and career path is for you. Skills measured by this AZ-120 exam include:

Migrate SAP Workloads to Azure
Create an inventory of existing SAP landscapes
Design a migration strategy
Design an Azure Solution to Support SAP Workloads
Design a core infrastructure solution in Azure to support SAP workloads
Design Azure infrastructure services to support SAP workloads
Design a resilient Azure solution to support SAP workloads
Build and Deploy Azure for SAP Workloads
Automate deployment of Virtual Machines (VMs)
Implement and manage virtual networking
Manage access and authentication on Azure
Implement and manage identities
Monitor SAP workloads on Azure
Validate Azure Infrastructure for SAP Workloads
Perform infrastructure validation check
Perform operational readiness check
Operationalize Azure SAP Architecture
Optimize performance
Migrate SAP workloads to Azure

One option for learning more about SAP on Azure is to check out my Pluralsight course on this here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/sap-azure-big-picture, check out this SAP on Azure book here: https://www.amazon.com/SAP-Azure-Implementation-Guide-business/dp/1838983988, and this blog post with more info on the SAP on Azure certification here: https://app.pluralsight.com/guides/cloud-certifications-:-azure-for-sap-workloads-specialty-(az-120).

Now comes the hands on part with SAP!

SAP Docker Containers:

SAP has some express and developer editions of their software available as Containers. These are hosted on Dockerhub. It’s really cool that that SAP has made some of their solutions available as Docker containers. This makes it really easy to spin up the solutions and get started with them right away without having to load a server and install the SAP software. All you need is Docker Desktop to run these locally.

You could also run these containers in the cloud as well. It is critical to note that you still need a considerable amount of resources (CPU, RAM, Disk space) to support running the SAP solutions as containers. Do not cut corners on this. Allocate the required amount of resources. Overall this is a great option if you want to get the SAP software up and running as fast as possible to focus on getting hands-on with the SPA software itself. Here are the container options:

Full SAP software Trials and Downloads:

This option is a full download of the SAP software that you install on a virtual machine running in Azure. As opposed to the SAP containers you will need to go through the process of deploying a VM, configuring any prereqs, and then installing the SAP software. Overall if you want to get the experience of configuring the VM’s and installing the SAP software then this is a great option. Here is the option:

Azure Cloud Options:

The first option SAP Cloud Appliance Library (SAP CAL) is a service from SAP that allows you to select a preconfigured SAP solution on your cloud of choice letting SAP deploy the SAP solution in your cloud subscription for you. This option includes trials of the SAP software. This a great option to get hands-on experience in Azure. It does not help you gain experience with deploying and configuring the Azure estate though and that is something you will need to do on a real project.

The last two options will take you through the journey of using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to deploy the estate needed to support SAP running in the cloud, the VM’s that will run the SAP software, and deployment of trial SAP software.

Overall the first option SAP CAL is a great way to quickly get started with SAP on Azure and see what the experience is like. The last two options are the best giving you hands-on both with Azure and with SAP the closest you will get to the real world. 

  • SAP Cloud Appliance Library (SAP CAL)
    • SAP CAL is an online library of preconfigured and ready-to-use SAP solutions on a trial basis. SAP CAL gives you a quick & easy way to spin up SAP solutions directly in Azure and other clouds. It includes SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA Express Edition, and more. 
    • https://cal.sap.com
  • Infrastructure as Code to deploy SAP in Azure
  • SAP Deployment Automation Framework
    • Terraform to deploy the architecture needed for SAP and the SAP virtual machines. Ansible to configure the virtual machines and install the SAP on Azure software.

That brings us to the end of this blog post. I hope you find this helpful with tips on how to get started with SAP on Azure including some hands on! Thanks for reading.

Read More

CloudSkills.fm Podcast: Cloud Native, Azure Arc, DevOps, GitOps, Kubernetes, and Azure

Recently I had the honor to be a guest on my friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Mike Pfeiffer’s Cloudskills.fm podcast again! This was episode is “106: Steve Buchanan on Cloud Native, DevOps, GitOps, Kubernetes, and Azure“. I was excited to be a guest again on the CloudSkills podcast and catch up with Mike.

On this new episode, we had a chance to talk about a variety of topics like leveling up your career, what I have been up to, diversity and inclusion in the tech, of course Azure, Azure Arc, DevOps, Kubernetes, GitOps, we even touched on SAP on Azure, among other insights.

