Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Renewed as an MVP for 2020 - 2021!

The 1st of July is known to Microsoft MVP's all around the world as 'F5 Day' - mainly because many keyboard F5 buttons get worked extra-hard when MVP's are refreshing their inbox and/or online MVP profile to see if they've been re-awarded for another year!

Thankfully for me, I didn't break my F5 button while finding out I've been renewed as a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for 2020 - 2021!


This is my ninth year in the MVP program and I'm really proud that I made it this far. It's not easy to maintain the high level of standards required for renewal each year, especially with hectic work and family commitments so it's a testament to all of the MVP's across the world who have managed to remain in the program for this coming year.

The Cloud and Datacenter Management (CDM) category I've been renewed in ties in nicely with the Azure projects we've been diving into lately and which we have planned for the coming year. Azure management technologies and services such as Azure Monitor, Azure Governance, Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery and Azure Migrate are some of the areas covered by the CDM award and it also includes hybrid management and connectivity scenarios (e.g. Azure-attach solutions) with on-premises environments.

I'm very thankful to have an employer (Ergo) that supports me and my colleagues on this MVP journey where we get the projects, tools and learning time that we need to help us stay current within our specialist areas - which in turn, helps me to contribute back to the community through this blog and my public speaking engagements.

Some of the community contributions I've submitted for award renewal this year and which have kept me busy include presenting at events such as Experts Live Europe, the Global Azure Bootcamp, the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany and even a couple of bucket-list presentation slots at Microsoft Ignite in London. I've also managed to squeeze in some time to complete the authoring process with my MVP friends on the latest edition of our recently released (and free) 'Inside Azure Management' book.

Although 2020 has been a very strange year with the global COVID-19 lockdown affecting community gatherings across the world, the MVP Community have come together with many other community leaders and contributors to re-imagine conferences as digital-only events for now. These have worked out well in many cases however, we all wait in hope for when the in-person events return and we can all catch up again to talk tech.

Thanks everyone for all your support over the last year!


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Inside Azure Management Book (2020 Edition) Released!

Things have been pretty quiet on this blog over the last while and one of reasons for this is that I've been pushing hard with some of my awesome MVP friends to author and publish the latest edition of our 'Inside Azure Management' book - fully free and available for download to the Azure community!


Keeping up with the lightning pace that Microsoft Azure is moving at, this book builds on the success of last years release with even more content and amazing authors to deliver a premium grade learning resource for free (if you download the e-copy).

Working on this book is always a fun experience and I'll normally jump at the chance to collaborate again with my good friends and co-authors from the last book - Stanislav ZhelyazkovTao Yang and Pete Zerger.

As usual, Pete retained the role of 'Taskmaster (aka Mother Goose)' who kept us all organised and on-track with deadlines and chapter edits.

We also had some new (and equally awesome) additions to the full authoring team this year and were joined by:
All great technical books require a great technical reviewer and Anders Bengtsson (one of our co-author's from last years book), has taken on that role for us in this release.

Every chapter from the previous book has been updated to reflect the new features and capabilities of each topic and some of those chapters have undergone nearly a full re-write.

Like last year, I learned a bunch of new skills and tricks from authoring my own chapters and reading the content the rest of the team has put together too. I revisited the same chapters I wrote in last years book which focused on Azure Migration, Azure Infrastructure Monitoring and Azure Disaster Recovery.

Here's the full list of Chapters that we've included across the book:

  • Implementing Governance in Azure
  • Migrating Workloads in Azure
  • Configuring Data Sources for Azure Log Analytics
  • Monitoring Applications
  • Monitoring Infrastructure
  • Alerting and Notification
  • Monitoring Databases in Azure
  • Monitoring Containers in Azure
  • Implementing Process Automation
  • Implementing Configuration Management
  • Monitoring Security-Related Configuration
  • Data Backup for Azure Workloads
  • Implementing a Disaster Recovery Strategy
  • Update Management for VMs

As I mentioned earlier, and sticking to our promise from last year's release - all of the authors and technical reviewers are strong advocates in the Azure Management community and wanted to give something back so we've agreed to release this book as a free download to anyone who wants it. Don't be fooled into thinking this lacks quality or effort by the fact that we're giving it away for free as we're confident that you won't get a better book than this on Azure Management from any of the usual paid-for publishing channels.

You can grab your free copy of the book from our new download URL here:

https://bit.ly/InsideAzure


We hope you enjoy this book as much as we did authoring it and feel free to reach out to any of us with questions you have on the content.

Thanks as always for your support!



