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Jay Gordon for Microsoft Azure

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What do you want to learn about "The Cloud" today?

The groundwork of all technology work, whether it's in software engineering, marketing, product management or on-call operations, is understanding the fundamentals. Getting a solid foundation in which to build a solid career upon requires some work to fully understand the basics.

To understand the pervasiveness of the cloud in 2020 is overwhelming. From your Wal-Mart order for produce to the information on your favorite sports team, the cloud is part of providing the networking, storage and compute to power many parts of your daily life.

Just to provide you with some of the financial implications globally of the cloud, this article in Feb 2020 shows the power of companies selecting cloud services:


Microsoft’s cloud services experienced the most significant growth, with revenue increasing 27%. Revenue in its business and productivity division, which includes LinkedIn, rose 17% to a total of $11.8 billion

The cloud, what is it?

Microsoft defines cloud computing as:

the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.

The cloud comes with a number of major benefits that provide a leg up over traditional datacenter deployments. With a datacenter, you're relying on the operational overhead handle many of the big tasks that come along with reliably deploying services for your customers. I really like this definition of what I mean by overhead in this context:

Overhead (computing)

In computer science, overhead is any combination of excess or indirect computation time, memory, bandwidth, or other resources that are required to attain a particular goal. It is a special case of engineering overhead

In the context of a datacenter, your overhead is the time and money spent on buying equipment, installtion, support, maintenance and security of your gear. You'll need to consider if you're going to rent a colocated space or building your own. Are you ensuring redunancy in your application? Does that mean you need a disaster recover location to handle failover? What about backups? Who ensure these are happening? Then there is compliance, are you beholden to GDPR, PCI, or any other external regulations? These are all things that Information Technology professionals have had to do to ensure their applications are always available.

Seems like a ton of work, doesn't it? Well the reason people use the cloud many times is to offset this overhead to their vendor and spending more time on what their business actually does. If you're an e-commerce business, you want to spend your time improving your store, adding features and ensuring performance for your customers. The business is to sell people products, not to install computing infrastructure.

Top Benefits

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. Here are seven common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:

  • Cost - Rather than make a purchase up front for your datacenter gear, licenses and support - use a credit card and pay for what you need, when you need it.
  • Global Scale - Access to resources in datacenters across the planet. No installing, racking and stacking. Storage, compute and network resources whenever you need.
  • Performance - Use various types of CPUs, GPUs, enhanced networking and more to provide the best experience for your users.
  • Security - Remember all that compliance? That's done for you. Ensuring firewalls are configured by default, patching of Operating Systems and managing your secrets - all done in the cloud.
  • Speed - The ability to build, move fast and fail fast! If something doesn't work the way you want in your application, you can quickly spin up new resources. A Linux Virtual Machine is an example of a resource you can have available in just minutes.
  • Productivity - Focus on your business's needs - not the needs of a datacenter. Offset your IT tasks to managed services and reduce your overhead!
  • Reliability - The cloud comes with the knowledge, the tools and global datacenter availability to ensure that whatever you invent, it's invented with purpose. Reduce downtime, improve reliability and keep your app users happy!

Management over manual

Using the cloud means you have the ability to select managed service over those you need to maintain on your own.

****Managed services* is the practice of outsourcing the responsibility for maintaining, and anticipating need for, a range of processes and functions in order to improve operations and cut expenses.***

In the context of Microsoft Azure, there are so many managed services to select from. Let's say that you have a new CMS driven website that you are tasked with getting running. You could just set up a Linux VM, install a LAMP stack and then get Wordpress running, but you are assuming some risk here.

By doing this without some managed services, you're reducing your ability to withstand many of the common problems with unmanaged servers. You may have MySQL, PHP and Apache all running on one single VM...what do you do when MySQL runs out of memory? What happens when your website is no longer available due to running into swap memory? More than likely you're going to spend some time on this once your pager goes off letting you know the site is offline.

What if you could take away a lot of those headaches and still keep the CMS website online?

[Wordpress Marketplace](

Azure provides managed services for much of the common tasks you would associate with running a website like a Wordpress CMS. Azure provides a service to help you install, backup and maintain this service long term. By visiting the Azure Marketplace you'll be able to find this Wordpress app install.

Rather than installing a MySQL server - we can select the Azure Database for MySQL managed service. Azure Database for MySQL provides fully managed, enterprise-ready community MySQL database as a service. You'll have backups, scalability and security you need for your database without having to configure it yourself. These are the tasks that can keep you up late or take a while to ensure you can automate. By using a managed service, you get all these feautres right out of the box.

What about my Word docs in the cloud?

Sure. there's a place for you. SaaS (software as a service) helps provide you with many of tasks like word processing, calendaring and email all in the cloud. No need to set up your own email server or a storage array with shares for your company. Select a SaaS like Microsoft 365, and much like our web service for our apps, we reduce overhead.

