Category Archives: Op-Ed

Personal, subjective and biased opinions

#Build 2017 – some exciting things

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Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

I just finished watching the #Build 2017 keynote and I am really excited by all the new things that were announced in this occasion. There were so many cool things that at the end I started to forget those mentioned at the beginning. That’s why I thought of writing a //build 2017 keynote summary, to serve more for me remembering all the things that I need to keep up with during the next year.

One of the coolest thing is the new Azure Cosmos DB offering. Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed, multi-model database. With the click of a button, Azure Cosmos DB enables you to elastically and independently scale throughput and storage across any number of Azure’s geographic regions. It offers throughput, latency, availability, and consistency guarantees with comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs), something no other database service can offer. What this means is that you have a database where you can store documents, tables, graph data and many more in the same place and use really any DB API to access all the data in nearly real time.

Just to stay in the same database area, the announcement of Azure database for MySql was also a nice surprise. Basically, you get a MySql database as a service, without the need to take care of patching infrastructures and so on.

Further, Microsoft announced at //build 2017 the new Azure IoT Edge, a technology that’s meant to extend “the intelligence — and other benefits — of cloud computing to edge devices.” It’s a cross-platform run time that runs on both Windows and Linux, and it will work on devices that are smaller than a Raspberry Pi. This will solve a lot of problems in IoT scenarios with really small devices, since this new features enables a more straight forward communication between Azure and devices.

Next, the announcement of the new Azure Portal App for iOs and Android, together with the built in full featured Bash shell in the Azure Portal was also a very intriguing announcement. First, the mobile app is not available on Windows 10 mobile devices (I know, there are few of them out there, but still….) and second, the first integrated shell is a Bash shell, not PowerShell (PowerShell will come “some time” in the future). On the other side, this underlines once more the heavy open source approach that Microsoft is showing during last years.

The remote debugging of production web apps using Visual Studio 2017 without any downtime was also a great thing to watch.

Let’s go to the AI part. I was already fairly familiar with Microsoft Cognitive Services, but the announcement of the custom vision API was really exciting. This enables developers to easily train their own vision machine learning models, providing the necessary training data. This really starts to look more and more like democratized AI, which should enable developers to build more and more intelligent applications.

The PowerPoint Translator was also a fairly cool demo, but for me it was not necessarily something new since exactly the same thing was showcased two years ago at the Build conference, but back then it was a Skype extension, called Skype translator. These two are fairly similar.

A final observation: almost all demos were made from MacOS laptops and iPhones.

Watching the //Build 2017 keynote was a very good time investment. I still dream to attend this conference in person at some time 🙂

There is no cloud!

Published by:

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

These days I saw on social media a lot of IT guys sharing with joy and great passion photos with “There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer”. I also saw a lot of discussions and guys bragging with this motto, showing that they really mean it, that the cloud is bullshit and that every reasonable IT guy would resonate with this idea, that managers are kind of dumb pushing for the cloud and so on. Now, I fully support freedom of expression, but I would still want to say a few words on this topic.

First of all, technically all these people are right. The cloud is only someone else’s computer. But, in my opinion, the real problem with this attitude is not the technical part, but all the misconceptions and hostility that lies beneath these words. Disqualifying all IT guys that don’t share the same opinion on cloud computing is, first of all, a sign for the lack of common sense. But I wouldn’t like to dwell on this, right now.

The first argument I would like to bring forward is that the cloud is not something that evolved artificially. It’s exactly the other way around. The cloud is just the IT response to today’s world, to today’s economy, to today’s morals. We live in a service oriented world and almost all people nowadays prefer to consume service and not own products. That’s why we lease cars, we shop online, we order pizza instead of baking and so on. Companies, on their side, need to adapt to today’s needs and nowadays people need new services and products right away. Continue reading

Why Windows Phone is more important than ever for Microsoft

Published by:

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

Last week Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, announced the reorganization of the Microsoft phone business, a process that will also cause the layoff of around 7.800 employees. A big part of the tech press started to make more or less accurate suppositions about what this means. So I read that phones are not important for Microsoft anymore or that the Nokia deal was a total failure. Strangely enough, most of this suppositions start from correct premises but in my opinion arrive to the wrong conclusions, simply because some analysts fail to see the wider picture and to fully understand the Microsoft strategy.

The first thing to understand is that the whole concept of “mobile” has changed. Nowadays, “mobile” is not about the device anymore, but about the mobility of the experience. And this is precisely the strategy Microsoft is going for: enable a truly great mobile experience across devices. This is why Microsoft invests a lot of effort in apps for Android and Google, apps that are meant to enable users to have a great Microsoft cloud experience even on non Windows devices. Back in the days of the Nokia deal, “mobile” was everything about the device itself. In this perspective, acquiring Nokia was the best thing Microsoft could have done at that time. Sure, expectancies were very high and I personally also thought that this would increase the Windows Phone market share in a consistent way.  Continue reading

Thoughts about the Microsoft Azure 70-533 certification

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Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

One week ago I passed the 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam and seems like now I’m an Azure MCP. However this doesn’t make me feel more Azure savvy than before and during the past days I reflected a lot about the 70-533 certification exam, the questions I had and so on. Generally, I feel that this exam really doesn’t prove at all your real Azure skills. And here’s why.

First of all, the exam seems very outdated! Let’s start with Azure Websites. Azure Websites don’t exist anymore. Nowadays we have the Azure App Service which covers what we have previously known as Azure Websites and Mobile apps, but with a lot of new features.  Also, there are some questions regarding directory Synchronization where we often see the name “DirSync” (DirSync actually doesn’t exist anymore) and we have to choose the almighty Start-OnlineCoexistenceSync cmdlet as part of a correct answer to one of the questions.  Continue reading

Modern productivity powered by Microsoft

Published by:

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

During the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference we saw a lot of new and impressive features, capabilities and products that will be rolled out shortly or were rolled out on May 4th during the keynote. A major focus was put on modern productivity. Nowadays the workplace is changing fast and productivity needs to be boosted to a whole new level to respond to some challenges like the mobile workforce and the need to collaborate efficiently across geographical boundaries. With the release of Office 2016, Exchange Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2016, Skype for Business Server 2015 and taking advantage of the Office 365 productivity suite, modern productivity is basically redesigned. Here are some new features that will boost end user productivity right away.  Continue reading

Microsoft Partner Technical Services for technical trainings, pre-sales support and advisory services

Published by:

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

I received a lot of questions regarding my day to day job at Microsoft, so I thought it would be useful to write a post about what I am really doing. So, within Microsoft there is an organization called Microsoft Partner Technical Services (PTS). As you may guess, this organization is dealing with Microsoft Partners. We are a bunch of consultants spread over all the world basically and we help Microsoft partners show to their end customers the value added by the Microsoft Cloud (and not only). Microsoft Partner Technical Services comes to our partners with 3 basic offerings: technical trainings (delivered mostly via live webcasts), pre-sales support and advisory services.

Technical trainings

As already stated, technical trainings are mostly offered via live one to many webcasts where consultants share their knowledge on different topics that emerge as very important for the partners. But these trainings are also meant to keep our partners updated about what’s new in the Microsoft cloud, because in the cloud there is something new every day. Here you can find an overview of some trainings available world wide. To register for them you have to be, of course, a Microsoft Partner.  Continue reading