What is Microsoft Azure and why should I use it?

Microsoft is one of the world leaders when it comes to cloud computing services.  In the last comparison of revenue streams from the cloud giants, back in Feb 2018, it seems that Microsoft was just ahead in front of AWS.

Want to learn more about Azure?  Well, there are options.  There is a great free resource from Microsoft that covers Azure fundamentals here:


Or, if you’re looking for more a hands-on 1 Day Azure Technical Quickstart to understand how to provision resources, you can check out our 1 Day course here:


You can also reach out to us, for customised Azure and Office 365 courses.

Azure is classed as an Infrastructure-As-A-Service (Iaas) and Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) in the cloud computing world.  IaaS services are designed for system engineers, where you can set up and build servers, networks, and storage, and then install your apps on top.  If you’re in the software development business, then the PaaS services are designed for writing, testing and managing code, and target developers.  

Some important PaaS services that developers will need include:

Below is a brief snapshot of just the Compute services:

By combining together these services, you can create a rich tapestry of solutions.  It’s very similar to the age of analog electronics, where you could select oscillators, diodes and specific electronics components, to create solutions like creating a home radio.  

In Azure you can create very complex business solutions.  Below is an example of how you might integrate a complex corporate environment with Azure services, in a model known as hybrid cloud:

There are some very important services that are available in Azure, that align nicely to medium to large clients that have to comply with complex regulation.  Clients involving in banking, government, healthcare, and defence, need to maintain a level of corporate and regulatory governance, as well as a high level of cyber security protection in their cloud services.  Tools such as:

The diagram below shows an example of the types of recommendations that the Azure Advisor can provide:

Feel free to reach out anytime with your Azure of Office 365 questions or queries?


HitchHikers Guide to Cloud Computing?

This blog is going to explain, in non-technical jargon, two things:

I was inspired to write this article after ALC Training released a FREE 20 minute Cloud Computing Mini-Course last week, where I personally take you through a fun and engaging cloud journey.  It’s aimed at a non-technical audience, where you’ll learn the basic knowledge needed for all industry recognised cloud computing courses:

Why Use the Cloud?

Because that is the technology that powers how mobile apps work…..and it powers the entire app ecosystem:

And it also powers the largest social media platforms work:

It’s also how online shopping works:

And now it’s how core productivity apps work.  I mean your Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps are all cloud-based:

And it also powers the biggest email systems:

You can store files:

It can also update software in cars:

In fact, it all started with web site hosting, at the birth of the internet, for most people, in the late ’90s:

Here is the first web site, created by Tim Berners-Lee…and yes…it’s still live.  Click to the picture to visit:

What is Cloud Computing?

In simple terms it’s a new way of doing business, enabled by technology.  Not just business, business, but also personal business.

It’s accessible via a store, or via a web browser, which provides lots of benefits:

In fact, every form of communication known to man, you can post somewhere using an app, and other people can view and interact with it.

But what really is the cloud?

In the technology world, we call it a platform.  A foundation for hosting apps.

There are 3 types of cloud:

If you found this article interesting, and want to take your cloud knowledge to another level then check out my course.  In partnership with ALC Training, I offer a 2 Day Cloud Foundation course for non-technical or semi-technical people.  It’s a classroom-based environment where interaction, games, and fun are key learning tools. 

Are you an entrepreneur, a project manager, an auditor, a talent acquisition specialist, a human resources professional, a marketing whizz….in fact anyone with a strong interest in the cloud….then this course is a good fit for you.

The best part is that it leads to an industry recognised certification, backed by APMG International……which shows up as a digital badge on your LinkedIn profile.  Perfect for showing that your current employer is serious about cloud computing.

Interested in attending…..check out the dates, by clicking on the image below:

If the dates are not suitable, please reach out to our awesome team at ALC Training, and we can customise the course to your needs and bring to your location.

I hope you enjoyed this blog article.  Have a great week.






Revolutionise your Career…..Learn Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the latest skill, that is moving into employment market today.  It supersedes a time where businesses relied  on IT professionals, typically between 1985-2008.  This is referred to as the client-server model era.

These IT professionals were employed to ensure that services were designed, deployed and run in a highly efficient and highly reliable manner.  Apps and data were run on servers, in a data centre at best…at worst it was hosted inside a cupboard.  Services could include:

Today, Cloud Computing has changed this landscape forever. It started to really mature and become used by businesses around 2008, Microsoft Hotmail and AWS being pionerring spirits, through to the present day. 

Below is a solution architecture, showing the services that are available instantly through AWS:

 Already we’re 10 years in,  and only within the last 3 years has cloud become common:

No longer is a $100,000 loan necessary, to buy infrastructure when starting a business.  You just need a credit card to buy the cloud services as you need them.  This means anyone can start a business and scale services with just 1 employee.  This accounts for the explosion in entrepreneurs, particularly females, who often have to balance income with kids.

