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RESOURCES

Azure Education, Support, Security, Etc.

There are tons of sites that contain useful information on Azure and the larger topic of Cloud Services, far more than one person can consume. Here are some sites that I have found useful.

Direct from Microsoft - one of the major challenges with being an Azure user is keeping up with changes and enhancements (this applies to AWS and Google as well). The pace of change is really daunting so it is important to check the Microsoft sites that publish the latest updates and information.

Third Party Education Resources

  • Pluralsight has a direct agreement with Microsoft to provide course materials that cover a broad range of Azure topics and certification exams - may be free depending on type of Azure account

  • Whizlabs - offers training and practice exams for Azure certifications - very reasonably priced

  • Measureup​​ - practice tests for Azure certification

  • edX.org - As of April 2019 there are 100 courses that come up under Cloud and 68 under Azure (appears to be a subset of Cloud). All courses are free and are created by major universities and corporations. Most are self-paced and typical recommended pace is 4-6 hours per week for 6 weeks, so they cover a lot of material. There are also for fee options to earn course certificates, mini-masters degrees and programs. If you are interested in life-long learning you need to check out this site. Covers a very broad range of topics from architecture to social sciences. 

Support and Help

  • Azure Community Support - This site links to four different sites that provided community based support. This includes MSDN Forum,  StackOverflow,  Serverfault and Azure Feedback.  

  • Azure Support Plans - Info on support options, including what you get for free

  • Azure Support FAQs - Answers to questions about the Azure support plans

  • Powershell - If you are using Azure Automation, you will need to know Powershell. This can be a bit of a challenge as the Azure module for Powershell is a very small part of the Powershell command set. There are also frequent updates to Azure commands. In addition, there is now an Az module that is the focus of new updates and will ultimately replace the AzureRM module (yeah, a little confusing...)

Analysts Reports and Other Guidance

  • Dec. 2018 Datamation article on AWS vs. Azure

  • Rightscale - This is a great resource for webinars and white papers on a broad range of cloud management topics. Rightscale has a product which does multicloud cost optimization so there is a lot of material in this area. The Rightscale 2019 State of the Cloud is a must read for anyone interested in trends in cloud usage and adoption.

  • 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service - good explanation of why AWS, Azure and Google are the only cloud platforms worth investing in.

  • NIST Evaluation of Cloud Computing Services - This is a 2018 update to the NIST Cloud Computing Definition (800-145) published in 2011. This is the generally accepted framework for defining cloud computing. Excellent guidance for understanding cloud services and how they can benefit your organization.

  • Forrester Cloud Predictions 2019 - Published in Nov. 2018, this is a summary of where Forrester thinks the Cloud is headed in 2019. Includes a link to an 18 page report which provides more detail as well as blog posts and other Forrester materials. 

  • Top 10 Cloud Podcasts - Instead of listing a bunch of podcasts, I've linked to the Skills Matter website and their list of the top ten cloud podcasts as of Nov. 2018. Includes Google, AWS and Azure specific sites. While you are there, check out the rest of this developer and engineer centric site.

  • CLOUDABILITY has a great set of free cloud cost management resources, including videos, whitepapers and ebooks. Their core business is focused on AWS cost manage tools and services but most of these resources can be applied across the spectrum of cloud vendors. I think their ebook on Cloud FinOps is really brilliant and is a must read for anyone interested in getting more value from their cloud spend.

Security

  • Cloud Security Alliance - A wealth of information on cloud security. If you are working in the cloud you should be familiar with CSA.

  • 2018 Trends in Cybersecurity: Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 24 - A 50 minute webinar and a link to the written report. Very helpful in understanding where attacks are coming from and methods of protection. Good info, not Azure specific.

  • Azure Security Center - Want to understand how Azure manages security or if they are PCI compliant? All that and more is here.

  • Shared Responsibility Model for Cloud Security - Brief, useful discussion of how the distribution of responsibility for security is implemented by AWS, Azure, and other vendors.

  • Azure Sentinel - This is a new service currently in preview (as of 2/19). Microsoft describes it as "Intelligent security analytics for your entire enterprise. See and stop threats before they cause harm, with SIEM reinvented for a modern world. Azure Sentinel is your birds-eye view across the enterprise. ". Appears to be worth checking out. Includes integration with Office 365. No charge while in preview.