Modern Learning: Grow Your Cloud Muscle with New Azure Training

by Eduardo Kassner on 11 January 2017
Chief Technology Officer, Worldwide Partner Group

The future of cloud is here — and we want to help you prepare. A recent IDC study reported that within IT organizations, certified staff members earned 15% more on average than staff without certification. Skilled Azure professionals are highly sought after in the job market. Technical certification gives you opportunities for career advancement, higher salaries, and more interesting work.

We know it can be difficult to master all the latest Azure skills in today’s increasingly complex technological environment. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to increase our offering of flexible, modern learning methods from Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to certifications. Not sure which option is best for you? Here, we answer your top questions about modern learning.

What is a MOOC?

Massively Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are self-paced, interactive online learning environments that focus on core development skills for cloud and mobile technologies. The individual MOOCs are from 4–18 hours in length and provide high-tech job skills training, giving you the chance to move forward with your own skill-building online. With a variety of videos, labs, graded assessments, office hours, and more, our MOOCs will allow you to learn, apply, and validate your skills.

What’s the difference between video learning, MOOCs, and exams?

To help provide the training you need, we have a flexible catalogue of learning methods with a comprehensive selection of MOOCs and certifications. Not all people want to learn by the same method, or you may want to go deeper on a topic in a different format. With our flexible learning methods, you can do just that.

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Should an IT pro who wants to learn Azure take a MOOC or a certification exam?

We’ve built a flexible range of learning methods to help you get up to speed with Azure, including both MOOCs and certification exams. This way, you can choose to study as part of an online course with hands-on learning experiences as rigorous as a traditional classroom setting but set at your own pace, or take a specialized certification exam to prove your skills. After completing your certification exam, you’ll receive a digital badge ready to share on your professional networking sites. Additionally, as an IT pro, you have the flexibility to select which MOOC courses or exams to take based on your own needs and knowledge. We encourage you to choose the option that works best for you.

Boost your Azure skills today

Today, with almost 80% of business deploying cloud technology, cloud is the new normal. And with triple digit growth over each of the last eight consecutive quarters, customer demand for Azure is going up fast. Ready to start increasing your Azure skills? We’ve recently launched a variety of new Azure training courses, including:

  • Azure Fundamentals
  • Azure for AWS Experts
  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • Azure Networks
  • Azure Storage
  • Azure Identity
  • Managing Azure Workloads
  • Automating Azure Workloads
  • Azure App Service
  • Databases in Azure
  • Azure Security and Compliance

We’ll also be launching Azure App Services, Databases in Azure, Azure Security, and Application Deployment and Management later this year.

Overall, we’re offering opportunities for Azure certification at a deep discount. These offers are a high-value, simple, and customizable way to increase the technical skills of your team and earn valuable Microsoft Certified Professional designations to set your business apart.

New Cloud Console for Azure Portal

Cloud services are usually managed in two interfaces available. Traditionally, they are managed in either a web-based graphical interface or a command line terminal interface. Each of these interfaces provide their own utility. Different users prefer different interfaces for different tasks or whichever suits best for them. There are many Azure users who use both the interfaces in order to manage their applications on Azure. That’s where the problem arises. Switching between these interfaces requires switching between applications and a terminal, a context switch that slows users and makes it harder to accomplish their goals. Whereas, in some cases such as mobiles or tablets, a terminal interface itself may not be available, thus making the user switch devices.

According to the latest blog from the tech giant Microsoft, this software master has come up with a solution.

The new Microsoft Azure Cloud Console comes with an integrated workflow. It allows users to build their applications on Azure using graphical and command line tools, even on devices which does not have command line installed within them. The shell is integrated in the portal so that the users can quickly drop in a command line experience while simultaneously viewing their cloud resources in the graphical web interface.

The key features of this experience are:
■    Automatic authentication to the command line tools from your existing web login
■    All Azure command line tools, as well as relevant command line utilities pre-installed
■    Personalized, persistent workspace that preserves your code, configuration and activity across cloud shell sessions.

Brendan Burns–the Partner Architect at Microsoft writes in the blog–“The terminal is a fully featured experience featuring not only the Azure command line tools, but also standard editors and tools you would expect. Further, the cloud shell preserves context for you”.

