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The third article of our Licensing Logic series brought to you from the Microsoft Licensing team, this time focusing on Azure.
Windows Azure is a bit of an unsung hero in my opinion; it’s a $1 billion business for Microsoft and yet I’m still greeted by a lot of blank faces and frowns of uncertainty when I ask if people are selling or using Azure services.
As this is a licensing blog, I’m not going to describe Windows Azure but I will point you to the blog of Steve Plank, a technology evangelist on Azure here at Microsoft. I’m quite sure many of you will be familiar with Steve. His words of wisdom can be found on blogs.msdn.com/b/plankytronixx and he has a great cartoon-style way of explaining things. One of his explanations I reference a lot is how Azure virtual machinescan be beneficial to customers with legacy applications.
Virtual machines, storage (great for disaster recovery solutions) and compute are three of the easiest services or commodities to understand and to licence and I’ll come back to these a little later.
How do I buy/licence Windows Azure?
Windows Azure is an ever-growing bundle of distinct cloud services, over 60 currently, which customers can use across our network of global datacentres. Each one of those services has its own cost and each one has its own usage-metre so typically you pay for consumption. Any solution you deploy on Azure is going to consume a mix of these services, each charged at their own price and unit. For example storage is pence per gigabyte per month; compute power is per compute size per minute and so on. This model is very similar to a mobile phone bill where you have a number of different charges accruing to your total monthly bill such as landline calls, premium rates, roaming services, data and texts. Luckily the idea of different usage meters and pricing does not affect the licensing.
Customers purchase Azure services through two primary licensing vehicles:
1. Microsoft Online Subscription Program (MOSP)
2. Through an Enterprise VL Program
MOSP is buying directly from Microsoft. Anyone can visit azure.com and sign up for the services. There’s a choice of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) which is typically the highest price but needs no upfront commitment and does offer volume discounts, or to sign up and purchase a commitment offer where you commit to pay a set, monthly amount over a 6 or 12 month period and we reflect your commitment by offering a discountof 20-32% off the published PAYG consumption rates. Should you exceed your monthly commitment amount, the overage (yes that is a real word) is charged at the published PAYG rates.
Unlike Amazon Web Services (AWS), this commitment discount is across the board so you could commit £10,000 on compute and you’ll get at least 23% discount on storage services. Unused commitment funds can roll over between months but can’t role over to another term so it’s often wise to choose a 12 months commitment term as it gives more time to use the funds.
Purchasing through an Enterprise program (EA) will usually deliver our best prices; significantly lower than the PAYG rates. We also recently committedthat we will match the AWS published price for three key commodities: compute, storage and bandwidth and from March 2014 prices will drop for Block Blobs Storage and Disks/Page Blobs Storage to match AWS prices. And EA customers will gain an additional 27-36% discount off those matched prices. So that’s a huge benefit and you can be confident about your workloads being cheaper to run than on AWS.
Azure is classed as an additional product through an EA so you just buy as much Azure commit funds as you think you’ll use (in quantities of $100 per month). If you use more services than your commitment, you’ll get the same discount rates on that overuse; no extra paperwork to sign and no penalties for going over. So if a customer had committed £100,000 but went on to spend £1,000,000 in a quarter, we’d happily say yes and the only disadvantage is they could have obtained a better discount level by increasing their commitment prior to the overuse.
An alternative way of purchasing Azure Services through an Enterprise program is through the Server and Cloud Enrolment (SCE). One of the previous blog entries described SCE which came into being in late 2013. SCE makes it easy to combine your on-premises server and cloud commitments to Microsoft. If you want to learn about SCE in more depth please view the previous blog or the September 2013 recorded spotlight call.
In the SCE agreement, you make an install base commitment to one or more on-premises products such as Windows Server or SQL Server and this provides your EA discount level. If you make an on-premises commitment you can start using Azure services without needing to make an upfront monetary commitment in Azure. The prices you’ll pay are determined by your EA level discount and because you’ve made an on-premises agreement, we’ll add another 5% discount on top. So it’s possible to gain a maximum of 41% off the Azure published PAYG prices through SCE.
