Cloud Camp Quarterly

Session Highlight: ‘Hybrid BI with the Power BI Gateway’


Howdy – it’s Aidan Finn, the Technical Sales Lead at MicroWarehouse blogging again. MicroWarehouse ran an event a few years ago in City West and our last session was by MVP Bob Duffy and Carmel Gunn. If you attended their session then there’s no way that you can forget it – they used publicly available data with Microsoft Power BI to understand how Ireland’s economy and property markets crashed leading up to 2008. This session highlighted the power of Power BI.

After a recent class, I’ve started to use Power BI myself. The information I’m seeing has helped me understand how our Azure business is developing, who’s doing what, and what they’re doing. Without Power BI, I wouldn’t have these month-to-month insights, but what I really want is to learn how to expand on this.

I’ve known Bob’s reputation as a data person since 2008. He’s a go-to-person when there’s a data problem with a customer. What he doesn’t know about SQL Server doesn’t need to be known. But having data isn’t enough – knowing how to use that data is invaluable and Bob knows that stuff too. That’s why he’s presenting a session on using the Power Bi Gateway, allowing you to consume on-premises data in larger cloud-driven Power BI solutions.


Bob Duffy
Prodata, Irish SQL Dude and World SQL Jenga Champion

Bob Duffy is a SQL Server MVP from Dublin, Ireland who is MCA, MCM and now Analysis Services “Maestro” certified.

Bob used to work for Microsoft Consulting Services a Senior Consult and subject matter expert for BI/data. He now works at the Prodata SQL Centre off Excellence in Dublin, Ireland where he helps enterprise customers with cloud architecture, design, performance tuning, benchmarking and pretty much anything to do with SQL Server or Business Intelligence.


If you want to get value from data sources that are scattered between on-premises, the cloud, and other locations, then be sure to sign up for Cloud Camp 18 and join Bob for his session.

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Session Highlight: ‘Azure Blueprint’ for Best Practice Governance in 60 minutes


Howdy – it’s Aidan Finn, the Technical Sales Lead at MicroWarehouse here. Imagine you have set up a company with one, several, or many Azure subscriptions. Developers, testers, and line-of-business app admins all have delegated rights, either at the tenant, subscription, resource group, or resource levels. But rights to do what exactly? Can they do things that their role should require? Can they deploy an M128s virtual machine with Windows Server and SQL Server Enterprise at a cool €44,669 per month – not including storage? Can they start and stop things they shouldn’t? Are they able to deploy into locations around the world that the company cannot or does not want to use? Can they see things they shouldn’t see?

This is why we have features such as auditing (Activity Log), role-based accessed control (Azure AD & roles), and governance enforcement (Azure Policy), along with management groups for multi-subscription tenants. That might sound like a whole lot of things – and it is – and they each offer things you can do to control your environment, regulatory compliance, and your costs.

To present a session like this, you need someone who has worked in a big environment and who has experience with these solutions. Damian Flynn, a Cloud & Datacenter MVP, is the smartest person I know in IT – I know some very clever people – and he’s the perfect person to explain how to use the above solutions, and he even has a few other tricks based on other parts of the Azure platform. I’ve seen Damian talk about governance before and he knows his stuff.


Damian Flynn
Lumagate, Cloud & Datacenter MVP, Principal Consultant

Damian is a Principal Consultant for Lumagate; an evangelist guided on the principal of “Making incredible technology, incredibly simple.”. Recognised as a Microsoft MVP since 2011 and Cisco Champion since 2014, he can be found blogging at, tweeting under the alias @damian_flynn, and has published a number of white papers, technical articles, webinars, and co-author of multiple Microsoft Cloud related books, and Official Courseware. He is a regular presenter at many international and community events.

Currently focused on Cloud Technologies and the Hybrid Datacentre, Specialising in Azure Governance, and sustainable DevOps; Assisting organisations on Cloud optimised delivery of Legacy Apps and Microservices, leveraging containers and serverless when possible. When not working; his passion is IoT, with a background in PLC and emmbedded electronics, and has delivered professional home automation solutions.


If taming & controlling a self-service environment such as Microsoft Azure is important to you, then be sure to join us at Cloud Camp 18 and attend Damian’s session.

