In January, Catapult kicked off its first virtual training program around Azure, Microsoft’s highly secure, cloud platform for building, deploying, and managing applications. Over the course of eight weeks, close to 1,000 bootcamp members gained valuable skills in Azure ranging from Visual Studio Team Management to Azure Networking. On February 24th, our cloud guru instructors, Mick Monk and Alonso Robles, took to twitter for a Q and A session with their students, offering an opportunity to interact directly and share Azure knowledge across the social network.
We’ve compiled all the best questions and advice from the session.
1 | What options are there for Small Business and Healthcare Compliance (HIPAA)?
Alonso: Azure is HIPAA compliant. Just ensure your business operations are as well.
- Looking for more information on Azure Security? It has more certification than any other cloud provider. More information: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/trust-center/
2 | When creating UAT, DEV, and Production environments, what are some best practices in separating these from each other?
Mick: Best practice is to create individual ‘Subscriptions’ – subscriptions are a logical boundary for admin/billing.
3 | What are the advantages of Azure over AWS?
If you are already using Microsoft tools, Azure tooling is practically seamless and is a great experience. To be fair, both Azure and AWS have great offerings and services.
4 | Any recommendations for hosting small non-asp.net sites, i.e. Classic ASP site with Database, HTML site that requires FTP access, HTML site hosting PDF documents?
Alonso: Make as much use of CDN, blog storage, and free tier services as you can. You may have to roll your own Virtual Machines.
5 | What are the best cost modeling tools?
6 | If you were to run everything in Azure in the same way that you run your on-prem services, which would be more expensive?
Mick: Since cloud resources may be scaled up/down or on/off as needed, cost savings in the cloud can be significant.
Alonso: Generally speaking, cloud will cost less than on-premise. You get the cost savings from economies of scale.
7 | What are the best low-cost resources to learn about the topics covered – how to architect solutions around them, pro’s/con’s, and step-by-step how to enable/configure those services?
Mick: Microsoft virtual labs, and MS Virtual Academy resources; or courses offered by the likes of https://www.pluralsight.com/
Alonso: There is nothing better than taking Azure for a test drive. Just clean up after yourself.
8 | What are the trends in Azure and Cloud (Containers, Microservices)?
Mick: Changing of mindset away from infrastructure toward innovation. Furthering hybrid integration: http://www.azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview…& increasing Security-as-a-Service capabilities.
Alonso: Containers like https://www.docker.com/ are hot: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/container-service/. Serverless architectures are also hot: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/functions/. Microservices are all the rage as well. I try to stay away from IaaS as much as I can.
9 | If a client is migrating to exchange using Azure, what are the top three steps they should do before planning to ensure seamless move?
Alonso: What kind of Exchange are we talking about? Gift exchange? White elephant? Exchange students?
Mick: Recommendation would be to adopt Office 365 for mail services, always a cheaper option than Exchange on VM’s.
10 | When I turn off all resources in a resource group at once, what is retained when I turn it back on? I only need a staging environment for my application (Sitecore) very sporadically, and I’m considering how I might save cost by leaving it turned off most of the time.
Alonso: All data is retained with the exception of data on the temporary data drive of the VMs.
@benbadfix asked: What if it’s PAAS?
Alonso: Can’t really turn those off, but you can scale them down to the lowest tiers. Don’t forget you still have to pay for the storage accounts (those don’t turn off). A script could be used to turn off and de-allocate all VMs in a Resource Group.
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