Azure Exam Talk at User Group

The other night I had the privilege of presenting to the Brisbane Azure User Group at our last meeting of the year. My topic was about certification exams in Microsoft Azure, and aimed to address two relatively new changes in the certification program:

  • New Certification Path – Microsoft recently announced changes in their certification program designed to streamline the certification path. Although they are retiring the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD): Azure Solutions Architect as of 31st March 2017, the three exams mentioned below that made up this certification are still relevant and will now earn the title of Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.
  • Refreshed Exams – All three exams have been refreshed as of 23 November 2016, now including new content specifically around the PaaS capabilities in Azure (App Service, Logic Apps, Azure Functions, API Management, Service Fabric, etc), Azure Resource Manager (ARM), and extended identity management capabilities (e.g. Azure Active Directory B2B and B2C). They have also removed Cloud Services from the syllabus.

The three exams that all this relates to are:

The recording of this talk (which also discussed preparation tips & techniques) can be found here, whilst the slides are available here.

User Group Presentation on Microsoft Flow

Last week I had the privilege of presenting a short session on Microsoft Flow to the Brisbane Azure User Group. The group meets every month, and at this particular event we decided to have an “Unconvention Night” where instead of one or two main presentations, we had several (four in this case) shorter sessions to introduce various topics. This has been a popular format with the group and one that we will keep repeating from time to time.

Wrapping up the evening was my session, called Easy Desktop Integration with Microsoft Flow.  Flow is a new integration tool built into Office365; it allows business users (yes, I really mean “business users” – no code required) to build automated workflows using 35+ connectors to popular SaaS systems like DropBox, Slack, SharePoint, Twitter, Yammer, MailChimp, etc.  The full list of connectors can be found here.

Even better is that Flow comes with over 100 pre-built templates out of the box, so you don’t even need to construct your own workflows unless you want to do something very customised! All you need to do is select a template, configure the connectors, publish the workflow – and off it goes!  In fact, it is so simple that I built my first Flow during Charles Lamanna’s presentation at the Integrate 2016 conference in London; I decided to capture all tweets with the #Integration2016 hashtag to a CSV file in DropBox.

Flow is built upon Azure Logic Apps, and it uses the same connectors as PowerApps – so you can leverage both of these great utilities to create simple but powerful applications:

image

Because it is built on Logic Apps, this means you can easily migrate a Flow workflow to an Azure Logic App when it becomes mission critical, requires scalability, or begins to use more sensitive data that requires greater security and auditing.

Feel free to view the recording of my session at https://youtu.be/sd1AhZpPsBw:

Microsoft Flow presentation to the Brisbane Azure User Group

 

You can also download the slides (which came mostly from Charles Lamanna’s deck– used with permission of course). But most importantly, get started using Flow! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of uses for it.

User Group Presentation on Integration Roadmap

Dan PresentingLast night at our Brisbane Azure User Group meetup, I had the privilege of delivering a short presentation on the Microsoft Integration Roadmap that was revealed on Christmas Eve last year, and which I previously blogged about. I couldn’t find any “official” slide deck from Microsoft yet, so I put together a rough deck of my own incorporating some screenshots from the roadmap PDF, a few slides from previous Microsoft decks, and a couple of handmade ones of my own. Feel free to download this from SlideShare and use it if you like.

My presentation was preceded by an excellent session on Azure Application Insights given by Microsoft Solution Architect Todd Whitehead. Amazing to see how easy it is to get so much telemetry from Azure! Looking forward to using this feature more & more.

More photos and details of the Meetup can be found here.

Busy Days!

If you’re wondering why my blogging frequency has dropped off over the last couple of months, it’s because I’ve been busy with some other projects. Here are just a few of them:

Brisbane Azure Bootcamp

BAB2015_Dan_OrientationAlthough originally intended to be the Brisbane chapter of the Global Azure Bootcamp, we had to change the date to a week later since the global event coincided with ANZAC Day in Australia. This year marking the 100th anniversary of the event at Gallipoli, it seemed irreverent (and also impractical) to hold the event on that day. So we joined Perth in organising our own version of the all-day event. Alessandro Cardoso from Readify and myself were the main organisers, while Damien Berry set up the event website.