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Session Highlight: Windows Server 2019 – The Next Generation of Software-Defined Datacenter


Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here again. Windows Server is not dead. Windows Server 2016 was not the last release of Windows Server. Microsoft has not abandoned Windows Server. In fact, Windows Server 2019 is going to be generally available in the next couple of months!

Windows Server 2016 was the first real software-defined data centre release of Windows Server, offering hyper-converged infrastructure (no need for any of that Nutanix stuff), and Azure-inspired software-defined networking … both of which are also used by Azure Stack! Software-defined allows you to drive down costs, use software to overcome hardware limitations, and even increase availability and performance.

That them continues in Windows Server 2019. The software-defined stuff gets better. Storage replica, LUN-based replication service for those who can’t afford what their SAN vendors have been trying to sell, is democratised, on-premises containers expand, and security gets better – it was already better than the competition.

There’s a lot to learn about, and when it came to finding a person who could explain it all, it was actually pretty easy. I’ve known Thomas Maurer for several years as a Hyper-V MVP. Thomas has been extremely effective at writing and presenting about Windows Server for years, and has been keeping conference attendees aware of the developments of Windows Server 2019 throughout the Insiders preview release program. In the last couple of years, if I have searched for something on Windows Server 2016, Thomas’s blog is often one of the results I visit.


Thomas Maurer
Cloud & DataCenter MVP, itnetX Lead Architect

Thomas Maurer works as a Lead Architect and Technology Lead (Member of the Executive Team) at itnetX AG, a consulting and engineering company located in Switzerland. Thomas helps companies to transform their business to the Cloud. Thomas is focused on Microsoft Technologies, especially Microsoft Cloud Platform based on Microsoft Azure, Office 365, System Center, Microsoft Virtualization and Microsoft Datacenter Solutions.

Thomas is heavily collaborating with Microsoft in several different programs such as Partner Cloud Solutions Architect (CSA)Azure Advisor and various Microsoft TAP and Preview Programs.

Before Thomas joined itnetX he has worked as Head of Microsoft Engineering for service provider where he was responsible for planning and implementing public cloud solutions based on Microsoft Technology.

Beside the certifications as Microsoft Certified IT Professional MCITP: Enterprise Administrator and MCTIP: Virtualization Administrator he is also one of the first Microsoft Certified Solution Experts for Private Cloud solutions, Server Infrastructure and Microsoft Certificated Solution Developer Azure Solutions Architect(MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSE: Windows Server, MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect).


Maybe Azure isn’t right for everything – and even if it is right, Windows Server probably will continue to play a big role as a guest operating system in an Azure virtual machine. If you want to know what you can do with the latest generation of Windows Server, them Thomas is the guy to tell you, so join us at Cloud Camp and ready yourself for the server OS that you will be deploying and managing soon.

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Session Highlight – Flying Into The Future With Windows Autopilot


Hi folks, Aidan Finn once again from MicroWarehouse. Windows 10 has forever changed how we work with devices. Never before have we had a Windows OS that was built so completely to allow out-of-the-box customisation and resets. How many hours do you think you, your customers’/employer’s users have lost while waiting on a new device to be provision, or waiting on an existing device to be rebuilt after the OS/applications got into a tizzy?

To assist with the customisation of reset, repurpose and recovery of devices, Microsoft has launched Autopilot, a cloud-based solution. Devices can be quickly provisioned or re-provisioned, and there’s even a process for integrating new devices straight from the manufacturer.

I spent a lot of time during the Windows NT to Windows 7 days working on OS deployment. Ghost, Remote Installation Service (RIS), Sysprep, Windows Deployment Services (WDS), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr/SCCM) have all played big roles in my career, as some/all of them probably have for you. But times are moving on, and it’s time for us to reskill again as the OS changes, the ownership of devices changes, and, most importantly, the needs of the business/user have changed too.

To help us, we have Autopilot expert Peter Egerton, who is an enterprise client management specialist and Microsoft MVP. Peter works with enterprises on device/user/mobility solutions, so his experience in this area should be of huge value.


Peter Egerton
Enterprise Client Management Specialist and Microsoft MVP

Peter works with organisations in the UK and across the world on their Microsoft Enterprise Mobility solutions using. Peter was awarded as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in 2018 and is an active member of the IT community as a community leader of WMUG. Peter is also a qualified trainer, published author, blogger and conference speaker.