Additionally, the users can continue where they left off in the next cloud session as the files gets saved to the disk are persisted in Azure’s cloud. It is not even necessary for the users to be on the same device and network in order to continue the session.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft has made a rather significant shift in its new SharePoint platform. The new SharePoint Online which is available with Office 365, includes a variety of features. This step of Microsoft moving into the cloud with the new office 365/ SharePoint Online version is accepted by many with open arms, but still, there are IT Directors who are hesitant to move their important content to the cloud. As with all things that you hear around, some which sound too good to be true, there are possible compatibility issues which you must know before you make any decision for your business.

Your decision must be made keeping in mind the requirements of your business, the type of business you operate and the size of your company along with the needs of the end user. Microsoft Office 365 has various subscription levels with annual commitments for the small businesses, education, government organisations and enterprises. The product is cloud-based and offers a variety of options, however if your business has strict regulatory constraints regarding customer security, you will most likely need to ensure security levels and email archiving protocols.

With this blog post, we hope to highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when evaluating SharePoint Online.

ADVANTAGES

Cost effective

When it comes to paying for licenses, Office 365 is certainly the less expensive, depending on how many users your office requires. With the subscription model you have, you will automatically receive upgrades thus you don’t have to pay for any new software every time Microsoft issues a new release. Additionally, since you pay by the user, you are only paying for the resources you are using.

Storage Drive

Each user of yours will have access to One Drive which depends upon your service level offer up to 1 terabyte of storage, per user in a cloud environment.  You could share and sync files on a limited basis through some permission-based featured. If your users requires additional storage, you can easily purchase that too.

Easy access to files

Another great advantage is that the plans of Office 365 offers access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other programs through an online web version of the program. This will be immensely beneficial for those who travel or remotely work. Through this facility you can open and edit your documents from any device and browser. Mobile apps are also available for the same purpose, you can download and give it a try.

Email is accessible and affordable

You would be able to access your email anywhere, anytime since Office 365 Outlook is hosted in the cloud. Most of the Office email options don’t require any administrator or hosted exchange server, thus making it affordable for the smaller sized companies. Most plans are administered through a user-friendly interface that doesn’t require an IT professional at all. But if your business is vast and requires more robust controls, many of the enterprise versions have a PowerShell interface within them that administers permissions for email and other programs.

Scalability

Just as anything built in Cloud, Office 365 also allows your business to scale from one user to around 300 users. When your business will grow Office 365 will not disappoint you. It will scale up to meet your requirements.

Additional Tools

Skype, SharePoint and Lync Online are the extra features available in Office 365. They will be better for communication and collaboration across your business.

Business continuity

Built on Microsoft Azure platform, Office 365 offers a reliable infrastructure which is secure and reliable.

DISADVANTAGES

Cost considerations

There are often budget choices, i.e., Cap-Ex vs Op-Ex, or your business could be a seasonal one and the recurring fee may be caused due to the budget constraints. Thus, while the office 365 subscription is usually more cost-effective for many business, it many not work so well for your seasonal business.

Infrastructure configuration:

Since Office 365 is built in the cloud there is less flexibility and customization. If you have a hybrid set-up, (combination cloud and on-prem) you might need to have a third party involvement or add-ons when it comes to other collaboration tools or emails.

Data Security

Your information does not not reside, as with any cloud-based solution. Here it will sit on a Microsoft server. Many businesses find this as an secure option, but there are industries such as healthcare and financial services which are bound to comply the regulatory constraints and require data to be stored on-perm. Microsoft does offer options for these businesses as well, but they are more expensive and may not completely satisfy requirements.

Email Archiving and eDiscovery

When it comes to archiving and eDiscovery tools, Office 365 has limitations. If your business is regulated then you have to ensure that there are no restrictions in your plan in email retention and archiving. While Office 365 boasts an eDiscovery tool, it may not be necessarily part of your plan or easy to administer. Examine all these features before migrating to Office 365. To ensure compliance you might require an addition of third-party email archiving service provider.

Email quotas and limitations

There are limits placed on how many emails you can send and receive in one day, unlike on-prem exchange servers. All these vary with subscription and Microsoft is working to improve size and quota. Before moving to Office 365 your business must investigate this.