 

BAB2015_Dan_HCWhat a success! With over 50 registrations, we had a full house at Microsoft headquarters, with the event stretching from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Presenters included Readify’s Alessandro Cardoso and Andrew Harcourt, myself on Hybrid Connections, and Microsoft’s Steve van Bodegraven with a session on Azure ML and lean start-ups.

Lots of prizes were given out thanks to sponsors Mexia, Pluralsight, and the Global Azure Bootcamp. Also a big thanks to Readify for funding the catering.

Brisbane Azure User Group

For the next Brisbane Azure User Group event, I’ll be presenting with Mexia’s Lee Simpson on Logic Apps – so preparation for that is keeping me occupied as well.

Pluralsight

And if that was not enough, I’m also authoring my second Pluralsight course. While I’m not allowed to say too much about the content until it’s published, I can reveal that it is based on an exciting Azure technology directly related to hybrid integration. Only one more module to go! Expect an announcement in a few weeks. 🙂

Of course there are other things stealing my time (and sleep) away as well, including heavier than usual workloads at our current client and preparation for a looming deadline for lodging my income tax return. But I hope to be back to more regular blogging next month! There are plenty of exciting things to write about…

WEBCAST: Introduction to Hybrid Connections

Last week I uploaded our fifth webcast to the Brisbane BizTalk User Group YouTube channel, this one based on a presentation I recently gave to the Brisbane Azure User Group. It is an Introduction to Hybrid Connections, a new BizTalk Services technology that’s currently in Preview. In this 22 minute webcast you’ll learn how Hybrid Connections makes it easy to connect your Azure Web Sites and Mobile Services to your on-premises LOB systems – all with no changes to your corporate network.

mqdefault[1]Introduction to Hybrid Connections [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEgNE_-KC90]

You can also download the slide deck from SlideShare. Most of these slides are borrowed from Santosh Chandwani, a Microsoft Azure Senior Program Manager who gave the initial presentation at Tech-Ed USA the day this went live.

Enjoy!!

User Group Presentation on Hybrid Connections

Last week I had the privilege to present on Hybrid Connections at the Brisbane Azure User Group meeting. It was well attended and the community responded very enthusiastically to the ease at which this technology enables you to connect Azure Web Sites and Mobile Services to on-premises resources behind your corporate firewall. One attendee was so excited by the feature that he stayed back after the meeting with his laptop and proceeded to deploy his web site application to Azure right there on the spot, hooking it up in minutes to his on-premises database!

highres_399395482 I’d like to express my gratitude to Santosh Chandwani, a Microsoft Azure Sr. Program Manager who shared his slide deck with me and gave some very helpful tips in preparing my demo. The slides are available on SlideShare if you wish to view the presentation as I presented it, or you can download the original version that Santosh presented at Tech Ed USA.

Santosh also promptly answered some questions raised by the community which I posted on the Azure Advisors Yammer group:

Q: Seems expensive to get more than 5 HC connections?
A: “If there are specific Dev-Test scenarios where the 5 Free HC don’t suffice, please let us know.”

Q: What are the performance/load specifications? Any guidance on where potential bottlenecks may be, and/or best practice guidelines?
A: “In general, the throughput you can achieve with HC is constrained by the internet connectivity between the on-prem network and Azure. Since this is part of the user’s network infrastructure, it is hard for us to provide a specific throughput baseline.
We recommend users assess the throughput that each instance of the on-prem Hybrid Connection Manager provides on their network. Adding more instances may provide higher throughput (again depending on the network infrastructure). Also, for production scenarios, at least 2 instances are recommended for resiliency. ”

Stay tuned for an upcoming webcast about this on the BrizTalk YouTube Channel!

