Two new Pluralsight Courses: Heroku & Cloud Computing Fundamentals

Over the past couple of months I have been hard at work on some more Pluralsight courses. I am excited to announce that today I released 2 new courses on Pluralsight! These are both cloud related courses. One course is more DevOps focused and the other is focused more on cloud security. One of the courses is intermediate while the other is for those beginning with cloud. It’s pretty cool to have two courses listed on Pluralsight’s new releases!

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Here are the courses:

Heroku: The Big Picture

This course will teach you the basics of Heroku from; architecture components, developer and operational tooling, along with limitations and benefits of using the platform.

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Heroku: The Big Picture 
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Heroku is a cloud PaaS service that enables companies to speed up the application lifecycle; building, delivering, monitoring, and scaling applications without the headaches of standing up infrastructure to support the application. 

Some of the major topics covered in this Cloud Computing course are:

  • Learn about the components of the Heroku platform and how it works including the architecture, idea to running app, the runtime, Dynos and the various Heroku services.
  • Gain an understanding about the benefits and limitations of the Heroku platform such as pricing, language support, and ecosystem.
  • Insight into the developer and operational experience on Heroku.
  • And you will also see demos on the Heroku Dashboard, Using the Heroku Estimators, and deployment of an application to the Heroku platform.

By the end of this course, you will gain a better understanding of the Heroku platform all up including how to build and operate an application on it.

Check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/heroku-big-picture

Cloud Computing Fundamentals: Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Security

This course will teach you the fundamental knowledge needed to understand the essentials of cloud Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Security.

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Some of the major topics covered in this Cloud Computing course are:

  • Identifying the importance and impacts of compliance in the cloud
  • Understanding cloud policies or procedures
  • Recognizing risk management concepts related to cloud services
  • Security concerns, measures, or concepts of cloud operations

This Cloud Computing course will help you prepare for the CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ exam. This course is also useful if you don’t plan to take the CompTIA exam and just need to ramp up on cloud security.

Take this course if you want to learn cloud essentials, what it takes to successfully adopt cloud, the impact of cloud on IT service management, how security, and risks apply to cloud as well as consequences. This course is for someone with some exposure to cloud technologies and a general background in Information Technology at the minimum of a business analyst level.

Check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/cloud-computing-fundamentals-governance-risk-compliance-security

I hope you find value in each of these courses. These two courses bring me to a total of 5 courses now published on the Pluralsight platform. 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 to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2020

I am excited to announce that I am one of the experts in several Ask the Expert sessions during Microsoft Ignite 2020 this week.

I will be a part of a variety of sessions with topics ranging from Linux and PowerShell on Azure, Kubernetes on Azure, Azure Migration, and Transforming Windows Server workloads in Azure.

My Speaker profile:

https://myignite.microsoft.com/speaker/ce1ea0e0-3f42-4986-90ab-aee809e3735d

The sessions are:

Here is the link to the Ignite home page myignite.microsoft.com. I hope to see you on the digital Ignite event and in one of the Ask the Expert Sessions!

Update 9/30/2020

Being a part of several Ask the Expert sessions was really fun! My most memorable session was the Ask the Expert: Linux and PowerShell on Azure session.

This session was packed full of superstars from Microsoft product groups and fellow MVPs including; Jeffery Snover, Jason Helmick, Janaka Rangama, and Alexander Nikolić. Here is a screenshot from the session:

After the session, I tweeted about the session and shared some wisdom about PowerShell, and both Jeffery Snover and Jason Helmick retweet my tweet!

2020 is not all bad. It’s pretty cool when the inventor of PowerShell and the PowerShell Program Manager retweet you!

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Tech Talk Wednesday Guest – Topic: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

I am honored to be a guest next Wednesday, August 26th on the “Tech Talk Wednesday” podcast and radio show with Kazeem Adegboyega (@KazeemCanTeach)! We will be chatting about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

This show will be streamed online via Microsoft Teams and will air in Lagos, Nigeria on Lagos State University (LASU) radio (95.7)!

One of my goals is to help spread knowledge about tech in Africa and showcase African technologists in the US. This is the first step in that journey.

Be sure to tune in. Go here to register: http://kazeem.com.ng/index.php/tech-talk

Don’t worry if you can’t make the live stream. It will be recorded and posted later on Kazeem’s website.

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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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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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