You can listen to the podcast episode 106 right here on my blog:

Or you can listen to episode #106 here: https://cloudskills.fm/episodes/106.

Back in 2019 I was a guest on the Cloudskills.fm podcast on episode # 15. The past episode was a lot of fun with more of a focus on your career in the world of IT. If you want to check that out here.

Read More

Article on Star Tribune

2021 is off to a great start & it’s only the 2nd month. 😎

I am excited and honored to announce I am featured in an article in Minnesota’s largest newspaper the Star Tribune on SuperBowl Sunday!

Here is a picture of the article in the paper:

You can read the full article here:

https://m.startribune.com/twin-cities-technologist-steve-buchanan-sees-a-more-inclusive-expanding-future-for-young-minorities/600019839

Read More

GitOps: The Big Picture

There is another wave coming. This wave is GitOps. GitOps is a technology pattern and operational framework. It is often used for Kubernetes however is really for cloud-native applications in general. Being that a large amount of cloud-native applications these days are designed and built to run on Kubernetes it is no surprise that GitOps is commonly adopted in Kubernetes environments. If you are running Kubernetes or looking at it chances are you may have heard of GitOps. This is how I define GitOps:

GitOps is an operating model pattern for cloud native applications storing application & declarative infrastructure code in Git as the source of truth used for automated continuous delivery.”  

Well, that sums up with GitOps is but it still is a mouthful and can take a bit to wrap ones head around it. In a nutshell GitOps is shifting everything to code, storing everything in Git, making Git the source of truth, and using an operator deploy what is described in Git in your environment including the application and the configuration. With GitOps you describe the desired state of your entire system and GitOps makes it so. It simplifies operations and makes the experience for developers much better allowing them to work out of a tool they are familiar with (Git). Here is a basic sample diagram to give you a visual idea about what GitOps is and how it works:

So in the case of Kubernetes you would have your app code in Git, your container images in Git, and your Kubernetes manifest files. Now there is more to it and how it works but we will not get into all of that in this blog post. This is a good Segway to purpose of this blog post.

The purpose of this blog post is that I just dropped my 7th Pluralsight course GitOps: The Big Picture! This was a fun course to build as I am passionate about and like working with Containers, Kubernetes, and cloud.

A quick shoutout to both Fellow Microsoft MVP/Pluralsight Author Tim Warner and Jason Alba for amplifying my new course!

This course teaches the fundamentals of GitOps, the need for GitOps, GitOps architecture, GitOps workflow, GitOps principles, practices, & tooling such as Flux, Argo CD, AND Jenkins X. Also in this course, GitOps: The Big Picture, you’ll learn what it takes to adopt GitOps. First, you’ll explore what GitOps is and its benefits. Next, you’ll discover GitOps Tooling NS Architecture. Finally, you’ll learn how to use GitOps Workflows. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills & knowledge of the GitOps framework needed to take the next steps with GitOps.

In the course I give a couple of demos so you can see GitOps in action. The first demo is on “deploying an application using Argo CD” and the second demo is on “GitOps in Action with Azure Arc Enabled Kubernetes using Flux”. Another interesting fact about GitOps is we are starting to see the major cloud providers bring GitOps into their offerings such as Azure Arc and or couple GitOps with their services like with GCP GKE as well as create content on using GitOps with their managed Kubernetes services like with AWS EKS.

GitOps is going to continue to grow right along with the continued growth of Containers, Kubernetes, and Cloud. I am all in and you will see blogs, books, courses, speaking at events, and more from me around GitOps as I continue on my personal journey with it.

Check out the “GitOps: The Big Picture” course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/gitops-the-big-picture

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 on topics around Azure, GitOps, SAP on Azure, & Kubernetes courses soon!

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

Read More

2020 Year Review – Podcasts, Speaking, New Courses, & Certifications

2020 was an extraordinarily tough year with many downs for so many people all over the world. For me losing 3 people in a week and a half (not to COVID) along with all the funerals to follow was rough. Also, the injustice in my home city with the murder of George Floyd and unrest was unbelievable but not a surprise with injustice going un-noticed for so long. It was amazing to see the world wake up and acknowledge what has been happening for so long.

