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How to stay on top of the Cloud

The competition in the public cloud market is enormous – And all the different cloud providers are making significant investments in research and engineering to come up with better and also new service. Microsoft alone is having thousands of engineers and developers engaged, which allows Azure, Office 365 & co to grow month by month. The question is, how can you keep track of all these changes and amount of information shared every day? In this article, we collected some of the resources we found helpful for our preparation to keep up with the latest news from Azure.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
― Albert Einstein

Reading

The official Azure Documentation is probably the most comprehensive and best-updated resource you’ll find on the web. Along with the description of a feature, many of the posts contain tutorials with the ability to launch Cloud Shell alongside the tutorial steps. For the old long timers reading this, “Docs” is replacing the old MSDN / TechNet Library and provides a vastly improved experience. In case you found an error, or want to add additional information you can even contribute to the article as all the platform runs on GitHub.

Also, I like to follow the following blogs from Microsoft and the community:

In general, I’m not a big fan of newsletters. However, the one sent by Microsoft containing the Azure Updates reads very well. It allows you to stay informed on the latest Azure features, events, and community activities and is getting delivered directly to your inbox.

You can also subscribe to notifications (RSS Feeds), which helps to stay ahead and get notified when new posts are available. Initially, I had them all in Outlook, but livening in a mobile-first world, I changed to a tool called “Feedly” – which is available for free on all common platforms.

Listening

When driving to work, I enjoy listening to Spotify or the comedian John Oliver from “Last Week Tonight” podcasts which are addressing a topic in less than 30 minutes – ideal content to make traffic jam enjoyable. My favorite two are the Azure Podcast and Azure Friday. Over time I also found other great podcasts for other topics I’m interested into.

Watching

Sometimes a topic is easier to understand with a live demo, where listening to a podcast only wouldn’t have the same effect, Azure Friday is offering both. Tuesdays with Corey is another good source to watch, also as Corey is a fun actor.

Additional formats from the community to keep an eye on:

If you are interested in more elaborate and deeper-diving content, Microsoft’s Build conference has a lot of more extended sessions that are available to watch on demand. Build 2018 is just around the corner – and the content will be made available on the website soon after the show. Older sessions are available on Channel9.

Connecting the Dots

The cloud is developing at a fast pace, and Microsoft is working on many different things at the same time. Knowing what’s new and what’s hot helps with conversations and moving your company or customers forward. Real power comes in juggling ideas in your head, and combining what’s already there with what’s new – and unlock new potentials. Look at our example from last week’s blog post: collecting Event Log entries for a security-related topic is boring – but having Azure Security Center do it – and letting PowerBI visualize the data makes the whole thing exciting and appealing. You combine multiple elements that – standing alone – may not seem too attractive.

There's just one more thing

For most of the customers, it is essential to understand the direction of Azure and the next priorities. Therefore Microsoft made the roadmap publicly available. Do you have an idea or suggestion which is not listed on the roadmap? Let Microsoft know what is top of your mind, and what you would like to see in the future. UserVoice allows providing feedback and voting on items. Your feedback helps to improve the cloud for everyone.

Solutions Architect (Microsoft)

Michel is a Solutions Architect in the EMEA Domain for Cloud Infrastructure at Microsoft Services based out of Zurich, Switzerland. Primarily, he is focused on innovative cloud solutions and helps customers to define their Microsoft Azure landscape, enable migration scenarios, or support their digital transformation. Michel is working with enterprise customers from different industries in Europe. He recently started his CAS for Blockchain at the technical college in Luzern (HSLU).

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