Luper's Learnings – Azure Technical Community for Partners (November 2015)

This is the November 2015 monthly edition of Luper’s Learnings.

What an amazing last 30 days it’s been. I had the great opportunity to meet with terrific Azure partners in Sweden, Finland, UK, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium during a two week Europe visit. Last week I attended the two day Azure Tour event in New York and meet with some great partners there as well. More details about the Azure Tour below. As we head into the end of the calendar year and a variety of holidays for many of us over the next seven weeks, please keep up the great work driving deployment of terrific solutions for your customers and their utilization of Azure services. I love hearing from you via Twitter, email -- luperslearnings (at) and in person. We’re just wrapping up our planning for a visit to Auckland, New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia in the second half of January. Reach out to me if you are in that area and would like to connect.

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Here are topics I’ve run across and my Learnings from the last month…

 -          I usually try to send Luper’s Learnings the first week of each month. Between wanting to report back to you on my experience at the Azure Tour and the Red Hat announcement, I decided to delay a couple of days and send it out to you today. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about Red Hat.

  • o   Linux running on Azure is nothing new. It’s actually estimated that more than 20% of virtual machines running in Azure worldwide are running Linux.
  • o   Over 200 of the virtual machines in the Azure Virtual Machines Marketplace are running a Linux distribution.
  • o   CentOS, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, SUSE and more all have Azure Certified VMs today to deploy from the Azure Portal. Details on these and other Open Technologies running on Azure here.
  • o    Oh… what about Red Hat? Just last week, Scott Guthrie announced that Microsoft and Red Hat are partnering to deliver more flexibility and choice. This announcement includes details that Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as the JBoss middleware platform will be available in the coming weeks. Red Hat and Microsoft will be co-locating support staff to deliver an end-to-end support experience to our mutual customers and more.
  • o   The Press Release is on Microsoft’s News Center and Ret Hat’s blog.
  • o   You can watch the 30 minute, 4 November webcast on demand that featured Scott Guthrie and Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of Products and Technologies.
  • o   This Wednesday, 11 November at 10am Pacific Time, there will be a Red Hat Solutions on Azure webinar. Register.
  • o   Finally, keep an eye on the Red Hat solutions page to learn about moving Red Hat subscriptions to Azure, details on getting support and FAQs

-          As I mentioned above, I spent Thursday and Friday last week attending the Azure Tour event in New York. At this location, it was a two day version of the event so Azure content was combined with Office 365 and a variety of other topics that connect with and touch Microsoft cloud services. While it’s appealing to IT Pros broadly and not specifically targeted at partners, you’ll likely find many of the sessions interesting. I had a number of meetings with some terrific Azure partners (thank you all for your time) plus attended a good number of sessions. There are 17 Azure Tour stops coming up over the next four months (including the Toronto event going on today and tomorrow.) I’ve provided you with the full schedule & registration information below. Some of the highlighted sessions and presenters in NYC last week were keynote by Mike Schutz, Azure and open source sessions by David Justice, multiple sessions on Azure VMs by Drew McDaniel, Identity Management by Stuart Kwan (during his first ever visit to NYC) and a couple of strong Azure App Service topics presented by Donna Malayeri.

-          Full details on the tour are at Here are the upcoming dates and direct registration links for your convenience.






9 and 10 November 2015



18 November 2015


Tel Aviv

2 December 2015



7 December 2015



7 and 8 December 2015


Washington DC

11 January 2016



14 January 2016


Sao Paulo

19 and 20 January 2016


Los Angeles

26 and 27 January 2016


Mexico City

2 and 3 February 2016



22 and 23 February 2016



25 and 26 February 2016



26 February 2016



29 February and 1 March 2016



1 March 2016



3 and 4 March 2016


Hong Kong

10 and 11 March 2016



Don’t forget, we have an Azure Partner Readiness Catalog, that is your resource for finding Azure technical readiness content in one place. I’d love to hear your feedback on the catalog as well as suggestions for additional content to add.

-           Azure is an insanely flexible public cloud offering. With services ranging from Identity to Storage to Web Apps and other PaaS offerings, don’t forget that many, many on-premises Microsoft applications are able to run in Azure VMs. Just over a month ago, Corey Sanders posted a blog post with full details and links on deploying and managing many of those applications including SQL Server, Dynamics AX, NAV and GP along with almost 200 deployment templates for Windows based solutions and an entire section on using Azure as part of a hybrid solution (as many enterprises are doing on their path to the cloud.)

