Module 1: The Marketing Module

Over the years I have become somewhat blasé about modules in MOC that are titled “Introduction to …” or “XXX Overview”. Mainly because often (but not always) they are what many of us in the training call “Marketing Modules”. Little or no substantive information or material, just a very very high level regurgitation of the sales pitch. Usually my approach to these chapters is to skim over it lightly and head straight for the meaty stuff. So in front of my wondering eyes does appear? “Module 1: Introduction to Azure”. I’m going to try to go against my habits and give this chapter my attention. Hopefully I’ll be rewarded . . . .

The first roadblock

I’ve got the courseware, but not the lab environment. So I started downloading it this afternoon. It’s only a single VM, but still nearly 8 GB. I could just spin up my own VM, but I want to test the course as it is written. So I’m downloading it. And still downloading it. Nearly 7 hours later, it’s still downloading. I’m pulling it over a 10 mbps internet pipe, so I’m pretty sure my end isn’t the bottleneck. What makes me even more sure is that in the transfer manager there is a little notice that tells me that the download speed is being throttled by the server. Grrrrrr……. But hey, I’ll just dive right in. And the very first thing in the very first module is “Prepare the environment”, which requires me to launch the VMs and run scripts from within the VMs. And it has details about the subscriptions we need. I guess I’ll just have to wait a little while longer . . .

I’m setting up an Azure trial anyway, just giving it a go. There is a good warning note in the course that students might want/need to use a new or clean MicrosoftID for this trial. It doesn’t make any mention of the Azure trials that CPLSs and MCTs can get. That might be a good way to go when running the course. I suspect that I will want to encourage students to set up their trial subscriptions a few days in advance so I remove that risk. Not to mention that Azure doesn’t like it if too many subscription requests come from the same public IP address in a short period of time. The notes in the manual said that it might take a few hours for it to be provisioned. It took all of about three minutes for me. Plus my home country got this lovely greeting:

The next roadblock

I think there is a problem here. As I go through the manual, there seems to be missing content. Like page after page of missing content. I think something went wrong in the publishing. When I go look in the instructor notes there is lots of good text, but nothing in the “Student Text” sections. I’m pretty sure this isn’t right. I’ve escalated to Microsoft LeX. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. But on I forge!

First thoughts

The first section, or lesson, is about as expected. The name of the section? “Cloud Technology Overview” Nothing I haven’t seen before. Basically the same definitions and examples that Microsoft has been putting out for months, if not years, now. There’s really no meat here to advance my understanding. Given the likely audience for this course, I don’t think this is a section that you’ll need to spend a lot of time on. However, the second lesson picks up. Within the first couple of pages, there’s some good, meaty stuff about Azure Datacenters and their datacentre architecture. While I doubt it’s going to help me much on the exam, it does fill in some gaps in my knowledge and understanding. While I’m not sure that it’s examinable stuff, it’s good to have it in there.

As I pour over this list of services that Azure offers, I’m impressed. I didn’t know about at least half of these, if not more. And with the change cadence of Azure, the list is probably out of date already. It’s going to take some commitment to stay on top of all these offerings to deliver this course.

Nice! Taking some time to look at the new Azure Management Portal Preview. I’m glad to see that in there. But I do wonder how LeX is going to be able to keep this kind of content current/accurate. It’s already a problem in courses where they talk about “New” features that have been out for months/years. How do they have a chance to keep courseware for cloud services even close to current? I already see all the pain that is caused by this exact issue in the Office365 course. Will this course suffer the same fate? I fear it will.

The explanation/walk-through of Certificate-Based Authentication is very good. Very detailed, yet still easy to follow and be used as a reference at a later point in time. It has good tips/recommendations for this whole process. Good stuff here!

On the whole, this is a good start to the course. There’s more good stuff in there than I was anticipating, and definitely some stuff I’m going to want to know for the exam. I’m glad I took the time to read through it properly.




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