Saturday, April 25, 2020

Global Azure Virtual Bootcamp 2020

This week sees the kick off for the annual Global Azure Bootcamp and due to the restrictions across the world with COVID-19, the event has gone fully virtual - which means more access to sessions for more attendees!


The event runs from Thursday 23rd April - Saturday 25th April with a good mixture of live presentations and pre-recorded sessions - all dropping on hourly across multiple timezones.

There are literally hundreds of amazing speakers and hosts lined up to present and chat with throughout the event and you can check out the full list of them along with the global schedule from the official site at the following link:

https://virtual.globalazure.net/

I'll be working with our local community here as part of the UK and Ireland Global Azure Virtual event and will be co-hosting Track 2 with my esteemed MVP colleague and Azure Ninja - Gregor Suttie.

You can check out all of the sessions and tracks for the UK and Ireland event here:

Main Site - https://azureglobalbootcamp2020.azurewebsites.net/

Track 1 - https://bit.ly/2VUrcmW

Track 2 - https://bit.ly/2zu2VMV

Track 3 - https://bit.ly/3aAcgj7

Enjoy the event everyone!


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Presenting at Microsoft Ignite The Tour: London

This week, I'm heading back over to the UK to present two sessions at Microsoft Ignite The Tour: London.


The two-day conference is sold out and will be hosted in the massive ExCel venue right in the middle of London City. I'll be accompanied by some of my Ergo colleagues and will be presenting the following two sessions on Friday:

Timeslot:
Friday 17th January 09:00am - 09:15am

Session Code:
THR30066

Location:
Theatre 1

Session Type:
Theatre (15 mins)

Title:
Azure Monitor and SCOM 2019, Real World Tips and Tricks!

Description:
Whether you’re using SCOM 2019 or Azure Monitor in stand-alone deployments or integrated together, you’ll be sure to find value with these tips and tricks from the trenches. With over a decade of real-world monitoring experience in the Microsoft space for this presenter to share, this is a session that you won’t want to miss.



Timeslot:
Friday 17th January 10:45am - 11:30am

Session Code:
BRK30128

Location:
Capital Suite 7 - 9

Session Type:
Breakout (45 mins)

Title:
Azure Monitor Deep Dive - Everything you need to know

Description:
In this presentation, we'll walk you through all of the many integrated services of Azure Monitor with live demo's and real-world tips to help you gain an understanding of this awesome monitoring service. We'll also show you how to leverage the skills you've built up over the years with traditional on-premises monitoring tools and apply them to the new wave of monitoring from Microsoft's public cloud.

Note: If you'd like to play a small role in one of the web application monitoring demo's I have for the Azure Monitor Deep Dive session, then please take a browse around my fictionial bakery website here and my new Tailwind Traders website here. I'll be capturing the web browsing telemetry that you generate and will present it in the session on Friday!


Hopefully I'll see some of you in London this week and please stop by my sessions if you'd like to learn more about what's going on in the Microsoft world of monitoring.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Speaking at Experts Live EU 2019 in Prague!

It's been super-quiet on this blog lately, mainly in part due to the preparation I've been putting in for conference season, which kicked off over the last month or so. This week, I get to represent Ireland while I present a few sessions at one of my favourite conferences - Experts Live Europe - which returns to Prague for a second year after a very successful event last time out.



This year's conference runs from November 20th - November 22nd and is jam-packed with great speakers and content for attendees to hang out with and enjoy.

Speakers

This year, there's 45 speakers flying in from all over the world ready to share their real-world experience and knowledge on a range of topics within the Cloud and Datacenter space. The speaker lineup includes Microsoft MVP's, Microsoft Regional Directors, Microsoft employees and well-known Community Champions. For the Keynote opener, Microsoft's Joey Snow and Rick Claus (aka Patch and Switch) will share their stories about how you can use your existing technology skills to future-proof your career as a Cloud-focused professional.

You can check out the full list of speakers here.

Pre-Conference Day

Following on from the success of last year's introduction of a Pre-Conference Day, this year's event will host four parallel all-day deep-dive sessions - of which, I get to co-present one with my good friend and fellow MVP Robert Hedblom. Here's the list of Pre-Conference sessions available:

  • Cloud & Datacenter Management with Microsoft System Center & Windows Server 2019 (delivered by Microsoft MVP's Kevin Greene and Robert Hedblom)
  • Microsoft Security lighthouse - how enterprise environments can protect against threats (delivered by Microsoft MVP's Maarten Goet and Alexander Benoit)
  • Productivity happens in the cloud: mastering the modern workplace for enterprises (delivered by Microsoft MVP's Jan Ketil Skanke and Ståle Hansen)
  • Azure initialization from zero to hero: onboarding, governance & resources deployment (delivered by Microsoft's Phoummala Schmitt and Microsoft MVP Michael Rueefli)

Each of the pre-conference day instructors are highly skilled experts in their chosen fields and well-placed to set you on your learning journey over the full day.