If you work with Windows devices and need a new solution today, or think you might need a new solution in the future, then I strongly recommend that you attend this session.

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Session Highlight – How to Build a Multi-Tenant SaaS Application Using 60,000 Azure SQL Databases


Whoah! 60,000 databases – can you even imagine that?!?! This is Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse again and this time I want to discuss this crazy session. When we picked the sessions for Cloud Camp, the title obviously stood out.

Anyone who works with Windows Server has become an accidental DBA. I dislike working with SQL Server – it takes so long to install, apply updates to, and there’s all that messing with upgrades, application integrations, and backups. Run SQL Server in a VM in the cloud has both higher consumption and operational costs – it costs more to run and own.

If you’re working with a new or a modern server application, then you have the platform alternatives of Azure SQL. For legacy workloads, there’s the Managed Instance alternative. With these platform versions of SQL Enterprise (yes!), Azure is cheaper to run (as low as around €4.13/month for a database) and cheaper to own. Azure starts to automatically backup your database a few minutes after you create it, and creates full/differential/transaction log backups with point-in-time restore. Transparent Data Encryption, which is non-disruptive, is enabled by default, and it’s easy to scale from one size to another. You get automatic performance analysis/recommendations, and enabling DR requires just a few clicks. You can see why I’ve been spending some time getting to know Azure SQL.

But you don’t get to know something really well until you do it extreme. I think that 60,000 databases qualifies as extreme. If you want to learn how to scale or manage the performance of a database or application in The Cloud then this is going to be the session for you. Henry Been, a Microsoft Ranger and DevOps & Azure Architect will be presenting this crazy session.


Henry Been
DevOps & Azure Architect | Speaker

Henry Been is an independent architect and developer from The Netherlands. He works with development teams to create great software.

Henry’s interests include the Azure cloud, DevOps, software architecture and the design and implementation of testable and maintainable software. Next to working in different companies, he is also one of the Microsoft ALM | DevOps Rangers


I plan on attending this session. It’s the sort of session where you can learn a lot and, to be honest, it’s relevant to a customer of one of our resellers!

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Session Highlight – All-In with Azure Monitoring


Hi all – Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here. Imagine this: You have deployed a critical application in the cloud, but something isn’t right. Every time a paying customer does some transaction, the system grinds to a halt. You want to figure out what went wrong, and to know when things aren’t behaving correctly … before customers or your boss complains. This is why you need monitoring and alerting.

Azure has a wealth of tools that you can use to monitor your environment and generate alerts with. Unfortunately, few people seem to know that these services exist. They vary from free, to micro-cost, to a cost that you need to account for. But they can make a huge difference to understanding why systems aren’t performing the way they should, how your application scales, which is useful for future planning, and let you know when things aren’t right, whether it’s CPU utilization or issues in your .NET code.

For this kind of session, you need a presenter that works with this tooling on a daily basis. Kevin Greene, a Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP, is a subject matter expert on monitoring & alerting. He works with customers on a daily basis giving them state of the art monitoring solution that looking at the components, but also deep into the application, and enables them to be alerted on issues and visualize live and historical information.


Kevin Greene
Ergo Group, Azure Cloud Lead

Kevin Greene is a Microsoft MVP and consultant working for Ergo, an IT services and consulting company located in Dublin, Ireland. A regular speaker at local and international events, he has also authored a number of books on Windows Server and Cloud and Datacentre management technologies.


I teach people that diagnostics logging & performance monitoring should be enabled as a normal practice. It doesn’t cost much (a few cents per month) to get great value from these tools so it makes sense to learn more from an expert like Kevin – and see what you can do with Azure’s monitoring & alerting services at Cloud Camp 2018.

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Session Highlight – Follow me to Honolulu – Windows Admin Center is here


It’s Aidan Finn writing here once again! Did you ever feel that the Windows Server admin tools were a bit outdated? Did Hyper-V Manager seem a bit … ugh? Has the lack of a Storage Spaces UI put you off software-defined storage? That’s because the underlying engine for the Remote Server Administration Toolkit (RSAT – which is what you were using) was based on MMC.EXE, a technology that Microsoft deprecated back with the release of Windows Server 2008 … 5 versions of Windows Server ago!

