13.03.2019

review: architecting microsoft azure solutions

Last week i read the exam ref "architecting microsoft azure solutions"

The book cover states
Designed for architects and other cloud professionals ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSA level.
The book "Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions" comes with 320 pages and 6 chapters. The claim of the book: "This book teaches you how to design and architect secure, highly-available, performant, monitored and resilient solutions on Azure".

The first chapter is "Design compute infrastructure". The beginning is clearly structured: Fault Domains, Availabilty Sets and Update Domains. Unfortunately, when listing the VM types, thera are various letters shown, but an explanation of the abbreviations of that letters is missing.
The sub-chapter Migration contains only many URLs. Helpful examples are not provided. The next subchapters serverless computing and microservices are not worth reading. It is not at all clear which requirements have to be met in order to build an application serverless or in a container. But there are many comparisons when serverless computing fits better than microservices.
The subchapter "Design Web Applications" loses itself in general considerations regarding availability and description of REST.
The biggest problem with Chapter 1 is that there is a lack of examples that allow the topics to be played through once. Also missing at the end of the chapter of the typical question catalog, with which one could prepare for an exam.

After chapter 1 I did not want to read any further - that would have been a mistake. For all who buy this book: skip Chapter 1!

The chapters 2 and 3 (Storage & Networking) are really good. They provide brief explanations and for every use case detailed instructions for the Azure command line or the portal including screenshots are presented. Both chapters are very well written and give an overview of the respective topics. Here is a list for the storage chapter: Blob Storage, Azure Files, Azure Disks, Azure Data Catalog, Azure Data Factory, SQL Data Warehouse, Data Lake Analytics, Analysis Services, HDInsight, SQL Database, SQL Server Stretch Database, MySQL, Postgresql , Redis Cache, Data Lake, Azure Search, Azure Time Series, Comsmos DB, MongoDB. There is no topic left open. The same applies to the network chapter.

Chapter 4 "Design security and identity solutions" is very well structured. All terms are introduced at the beginning and then various options with sequence diagrams are played through. Subsequently, the appropriate services such as Azure Active Directoy are introduced. Very nice here is the representation of the integration possibilities with ASP.Net. Otherwise, topics such as integration with Office 365 (calendar access) or key management in the cloud are highlighted.

The fifth chapter is, in my view, more an outlook: "Design solutions by using platform service". Here are the topics like AI, IoT, streaming treated. Here you can take with you, what is possible and what building blocks Azure provides.

The final chapter "Design for operations" deals with cross-functionalities such as monitoring and alarming. A wrapper for the following services will be delivered: Azure Monitor, Azure Advisor, Azure Service Health, Azure Activity Log, Azure Dashboard, Azure Metrics Explorer, Azure Alerts, Azure Log Analytics, Azure Application Insights. Almost every topic has an example including configuration via the Azure portal.

Conclusion: Except for the first chapter a very good book to get started. It is not good for exam preparation, as no questionnaires / multiple choice lists are included. It is a pity that the subchapters have no numbering and you have to navigate with the font sizes. Nevertheless, you will hardly find a faster entry into Azure.



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