Staying Current With Azure Updates


One of the frequent questions I get from customers is how to stay up to date on all the latest and greatest happenings on Azure. Given the nature (and benefit) of a cloud platform, enhancements are rolled out constantly and it can be hard to keep track of all the things that we release to make it easier to take advantage of all that Azure has to offer. I thought I'd share some of the sources that I use as a Solution Architect to stay up to date that customers could take advantage of as well. I'll also keep this updated as new sources become available.

Blogs

Probably the single most important place to be tuned to is the official Azure Blog. Anytime we have a major service announcement, you'll likely see a post from our product group with details along with great recommendations on how to leverage various Azure services. If you only have time for one source, this is the one.

Along with the Azure Blog there are a multitude of official and unofficial blogs that you can follow:

Azure Cloud Solution Architect blog: You're reading it, so you already know all about it. This blog is open internally to our CSA community for us to post on anything Azure related. You'll often see product and scenario walkthroughs, use cases and experiences from working with customers, as well as best practices and recommendations across the Azure platform.

Azure Security and Compliance blog: Focuses on areas of security and compliance as it relates to Azure. Product overviews and deep dives within the Azure security space.

Azure API Management blog: Get the inside scoop from the APIM team here. If you're a user of APIM, you can find details on service updates here as they are deployed. You'll also find how-to's and general solution guidance.

Cloud Identity blog: This is the personal blog of Vittorio Bertocci, a Princial Program Manager in the identity space at Microsoft. He wrote an awesome book about Azure AD and modern auth (Modern Authentication with Azure Active Directory for Web Applications) and will post occasionally on various Azure AD topics. If you're into Azure AD and modern auth, this is a great resource.

docs.microsoft.com team blog: Documentation at Microsoft has undergone some big changes as of late, with much of it moving to an open framework where everyone can contribute. I'm a huge proponent of this, and this blog is a good follow if you'd like to stay in the loop on what's new with the documentation platform itself.

Enterprise Mobility + Security blog: This blog doesn't focus solely on Azure, but across a wide array of the security technologies available from Microsoft. A good follow if you're in the security/identity space.

Hybrid Cloud blog: Focuses on topics in the hybrid cloud space.

Azure Storage Team blog: You'll find posts here that focus on Azure Storage services. Mostly product announcements.

Microsoft Secure blog: The focus here is on cybersecurity across the Microsoft platforms (Azure, M365, etc.). You'll also find updates to the Security Intelligence Report here, which is a great read to get insight on the threat landscape from a Microsoft standpoint.

Microsoft Security Guidance blog: Aaron Margosis is the most frequent blogger here, he's a Principal Consultant in cybersecurity and an author of several books. This blog isn't Azure specific but is a good follow for other topics related to security of Microsoft products.

MSRC blog: The blog of the Microsoft Security Response Center. You'll find details on security releases, updates on ongoing threats, among other topics in cybersecurity.

The Visual Studio Blog: If you're a dev (or you pretend to be like myself) this is a great blog to follow for all things Visual Studio related. Product insight directly from the VS team.

Windows Security blog: As the name suggests, this focuses on topics in the Windows security space.

Twitter

Many services have Twitter accounts that are great to follow, not only for service updates, but they are typically pretty responsive if you have questions or ideas that you'd like to run by them. Some of the services that I follow are below.

@Azure
@AzureSupport
@AzureBackup
@AzureCosmosDB
@AzureApiMgmt
@AzureStreaming (Azure Stream Analytics)
@logicappsio (Azure Logic Apps)
@AzureFunctions
@AzurePortal
@AzurePush (Azure Notification Hubs)
@AzureAutomation
@AzureAD
@AppInsight
@AzureWeekly - Not an official Azure Twitter account, but is ran by a Microsoft partner (Endjin) and will tweet out links to Azure articles, both from inside and outside of Microsoft.

Other resources

To keep track of every service update that we release, you'll want to follow the Azure Updates site. Any time we have an update to a service with key functionality, an expansion of a preview, or availability of a service or capability in a new region, you'll see it here. You can filter on the type of service and update as well to get more specific as needed. I subscribe to the full list via RSS feed so I can get the latest on public releases.

The Tuesday's With Corey video series available on Channel 9 is great to follow. Corey Sanders leads our program management organization focused on Azure Compute. He posts short (~10 minute) videos on the latest and greatest as it relates to all things compute on Azure. Good for a quick watch over lunch.

Channel 9 is another great resource in general where you can find videos on almost every product available from Microsoft, as well as recorded sessions from Ignite, //Build, Connect() and most other conferences and events we put on.

Another great source for video content is the CloudTechTV YouTube channel. This is run by fellow CSA Mark Whitby where he will post relatively short videos on some of the latest happenings across the Azure platform.

For training and education, the Azure Training & Certification landing page is a great place to start. You'll find links to free self-paced training on Pluralsight, formal training through a number of partners and links to get certified on Azure.

A related recommendation, most of these blogs/sites are available through an RSS feed, and I'd recommend you pick a good RSS reader and subscribe, that way you get updates pushed to you as they are released. I use Feedly, as it syncs between all my devices, but there are other apps out there that do the same thing.

That's about it for now. I'll update as I come across additional resources.

Comments (2)

  1. Ed Freeman says:

    Hi Jason, thanks for mentioning the Azure Weekly Twitter account, and thanks for pointing us to all these other useful sources! Just to kindly point out – it’s actually run by an MVP for Azure here at endjin, a Microsoft Gold Partner for cloud (www.endjin.com).

    Azure Weekly is also available as a free newsletter, the sign-up to which is found at AzureWeekly.info. In addition, we have a whole bunch of very popular thought leadership content about adopting Azure, which you can find at http://www.endjin.com/thought-leadership.

    There’s also lots of great content on the Cloud Tech 10 channel on YouTube, which is run by Mark Whitby, a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft UK. You can find this at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz7bkEsygaEKpim0wu_JaUQ.

    Hope this content can be of use!

    Ed

    1. Thanks Ed, I must have mixed that up with another Twitter account, I’ll update the post accordingly. Love the work you do with Azure Weekly. Thanks and keep it up!

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