If you only want Azure through an Enterprise program and don’t wish to make one of the on-premises commitments you can sign up for an Azure-only SCE. So perhaps this is ideal for an ecommerce organisation who are going to utilize a great deal of cloud services but don’t have the on-premises minimums for the other components of the SCE. In this situation you do make an upfront monetary commitment and working with your LSP, you can gain the equivalent of an EA price level based on that commitment.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot more detail to licensing Windows Azure so you can read more detail on all of these licensing options here and I’d also encourage you to listen in to our monthly licensing spotlight calls where we cover this and other topics (you can view archived calls here).
For resources: the Pricing Overview for Windows Azure in Enterprise Programs provides information on how Windows Azure is priced and billed for customers that purchase it through enterprise licensing programs; the Windows Azure Training Kit includes technical presentations and hands-on labs to help you learn how to use Azure features and services; we’re also happy to announce a new free ebook Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals.
Want to find out more? Join our monthly Spotlight Calls for more information. Each month we host a call for customers to join and find out more about updates and how to license…..This month we are covering Software Assurance Benefits. To register please use the following link: https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/InviteOnly.aspx?EventID=E2-53-94-BF-65-68-8C-BE-3A-28-A9-78-C5-08-82-00&Culture=en-GB&community=0 and invite code – B677ED.
You can also take a look at www.getlicensingready.com for cheat sheets and videos on different products and programmes and can also work on becoming a Microsoft Licensing Expert by taking the modular exams.
By Steve Plank, Microsoft Technical Evangelist
“Although I was in an important planning meeting, I knew something was afoot when I saw my colleague, Dan Pilling’s, name pop up on my phone from an incoming call. He should have been boarding a plane to Seattle!
A concerned voice from Heathrow said “…there’s been a critical failure with a customer’s hosting provider, the Lotus F1 Team don’t want visitors to be experiencing HTTP web errors, they just need a holding page until things are sorted out. Can we help them with Windows Azure?”
Within 60 seconds I’d got back to my desk and Dan dialled me in to a call with the guys from the Lotus F1 Team. I was able to create a naked website within the next 60 seconds and pass publishing credentials over to the team. They uploaded the temporary page and made some amendments to point lotusf1team.com to the newly created Windows Azure website. I made a couple of configuration changes to the website. I must have spent less than 2 minutes in total typing, clicking and waiting for changes to take effect before the site was online and delivering the holding page.
The latest holding page – Lotus will migrate their Website to Windows Azure
Michael Taylor, the Lotus F1 Team’s IT Director was delighted – “I thought it would be quick but I didn’t think you’d actually fix it during this call itself”. The team is in the process of re-developing the entire site on Windows Azure, which includes the official team website, the media website and the partner website.
To me, this is a perfect example of what Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud systems like Windows Azure Websites offer – you don’t have to think about the underlying infrastructure. Just write the code (which you have to do even when you deploy to a traditional data centre) then hit the deploy button and you’re live; the reliable, scalable infrastructure that underpins it all just ‘appears’…”
Ever wonder why and how social platforms in SharePoint are really increasing productivity and collaboration? Don't wonder. Get the facts. Find out how Yammer, the leading Social platform integrated into SharePoint portals, is creating better communication, engagement and collaboration within organizations internationally. Getting real data on Yammer activity will give you real insight on how it's not all talk, or yammer.
By Leora Raivich from Intlock
Getting Ahead of the Crowd: Reaching SharePoint Recognition.
Floating around in the SharePoint lexicon today are the big buzz words social collaboration, engagement and of course, there’s the age old productivity. But where do you draw the line between chit chat and reality? Simple stats: analytics. Today’s not an age of “maybe if we did this” then our portal would improve.