Microsoft 365 is designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security.

SaaS solutions aren't just limited to productivity, you use them almost every day with tasks like signing documents, saving your files or even talking to a friend online.

Security first

Take advantage of multi-layered security provided by Microsoft across physical datacenters, infrastructure, and operations in Azure. Gain from the state-of-art security delivered in Azure data centers globally. Rely on a cloud that is built with customized hardware, has security controls integrated into the hardware and firmware components, and added protections against threats such as DDoS. Benefit from a team of more than 3,500 global cybersecurity experts that work together to help safeguard your business assets and data in Azure. Read even more about Secuity on Azure here.


The number of managed services Azure provides is tremendous, over 200 at the time of this blog. You have access to AI, IoT, DevOps tools, and so much more. You can get a view of the entire list of products by checking the Azure Directory of Cloud Services.

Sure there's tons of companies using the cloud... what about me?

Starting with the foundations to help you invent with purpose are there. By learning how to build applications, manage resources and more can help you get the most out of the cloud. Here are some great sources to begin using many of the things I discussed in this blog post:

Microsoft Learn

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 10.31.47 AM

Master core concepts at your speed and on your schedule. Whether you've got 15 minutes or an hour, you can develop practical skills through interactive modules and paths.

Learn has a number of learning paths to help you get your start. You can get the fundamentals down first and then move on to your certification showing your proficiency. Exam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is great to show you know how to use the foundational products that make up the cloud and Azure.


Discover comprehensive documentation for consumers, developers, and IT administrators through tutorials and code examples.

Docs on subjects like Visual Studio Code, Microsoft 365, Azure and even gaming! The docs website contains tons of information, reference guides and even quickstart how-to's that can help you understand how to use the services described. One of my favorite quickstarts is Create an Azure Cosmos account, database, container, and items from the Azure portal. It's a perfect first step into understanding the global NoSQL database service, Cosmos DB.

Azure Advocates


Our team's charter is to help every technologist on the planet succeed, be they students or those working in enterprises or startups. We engage in outreach to developers and others in the software ecosystem, all designed to further technical education and proficiency with the Microsoft Cloud + AI platform.

We create content, bring back feedback and do our best to help you learn about how to use Azure. Many of us are available on Twitter and want to hear what you're up to or need help with. Check out this guide for a list of advocates and their technology specialties!

Microsoft Build 2020

Join us for the 48-hour digital experience, at no cost, May 19-20. As developers come together to help the world solve new challenges, sharing knowledge and staying connected is more important than ever. Join your community to learn, connect, and code—to expand your skillset today, and innovate for tomorrow.

For developers by developers, a non-stop, 48-hour interactive experience straight to your screen—but what if you can’t wait until May 19? Keep exploring leading up to the event and get a jumpstart on your Microsoft Build experience.

This is a different kind of Microsoft Build delivered in a new way. Presenting a digital event provides the developer community unique opportunities to come together for a truly global experience.

Register for free. Check out the full agenda!

PDT Experiences
8:00 AM Microsoft Build digital event begins
8:20 AM Empowering every developer, with Satya Nadella
8:40 AM Imagine Cup
9:00 AM Every developer is welcome, with Scott Hanselman and guests
10:15 AM Azure for every developer, with Scott Guthrie and guests
11:00 AM Building the tools for modern work, with Rajesh Jha and guests
12:30 PM Digital Breakouts with live Q&A
4:45 PM Social Hour: Mix, Mingle, and Celebrate
5:20 PM Empowering every developer, with Satya Nadella
5:40 PM Imagine Cup
6:00 PM Every developer is welcome, with Scott Hanselman and guests
7:30 PM Digital Breakouts with live Q&A
PDT Experiences
12:15 AM Azure for every developer, with Scott Guthrie and guests
1:00 AM New ways to work and learn, with Rajesh Jha and guests
2:00 AM Digital Breakouts with live Q&A
9:45 AM The future of tech, with Kevin Scott and guests
10:30 AM Ask Scott Guthrie, with Scott Guthrie
11:30 AM Power Platform for developers, with James Philips
12:30 PM Digital Breakouts with live Q&A
6:30 PM Social Hour: Mix, Mingle, and Celebrate
7:30 PM The future of tech, with Kevin Scott and guests
8:15 PM Power Platform for developers, with James Philips
9:30 PM Digital Breakouts with live Q&A

Get started


What do you want to learn about the cloud today? This blog should help you at least start finding a path to getting those answers on what you want to invent with purpose.

Create your free Azure account now and get $200 in credit and 12 months of free services to start your journey into the cloud.

Top comments (1)

ryan284057 profile image

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