Tracks

The main conference gives attendees 6 parallel tracks to choose from. With over 70 breakout sessions, plenty of community theater sessions and a packed exhibitor area, this conference has you covered for what you need to take your career to the next level.

My Sessions

On Wednesday at the Pre-Conference Day, I get to talk for a whole six hours with my good friend Robert Hedblom on 'Cloud & Datacenter Management with Microsoft System Center & Windows Server 2019'. Here's a description of what we'll cover:

"If like most businesses, you're responsible for managing and monitoring a combination of on-premises and cloud-based workloads, then this pre-conf session will equip you with the tools and real-world knowledge you need to keep things running smoothly. You'll get a run-through of all the new capabilities of System Center 2019 along with an overview of the new Azure-attach features in Windows Server 2019. We'll close out the day with a 'Notes from the Field' section - where we'll share our real-world experiences of managing hybrid cloud environments with System Center, Azure and Windows Server."

Following on from the announcements at this month's Microsoft Ignite conference, we'll also be giving attendees a sneak peek of the new Azure Arc service and we'll show how you can use it to manage your on-prem and cloud-based servers.

Later in the week (Friday morning), I'll be flying solo and presenting a session titled 'Getting Started with Azure Monitor'. Here's the description about this one:

"In this session, we'll take you on a journey around Azure Monitor - Microsoft's one-stop-shop for metrics, logs, alerts and telemetry data across your Azure resources. You'll also learn how to make good use of advanced monitoring integrations such as Application Insights, Virtual Machine Insights, Container Insights and Log Analytics."


Getting Registered

There's still some time left to get registered and if you haven't already, then check out the registration link here.


If you're attending, make sure to come over and say hello to me and some of the other presenters during the conference. See you all there!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Renewed as an MVP for 2019 - 2020!

For all Microsoft MVP's around the world, yesterday (1st July aka 'F5 Day') was the day that we all receive notification as to whether or not we've been renewed as MVP's for another year. Thankfully someone in Microsoft thinks I'm doing a good job for the community and I was happy to see my inbox lighting up with the all-important email stating I'd been renewed as a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for 2019 - 2020!


I was awarded my first MVP (in the System Center category) in 2012 and no matter how long you're in the program, it's always a welcome relief to see that email land with confirmation that you're good to go for another year.

With many of my MVP peers moving over to the Azure specialty, the Cloud and Datacenter Management category that my award relates to gives me a unique opportunity to work on and present content to the community and my customers across the hybrid-cloud space. This category covers many on-premises management technologies (including SCOM 2019, which is still very much alive and kicking with our customers) and it also includes Azure management technologies and services such as Azure Monitor, Azure Governance, Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Migrate etc.

Through the MVP program, I also get to network and hang out with some very smart people across many different technical spectrum's and I'm very lucky to work for an employer (Ergo) that supports me and my colleagues on this journey (we also have two other MVP's working here!).

In the past year, I've kept myself busy in the community by presenting at events such as Experts Live Europe, the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany, the Global Azure Bootcamp and the Microsoft Tech Summit. I've also managed to squeeze in the time to complete the authoring process with some awesome MVP friends on our recently released 'Inside Azure Management' book.

Hopefully this coming year as an MVP will help me bring more of these contributions to the wider community!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

SCOM 2019 Prerequisites Script

I've recently been involved in deploying some new SCOM 2019 environments for our customers and I thought it'd be a good time to publish an updated version of my original SCOM Prerequisites PowerShell script.


This SCOM prerequisites script is a lot simpler than my previous one and I've updated it to remove the requirement for .NET 3.5 Framework components as well as grabbing the new download locations for the updated versions of SQLSysClrTypes and Report Viewer.

If you have internet connectivity, the script will automatically download and install the SQLSysClrTypes and Report Viewer files from Microsoft's download site.

I've created two scripts to assist you (specific to the SCOM role you're deploying) and you can download them directly from the TechNet Gallery here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/System-Center-2019-818de28f


Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Presenting at CDC 2019 in Germany

Next week, I have another opportunity to head over to Germany and visit the lovely town of Hanau just outside Frankfurt - where I'll be presenting a session at the awesome Cloud & Datacenter (CDC) conference organised by my good friend and well-known MVP Carsten Rachfal.


