Last week on Tuesday I attended the Microsoft UK Partner Summit at Twickenham Stadium, London. As a huge Rugby fan boy as well as becoming more and more Intune (Pun Intended) with what Microsoft are doing from a Microsoft standpoint I was rather intrigued to see the technical track at the event but also spend the day at Rugby HQ.

The week prior to the summit I was closely tuned in from afar to the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta, there were some great announcements and some we knew were coming but needed to happen.

In the post I am going to highlight the key areas of the day at Twickenham but I also want to touch base on some of the other interesting things that I believe makes Microsoft look like a good buddy for most of its ecosystem partners.

Build a company in a day

The technical track for the day were unlike other partner / conference days, this session would span the entire day. I thought it was a great concept and it kept me engaged and interesting throughout. The guys presenting @AzureDan and @CrumpyCloud were toying with the dangers of live demos from the offset.

The way these technical sessions are going, things are changing in this also, gone are the days of just PowerPoint presentations, yes there is still a format where this is best, but as we move through this IT adventure more and more formats are being used. White boarding, Live Demos, Canned Demos all of which are great interactive ways of displaying a technical point or delivering technical content.

Back to the day, the day was split into 4 sections and this would cover the following topics:

  •             Compute
  •             Network
  •             WebApps & Social Media
  •             Security, Compliance and Protection

My experience with Azure is very limited, it’s something that has been edging up my personal training list but something that always gets fobbed off with something else, I know what it is, I know what it can but when it comes to the using or explaining specific features I am at a bit of a loss. Basically I would say there are lots of gaps in my knowledge and understanding.

The hardest part is admitting

Because of that I was very keen to see the start to finish of building a company from scratch in Microsoft Azure, I also had some specific Azure storage related questions that I wanted to ask whilst attending from a Veeam backup point of view, more and more people are asking how they can consume Azure as an off-site media backup. To be frank it’s really not a scalable option today however hopefully with the advancements that Microsoft are making this could change in the near future. Fingers crossed.
In the first session it was around building out your network, both Azure internal virtual network as well as forward facing networking to be able to either just connect in and consume or to create that hybrid cloud approach.

  1. Create resource group
  2. Create virtual network – allowing us to create a network that manages IP
  3. Create Subnets

****DHCP is automatic within Azure for Virtual Machines

  1. External Connectivity – (Virtual Network Gateway)
  • Site to Site via on premises router
  • Point to Site via VPN Software
  • ExpressRoute – Bandwidth QoS

****No control over public facing IP address

At this point our internal network was created and we had a forward facing point to be able to choose the external connectivity method required for our new company.

Next up was creating a Virtual Machine, something everyone reading this post has or must of achieved on either a VMware or Hyper-V platform, I was expecting this to look and feel the same. In a way it is the same however you need to select from a “catalogue” the specific virtual machine characteristics that you require, Memory, CPU, Storage, Availability and Protection.

Another thing worth noting is that the costs for these options do not include the storage or networking.

Next up after a caffeine hit was WebApps and Social Media, and to be honest I thought I would be glazed over here and checking the phone and emails. But that wasn’t the case, a really interesting piece on how this can be used, all the way through this session I was thinking how I could leverage this technology to better provide this site, but also how to better enhance social media presence.

The guys used a Logic App to demo this social media enhancement, and I must say it was interesting and also some traffic manager to split the load between two geographical locations.

The final session of the day was around the compliance and security aspect, also having the ability to perform backup functions as well as disaster recovery options in hybrid cloud environments.

It was interesting to hear this, even working for Veeam I find it interesting to see what other technologies are being used for and how they are positioned within the market, It was also refreshing to hear from contacts that were in the other side of the track, the sales breakouts where actually Veeam was strongly mentioned as a key alliance partner for protecting workloads for on-premises as well as Public Cloud Workloads.

All in all, a great day out and some really good use cases and demos on how to get started, a refreshing session that didn’t bore me like the usual death by PowerPoint something that I think we are seeing a move away from in technical presentations.

I also wanted to add on some of the key new features or announcements that were made the week before at Microsoft Ignite, I will hopefully find time to run through some of this and dive deeper in upcoming posts.

Windows Server 2016 was announced as General Availability, this is great news as we have been playing with the tech previews for a long time so to have this announced this was good news I expect we should see this available for download anytime in the next two weeks.

We also have the next iteration of the Applications such as SharePoint, SQL and Exchange some of which we already have available but again this just proves how big this release is for Microsoft. It’s also a big deal for Veeam out of the box our version 9.5 will support Windows Server 2016 as well as the Application stack, which is pretty big news.

Powershell DSC (Desired State Configuration) this is a really nice feature I feel that will arrive with Server 2016. Used for the configuration, deployment, and management of systems.

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/dsc/overview

Finally, we have ReFS 3.0 coming in Server 2016, if you are looking at Hyper V 2016 then this is the file system for you, the Resilient File System is going to improve lots of things from a front end point of view for VM provisioning, migrations and deletion its going to improve that speed and performance. It’s also going to really help as a backup target file system.

I want to share a post from a colleague here that goes deeper into why and what this new file system brings over the traditional NTFS file system –

https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2016/08/24/rethinking-storage-with-microsofts-resilient-file-system.aspx

Also from Veeam specific point of view I wanted to share the recent session from Anton Gostev who presented at Microsoft Ignite, as soon as I have the full session link I will update the post.

Interview with Anton Gostev – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dou3DaY05E
Resources

The guys that presented at the UK Partner Summit mentioned their own blog or Dan’s blog at least so wanted to share that resource because on here you can run through canned videos of the sessions we experienced on the day and a walkthrough on what you need to do to setup a company in a day using Microsoft Azure.

Useful Resources

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-windows-sizes/  some detailed information and will be up to date from an Azure Virtual Machine specification.

The following links are from the guys that took the UK Partner Summit mentioned above well worth spending a few hours over these sites, if like me you knew of bits and you could probably get around Azure, this is a great free resource that will help top up that knowledge.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mpn_uk/2016/09/30/cloud-and-proud-helping-partners-skill-up-on-azure/

https://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/cloudandproud/

The usual sign off if you have any comments please find me on Twitter at @MichaelCade1

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