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

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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

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/06/guest-on-lisa-at-the-edge-podcast-ep13/

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

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/01/cloud-governance-bringing-order-to-your-cloud-chaos-podcast

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).

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/08/tech-talk-wednesday-guest-topic-azure-kubernetes-service-aks/

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

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/10/featured-on-bittechtalk-episode-127-pc-tech-to-microsoft-mvp/

Guest on Black Tech Talent podcast.

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/10/featured-on-black-tech-talent-podcast/

11/5/2020 Guest on the RunAs Radio Podcast

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/11/featured-on-runasradio-podcast-terraform-vs-bicep-arm/

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:

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/12/sap-on-azure-course-on-pluralsight/
https://www.buchatech.com/2020/10/2-new-pluralsight-courses-heroku-cloud-computing-fundamentals/
https://www.buchatech.com/2020/07/third-pluralsight-course-published-microsoft-azure-pricing-and-support-options/
https://www.buchatech.com/2020/06/second-pluralsight-course-published-monitor-and-maintain-a-software-defined-datacenter-with-scom/

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!

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/11/my-az900-course-broke-into-the-top-100-on-pluralsight/

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:

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/07/inside-azure-management-sessions-now-on-youtube/

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.

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/09/speaking-at-microsoft-ignite-2020/

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

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/11/speaking-at-a-ghana-based-azure-user-group-on-terraform-and-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:

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/10/featured-on-azurecrazy-com/

-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.

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/02/passed-docker-certified-associate-study-guide/

I decided to study for and passed an AWS certification!

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/07/passed-aws-cloud-practitioner-exam/

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

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/04/hashicorp-terraform-certified-associate-exam-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:

https://www.buchatech.com/2020/03/build-release-a-container-image-from-azure-devops-to-azure-web-app-for-containers/
https://www.buchatech.com/2020/04/application-gateway-ingress-controller-deployment-script-for-azure-kubernetes-service/

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.

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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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2019 Review – Blogs, Pluralsight, Speaking, Podcasts, Books, Promotion and more

2019 is at its end closing out the current decade beginning a new decade! The 2010s have been great with a lot of personal and professional growth. I am looking forward to and welcome what the 2020s will bring! Overall 2019 was a great year with lots of fantastic adventures and accomplishments. In this blog post, I am going to reflect on 2019. I am also going to try something new in this blog post. I will recount some failures from this year along with the successes. I typically don’t post about failures or even speak about them publicly but I think it is important to reflect on them as a learning opportunity and share with others as we all win some and lose some.

Ok. Let me briefly recount the losses from 2019. No so good events from 2019 are:

I failed a couple of certifications including the AZ-302 upgrade exam (should have studied more) and the Terraform beta exam. I reviewed an Azure book that did not publish. This one was out of my control but still something this year that I am not proud of but definitely learned to ask more questions about a project like this before saying yes.
In 2019 I was not accepted to speak at Ignite. It’s actually been several years since I have been accepted to speak at Ignite. That is the list. Again we win some things in life and we lose some. The important thing is to learn from any losses, roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

Now for the fun part of this post. Let’s move onto the wins! First off the #1 win of 2019 is that my family was healthy and happy for another year! Also, I was able to continue to focus on Azure and DevOps adding in Containers, Kubernetes and more open source in general. Here is a full recount of what occurred in 2019.

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8th year as Microsoft MVP!

Today I received the official email from Microsoft that I was awarded for the 8th year as a Microsoft MVP!

When I was first awarded into the MVP program back in 2012 it was an honor and a surprise to join the ranks with so many talented people from all over the world. I also had no idea I would have an 8 year run in the program.

Time has flown by and it has been a great adventure so far. Even in the 8th year of being awarded as a Microsoft MVP it never gets old. You never know until the day if you made it back in or not and the novelty of it never wears off.

Of course, what makes being an MVP special is the great friends I have made over the years withing in out of Microsoft. Something else different about this award is I am no longer a Cloud and Data Center Management MVP I am now an Azure MVP!