Everyone’s running a rat race. Getting ahead of the game, being the top player in your league is always a goal. Just recently the Nielsen Norman Group released the announcement of the top 10 ten intranets of 2013. Who wouldn’t want to be on that list? The Worldwide Intranet Challenge also identified that social analytics was without a doubt a defining factor in content mining and increasing collaboration.
So being a part of an ever changing SharePoint community takes a few steps, but one of the big ones today is social. Understanding how social is making yelling across the hall, or across the Atlantic Ocean for some, an unnecessary means for collaborating is simple.
What’s the Catch? Engagement and Collaboration with Yammer and Analytics
In July 2012, we saw the summer Olympics in the UK, a crazy power outage in India, and the catalyst for Microsoft SharePoint’s social revolution, or enterprise social Olympics – the acquisition of Yammer, the leading social enterprise platform. Since then, Yammer has been taking SharePoint users by storm, with trends indicating the top 10 intranets of the year reaching their status in part with the increased use of social.
While Yammer, as its name generates, is what may seem another means of chit chatting with colleagues it offers so much more than a cup of coffee and a good heart to heart. With discussions, shares, polls, praises, groups and external networks, your portal’s social network is now surrounded with loads of rich metadata to find content, discussions, evangelists and more. Now to unfold the mystery – who’s adopting the system with ease, and who might just need a hand over that cup of coffee after all?
Did Yammer Hit You with A Social Hammer – Or Are You Building the Collaboration?
Endless enterprise corporations felt massively hesitant about bringing a social platform into the office. Understandable, it’s like an employer encouraging being on lunch all the time, right? Wrong. Clearly, social collaboration, particularly on intranet portals, has proven to be one of the top tools to encourage portal user adoption and centralized communication, without all the tossed salad of missed emails and old document versions.
With all of its brilliant features, Yammer presents options that draw in the average portal user and truly help find information and spotlight users that have information to share. Now, if I was a suspicious boss, and was afraid everyone was talking about sales down the street, what would I do? Check! Third party products like CardioLog Analytics’ Yammer Reports can present you with the golden key to the social portal door of mystery.
Did We Really Get Our Yammer’s Worth? User Adoption Analytics
Bottom line question regarding any software or product acquired is did I get my investment’s worth? And whether a product costs £5.00 or £50,000, you paid for it so you want it to produce results, right? Well get your Yammer’s worth and find out about User Adoption with analytics. Drawn out in a neat line graph you can see how your total number of users, public and private groups are growing from day to day, or month to month. This’ll give you a better grip on whether the mold is growing on your Yammer platform or user growth. I’m confident you know which is preferable.
Yammer User Adoption growth, based on total users, total public groups, and total private groups.
Huddle Up – Group Activity Analytics
Group Activity Reports can break down the name of each group yammering away, whether it be about cleaning the coffee pot or salary cuts. To top it all off find out who the culprits are that leave the old filters around in the coffee machine with each of their names, how many posts the group has, how many replies, likes, shares and yes even attachments – (i.e. “How to Clean the Coffee Machine to Avoid Cheesing Off Your Office Mates.”) Now you can find out who’s causing all the havoc. On a serious note, if there are issues coming in groups and you want to really get down to the nitty gritty and find out who’s jumping the gun, who’s an expert, who’s confused, and who’s saying what, generate the report and see for yourself. Easy as pie – with coffee, from a clean pot of course.
Group Activity reports indicate the name of the group, member names, number of posts, replies, likes, shares and attachments.
Walking on Yammer Water – Finding Your Evangelists: Influential Users Reports
Got a heard of sheep and looking for your best shepherd? Baaaah! Easy. Find the leader of the pack with more analytics, this time with Influential Users Reports. Rounding up your experts is simple, no crook stick required. Click and generate Influential User Reports and find out who’s being followed most by other users.