Today when the technology gets advanced everyday, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of any platform requires in-depth research which begins inside your business. There is no doubt that Microsoft Office 365 is helping many businesses in saving their money and capitalizing on the cloud; but you may need to thoroughly consider and investigate the limitations, and address any workarounds or the addition of third-party vendors if required.

The sky’s the limit with Microsoft Office 365 training.

So your company upgraded to Office 365 and now you have this amazing new technology at your fingertips. You’ve discovered the life-changing benefits of team collaboration; you’re switching from laptop to phone, and from phone to tablet, and back to laptop again without missing a beat; you’re having virtual meetings in your PJs; your team is innovating like you never thought possible; your getting way more done in way less time; and you’re sleeping better than you have in years.

Or at least that’s what was supposed to happen, right? But the problem is, you just don’t know enough about Office 365 to tap all of its capabilities. At least not yet. You need the skills. The knowledge. The chops. And you’re not alone.

That’s where Microsoft Learning Partners come in. If you’re not familiar with Learning Partners, here’s the scoop: they’re the only training providers that teach Microsoft’s own courseware, developed by the product designers themselves, and taught by certified expert instructors. These guys are the real deal, and you’ll leave their class an Office 365 savant.

But world-class training isn’t cheap. So how do you get trained without having to shell out your own hard-earned cash? Simple—ask your boss to pay for it. Here’s the deal: If your company has made the upgrade to Office 365, they’re looking for the biggest possible return on that investment. The only way that’s going to happen is if you have the skills necessary to get the most of Office 365. That’s a straightforward, convincing ROI argument that any manager will seriously consider.

So let’s get this done. Find a Learning Partner near you and ask your manager to sponsor your training in either or both of these courses:

  • Course 20346 Managing Office 365 Identities and Services
  • Course 10968 Designing for Office 365 Infrastructure

Azure training is an investment in your awesomeness

Do more with less, said everyone always. But still be innovative, flexible, and prepared for anything. And do it quickly and securely. Seems like a lot to ask. The good news is that with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, it’s really not—at least, not as long as you know how to make the most of it. Enter Microsoft Learning Partners.

We’re talking about training, but not just any training. It’s more of a get-ready-to-be-seriously-awesome-at-this kind of training. That’s because only Microsoft Learning Partners can teach official Microsoft courseware, which, by the way, is developed by the product designers. And these instructors are amazing at what they do, to help you be even more amazing at what you do.

It’s true what they say: You get what you pay for. Or, even better, you get what your company pays for. Training like this comes at a premium because it empowers next-level performance. What company doesn’t want that? All you need to do is ask the question: Do you want to get the most out of your IT investment?

If the answer is yes, and we’re willing to bet it will be, just find a Microsoft Learning Partner near you and enroll in Azure training.

Benefits of Onsite Training

The advantages of onsite training are many; first and the foremost is the overall cost and higher quality training itself. You will see your budget numbers going up when your staff will be sent to some remote location to attend a training course. Professionals do not have to leave their workplaces to receive training. That saves both time and energy and the training is proven to be more efficient as individuals receive hands-on experience relevant to their career profile.

On-site training might be right for you if there are five or more people in your group who need training on the same subject area, and you want a tailored approach to the course content around your application. Read on to find more reasons for choosing onsite training program.

Flexible: It is flexible as you will be the judge and making every decision. You will be choosing the ideal location or the environment, including the time structure and the training days i.e., evenings or weekends.

The saving: Yes, the saving aspect. You will not just be saving the cash in your pocket but also your precious time. It is time-efficient as delegates do not have time to travel usually. Based on the class size, duration and complexity you will can save a lot.  Plus, the cost of traveling and accommodation will be eliminated.

Maximize training budget: Since you will be saving around 30% to 60% of your expenses, you can spend that money in other things that really matter. You can spend on other training needs. See what your team needs the most, soft skill classes on productivity or collaborative work culture adoption.

Tailored program content: Focusing on the key points and challenges of your team and tailor the program accordingly. Tailoring your program will guaranteed make your training unique and relevant, which, in turn, will make utilizing the proven strategies highly effective during a crisis situation.

