Featured on Cloudskills.fm and New Azure course

FEATURED ON CLOUDSKILLS.FM ~

CloudSkills.fm is a podcast by fellow Microsoft MVP Mike Pfeiffer and veteran in the tech space with 5 books under his belt and numerous courses on Pluralsight. The podcast can be found here: cloudskills.fm. Mike is an all around good guy and I was honored to be a featured guest on one of his podcast episodes. The podcast is weekly with technical tips and career advice for people working in the cloud computing industry. The podcast is geared for developers, IT pros, those making move into cloud.

On this episode Mike and I talked about managing both the technical and non-technical aspects of your career in the cloud computing industry. We also discuss DevOps stuff around Docker, Azure Kubernetes Service, Terraform and cloud stuff around Azure management including my 5 points to success with cloud. You can listen to the podcast here:

https://cloudskills.fm/015

Also on you can listen here: iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/cloudskills-fm/id1448194100 and PlayerFM: https://player.fm/series/cloudskillsfm/ep-015-managing-your-cloud-career .

NEW AZURE COURSE ~

I’m very excited Opsgility recently published a new Azure course by me titled: “Deploy and Configure Infrastructure”. This course is part of the AZ 300 certification learning path for Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies. More about the AZ 300 certification can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-az-300.aspx. The course is over 4 hours of Azure content!

Description of the course:

In the course learn how to analyze resource utilization and consumption, create and configure storage accounts, create and configure a VM for Windows and Linux, create connectivity between virtual networks, implement and manage virtual networking, manage Azure Active Directory, and implement and manage hybrid identities.

Objectives of the course:

  • Configure diagnostic settings on resources
  • Create baseline for resources
  • Utilize Log Search query functions
  • Configure network access to the storage account
  • Implement Azure storage replication
  • Configure high availability
  • Deploy and configure scale sets
  • Modify ARM Templates
  • Configure Azure Disk Encryption for VMs
  • Create and configure VNET peering
  • Install and configure Azure AD Connect

It can be watched here:

https://skillmeup.com/courses/player/deploy-and-configure-infrastructure

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Microsoft MVP Summit 2019

This year’s summit was one of the best MVP summits I have been to since being a Microsoft MVP! I focused on Azure, Azure Stack, containers, and orchestration platforms. That’s about all I can say about the summit. Everything else is NDA!

On top of all the learning at the summit it was great connecting with other MVP’s and the Microsoft teams. This I can share. Here are some highlights from the summit in pictures:

It was full of cool stickers starting off with one for the 2019 MVP Summit.

Here are a some of the core CDM MVPs in front of building 92 including Bob Cornelissen, John Joyner, Janaka Rangama, Jakob Svendsen, Sam Erskine, Cameron Fuller, Robert Hedblom, Dieter Wijckmans, and others.

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2018 Review – Speaking, Blogs, New job, and more…

2018 is almost over and it was an exciting year jam packed full of adventures! In this post I will recap some of the highlights from 2018.

New job

At the start of 2018 I started a new job with Avanade as a Group Manager: Cloud Transformation/DevOps. Who is Avanade? Avanade 35,000 plus employees and is a global consulting firm focused on the Microsoft platform. Avanade is owned by Accenture and Microsoft. I have been at the firm for exactly a year. It has been a fun ride so far working with really smart people on some exciting and very large projects. After I joined Avanade featured me on a Q&A spotlight blog.

You can check out the Q&A post here: https://www.avanade.com/en/blogs/inside-avanade/employee-stories/q-and-a-with-steve-buchanan

Moved from System Center focus to Azure/Azure Stack and DevOps

I moved away from System Center related work to only working on Azure, Azure Stack, and DevOps project. I had been making this shifting in this direction for a couple of years but the new job helped me transition to the type of work I wanted to do. I am a firm believer in change and through change comes growth. I still have my System Center skills but for me it was time to make a change in my career focus to be challenged and keep growing. Looking back I would make the same choice over again. You can see this change reflected in the blog topics I have posted, topics I have presented on this past year. My new role with Avanade has also helped me move my focus to cloud and DevOps.