Understanding Cloud Computing is not just for IT professionals, it’s for anyone who uses Cloud and wants to learn more.  

I’ve created a simple and engaging cloud computing mini-course, courtesy of ALC Training, for everyone to use, for FREE.

It’s highly interactive and includes a set of questions to test your knowledge.  Go on…have a go….and have some fun:


I would love to hear your feedback.  Please reach out on the channels below:




How To Select A Cloud Adoption Roadmap in 10 Steps

Many CIOs, CTOs and business leaders are all working through their cloud strategies. Most large companies in Australia have adopted a hybrid cloud approach, using both private and public cloud services. In this blog, I’ll  outline 10 critical steps on how you can create a cloud adoption roadmap and then align this roadmap to your current execution path.

A cloud adoption roadmap is a really important tool, as it serves to visualise and communicate your plans to all key stakeholders in your organisation. The important part of the roadmap is to ensure you have a clear 1 page visual outlining the key milestones and decisions points, backed up by clear definitions behind the roadmap of what each component on the roadmap means. My suggestion is to use a modelling tool to create your roadmap and my top pick is the Abacus tool from Avolution.

Before we delve any deeper into our cloud adoption roadmap, let’s be clear on some basic terminology, to ensure we’re all on the same page:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

These are services that end-users consume. Examples include: Social Media Tools, Salesforce, Office 365 and Xero. The apps that you download to your mobile phone are predominantly SaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

These are services that developers consume to create SaaS products.  Examples include: Development Tools, Testing Tools and Datastores.  Apps that you download to your PC or laptop at home to allow you to write code, test code and setup datastores in the cloud are all examples of PaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

These are services that operations teams will build, test and commission to support developers, who consume PaaS and end-users, who consume SaaS on the PaaS, or SaaS via a 3rd party.  IaaS can be virtual machines, networking or basic storage.

If you’re interested in digging deeper in cloud definitions, there is a simple whitepaper that the National Institute for Standards and Technology have produced. It covers everything in 3 pages.

I’ve also created a simple reference model below:



This is cultural change centred around ensuring that the developers (working on PaaS) are collaborating and communicating effectively with the operations teams (working on IaaS). This is important to create secure, reliable and engaging SaaS apps.

The DevOps Institute have a great video on DevOps that can teach you more. 

Or you can read my further thoughts here.  

Hybrid Cloud


All organisations I have worked with in Australia, that have more than 100 employees will have a combination of private and public clouds in their environment. This is the definition of hybrid cloud. Probably 99% will have an on-premise (or 3rd party hosted) private cloud for Active Directory and using public cloud for Office 365 with Azure Active Directory. The 1% is a single instance of G Suite I have come across. 

Great video on hybrid cloud here:

10 steps to set up a cloud adoption roadmap

Now that we have defined these terms, we can take a look at our Cloud Adoption Roadmap and our 10 steps:

  1. Perform a current state architecture analysis to understand how each department / business area is already adopting SaaS apps in your organisation.
  2. Understand the needs each department / business currently has and develop a feature-centric SaaS cloud adoption roadmap to cover the next 12 months.
  3. Communicate and seek feedback with the key stakeholders regularly, to guide your cloud adoption roadmap, particularly as the business investigates and pilots new SaaS apps and develops new business capabilities.
  4. Define a clear strategy at the CTO / CIO level as to whether you are going to adopt PaaS and/or IaaS services, or simply remain with SaaS-only services.
  5. Ensure your IaaS / PaaS strategy includes key business drivers and evidence of business need.
  6. Feed in your IaaS and PaaS strategy into the cloud adoption roadmap and socialise with key stakeholders.
  7. Based on business situational awareness and factors that are important to the key stakeholders, embark on a short IaaS / PaaS cloud service provider shortlist selection.
  8. Once the IaaS / PaaS shortlist is down to say 2-3 candidates run a proof of concept for each cloud service provider to determine the value, test your hypothesis on how you may transform your legacy IT and seek input from key stakeholders.
  9. Extend the IaaS / PaaS proof of concept to a pilot with a single cloud service provider, to further strengthen the more complex hyposthesis you’ve made with your current legacy IT investments.
  10. Extend your cloud adoption roadmap to include how you will transition your current private cloud and/or legacy IT investments to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services, being cognisant that this may be a 2-5 year journey.

I recommend using the Lean UX method for testing out your hypothesis when validating your cloud adoption plan.  This can be found in the Scaled Agile Framework.


You can learn more about Scaled Agile on my own blog

If you’re interested in learning more, I offer a range of Cloud, DevOps and Scaled Agile courses at ALC Training: