Since I posted this post (Transitioning to AWS), I completed the Udemy course, did plenty of hands on and proof of concepts to enable me to learn, I soon after discovered Azure. This was totally by chance – I went to a Cloud Meetup group in London where both AWS & Azure solutions were discussed, and curiosity got the better of me. I started by using the free credits by Microsoft on the trial account (which are only valid for 1 month), but immediately I was hooked. I was creating Virtual Networks, Network Security Groups, VMs, Load Balancers, reading how to create hybrid clouds, how to migrate from on premise servers to Azure using Azure Site Recovery, and how to automate deployment with ARM templates. Instantly this felt much more mature and a better rounded solution than AWS. Microsoft really has come a long way since Azure was first launched.

So this lead me to investigate the certification route, and I have decided to take the following exams:

70-533 – Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions – Exam LinkBook (Released Feb 2018)

70-534 – Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions – Exam LinkBook (Released April 2018)

So with new books not due to be released for a few months, we can only assume the exams will be going through a refresh – I will guess by removing or reducing the amount on the Classic Portal and focusing on the new Azure Portal.


So what am I currently doing with Azure other than labbing? Well I’ve moved my production servers to it already, I am working with a local charity to move some ageing Windows and Linux servers hosted in their office and in a DC to design a solution and migrate to Azure, and I am working with a small MSP to help them satisfy an Azure migration requirement/opportunity with a customer, and enjoying it.

I now feel like “cloud” (/i.e. somebody else’s computer/infrastructure) has matured considerably with many companies making the transition to move core infrastructure to a cloud based operational model, particularly if the main product of the company is a web application which would previously have been hosted on traditional infrastructure.

This traditional infrastructure (usually some from of virtualisation (VMware for me), storage and networking) has been my bread and butter core skillset for many years. I have translated many business requirements into technical requirements, and then installed and configured them. Its what I know best and have served me well for many years, but particularly in the last 12 months there is a very clear decline in demand, and a very sharp rise in revenue spend with cloud based technologies.

Obviously not all infrastructure will fit into the cloud as it stands now, and maybe some never will, but there is a clear pattern here which cannot be ignored, and as ever in IT it is important to keep up with trends.

So now I am open to the cloud adoption it will become easier and more efficient to begin learning. So, where to start and why? I chose to master the AWS offerings – not all of them, I don’t think anyone has done that, but at least the core offerings – compute, storage, networking, automation.

Why AWS? The are the clear market leaders and have held this position for many years and although Microsoft is the nearest contender with Google trailing, they are a long way behind. Sure they may start to eat into AWS market share in a few years, but I don’t think they will make a serious dent. Now the model is well proven, it is time to start learning!

So where to start?

I have decided to take the exam AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate which gives a good overview of the core service offerings and how they interoperate with each other, as well as benefitting from obtaining an industry certification.

For study aid I am watching the well recommended video by A Cloud Guru which is ideal for beginners to AWS right from the start and of course lots of hands on in the form of AWS labs.