Certifications/Training

I focused on and completed some Azure and DevOps certifications including: 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions and AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions. However the one I am most proud of is the Microsoft Professional Program: DevOps. It took me 2 months to finish the training and all the labs to obtain the certificate. Here is a blog I posted about the training experience for the MPP: DevOps http://www.buchatech.com/2018/04/microsoft-professional-program-for-devops-finished. Here is a link to the my certificate: https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/certificates/67284e84-8afe-4f13-b477-d7620949fb18.

I highly recommend any of the Microsoft Professional Program tracks. It is excellent training!

Changes in user group involvement

I stepped down from the MN System Center user group board after 6 years. The board is filled with great people and is as strong as ever. I will continue to speak at the UG from time to time when it makes sense and may even attend some of the meetings. I needed to step down to step up my Azure community focus. I have been leading the MN Azure user group for the past few years and now I am able to step up my involvement with this UG. More info about the MN Azure user group can be found here: http://mnazureusergroup.com  Some of the key meetings/topics in my opinion from 2018 are

April Azure User Group Meeting: DevOps Best Practices for Azure and VSTS presented by Abel Wang, a Microsoft Cloud Developer Advocate. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/kdbbdpyxgbhb

May Azure User Group Meeting: Automate & Configure using Azure presented by Jenny Hunter – Program Manager Azure Management & Eamon O’Reilly – Principal Program Manager Azure Management. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/kdbbdpyxhbfb

August Azure User Group: Microsoft APIs presented by Kyle Weeks, an IT professional for the University of Minnesota. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxlbdb

September Azure User Group: Azure Bots with Node.js presented by Kamran Ayub, a software engineer for Target corporation & Pluralsight author. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxmbjb

October Azure User Group: Azure Resource Manager Concepts – Simplified presented by Brian Moore, a Program Manager on the Azure Resource Manager Team. – https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/dtbmtpyxnbgb

As you can see we had some really great speakers both from the community and Microsoft. We do our best to collect the slides from presenters and upload them on the UG site. Past meeting info is here: http://mnazureusergroup.com/category/past-meetings

Key blog posts

With everything else going on I did my best to keep up with new blogs over the year. Same theme with my blog topics being focused on Azure and DevOps. Some of my key blogs from 2018 are:

ARCHITECT YOUR CLOUD WITH AZURE BLUEPRINTS

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/09/architect-your-cloud-with-azure-blueprints

SETUP CI/CD PIPELINE WITH VSTS & AZURE STACK

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/02/setup-ci-cd-pipeline-with-vsts-azure-stack

NATIVE CLOUD MANAGEMENT IN AZURE

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/03/native-cloud-management-in-azure

AZURE MANAGEMENT GROUPS

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/03/azure-management-groups

AZURE COST MANAGEMENT (CLOUDYN)

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/03/azure-cost-management-cloudyn

AZURE POLICY

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/03/azure-policy

CLOUD SECURITY VIA SECURITY CENTER

http://www.buchatech.com/2018/09/cloud-security-via-security-center

In 2018 I had a really cool opportunity to write a blog for the official Azure blog on Azure Stack and DevOps. Here is the title and link.

The importance of Azure Stack for DevOps” on the official Azure blog:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/the-importance-of-azure-stack-for-devops

Speaking

2018 was full of speaking opportunities from speaking at Azure events for Avanade, user groups, conferences and even on another continent. Here are highlights from where I presented in 2018.

MN Azure User Group

I was honored to kick of the MN Azure User group meetings last year with a session on Azure Stack. It was the February Azure User Group where I presented on Azure Stack Unleashed in 45 minutes to 131 attendees. Here is the link to the past meeting:  https://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Azure-Cloud-Computing-Meetup/events/245935696

MMS 2018  – https://mmsmoa.com

I was a speaker at MMS again in 2018. This time I delivered “5” sessions. Whoa! That was a whirlwind. Here is my MMS 2018 profile: https://mms2018.sched.com/steve_buchanan.1sw4e0n3. Here is a list of the 5 sessions:

Hybrid Cloud Unleashed with Azure Stack and Azure – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Florent Appointaire

https://mms2018.sched.com/event/EeQy/hybrid-cloud-unleashed-with-azure-stack-and-azure

Insight into the Micro-Service & Container Technology that Powers Microsoft’s Cloud – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Lee Berg

https://mms2018.sched.com/event/EeR3/insight-into-the-micro-service-container-technology-that-powers-microsofts-cloud

