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Microsoft Ignite 2018 - Azure Miscellaneous News

In this post, I will share the latest information that I have on various Azure announcements that don’t easily fit into other categories.

I’m going to seem like a total “Negative Nelly” here, but I have lots of great Azure news in other posts. As I like to remind people, you don’t have to like the entire menu to recommend a restaurant.


One of the themes this week at Ignite is career transformation for IT pros. There is no choice – you must adapt to The Cloud or face becoming irrelevant. That means that you must learn. But even if you have gone on training and gotten some experience, The Cloud waits for no one. The old practices of clinging to knowledge from a decade ago won’t work because change is a constant in The Cloud.

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Microsoft has founded Microsoft Learn to deliver small chunks of cloud training to IT Pros. The idea is to make it easy to learn how to do certain tasks, with some measurement and achievement processes. It is still early days and I have only had a quick look, but this site looks to me like another method of delivering information that Microsoft already delivers on docs.microsoft.com – a site which Microsoft and the community keeps current via edits on GitHub. I can’t see Microsoft Learn staying current. Also, Learn lacks something that all Microsoft education does – it doesn’t have joined up architectural training. Hopefully Learn has a strong command with support and multi-year budget from Leadership – if so, it has a chance to succeed, otherwise, it’s doomed to be like it’s many education predecessors that came and went.

Role-Based Certification

I don’t have a good opinion of IT certification. I’ve met too many certificate hoarders who don’t have a clue. They rote-learned facts/figures or downloaded the questions & answers from a certain subscription cheating service. And the questions are typically out of context, misquotes from Microsoft documentation or the ”pick one correct answer” questions are impossible to answer because either none or all of the answers are correct. And I really dislike how HR people use certifications as a recruitment crutch

Microsoft has struggled to get IT pros to certify with Azure. The old 70-533 exam was full of stuff that IT pros rarely do in The Cloud. This is where certain people who either don’t work in The Cloud or others who are “unicorns” will proclaim “they should know this stuff, even if it’s not even in Azure” – silly people who just don’t live in the real world!

To overcome the lack of certifications, a set of role-specific exams have been developed and have been in beta until now. The new AZ-100 exam is aimed at IT pros, but beware! This new exam still contains lots of non-IT pro content such as Logic Apps and Functions, and non-Azure content such as Azure AD Premium (a per-user license outside of Azure but can be used by Azure).

Azure Migrate – Hyper-V Support

If you want to lift-and-shift virtual machines to the cloud, you should conduct an assessment to discover what you want to migrate, find out if it should be or can be migrated, learn what your migration options are, and calculate what will be deployed (and much it will cost) in Azure.

The official solution for this is Azure Migrate. Unfortunately, Azure Migrate has only supported vSphere. At Ignite on Monday, it was announced that Hyper-V support was either here or coming very soon. I met with some of the Azure Migrate team in the Expo hall to confirm what was happening. They were surprised by the announcement because Hyper-V support is not ready and is till in private preview.

Microsoft Virtual Desktop

Microsoft surprised me with an announcement that they will be launching an Azure-based Windows 10 VDI service in preview later this year called Microsoft Virtual Desktop.

This service, available to users with Microsoft 365 E3, E5, or F1 subscriptions allows you to run Office Pro Plus in a Windows 10 virtual machine in Azure. Don’t read too much into this – this is not free VDI!

While information is light, the little bit of information we’ve seen so far leads me to believe that this is a licensing solution for Windows 10 VDA and leverages the third-party cloud installation option for Office Pro Plus. The real cost of VDI has always been the machine. VDI has always been, and always will be the most expensive way to run a desktop environment – I like to refer to it as Gartner-ware, a fad that foolish people do, while everyone else runs a cheaper and more mobile user experience without user experience sacrifices.

In a demo at Ignite, Photoshop was shown running in one of these Azure virtual machines. It looked smooth – but of course it did. It was an NV-Series virtual machine with NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPU cores that probably clocks in at around $1,000 per month. So a VDI PC will cost $12,000 per year, but you can apply Reserved Instances to get discounts, with a complete up-front payment for 1 or 3 years. And the client will still require a device, costing $500-$1000, which they would probably use without VDI anyway. Hmm!

Lots More News

That’s an end to my negativity for the week – I promise! I have lots more great Azure news from Ignite here on Petri.com.


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Aidan Finn, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), has been working in IT since 1996. He has worked as a consultant and administrator for the likes of Innofactor Norway, Amdahl DMR, Fujitsu, Barclays and Hypo Real Estate Bank International where he dealt with large and complex IT infrastructures and MicroWarehouse Ltd. where he worked with Microsoft partners in the small/medium business space.

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