In spite of all of the bad stuff from 2020, there was a tremendous amount of good stuff happening and progress. I believe there is always an opportunity in the middle of chaos. To see the opportunity it is needed to take a step back, slow down, and analyze the board. In this post, I am going to recap the positives from this year as I have done in the past few years.

Let me start off with the fact that I was renewed for my 9th year as a Microsoft MVP! I was re-awarded in the Azure category for the 3rd year. I never take the Microsoft MVP award for granted as it is never guaranteed. I am honored to once again be among such a talented group of people across the globe!

The next thing I want to call out is a message I received from someone from my home city after listening to one of the podcasts I was featured on. In this message this upcoming tech star talked about how he was inspired by the episode and how he can relate to me. This message was inspiring to me as this is a huge part of what I want to do through sharing my story. I hope to see more of it in the future. Here is the message:

Ok, now lets get into the list of activity from 2020!

-Podcasts-

In 2020 I was honored to be featured on 7 podcasts! Some of the podcasts in the US, Europe, and Africa! Here are the podcasts:

Guest on “Lisa at the Edge” Podcast EP13: In the podcast episode Lisa and I talked about: Evolving your career as technology evolves, Transformation of IT dept to Strategic Business Partner, DevOps, Containers 101, Azure Kubernetes Service, Diversity in tech. Episode link here

Guest on Packet Pushers podcast Cloud Governance, Bringing Order To Your Cloud Chaos. Podcast episode here:

Guest on a #podcast by @blacktechtalent. The founder & I discuss topics such as: breaking into tech, finding black tech talent, black employee retention, racism, colorism & more. You can listen here: https://www.blacktechtalent.org/btt-discussions-ep-3-ft-steve-buchanan/

Was a guest on Tech Talk Wednesday podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega Topic: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in 30 minutes. Streamed online via Microsoft Teams and aired in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7).

10/31/2020 FEATURED ON BITTECHTALK EPISODE #127 – BITTechTalk ep. #127 Steve Buchanan – PC Tech to Microsoft MVP

Guest on Black Tech Talent podcast.

11/5/2020 Guest on the RunAs Radio Podcast

Guest on  Headinthecloud Heartinthecommunity a community show by Isidora Katanic and Holly Lehman.

-Pluralsight Courses-

In 2020 I developed 5 new courses for Pluralsight bringing the total to 6! This is an opportunity to continue sharing my knowledge with the world through Pluralsight’s global platform. You can find my Pluralsight Author page here:

https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

Here are my blogs about the courses throughout 2020:

One more highlight from my journey with Pluralsight in 2020 is that my AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 courses on Pluralsight! This actually stayed here for multiple months!

I am excited about the potential with Pluralsight for 2021!

-Speaking-

In 2020 I presented at some conferences and user groups. Here is where I presented in 2020:

Inside Azure Management event conference

I was a speaker during the “Inside Azure Management Summit” on 7/23/2020. This was a free community event. It featured Microsoft cloud experts from the authoring team of “Inside Azure Management” book, Microsoft MVP’s, and community experts from around the world. I presented on Azure Policy! My session can be watched here:

I was one of the experts in several Ask the Expert sessions during Microsoft Ignite 2020! Sessions included PowerShell on Azure, Kubernetes on Azure, and Azure Migrations.

Presented at an Azure User Group based in Ghana, in Africa on Terraform for Azure!

-Interviews-

I was featured on AzureCrazy.com in an article! In the Interview we discuss being a #Microsoft MVP, getting certified in #Azure, the positive impact #PowerShell can have on your #ITCareer, getting started with #AKS#AzureStackHub & more. Check it out here:

-Certifications-

Since 2020 was full of time spent inside at home I took some time to knock out a few certifications.

I took and passed the Docker certification! CKA will be in my future.

I decided to study for and passed an AWS certification!

I also gained a Terraform certification by contributing to the Terraform associate exam and helped out with a Terraform certification study guide!

-More-

I also spent time writing blogs, volunteering with some youth tech programs, as well as shared a couple of scripts on GitHub! Here are some posts about some of these:

2020 was a full year. I already have plans and stuff in the works to make 2021 an exciting year continuing with a focus on Azure, Containers, Kubernetes, IaC, Terraform, GitOps, and more! Please check back here often for new blogs, scripts, and more.

Read More