Monitoring Azure PaaS – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Cameron Fuller

https://mms2018.sched.com/event/EeTC/monitoring-azure-paas

Soup to Nuts of Azure Site Recovery – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Robert Hedblom

https://mms2018.sched.com/event/EeR4/soup-to-nuts-of-azure-site-recovery

ITSM Tools and Log Analytics: The Perfect Integration – With Microsoft MVP’s Steve Buchanan and Florent Appointaire

https://mms2018.sched.com/event/EeR1/itsm-tools-and-log-analytics-the-perfect-integration

Note you can download the decks from any of the sessions on the previous links.

BITCon 2018   – https://www.bitcon2018.com

This was the Inaugural conference for Blacks in Technology. BITCon brought together all walks of life in tech such as professionals, entrepreneurs, influencers, subject matter experts, students, and thought leaders.

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Microsoft Professional Program for DevOps Finished!

I am a firm believer that no matter how old you are, how far along you are in your career, and regardless of the industry you are in it is important to continue educating yourself. This helps you expand your skillset, stay relevant, and sets you up for new opportunities as they come along. My field of information technology has been changing at a rapid pace and so for a while, I wanted a good way to ramp up on DevOps as a whole. A while back I found out that Microsoft added a new track to their Professional Program for DevOps. When I checked it out I found it to be very thorough and it was not just focused on Microsoft’s DevOps tooling but included non-Microsoft as well. I jumped in without hesitation and started learning.

I finally completed the program last week. Here is my certificate https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/certificates/67284e84-8afe-4f13-b477-d7620949fb18. I am planning to dive into the program they have for cloud next. If you have not heard of Microsoft’s Professional Program DevOps before here more information about it:

“DevOps is the union of people, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to end users. This program helps the student learn about continuous integration and deployment, infrastructure as code, testing, databases, containers, and application monitoring: skills necessary for a DevOps culture in today’s workplace. This program focuses on Microsoft DevOps technologies as well as some OSS (Open Source Software) DevOps tools. Some of the Microsoft DevOps technologies covered in this course consist of Azure, Azure Resource Manager, IaaS, PaaS, IIS, Azure App Service, DevTest labs, Desired State Configuration (DSC), Azure Automation, OMS, Application Insights, SQL, Nuget, TFS, VSTS, and Visual Studio. Some of the OSS DevOps tools covered in this course consist of Jenkins, Git, Github, New Relic, Nagios, Chef, Docker, DC/OS, swarm, and Kubernetes.”

Here is a link to it:  https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/tracks/devops

This program consists of 8 required courses. Each course runs for three months and starts at the beginning of a quarter. In the end, there is a capstone that has to be completed. This capstone course is the 8th one. You have four weeks to complete the capstone. The capstone is a bunch of hands-on stuff you have to do. Courses average 16-32 hours per course to complete and are taken via the edX.org platform https://www.edx.org/microsoft-professional-program-devops.

Here is a list of all of the DevOps program courses:

      • Introduction to Dev Ops Practices
      • Infrastructure as Code
      • Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment
      • Configuration Management for Containerized Delivery
      • DevOps Testing
      • DevOps for Databases
      • Application Monitoring and Feedback Loops
      • Microsoft Professional DevOps Capstone Project
      • The DevOps Capstone Project contains:
        • Automation
          • Use ARM templates to deploy and configure Infrastructure in Azure
        • Continuous Integration
          • Implement Continuous Integration solution using Visual Studio Team services (VSTS)
        • Continuous deployment
          • Implement Continuous Deployment solution using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)
        • Testing
          • Implement Unit tests
          • Implement Testing in Production
        • Application Monitoring
          • Implement application monitoring solution using Application Insights

As you can see from that list this program is not just all about VSTS. There is a lot of Azure baked in as well as other non-Microsoft DevOps tooling. I highly recommend this course for anyone jumping into DevOps, or CloudOps and especially for folks with an IT pro background. If CloudOps is foreign to you here are a couple of blogs related to this topic: Sys Admin to Cloud Admin…ITSM to CloudOps…On-Prem to Azure Stack/Azure and Native Cloud Management in Azure.

