Guest Author: Paul McDonald, IT & Infrastructure Engineer at Zupa
This February I attended the Microsoft Ignite | The Tour conference at the ExCel in London. This was a free event and provided over 100 deep-dive sessions and workshops from Microsoft Engineers and MVPs. The sessions and workshops were broken down into ten Learning Paths.
I’ve been studying for the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams for my Azure Administrator Associate certification, so I decided to focus on these two:
- Azure Fundamentals
- Building and Maintaining your Azure Hybrid Environment
I decided to become certified in Azure because as Zupa is a Microsoft Silver Partner (across Application Development, Cloud Platform and Datacenter) we use it a lot! I wanted to learn more about how to administer the platform, and I felt it would be good for my professional development to have something that proves and validates my knowledge.
This conference felt like a new concept and unlike previous Microsoft conferences, there was no keynote. Instead, the first day began in ‘The Hub’ where we enjoyed a preview of what was to come over the next two days. This included demos from the conference presenters. One of the demos introduced us to Visual Studio Live Share. I had never seen this feature before and thought it was brilliant. It’s a great collaborative tool for editing and debugging code. This is one of the main reasons I like attending these types of Microsoft-led events – chances are you’ll find out about something that you haven’t heard of or really seen much of previously.
Day One: Rick Claus is talking to me
My sessions for Day One covered topics such as Azure Networking Basics, Azure Tooling and Utilities, Azure Security Basics, and Storing Data in Azure.
The best session for me that day was Azure Security Basics, with Rick Claus as the speaker. Rick is the Cloud Advocate Team Lead at Microsoft, and he engaged with the audience really well with a good mix of talk and walk-throughs. His focus was Azure Security Center and its various components.
One of the things that caught my eye here was Just In Time (JIT) VM access, which can be used to lock down inbound traffic to your Azure VMs.
He explained to us what Brute Force attacks were, and how we can prevent them by using JIT. We were shown a demo of a VM that didn’t have port 3389 (RDP) open by default, and he used JIT to allow access for a set period of time. I hadn’t seen this in use before and was really impressed with it, definitely something to look into!
Day Two: Entering the Hybrid Cloud
My sessions on Day Two focused on Hybrid Cloud and covered topics such as Planning and Implementing Hybrid Network Connectivity, Securing an Azure environment, Maintaining a Hybrid environment, Azure Governance and Business Continuity Planning.
The best session for me on this day was Maintaining your Hybrid Environment, which had Neil Peterson as the speaker. Neil is a Cloud Advocate at Microsoft and his session introduced us to Azure Automation State Configuration. To me, someone who has dabbled with DSC before, Neil’s demos were really good. Again, a topic I’ll be looking into in more detail.
Would I go again?
Overall I thought it was an excellent conference. There were a lot of session clashes but that’s normally the case at these events – even more so when you’re trying to squeeze a lot of development into two days. I would highly recommend going next year if you get the chance. One of my tips would be to plan for travel between sessions (way in advance) as you only have around 20 minutes to find the room/location and get yourself seated.
Now read Paul’s blog: Windows Server 2019 – A further step towards the Hybrid Datacenter