I had a great time presenting over there last year and attendees at the conference were treated to sessions from some of the best cloud and datacenter-focused speakers from around the world.

This years event is being held at the same venue (Congress Park Hanau) and with over forty speakers announced, it's going to be another excellent few days of learning and networking.

Similar to last year, CDC 2019 will run over two days (21st & 22nd May) and span six different tracks with topics covering on-premises technologies such as Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center along with cloud-based technologies such as Azure, AWS and Office 365.

I'll be presenting on Tuesday in Track 3 and I'll be going back to my System Center roots with a session titled 'Top Tips to Make Your SCOM Deployments Rock!'

Here's an overview of what I'll be talking about on the day:

SCOM can be a complex product to deploy and configure. In this session, we share our top tips and tricks to ensure your deployments and initial administration run smoothly and without issue. You’ll also learn about some of the new features to watch out for with the latest release of SCOM 2019.

If you haven't done so already, you can grab your ticket to attend CDC Germany 2019 here and I'll look forward to seeing some of you guys and girls over there! 😊

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Presenting at the Global Online Azure Bootcamp 2019

For the last number of years, the Azure community has come together on a single day to host simultaneous Bootcamp events across the globe - with the single goal of sharing our knowledge about what's new and cool with Azure.

I've presented at a number of these previous events - usually hosted in our local Microsoft office here in Ireland but this year unfortunately, we had some issues retaining an onsite location. After some brainstorming and hurried negotiations while at the MVP Summit in Seattle last month, my good friend and Irish Azure MVP Aidan Finn somehow managed to pull together a massive 24-hour online-only event - with sessions submitted from presenters all over the world and available to anyone who has access to an internet connection!


At 15:00 GMT, I'll be presenting a session titled 'Getting Started with Azure Monitor' and in it, I'll help you get familiar with some of the key features Azure Monitor and it's associated services have to offer.

To make this a truly global 24-hour event, each session will be made available on a phased basis via our YouTube channel and they'll only be accessible for the weekend of the event (so make sure to put aside some time to view the ones you'd like to see).

The agenda will follow these three primary time-zone cycles:
  • Perth / Beijing: AWST / Beijing Time which is +8 hours from GMT and +16 hours from PST.
  • Dublin / London: GMT, which is -8 hours from AWST / Beijing Time and +8 hours from PST.
  • Seattle / Los Angeles: PST, which is -16 hours from AWST / Beijing Time and -8 hours from GMT.

If you want to learn more about the Global Online Azure Bootcamp, then check out the official blog here - https://globalonlineazurebootcamp.wordpress.com/

Also, keep an eye on all the usual social media channels for the #GlobalAzureOnline tag and make sure to ping any questions you might have for the presenters with this.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Just Released: Inside Azure Management Book

I'm happy to announce that we're ready to publish our new book titled 'Inside Azure Management'.


Our hope for this book is that it will become the market leader in the Azure Management space and when you consider the team of authors and technical reviewers that are involved, this should be easily achievable!

I had an epic time working on this book and it was a pleasure to collaborate again with my good friends and co-authors Stanislav Zhelyazkov, Tao Yang, Anders Bengtsson and Pete Zerger.

Pete was the 'ringmaster' who kept us all organised and on-track with deadlines and we were supported by the valued insights of the following technical-ninja reviewers:


This book is a complete re-write from it's predecessor (Inside the Operations Management Suite) and the goal is to bring our readers on a journey through the sometimes complex and always awesome Azure Management technology stack of services.

In the cloud game, it's nearly impossible to know everything about everything and I definitely learned some new tricks as I read through the chapters that my co-authors worked on. The chapters I wrote focused on Azure Migration, Azure Infrastructure Monitoring and Azure Disaster Recovery.

Here's the full list of topics we've covered across the book:

  • Implementing Governance in Azure
  • Migrating Workloads in Azure
  • Configuring Data Sources for Azure Log Analytics
  • Monitoring Applications
  • Monitoring Infrastructure
  • Alerting and Notification
  • Monitoring Databases in Azure
  • Monitoring Containers in Azure
  • Implementing Process Automation
  • Implementing Configuration Management
  • Monitoring Security-Related Configuration
  • Data Backup for Azure Workloads
  • Implementing a Disaster Recovery Strategy
  • Update Management for VMs

All of the authors and technical reviewers are strong advocates in the Azure Management community and to give something back, we've decided to release this book as a free download to anyone who wants it.

You can grab your free copy of the book from the Technet Gallery here:

http://tinyurl.com/InsideAzureManagement


Please report errata to insidemscloud@outlook.com and we'll work through any feedback we receive there.