My personal opinion is that Microsoft should move away from the certifications as they are and to this format. This format combines training and testing. When Microsoft first started the Professional Program for they only had a track for data scientists. They have added more and more tracks over time. Today there are tracks also for Big Data, Web Development, Software Development, AI, IT Support, and Cloud Administration.

Here is a link for all the tracks so you can check them out: https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/professional-program/tracks. These programs are a great way to expand your learning. Check them out!

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Speaking at OSCON and MMS May 2017

May is a busy month for me with the opportunity to speak at both OSCON – Open Source Convention (https://conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/oscon-tx) and MMS – Midwest Management Summit (https://mmsmoa.com)! OSCON is May 8th through the 11th in Austin Texas. MMS is May 15th through the 18th in Minnesota.

At OSCON I will be presenting on “How to Motivate Technical Employees” with friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Samuel Erskine – @samerskine. This will be on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 4:15pm–4:55pm. This session is for CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, and IT managers and will cover how to retain your top talent and give you five ways to motivate technical employees. Come to this session to learn the secret sauce for keeping employee’s engaged!  Here is a link to the session: https://conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/oscon-tx/public/schedule/detail/57374

At MMS I will be presenting three sessions! These sessions are:

Awesomize your Azure Stack Deployments with Azure Stack Tools” with fellow MVP Mikael Nystrom -@mikael_nystrom.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUae/awesomize-your-azure-stack-deployments-with-azure-stack-tools

Azure Operationalized” with fellow MVP Natascia Heil – @NatasciaHeil.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUbn/azure-operationalized

Backup is Dead! Restore is Born in the Cloud!” with fellow MVP Robert Hedblom -@RobertandDPM.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUaR/backup-is-dead-restore-is-born-in-the-cloud

These conferences will be lots of great community fun! Hope to see you there.

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Free Cloud Resources for IT Pro’s

A couple of years ago Microsoft ended TechNet. A lot of IT Pro’s were unhappy with that decision. IT Pro’s used TechNet to practice in their own labs and get up to speed on new technologies. Well on April 20th, 2016 Microsoft has an answer for this (NOTE: this is my opinion not any official statement from Microsoft).

2016-04-21 01_58_40-Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials

Microsoft has launched the “Microsoft IT Pro Career Center” and the the free “Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials“.

The Microsoft IT Pro Career Center is a free online resource to help map your cloud career path. Learn what industry experts suggest for your cloud role and the skills to get you there. Follow a learning curriculum at your own pace to build the skills you need most to stay relevant.
Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials is a free annual subscription for IT Pro’s that basically gives you Azure, EMS, O365 resources to practice and learn with. It even comes with a Pluralsight account. It includes:

Free Azure credits to try cloud scenarios like backup, disaster recovery, security & dev/test.
Free Pluralsight subscription for on-line training.
Free Priority support in the TechNet forums.
A free phone support incident for Azure or on-premises products.
A free certification exam voucher. [2]
Extended trials of Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365.

This is huge. Many of my IT buddies have said they want to jump in on cloud but could not afford to pay for the accounts out of pocket. Well this is no longer an excuse.

Recently Dice published a report that Azure was #2 on the list of the fastest-growing tech skills. Here is the link:

http://insights.dice.com/2016/04/12/dice-report-fastest-growing-tech-skills-2 . I would bet that with the pace Microsoft is moving with Azure this will become the #1 tech skill in the near future. As an IT Pro Azure is something you definitely want to be looking into.

If you are an IT Pro and you want to get started with cloud jump out there and get started today.

Microsoft IT Pro Career Center:

https://www.itprocloudessentials.com

Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials:

https://www.itprocareercenter.com

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Surviving the Future of IT as an IT Pro

At MMS 2015 we had some interesting discussions in the Ask the Data center experts session. One of the discussions was centered around how IT is changing and how to adapt. For a while there has been a paradigm shift happening in IT. It is hard hitting for those on the front line especially IT Pro’s.

With the advent of many technologies moving to XaaS (x as a Service) based and the challenges for IT pro’s to move from strictly the ops side of IT to more of a DevOps model as well as becoming an internal technology consultant to the business IT Pros can feel lost in the paradigm shift.

