March 8, 2017 by Kenneth Fisher
My company has recently adopted a Cloud first attitude. Now that’s different from Microsoft’s Cloud first. Microsoft is putting new features in the Azure first, then at regular intervals (the releases) those changes get pushed to on-premises versions of the applications. Our version means, in any new development check the cloud first to see if it’s going to be a cost savings.
That means that some of us DBAs are going to have to learn more and more cloudy type information. I’ll have to learn about AWS eventually but being a Microsoft type of guy I decided to start with Azure (besides, I know how to get free Azure credits without having to put in a credit card). To that end I started with the Azure Fundamentals course on openedx.microsoft.com.
To save you some time, I’ll say I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. To start with FREE!. Can’t beat that right? Next, why would a DBA need a fundamentals class? I mean this thing covered subjects where 90% of the content I had no familiarity with and probably never will. This is similar to the reason I push for getting basic certifications. You get familiarity with a wide scope of what’s there. You may never need to create a scale set but you’ll at least know that it exists and what it’s for.
The course is broken out first into large categories, the sections under that. Within each section, there are multiple entries. Some text and images, and some video. I like the jumping back and forth between the text and the video. I found I learned better this way. Multiple short inputs (1-2 page text and 1-5 minute videos) seems to work best for me. The course instructors for the videos are all quite good presenters and the text has good information, well thought out images, and plenty of links for additional information. At the end of each section are a set of review questions and some practical exercises. The practical exercises are a PDF that you download and walks you through some simple tasks. One of the first things they walk you through is signing up for an Azure account and getting some free credits so you can do the examples. Fair warning here, though, the free credits they are having you get only last for a month, which if you are pushing a bit shouldn’t be a problem. It took me 3 months to finish, though. Fortunately I have a some credits for a year through Visual Studio Dev Essentials. Then at the very end, there is a graded exam for a certificate. Fair warning, it says you only get one shot at the exam and if you don’t pass you’ll have to wait until the course is re-released.
There were a few typo’s here and there but less than I’ve seen in many of the courses/books I’ve worked with. The biggest con though is the same con that any cloud course is going to have. The cloud moves/changes quickly. Right now it appears that everything is still valid, and hopefully, they will re-release the course periodically with updates as things change.
Well, I started with the conclusion up above, but let me repeat myself briefly. If you have the time and are going to be working in Azure, you could do worse than starting with this course.
Now off to the Databases in Azure course! 🙂