UPDATE: Webcast published!! View it here.

BizTalk360 Presentation to Brisbane User Group

Tonight I set out to present a 45-minute discussion and demonstration of BizTalk360 to the Brisbane BizTalk User Group. An hour and a half later, I was still answering questions and displaying in-depth features of the product! We’re a pretty small & intimate group, so there was plenty of opportunity for discussion and catering for specific requests (“Can I see how … works?”), which for me as a presenter is awesome. I love interaction because you know you are really reaching your audience (small or large) and addressing their interests & concerns.

BTS360The truth is, they were truly impressed with the power and flexibility of the product, despite the limited scenarios that I was able to present to them. Saravana and his team have really hit the mark with this release, addressing a critical void in the BizTalk operational support area. Looking forward to Version 7.0!

Only downside was that I barely had time left to present my second session for the night, new features of BizTalk 2013! Oh well, I don’t think Microsoft needs too much help in selling that product anyway! Winking smile

Next BrizTalk Meeting: BizTalk 2013 & BizTalk360 Demos!

I’m really looking forward to presenting a double-header at our next Brisbane BizTalk User Group meeting on Wednesday:

What’s New in BizTalk Server 2013

Finally released to manufacturing, this long awaited edition hosts a variety of new features that make integrating your on-premises system with the cloud so much easier. The new REST and Azure Service Bus adapters provide quick & simple connectivity for building powerful, flexible and highly scalable hybrid solutions with BizTalk & Azure.

We’ll see an example of both in action during this part of the presentation.

Monitoring with BizTalk360

Now in Version 6.0, Saravana Kumar and his team have released the best-ever edition of BizTalk360, an easy to install web-based application that helps manage the complexity of supporting your BizTalk environments. In addition to the standard features of monitoring, alerting, administrating and auditing, the new capabilities of this release include:

  • Search & Action on Artefacts (Receive locations, send ports, applications etc.)
  • ESB Exception Management Portal
  • Custom SQL Query Complete Rewrite
  • Database Query Monitoring
  • SQL Agent Job Outcome Monitoring
  • Threshold Monitoring Window
  • Scheduled Monitoring Downtime
  • Support for SSL

I’ll present a demo of an active installation so you can witness first-hand the simplicity with which this awesome tool provides value!

If you’re in the Brisbane area, drop by Microsoft at 400 George St, Lvl 28 at 5:30pm on Wednesday, 29th May for some pizza and a great session! All i ask is that you register first so that I know how many pizzas to order!

BizTalk Saturday Event Completed

Just finished our BizTalk 2013 Hands On Day event in Brisbane, presenting with Bill Chesnut to a captivated audience about the new features and abilities to integrate with Azure. This is the last event for this round… but stay tuned for future events.

Presenting at BizTalk Saturday

Many thanks to Bill for his tireless effort at organising this and giving up most weekends, traveling all over Australia & New Zealand! Also thanks to Dean Robertson for the pic.

BizTalk Saturday: Hands On Day Coming to Brisbane!

BizTalk Saturday is back with a new Hands On Day in Brisbane! Delegates will have a chance to get up to speed with the new features of BizTalk Server 2013 under the guidance of Microsoft MVP Bill Chesnut (“BizTalk Bill”) and myself. The format will be presentations followed by hands-on labs. Topics covered will include:

  • What’s New in BizTalk 2013
  • Creating an Azure VM for BizTalk 2013 Beta
  • REST Services in BizTalk 2013
  • Building a Cloud/On-Premises Hybrid Solution
  • Integrating with Windows Azure EAI/EDI

The Brisbane date is Saturday, 13 April 2013. Be sure to register now at the link below:

http://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/5679020102

Cost will be $100 and you will need your own laptop & Azure account. Please see the link above for further details.
This community event is brought to you by the Australian BizTalk User Groups.

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