-          In early October, Pranav Rastogi announced the public preview of the new Premium tier for Azure Redis Cache. To learn about Redis Cache, take a look at the documentation and videos available on the documentation page including .NET, Node.js, Java and Python tutorials. Pricing details are here for Basic, Standard and the preview Premium tiers. Technical details about Redis Persistence and a Redis Cluster tutorial are also available along with the recently updated Azure Redis Cache FAQ.

-          IoT is on everybody’s radar but what exactly is IoT? It means different things to different folks but components usually include some combination of monitoring and managing sensors and devices, collecting telemetry data and, where we’re seeing the biggest push in IoT solutions these days is in providing analytics solutions using all of that gathered monitoring, telemetry and other data. If IoT is interesting to you, you should watch this 15 minute overview video of the Azure IoT Suite. Also, take a look at the preconfigured solutions that are part of Azure IoT.

-          Azure Automation has provided a highly available, reliable, and scalable process execution engine for orchestrating error-prone and complex IT management tasks around Azure resources for a long time. But recently, Azure Automation has become a whole lot more. Watch this 30 minute video with Rick Claus, Joe Levy, and (surprise guest) Jeffrey Snover as they explore new features of Azure Automation, as part of the Microsoft Operations Management Suite, that have turned Azure Automation into a powerful, reliable solution for automation of IT management tasks on-premises or in any cloud, for Windows and Linux -- using the tools you’re already familiar with.

-          Those of you have met me in person have undoubtedly heard me talk about what a huge deal identity is and that providing Active Directory (Azure and otherwise) solutions are a key part of delivering any enterprise solutions these days. Last month I told you that Azure AD B2B and B2C entered public preview. In October, Azure AD Domain Services also entered Public Preview allowing you to use Azure AD as a cloud domain controller. Read the announcement posted by Alex Simons with full details filled in by Mahesh Unnikrishan.

-          Speaking of Azure Active Directory. How about configuring One-Click SSO for Google Apps?

-          Tim Rains recent post, Cloud security controls series: Penetration Testing, Red Teaming, & Forensics on the Cyber Trust Blog is very interesting talking about whether customers and partners can do penetration testing on Microsoft cloud services, whether Microsoft does its own penetration tests, and how the cloud impacts customers’ ability to perform forensic investigations on systems they have in the cloud. Don’t forget to read some of Tim’s other interesting blog posts from earlier this year – Cloud security controls series: Managing “Shadow IT”, Cloud security controls series: Rights Management, Cloud security controls series: Encrypting Data at Rest, Cloud security controls series: Azure AD Privileged Identity Management and Cloud security controls series: Multi-factor Authentication. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet but it might be interesting to watch the free 8 module course on cloud security that Tim and Mark Simos just made available.

-          In last month’s edition, as part of the AzureCon announcements, I told you that Azure Files had become generally available. Great. Now what do you and your customers do with Azure File storage? Tamra Myers recent post How to use Azure File storage with Windows and Robert McMurray’s post How to use File Storage from Java should help you get going.

-          Towards the end of October, the SQL Server Team posted a blog post on Azure Key Vault Integration for SQL Server in Azure VMs and Announcing SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0, Azure Data Lake preview and much more

-          You know that I’m a fan of the Tuesdays with Corey series. In October Corey’s topics included:

-          Also, some great episodes of Azure Friday with Scott Hanselman in October. The full series can be found here.

-          What’s the story with big Microsoft events? Chris Capossela posted this event lineup in mid October with the scoop. The conferences that will most likely be interesting to a technical audience from Azure partners will be Build 2016 (targeted at developers, held in San Francisco annually and consistently sells out within the first hour) and Ignite 2016. I met dozens of you a the first Ignite conference in Chicago this past May. It was announced that the second Ignite conference would again be held in Chicago in the Spring of 2016 but, due to partner and customer feedback on the rhythm of Microsoft events and conferences, Ignite 2016 has been moved to September in Atlanta. I’m anticipating being there and hosting Azure partners at the event. Pre-registration is open now if you want to start your planning. I’ll be sure to share more details in the Spring.

-          My last plug on events for this edition… Are you Canadian? The CANITPRO team is putting on a series of events across Canada between now and the end of the calendar year. I’m particularly interested as their Topic #2, Azure for IT Professionals provides hands-on about developing architectures to support advanced performance virtual machine environment, storage environments and networking environments in a secure and efficient manner.

-          BizSpark is a pretty cool Microsoft program for startups who can get up to $120k of free Azure. Just recently we heard about traction that BizSpark member fabrik is having using open source libraries and other tools on Azure including WebApps, Service Bus and Virtual Machines.

-          Back issues of Luper’s Learnings are now available via the archive at for your convenience and perusal.

Thanks for sticking with me and making it to the bottom of the November Luper’s Learnings. I’d love your input for topics for the December edition let me know what they are!

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