Knowing who’s leading others to Yammer glory and has others following them will give you a sense of who can really train and enhance the knowledge of others. Once you’ve picked out the evangelists, increase your training and adoption efforts, and with their added feedback and participation, you have people reaching out to others that already have others listening to them. Yammerific.
Influential users report tells you who the most followed users are in your organization’s Yammer platform.
With all this real data at your fingertips, what are you waiting for? Yammer it up!
What kinds of social collaboration tools do you find most useful in Yammer?
Which features do you see users working with most?
Tell us what you think with some comments.
Leora Raivich is the Marketing Manager at Intlock, developer of CardioLog Analytics, a leading Web Analytics software designed for SharePoint intranets, internet and extranet sites. She has been a published author since 2002, freelance writer for various organizations, and has worked in the fields of Marketing, Sales and Communications, currently excited to contribute to blogs worldwide with Intlock.
There have been quite a few announcements at the SharePoint Conference 2014 this week – here’s a quick digest:
One Drive for Business (the product formerly known as SkyDrive Pro): There’s a new standalone OneDrive for business subscription plan that includes Office Online, and SharePoint 2013 in Service Pack 1 (SP1) enhancements enable on-premises SharePoint users to configure OneDrive for Business with just a few clicks. There are also simple controls and new search capabilities. Read more here.
SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 now available: This service pack includes performance, reliability, and security fixes. It also helps IT address some of the most common scenarios faced when moving to the cloud, helping them deploy cloud-based workloads in their organization faster and with less complexity, while providing them with the control they demand. You can read more here, but updates include:• Seamless hybrid connection to OneDrive for Business in Office 365.• Support for Yammer as the chosen social network, making it easier to replace the default Newsfeed.• Support for JSON Light in OData v3 requests.
Introducing Office Graph: By leveraging insights from Office 365 and mapping the relationships between people, groups, files and conversations through machine learning, you can intelligently connect and surface the most relevant content using the Office Graph. This is the power of social, cloud, big data, and machine learning coming together. Office Graph will power many new personalized and contextual experiences for people using Office 365. One of the first experiences to leverage the Office Graph is code-named Oslo, which serves up in a single user interface personalized insights based on meetings, people, conversations, documents and more. You can learn more about Office Graph and Oslo here.
Groups: Building on the loved concept of Groups in Yammer, Groups will apply to all Office 365 applications. Groups will unify people, email, conversations, calendars and files together across Office 365 services in a common construct to ensure that people can collaborate similarly in the experience they love most. This makes the overall experience of Office 365 social and connected. You can read more about Groups here.
Office 365 for developers: There are already more than 3.4 million developers—nearly half of whom are SharePoint developers—building on the Office platform and Office 365, Microsoft’s fastest-growing product in history. There are two objectives in the Office 365 development platform. First, to enable companies to adapt our products to specific business needs and second, to bring partners a great opportunity to grow their business. Partners ranging from GoDaddy to DocuSign have recently built solutions and services around Office 365 that will help them grow. You can find more information about today’s announcements for developers here.
Office 365 Trust Centre: Beyond base reliability, we know security, privacy, and compliance are paramount. We’re securing this through a massive investment in physical data centers and application-level security, lights-out operations, architecting for zero customer data access, intelligent monitoring, and more. We’ve published our processes and met industry standards and regulations such as ISO, EU Model Clauses, HIPAA, FISMA, and CJIS for the largest and most demanding customers, such as the states of California and Texas. Find out more about the Office 365 Trust Center.
FastTrack deployment approach: Not everyone is ready to move their investments to the cloud all at once. New server releases of SharePoint and Exchange will happen in 2015. Hybrid deployments spanning both cloud and on premises technologies will continue to be supported, including expanded search and line-of business access.
Enterprise social vision and road map: Introducing an integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication technologies that enable companies to work like a network—using the concepts that have changed our personal lives to transform the way we work:• In the spring 2014 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we’ll further enhance our customer-facing enterprise social capabilities by delivering a comprehensive set of new social listening, marketing, and service desk capabilities.• This spring, Yammer Enterprise will also be included with the Office 365 Academic and Office 365 Midsize Business plans.• This summer, we’ll surface the Office 365 navigation bar in Yammer, enabling unified navigation across Office 365.