I have good news, my friends: the successor to RSAT is already here. You might not have heard of it, but Microsoft released a public preview for something called Project Honolulu that eventually was made generally available under the banner of Windows Admin Center. This is a modern re-interpretation of Windows Server management bringing server management into the 21st century, and even bringing cloud down to the data centre or computer room.

Windows Admin Center is no MMC.EXE. This is a HTML5 based service that can run on your PC or from a central server. It brings common tasks to you with a clean UI, and makes previously difficult operations easy.

When we were choosing a speaker to present this topic, we wanted someone with Windows Server, management, and hybrid solutions experience – because that’s what Windows Admin Center gives enables. Eric Berg, a Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP has this background and as you can see by his motto, he likes to share his expertise.


Eric Berg
COMPAREX, MVP CDM and Azure | Principal IT-Architect

Eric is a MVP for Cloud and Datacenter Management and Microsoft Azure. He is working as a Principal IT-Architect at COMPAREX AG. His main areas are: Microsoft Azure, Hybrid Infrastructure, Windows Server and Management Solutions. His motto: “The community lives from the community and only those who join in keep her alive!”


Eric’s session will introduce you to the first of many changes you will see in our Windows Server 2019 and Hybrid cloud track at Cloud Camp 2018. Windows Admin Center will re-appear in many sessions in that track, and thanks to Eric, you’ll understand what you’re seeing during the rest of the day.

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Session Highlight – Going Underground: Discovering, Exploiting, & Defending Against Covert Channels in Modern Computing


Hi all, Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse blogging again! One of the things I enjoy most when teaching a class is the breaks – I really like it when the attendees get comfortable and start chatting. Very often they start talking tech and the conversation veers into areas other than Azure. And quite often, those chats are about IT security.

I’ve noticed a trend with these conversations. Attacks are on the rise (confirmed by many surveys), and the nature of attacks is very different from 10 years ago (also confirmed by surveys). IT security should more than a firewall and AV. TCP 25 allows emails in, and AV won’t stop phishing emails. Zero-day attacks are called that because they have never been seen before, and therefore there are no AV definition files for that malware.

What are attackers doing today? Ransom-ware is easy money, using zero-day threats to get some unsuspecting user to open a PDF that looks like an expected type of document. Phishing is trying to harvest passwords, which are often re-used across many personal, cloud, and company services. And a big source of threats continues to be employees who are stealing/leaking information.

We have an entire track at Cloud Camp that focuses on productivity and security, which is pretty timely considering the recent GDPR roll out. We ran a survey recently at MicroWarehouse and we found that still only 13% of firms said that cybersecurity was a main priority for them – that’s contrary to the goals (and substantial punishments) of GDPR.

So, we decided to scare people. Andy Malone, Microsoft MVP, is an IT security guru. Andy has consulted with all sorts of customers, including government & national defence, around the world. He has hack stories that you wouldn’t believe. When Andy isn’t speaking at big conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, he’s consulting or training. And that made Andy perfect to tell the audience at Cloud Camp about modern threats, to educate them that IT security is more than just putting glue in USB slots – yes, some sad people do that! Andy’s session is the perfect setup for the rest of the track which focuses on modern IT security solutions to protect data and identity … the sort of things that protect you even when data isn’t on an encrypted disk – see Eir losing 37,000 customers’ data.

Andy Malone
International Security & Technology Trainer

With a prestigious international career spanning 22 years, Andy Malone is not only a world class technology instructor and consultant. But is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and veteran conference speaker at such prestigious events as Microsoft Ignite, IT Pro / Dev Connections, and the Cybercrime Security Forum.

In both his training’s and events at which he speaks, his passionate style of delivery, combined with a sense of fun has become his trademark and have won him great acclaim.

Although his primary focus is for security. Andy loves to talk about the Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows Intune technologies. And with knowledge dating back to the MS-DOS 2 and Windows 2.0 era there is often an interesting story to be told. But technology never sleeps and Andy continues to work with the Microsoft product teams to create and deliver ground breaking material. Recent projects have taken him to Kuwait, Qutar, The USA and beyond for Government, Military and civilian clients.  For 2018 Andy is scheduled to deliver content in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the US to name but a few.