I am looking forward to the 2019-2020 MVP award year with some interesting things already in the works such as a book on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), speaking and several conferences and user groups on Azure, and community projects.

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, CloudOps/DevOps communities this year.

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

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Speaking at MMS 2019

In a week I will be speaking at MMS 2019! I will be presenting 3 sessions and co-hosting 2 panels. If you are attending MMS check out my sessions and the panels. Here is the rundown:

Sessions:

Monday, May 6 • 1:00pm – 2:45pm
Deploying Infrastructure as Code with Azure and Terraform – With fellow Microsoft MVP Ned Bellavance
https://sched.co/N6cC

Tuesday, May 7 • 8:00am – 9:45am
Improving your on-prem and cloud security with Azure Security Center – With fellow Microsoft MVP Ned Bellavance
https://sched.co/N6c9

Thursday, May 9 • 1:00pm – 2:45pm
Mastering Azure with Visual Studio Code – With fellow Microsoft MVP Peter De Tender.
https://sched.co/N6d4

Panels:

Tuesday, May 7 • 3:00pm – 4:45pm
Azure Governance and Management Panel
https://sched.co/N6gD

This panel includes an all-star group from Microsoft including:

Tim Benjamin
Principal Group PM Manager, Microsoft

Michael Greene
Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

Jim Britt
Senior Program Manager, Microsoft

and

Eamon O’Reilly
Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

Thursday, May 9 • 3:00pm – 4:45pm
Azure Stack Panel Discussion – (400)
https://sched.co/N6hE

This panel consists of a bunch of Microsoft MVP rockstars and Microsoft staff including:

Ned Bellavance
Founder / Microsoft MVP, Ned in the Cloud LLC

Thomas Maurer
Senior Cloud Advocate, Microsoft

Kristopher Turner
Sr. Cloud Architect/Microsoft MVP, NTT Data Services

Bert Wolters
Principal Consultant, Class-IT

Here is the MMS website:
https://mmsmoa.com

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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 https://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

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

SETUP CI/CD PIPELINE WITH VSTS & AZURE STACK

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

NATIVE CLOUD MANAGEMENT IN AZURE

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

AZURE MANAGEMENT GROUPS

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

AZURE COST MANAGEMENT (CLOUDYN)

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

AZURE POLICY

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

CLOUD SECURITY VIA SECURITY CENTER

https://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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Made the cut. Microsoft MVP for 7th year!

Today was a very happy day for me and a sad day. It was a happy day because I once again have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP! It was sad because many MVP’s did not get renewed this go round and many of them are personal friends of mine. Shout out to all of you that did not get renewed. You folks are still community MVP’s. Keep doing all the great things you do and I will see you out in the tech community. Also congrats to all the new and renewed MVP’s!

Well, I made the cut. I am a Microsoft MVP for the 7th year! Here is the email and MVP site confirming my renewal:

This July is extra special. In fact, this award cycle ranks up there with the very first time I was awarded. I rank this 7th award so high because it was not easy to stay an MVP with so many not being re-awarded. I am one of the lucky ones that made it back in. Last year I made a conscious decision to shift my focus completely to Azure, Azure Stack, DevOps, and CloudOps. I like to think this shift of focus helped me get back in during this humbling award cycle.

Again this year I feel blessed to still be in the MVP program. I hope to continue to add value and remain an MVP. As always a huge thanks goes out to everyone in the community and Microsoft. Special thanks to Betsy Weber, David Armour, Joseph Chan, Ricardo Mendes, Tim Benjamin, Daniel Savage, and many other folks at Microsoft.

I will continue to do all that I can in the Azure, Azure Stack, CloudOps/DevOps communities this year.

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

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Fun @ the MVP Summit 2016

This year at the MVP Summit was a great one.

I learned a lot of stuff mostly about OMS, System Center, and Azure Stack.

I cannot talk about any of it. 🙂

I can however talk about some of the fun times we had and share some pictures.

 

First picture….a warm welcome to MVP’s from around the world.

image001

Here is a picture of the US MVPs at the summit!

all-us-mvps

Me at the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center in Redmond.

image003

image005

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