You can read more detail on the announcements around Office Graph, Groups and Creating Inline Social Experiences.
Microsoft Windows 8 MVP, Mike Halsey, kicks off our TechNet WindowUG video series showing the advantages of moving to modern operating system. This month’s focus is on Snap!
'Many people find they can be more productive working on two documents, or with two websites side by side, so in this video we look at how quickly you can do this in Windows XP when compared to Windows 8.1 (and Windows 7).'
Need help with the transition from Windows XP – 8.1? there’s an MVA course for that! With April 8th fast approaching, find out more about ‘Windows XP end of support’ & ‘Get Modern’
The Windows User Group runs nationally in the UK, both online and at events, to provide help, and information to business and individuals using Microsoft technologies. Run by three Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) awardees, Mike Halsey, Chris Rhodes and Andrew Bettany, they encourage everybody to get involved be that asking questions, providing advice and support or attending WindowsUG events and tours. You can find out more at www.WindowsUG.com
The clock’s been ticking down to the end of Windows XP support for a couple of years now, and as the 8th of April moves ever closer we’re continuing to focus on ensuring everyone is aware of the deadline and their options to remain secure and supported.
To this end, with a month to go until the grand goodbye, Windows XP customers using Home or Professional editions will receive the below official notification on their desktop via Windows Update on March 8th, including a link to our Windows XP End of Support website.
Coupled with this news, today Microsoft have also announced a partnership with Laplink to make available a new free tool, allowing individuals to easily copy files and settings from a Windows XP PC to a device running Windows 7 or newer. Whilst not aimed at business use, if you have family and friends who are yet to make the leap, but you don’t want to be coerced into doing the heavy lifting, this could prove a great halfway house to help ensure the process is hassle free!
For more information on today’s announcements, be sure to take a look at the Windows XP data transfer tool and end of support notifications post on the Windows Experience blog.
IT camps are back we have our next one in our London Victoria on 11th & 12th March. If you haven’t been to one of these then here’s what you need to know.. They are live, technical and loosely structured. By live I mean that we build stuff in front of you like in one of those cookery shows except we have servers not saucepans. They are technical because we will be showing how stuff works as far we can in a day. The loose structure is a recognition that while the day has a technical focus we have designed camps to be interactive and we will ask you to engage and determine what you would like to see throughout the day.
The first session, Managing the Datacenter, is on 11th March. You’ll find out what’s possible with System Center 2012R2, with an emphasis on Virtual Machine Manager and how Operations Manager, Service Manager and Orchestrator come together to turn a collection of VM's into a software defined datacentre.
The second session, Journey to the Cloud, is on 12th March. The focus shifts to Azure and how to manage and integrate it with your data centre with System Centre. This is being run by my good friend Steve “Planky” Plank who will get you up and flying with Windows Azure in no time!
Whichever camp you got we have a full hosted lab setup and we will give you time out in the day to get hands on for as long as you want, and some of these labs are also available on TechNet labs to do after the day so the choice again is yours.
Places are limited so in order to be respectful to others if you can’t make please let us know so we can invite others on our wait list.
Register for the Managing the Datacenter camp on Tuesday 11th March.
Register for the Journey to the Cloud camp on Wednesday 12th March.
Each month at Microsoft, we hold a large team meeting known as an ‘All-Hands’ meeting. This is where we get together to have a monthly catch up, celebrate recent successes and often have speakers drop and chat to the team.