Consistent Learning: Everybody will be learning together, it will be consistent, rational and every member of the team will be on the same page. By having your employees trained at the same time by the same instructor, they will learn the same skills, essentially putting them all on the same page. Onsite training fosters teamwork as employees from different departments come together to discuss challenges faced by the organization.

Better results: This training also encourages team building. Delegates from different departments can take the training and understand each other’s role. They learn to work with each other and resolve conflicts.On-site training combines the knowledge retention gains of live training with the ability for workers to learn in their own environment, resulting in the best skills gain for your workforce.

In an effort to reach maximum number of students and provide them the training they need, Synergetics India offers several training programs. With onsite training, our instructor will come to your company’s location and provide the training that your employees need.

Cloud Computing in 2017

For past five years Cloud Computing has helped many firms transform themselves. It is the time when the experts are claiming that the market is entering into something of a second wave, which is both for private and public cloud services built and hosted in corporate data centers. According to a new report by Forrester Research: 2017 will witness cloud marketing accelerated as the business firms will seek to gain efficiencies through improving their compute resources to serve their customers better.

The cloud computing usage and significance both rising at a tsunami speed across the world. The cloud computing we know today may look like a whole new species in 2017. According to another report by Cisco four-fifths of all data center traffic–83 percent–will be found based in cloud in the coming three years.

Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti, said ‘The number 1 trend is here come the enterprisers’ . “Enterprises with big budgets, data centers and complex applications are now looking at cloud as a viable place to run core business applications”, he added. Forrester claims that the first wave of of cloud computing was created by Amazon Web Services. It launches as a few simple storage and compute services is 2006 but now, almost a decade later, AWS operates at an $11 billion run rates.

Experts are even calling it s ‘great migration’ to public cloud adoption and AWS is leading the way for it. According to another report by the Synergy Research Group, AWS hold almost 31 percent of the public cloud market share followed by Microsoft Azure at 9 percent, followed by IBM at 7, so on and so forth. Furthermore, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for public cloud storage services reports that Amazon’s S3 stores 1.6 times more data than any other significant players in the field combined.

Let’s focus on the key points of Forrester cloud predictions for 2017:

  1.  Buyers will be able to save money in cloud in many ways beyond pay-per-use.
  2. Hyper-converged infrastructure will prove a help to private clouds to get real
  3. Size will still dominate but the mega-clouds will not be the only available option
  4. Lift and shift wools will be improved thus making the cloud migration easier
  5. In hybrid cloud, the hybrid cloud networking will remain the weak link
  6. Enterprisers will dodge large, costly and complex private cloud software suits
  7. SasS will move away from one-size-fits-all industry and regional solutions
  8. The Chinese firms will be the key drivers of the global cloud evolution
  9. The cloud platform and management strategies will be shaken up by the containers everywhere.
  10. Cloud service providers will design security into their offerings.

Expert David Linthicum (senior vice president- Cloud Technology Partner) believes that in 2017, the ‘great migration’ will begin. We will see more workloads moving to cloud-based platforms than ever before.  There might be few problems that we could come across, the problems that we have not seen before. Performance and security will continue to be one of major issues to overcome, as well as the management. Since past five years we have come a long way and these problems could be solved with thorough brainstorming and technology usage. AWS is the prototype of an Iaas cloud and the problems are being solved there before moving to other such brands of clouds. AWS is doing a stunningly good job in reacting to the requirements of their users and even at times, focusing on the tough problems.

On the other hand Andreas Wittig (Senior AWS Consultant-techRacer) is expecting two main movements in 2017. One is the diversification of managed services and other is shrinking of virtualized portions. The managed services will grow their offerings even for the niche markets it seems. The size of virtualized portions will shrink from the virtual machines to small containers and small functions.

Advice for 2017

It is undeniable fact that Cloud Computing will grow at an exceptional rate in 2017. Thus, in this pace one of the major challenges that we will face is security, automation and legacy applications. It is critical to implement security within every layer of your computing infrastructure in order to prevent security breaches. Cloud-related vendors and Cloud platforms who are offering their services or solutions to enterprisers should make sure that they meet stringent security, availability, compliance, data integrity and scalability requirements.