If you want to modernize IT security and enforce solutions that will protect you from the punishments of GDPR, then join us at Cloud Camp and attend the Productivity and Security track, featuring Andy Malone.

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Session Highlight – Cloud Architecture Recipes for the Enterprise


Hi folks, Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here! Like most IT pros, I first approached the bits of Azure that I was familiar with: storage, networking, and virtual machines. In other words, I worked with Infrastructure-as-a-Service or IaaS. IaaS is great because it’s familiar and makes it easy to migrate existing or legacy workloads to the cloud. But moving VMs to the cloud doesn’t lead you to digital transformation where the cloud can offer cost optimizations, new features, and true cloud scale elasticity; for that, you’ll need to look at Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), the larger part of Azure that is often alien to us.

I started to learn the platform side of Azure over a year ago and the possibilities of architectural patterns is mind boggling. How you did something, like ingesting data into a database, can be done in old ways, but there are possibly better ways. How you export data from AppA and put it in AppB can change too. And this isn’t limited to things running just in Azure.

We decided that the “Cloud Architecture Recipes For The Enterprise” session by Eldert Grootenboer, Cloud Solution Architect and Azure MVP, would be a perfect way to kick off the morning in our Azure PaaS track. Attendees will learn about service choices and how they can be combined to create real world solutions – I’ve got this session pencilled in as one I want to attend.



Eldert Grootenboer  –  Cloud Solution Archiect, Azure MVP

Eldert can be described as an Azure MVP, Cloud Solution Architect, blogger, public speaker and technical author. He is mainly focused on Azure, Enterprise Integration and IoT. In his spare time Eldert likes to be active in the community and and can often be found working with the latest technologies. Eldert has been working in many innovative projects around Azure and integration, working in the roles of architect, developer and team lead. He can be found on Twitter at @egrootenboer and has a blog at


Don’t be scared if you’re a server person or not a techie – if you want to expand your horizons, attending a session such as this will educate you about the possibilities of Azure which you can share with colleagues, customers, or your employer.

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Session Highlight – RDS on Azure or RDmi, Here’s What You Need to Know!


Hi folks, Aidan Finn here. One of the most interesting announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2017 was Remote Desktop Modern Infrastructure, or RDmi. This session will focus on that topic.

I’ve worked with RDS on and off and similar since I first encountered Citrix WinFrame, based on Windows NT 3.51 Server, in the mid-1990s. It was something that I typically saw in large business, and occasionally heard of with SBS customers where small businesses wanted a remote working solution. However, since I started working with Microsoft partners on Azure, my involvement with RDS has exploded. That’s been Microsoft’s experience too; businesses looking to move legacy services/data to the cloud also need to move the client app to the cloud to reduce client/server latency, and are remoting the display/input experience using RDS.

Two significant sectors in the cloud have had a challenge with this – Microsoft partners offering managed hosted services and ISVs that are trying to relocate their software to the cloud. Both want to use RDS, but once you go above 1 or 2 session hosts then you need an RDS infrastructure with connection brokers, a SQL database, web access/gateway servers, and so on … and that can get expensive. This is why Microsoft has built RDmi – a shared services platform solution that has been designed primarily for managed services providers and ISVs that want to host their VM-based products.

Freek Berson, MVP and frequent speaker at conferences, is one of the RDS gurus who have been working with RDmi since the private previews started. He knows this solution inside-out, even deploying it from ARM templates!


  Freek Berson – Remoting Windows Enthusiat

Freek Berson speaks at various conferences around the world including Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft TechSummit, Microsoft TechDays, BriForum, E2EVC and ExpertsLive. Freek is awarded Microsoft MVP since 2011. He co-athored the book “RDS – The Complete Guide” which is available on Amazon. He works as an Infrastructure Specialist at Wortell, a system integrator company based in the Netherlands, where he focusses on End User Computing and all related technologies mostly on the Microsoft platform. He is also a managing partner at He maintains his personal blog at where he writes articles and blog posts related to Remote Desktop Services, Azure, and other Microsoft technologies. He is also experienced in performing automated deployments using Azure Resource Manager and designing JSON templates. . You can follow him on twitter via @fberson.


Join Freek to learn more about RDmi, and join us at Cloud Camp 18 to learn more about Azure, modern workplace & security, Windows Server 2019, and hybrid cloud soltions.

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