This month our meeting was (coincidently) all about careers, we were lucky enough to have Terry Ighararo (motivational speaker, author and IT guy) drop by and present his very inspiring ‘CEO of You’ presentation to the wider team. I tracked Terry down near the end of his presentation to gage his interest in pulling together a short blog post for the IT Professional. Luckily, he was happy to…
By Terry Igharoro, Motivational speaker, author and owner of emindstate
Have you ever considered yourself as an IT entrepreneur and your career as your business?Hopefully you said yes because the truth is we are all entrepreneurs. The reason most people do not see themselves in this light is because at one point or another they have fallen victim to the world’s greatest deception, which is “Entrepreneurship is reserved only for people that start companies.” Whenever I deliver talks to organisations I usually ask the audience what they think an entrepreneur is and get the answers - a business owner, someone that starts a company, a risk taker and a person that makes money to name but a few responses.
What does the word entrepreneur mean to you?Before we move on lets get clear on what I mean by entrepreneurship and why we’re all entrepreneurs. For over 15 years I’ve been in the pursuit of business, I have started, failed and succeeded many times. Over the last few years I became ferociously curious about what entrepreneurship really was, and through my investigations I came to the conclusion that entrepreneurship was simply ‘The Power to Create’. We all have the Power to Create and you’ve been exercising this power since the day you were born. Whilst I was researching entrepreneurship I came across a definition by Professor Howard Stevenson of Harvard Business School who said that ‘Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard for resources not currently controlled.’ This really struck me because I realized that all around me everybody including myself was in the pursuit of an opportunity, that opportunity being a better today than yesterday, a better result than the last.
As I look back over the years of my pursuit of opportunity I’m brought back to my year placement at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) where I was working as a 1st and 2ndline support in the IT department. At the time I was studying a BSc in Business Information Systems and all I wanted to do was design and build databases. However what I ended up doing was very different in fact I didn’t build a single database but I did learn a heck of a lot about how the systems that I would design would fit into such an organistion and how IT impacts all stakeholders - everyone from the students to the kitchen staff to the Dean. LSHTM had a kick-ass IT department but I could never understand until now why they didn’t want to go an start their own businesses - what I’ve come to realize now is that they were as a team and individuals already running a business and creating massive value for the organization. They were exercising their entrepreneurial capabilities by seeking problems and developing solutions. Every member of the team had to lead and manage the business of themselves in order for the team to succeed in with its objectives.
By the end of my placement I had more clarity about my own career path. I knew that I didn’t want to work within an organiastion but I did want to work with organisations. This is probably the first time that I realized that success is easier when you know where you are going, and here’s what I mean:
If you take out your smart phone and open up the map app, it will tell you exactly where you are right now and if you take a trip 30-mins up the road it will tell you where you are again. In fact you will always be in the correct location because the map app has two functions 1) tell you where you are 2) tell you how to get somewhere, however until you give the map a destination it can’t give you directions. Once you input a destination you’ll be given a route to get there, so even if you take a left when you should have gone right the map will simply recalculate and give you the best route to get to your destination. Your career is no different; you need to have an idea about where you want to go so that you know when you’re on the right path and you can withstand the setbacks, challenges, temporary defeats and diversions that you may have to take. As an IT entrepreneur you have to map out your own career path and create your own opportunities because your career is your business. At the very least you should have a personal vision statementto give you direction. Your vision statement should consist of the following:
Purpose –The reasons that you want to do something; your belief; your cause
Principle –How you will think and act to accomplish your purpose
Practice –The actions that you will take to realize your purpose and principle.
With a well-crafted vision statement you will always be clear on what you should be doing and how everything is contributing to your career goal.
Fear of Failure is a major stumbling block for most of us. It’s the reason why so many people never take any real risks and follow their dreams. The truth is that we’re all professional failures. Before any of us knew how to walk we failed many times to take 2, 3, 5, 10 steps. If we had given into our fear of falling over we would not be walking right now. Failure is a necessary part of growth and success because in failing we are actually learning. Anytime you think you’ve failed at something aim to see the valuable lesson and you’ll find the golden nuggets to help you move forward.
Successful people and the companies that they build are clear on their capabilities, and you should be as well. You should maintain an up to date SWOT analysis of yourself. A SWOT is basically an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By being aware of your SWOT you will be able to better align yourself to do tasks that take advantage of your strengths, seize opportunities and reduce the risk of failure. About two years ago I wanted to build a mobile app so I decided that I would teach myself and I ended up getting stuck on a line of code for over 20 hours, that’s when I remembered that coding was never a strong point for me as I was an information architect. It would have been much wiser for me to outsource the development since I had already created the blue print for the app. Entrepreneurs don’t waste their time doing things they are not good at, they make sure they have an understanding of what needs to be done and then they delegate to a specialist.
IT is a business super power and is being recognizing it as the game changer. However the tech is only as good the people that develop and deliver it to the end user. As an IT professional or developer it’s your duty to be entrepreneurial in your approach to how you deliver value. You have to constantly ask yourself: How can this be done better?What are my stakeholder’s needs? How can I simplify? You can’t afford to rest on your laurels especially at the pace that the world is evolving. It’s a must that you position yourself as an IT entrepreneur with a primary objective of creating added value for all of your stakeholders.
If you choose not to engage with the inner entrepreneur it’s inevitable that you will be left behind because we are all competing on a global platform. The whole world is a stage and everybody has ‘The Power to Create’. The barrier to entry has been significantly lowered and now people from all over the word are able to showcase their ideas to a market thirsty for innovation.
Your Career is Your Business so make it your duty to:
Being entrepreneurial isn’t easy but it’s necessary. It’s also necessary that you maintain a motivated and positive mind-set because as we all know life is challenging and the spotlight is on you to deliver value. So here’s what I recommend:
Get in contact with Terry Igharoro via LinkedIn at terryigharoro.com or emindstate.com. Find out more about Terry’s upcoming book ‘E Mind State: Think Like An Entrepreneur and GROW RICH’ here, or click here to get your free no obligation one-on-one strategy session.
Interested in getting further IT Career advice from the Microsoft TechNet team? Find out more by checking out Andrew’s Careers advice for the IT Professional post.
Introducing the newest addition to our TechNet UK team, Ed Baker! As from March onwards Ed will be an infrastructure Technical Evangelist for the Microsoft UK IT Pro Team.
Expect to see Ed out on the road with @Deepfat soon, hosting upcoming IT Camps up and down the country, we may even be able to grab his thoughts and daily yarns for the blog!
We caught up with Ed just before he starts to ask him our TechNet 10 Questions. Hopefully this’ll give you a little Ed-insight to the man who's thirsty for knowledge, partial to a Pina Colada and is a tad jealous of Batman’s bike.
10 TechNet QuestionsQ1. What's your name and where do you come from?Ed Baker, Solihull, West Midlands (now In Redditch, Worcestershire)
Q2. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?Inquisitive, acquisitive (for knowledge), honourable Q3. Current favourite gadget?Chorus PV monitor, it measures how much electricity the solar panels generate and export to the grid.
Q4. What would we find if we asked you to empty out your pockets?Normally just a wallet, my pet hate as a trainer (or student) is trainers / teachers / presenters fiddling with the contents of their pockets – especially if the contents are noisy. My grown up children ensure that there is rarely any loose change or even notes left in the house when they leave!
Q5. If you were on a desert island, which 3 items would you take with you?Factor 50 Sun Block, Bottomless Pina Colada and The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Note: this all changes if there is power and tech is allowed!)
Q6. First Microsoft product, favourite current product?- First MS Software was MSDOS 3.2 in 1988 (on the Amstrad PC1640)- Favourite current product is without doubt the Arc Mouse Touch
Q7. What did you want to do when you were little?I was going to be an army officer and jump out of planes!
Q8. We've got our Microsoft MVA Hero campaign kicking off in February.. If you could be any superhero, which one would you like to be and why?Batman purely for his motorcycle. If you accept that he is indeed a superhero, the debate still rages on.
Q9. What are you looking forward to in Technology?I think technology in transport has a long way to go, particularly on two wheels. I have sat-nav and Bluetooth to my helmet for telephone etc. But a head up display in the visor must be around the corner soonQ10. Embarrassing Tech Moment?Too many to mention, probably clicking the finish button and causing desolation and destruction somewhere on the network. (Thank goodness for Backups)
QX. How did you skill up to make us notice?(Ok…. We’ve cheated and asked an extra Q, but as our blog focus this month is all about Careers, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to get some extra insight and career advice from Ed himself)
“I’ve had a long and varied track record over the years, from Military and Police service to Project management and IT Consultant, ending up, before becoming a Microsoft Technical Evangelist, running my own consultancy and training business. The factors that have been constant are the desire to learn and passion in what you do. I’m not satisfied unless I’m learning something new, or learning from mistakes.Part of my previous role was as a trainer of IT apprentices, where it’s not just technology that needs to be learned, but real-world work-wise behaviours. Again at the bottom of all this is, with so many people of all ages out there wanting the job you have applied for, you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. When young this is not easy and an immediate marker is certification in your chosen field. So a good CV, a sensible interview, passion, willingness to learn and above all distinguish yourself from the crowd. It also helps to get involved in the community, whether that be online, at user groups or as part of one of the Microsoft programmes.”
To find out more about Ed by follow him on
Twitter, or why not read his blog for all things infrastructure! Please feel free to reach out and welcome Ed to the team in the comments section below.
Are you interested in progressing your IT Career with Microsoft Technology like Ed has?? Why not come along to one of our IT Career evenings in London and find out how, hear from Ed, Andrew and the rest of the IT Pro Team. For more info on how to register for the events and extra advice, check out Andrew’s Careers advice for the IT Professional post. Also, keep your eye out for our MVA Hero Campaign, coming soon!
By Edward Jones, Firebrand Training
Whether seeking a promotion, career change or salary boost, certification is a great way of making it happen. Employers and recruiters have long considered certification as a crucial part of the hiring process. After all, what better way to validate your skills and expertise, than to attain an industry-recognised certification awarded by an independent body?
So if you’re thinking about certifying your route to career progression in 2014, and you work with Microsoft Technology, have a look at some of the following options available to you. We’ll start at entry level and move through to advanced.
There are three tracks available to you:
If paying for training to attain the MTA isn’t an option, you could always look at taking a Firebrand IT Apprenticeship. If you’re between the ages of 16-24, you can apply for the programme to secure employment and get paid while you attain the MTA certifications.
The MTA provides a much-needed entry level introduction to Microsoft technology, setting you up for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) track. You can read more in this MTA case study.
MCSA tracks focus on the core Microsoft technologies; Windows Server 2008 & 2012, SQL Server 2008 & 2012 and Windows 7 & 8, and provide great stepping stone to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification. Those considering the certifications should be aware that the Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) will be changing over the course of 2014 with updates to Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and SQL Server 2014.
You can prepare yourself for the current demand by attaining the MCSE: Private Cloud Certification. By proving you can build and maintain a private cloud utilising Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012, you will be eligible for a variety of roles including that of a Server Administrator, Systems Programmer or Network Manager.
Better still, the beginning of March sees the launch of the MVA ‘Hero’ campaign, where you can earn a range of fantastic prizes whilst preparing yourself for Microsoft certifications to boost your career.
Start working towards that certification in 2014 and take your career to the next level. For those looking to fast track their route, Firebrand Training offer the full range of Microsoft certification’s in an accelerated format.
Become an MTA in 4-6 days, or take the combined MCSA & MCSE and be certified in SQL Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 in just 15 days.
A very thorough and informative article from Ed. If you’re just starting out and fancy dipping your toes in the water… The TechNet team are running upcoming IT Career Evenings in London. The perfect opportunity to network and get a better understanding.