Azure Learning and my Learnings

Azure Learning and my Learnings

It’s no secret that I’m keen to investigate new technologies. While my job is almost completely related to “on premises” versions of SQL Server, I’m hugely interested in what the future brings. Learning about new technologies can be difficult without a project in mind or specific manufacturer training. Trawling through Youtube for training can be tiresome, there’s so much information about there – good, bad or indifferent – all without curation or expiration dates.

While listening to an episode of SQL Data Partners, I learned of a free Microsoft course on Azure Fundamentals – “Introduction To Azure”. It came highly recommended, so I enrolled and over the following weeks, I’ve worked my way through by taking time during lunchtimes and evening.

The training itself is very well structured. The learning path is split into eight modules,  some are theory only and others practical. Some subjects covered are:

  • Principals of Azure
  • Core Cloud Services – Azure Architecture
  • Managing Services and Accounts
  • Azure Compute options / Azure Storage options
  • Security
  • Product Costs and Spending optimization

The practical modules involve setting up an free Azure account, logging in and configuring real systems.

I’m used to manufacturers pushing their product and free trials, so I was initially sceptical about whether I would suddenly find that I run up a large bill by simply learning.

In fact, I’ve just logged back on to make sure that there’s no billing surprises there for me.

The Course was straightforward to follow and gave me insight on solutions that can be build with azure, together with more of a vocabulary to work with on Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this course. I was blown away with just how many Azure components exist, their capabilities and also the potential complexity of the solutions that can be built.

My previous thoughts on cost of cloud solution versus on-premises Datacenter were amplified by this learning. There’s a helpful tool that allows you to get estimated costs for a given solution across the two options but I don’t think that it gives sufficient thought to the amount of management / architecture that’s still required to use Azure.

That said, cloud based technologies have a lower startup cost and responsive expansion capabilities, but these come at a price with high potential for unexpected high costs if forgotten about or improperly managed.

I currently work with a mature support facility that support a wide range of on-premises technology. I can easily read a management summary selling an online world where this management overhead simply goes away with a move to the cloud, especially coming from Departmental managers who don’t understand or appreciate the role of the IT department. That’s simply not true – Azure (and other cloud based technologies are extremely capable, but only if orchestrated correctly). That’s the role of the modern IT department. There is a shift within IT that comes with new technologies, but that’s towards providing more business value, resiliance and connectivity. It’s not all about cost saving.

Link:

Microsoft Learn

Thanks for reading, Nigel.

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