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3471 posts

Uber Geek


  #2034139 12-Jun-2018 09:08
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We get $100 credit a month for Azure, from everything I can see that wouldn't even get us the most basic of Windows Servers ? 


I find the whole thing crazy confusing. 







I get 230NZD through MSDN and find it easily runs a grunty VM with fairly large SSD pretty much every day (though I do have a shutdown schedule every evening so realistically the VM is probably only running 40% of the time - though I find the disk size it what takes most of my credits - when I had it smaller I was easily running 3 VMs for the month) When you create VMs, try sort by cost and un-select some of the filters, then read up a bit on the offerings. 


I also have a few Azure SQL DBs and app services, VSTS accounts with package management, test functions, etc, etc running on that. 


The real value IMO comes in when you have a reasonably built system and can take advantage of some of the PaaS offerings.  If you want to run a VM with a bursty workload look at the B series VMs, they seem like a fairly good option at low cost though. 


If you just want to run grunty VMs 100% of the time in the cloud I think you will find costs don't really add up, especially if you're comparing to servers you build, maintain and run yourself. You might be better looking at Amazon, but even then I don't know if it will all add up. 


IMO Azure does really well if you have a decent devops pipeline in the Microsoft\.NET space. If you're not living in Microsoft land Amazon is probably a better option. 






The good thing is it's pretty easy to use both and lean on your investment in Azure AD as your identity source across both platforms.





THIS!  Have a dabble in both - you'll find the skills are transferable. Once you start getting used to cloud and provisioning\spinning up VMs on the fly\scripting these things\scaling\etc you won't go back and the costs will start to make more sense!

"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."         | Electric Kiwi | Sharesies
              - Richard Feynman

970 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2034185 12-Jun-2018 10:02
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Considering the last time I built a server with only 4GB of memory was maybe 15 years ago, that doesn't seem huge! Wouldn't leave a lot of operating space to operate any apps on top of it?





You need to stop thinking in terms of individual servers and in terms of cloud. As pointed out simply moving your VMs from a local hypervisor to Azure isn't terribly efficient in terms of their offerings. Instead look at what you can build with their platform away from the traditional thought of deploy VM to host service.



This is the key to working with Azure and other cloud IaaS providers. Cloud servers need to be designed to run in the cloud - if you just try to move your existing on-premises VMs to the cloud you're going to spend a heap more money than you would have by keeping them on-premises.


If you're going to learn AWS or Azure or any other cloud platform, don't just learn how to spin up servers. Instead, learn how to analyse a system's requirements and figure out how to get that system consuming the least amount of resources as possible. Learn how to design a system to auto-scale on-demand, both horizontally (more servers) or vertically (more resources). Some systems are easier than other - e.g. a system running a COTS product might not be easily scaled horizontally but you have options available to reduce or increase system resources at certain times of the day, or to shut down a system automatically during certain times. Other systems running web apps are easier to scale horizontally, but you should also look at the PaaS options available - e.g. the web app may be able to run on Azure's Web App service; and if needs a database, that database could run on one Azure's database services; and if it needs local storage, that storage could be moved into a blob storage account; etc...


One of the best things you can do to learn Azure is to use it in anger. Try to get some free credits and start up a little side project to start consuming Azure. Start with a basic server running a "hello world" web app, then learn how to scale it horizontally based on demands. Then convert the app to use the Azure PaaS services instead. If you can't get free credits, you could do easily do all of this for $1 per day if you worked on it a few hours a day. Learn how to script everything using PowerShell to make it easier and more efficient to stand up and destroy your services. Those are the skills that prospective employers would be looking for with Azure, not just someone who's only done a training course.


1539 posts

Uber Geek

  #2034192 12-Jun-2018 10:09
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Based on a presentation at Teched a few years back, I signed up for the Azure trial and spun up a server to run Minecraft (this was before MS bought it) for my kids to play with. As Amanzi says above, the best way to learn is to have a project with something you want to achieve. I found that I had more incentive to dig around and play with it to first get the server up and running, then fine-tune and schedule it to get the best bang for my buck. It worked really well, my boys had a server that they and their friends could connect to, and with a system snapshot every now and then, they could roll-back to a point before someone destroyed someone else's creation, saving friendships...

347 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #2034616 12-Jun-2018 20:51
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Is it common for businesses to use Microsoft Server Core in NZ? The server courses I'm looking at are focused on Active Directory in Server Core with Powershell rather than the GUI. Would it be advantageous to learn AD in both Powershell and the GUI?  

153 posts

Master Geek

  #2087991 12-Sep-2018 08:56
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I wouldn't say it's common to use Core. Historically I've only used HyperV 2008 Core. Learning PowerShell is never wasted as sometimes you'll have issues with GUIs. I had issues updating a UPN in 365 yesterday which I used PowerShell instead to close out the job.




There is also edX which Microsoft uses internally and with Partners for the Cloud Competency Technical assessments for 365 and Azure. The Azure guy is painful to listen to in large doses but there is a methodical process of addressing the various components around VMs and other Azure services. 




Lift and Shift/spinning up VMs in valuable to know, but the real value in Cloud is the ability to re-factor and re-architect your services and solutions in ways that you can't on-prem. I think Microsoft is distinguishing itself from AWS, particularly in the uptake of Machine Learning/Data & AI space as well which should be the next big swing. Getting your head around AKS/Kubernetes would also be worthwhile.

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