The goal of this blog post is twofold. 1. I want to expand on this discussion with my opinion of how an IT Pro can remain relevant in the future of IT. 2. My friends over at Savision asked me to write a blog post and I thought this would be a great topic for it because they have some tools that can help with this transition.

Here are key points and additionally skills/mindset needed as an IT Pro moving into the future of IT:

  • Accepting Shadow IT….. Ability to manage anyway.

Shadow IT is the practice of business units spinning up their own IT solutions without organizational approval. With the expansion of cloud Shadow IT is becoming easier for business units to undertake.

  • Technology Budgets are no longer 100% controlled within IT anymore. Many departments own their own technology budget.
  • For so long IT has had the reputation of being “No People” and a dinosaur that takes forever to get things done. Embracing Shadow IT is about enabling the business, moving faster from conception to solution. Embracing Shadow IT will also change the reputation IT to “Yes People”.
  • This will cause the business to come back to IT first as internal SME’s to help them select the right outside solutions bringing internal IT Pros back into the loop.
  • Instead of focusing on how to stop business units for spinning up the technology solutions they need, help them. At the same time look for solutions that can help put governance and management around Shadow IT. A good example of this are three solutions from Microsoft such as Cloud App discovery (Discovery of cloud applications used in an organization), Azure Active Directory (Single Sign On, Centralized log on to cloud based applications and much more), and OMS (Management of cross platform clouds i.e. Amazon, Azure, Rackspace etc.).

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2015 MVP Summit and MMS 2015

The past two weeks have been full of tech awesomeness. The first week was the 2015 MVP Summit and the second week was MMS 2015. I will recap both of these in this post. Well for the MVP Summit I can’t actually say anything about it but I can post a couple of cool pictures from it. 🙂 Here are some pics from the Summit.

With PowerShell MVP Trevor Sullivan and my roommate/friend CDM MVP Jakob Svendsen during breakfast.

With the man! Mr. OMS/System Center Jeremy Winter.

Good discussion with a bunch of smart guys. CDM MVP Stanislav Zhelyazkov (Stan the man), CDM MVP legend Cameron Fuller, and CDM MVP Jedi Dieter Wijckmans.

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Speaking @ MMS as one of the 3 International System Center Chefs

I am excited to be co-presenting a Service Manager session at MMS 2014 on November 10th. The Midwest Management Summit is a 3-day conference purposely capped to just 500 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Almost 60 Microsoft MVP’s will be presenting on System Center topics and more.

Areas the speakers will be presenting on are Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Orchestrator, Service Management Automation, Service Manager, Data Protection Manager, Azure Pack, PowerShell, Desired State Configuration and more.

The session I will be co-presenting in is titled: 900 Degrees of Service Manager with 3 International System Center Chefs. I am lucky to be co-presenting with:

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Here is what you can expect from the session:

“In this demo-packed session, you explore the depths of customizing Service Manager with Samuel Erskine, Dieter Gasser and Steve Buchanan (MVP). We will walk you through real-world scenarios of using advanced customization techniques such as the Authoring Tool, PowerShell, and Visual Studio to build and customize classes, forms, workflows and console tasks in Service Manager. We also discuss best practices, recommendations and processes you follow when customizing Service Manager. You will learn how to plan for customizing Service Manager for business processes. Transform your plans into custom solutions using the advance authoring tools. Finally the session is delivered by 3 deep experts with vast real world deployment and authoring experience.”

Here is a video from the MMS site with us talking about the session:

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About me:

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Full details about this session can be found here: 900 Degrees of Service Manager with 3 International System Center Chefs

UPDATE:

MMS has extended reduced conference registration until Friday, October 17th. So go and register today to keep from paying the higher conference and hotel rates!

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Online Orchestrator Clinic

The Windows Management User Group (WMUG.co.uk) – @WMUG presents the August 2014 Clinic in which System Center Orchestrator will be discussed with Sam Erskine (@samerskine) and a team of Orchestrator Guru’s. The team includes:

Steve Beaumont (MVP) – @StevybSC
Dieter Gasser@DiGaBlog
Steve Buchanan (MVP) – @Buchatech
Andreas Baumgarten (MVP) – @ABaumgarten

Sam Erskine has co-authored books on the subject as well as consu...

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