Cloud Camp Quarterly

Closing Keynote: What’s Happening in Microsoft?


Hi, it’s Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here. In this post, I’ll share information about our closing keynote.

If you work with Microsoft technology, then you probably like to keep up with what’s going on. Is there a new version of Windows coming? What is Microsoft doing with Exchange Server? What’s the latest with OneDrive? Have Microsoft got something cool happening with Xbox?

There’s a very good chance that you have read the work of Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott. They are the two top Microsoft watchers and are typically the first reporters of big leaks from the Redmond-based IT giant. They know Microsoft and its players better than anyone. If there’s a Surface launch, they’re invited. If Microsoft is doing something with Windows 10 or Xbox, Paul is in the know – and often gives them feedback from us mere mortals. If there’s a breaking story, their sites are the origins. Mary Jo was one of the few people who was invited to interview Steve Ballmer when he resigned as CEO of Microsoft.

You also might know Mary Jo and Paul from their Windows Weekly podcast which normally goes out live every Wednesday night at around 8PM Irish time? Hmm … Cloud Camp 2018 is being run on a Wednesday …

So, who better to present a closing keynote that ties up all the sessions of the day by explaining what Microsoft are doing today and in the future? This should be a fun session with lots of nuggets that you won’t get in any traditional conference presentation. It’s been pretty fun to see how excited Microsoft Ireland staff have been about Paul and Mary Jo joining us for this event.

I know Paul and Mary Jo, I read their work, and listen to Windows Weekly. I respect what they do and how they do it. The blog is their medium but they are journalists in the best possible ways. Unlike certain mainstream media outlets or come clickbait blogs, Mary Jo and Paul apply journalistic standards to their work. They don’t run with unsubstantiated sources, they try to get quotes from the company they are discussing, they don’t copy/paste out of context stories, and they focus on the facts. Plus, they’re nice people. And they like beer. A lot.

So come on – sign up for Cloud Camp 2018, get access to 4 tracks of sessions presented by 20 expert speakers and wrap up the day with some light-hearted fun and insider information from the top two journalists in the Microsoft world.

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Opening Keynote: Transformation


Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here, and this time I want to talk about the theme of Cloud Camp 2018 – change. It’s pretty easy to slip into a rut and do things “the way they’ve always been done”. The problem with that is the world moves on.

Clothes aren’t produced on a manually powered loom any more. Most of us don’t travel to/from work on horseback. Who remembers telegrams from distant friends & relatives being read out at wedding receptions? If Moore’s Law taught us anything in IT, it’s that change is constant, and it increases as time moves on.

The SAN isn’t the best/cheapest/fastest way to store data at scale. A firewall, AV, and disk encryption don’t provide enough IT security. The server isn’t always the best way to run an application. The cloud is here, it’s faster, more flexible, and those who go through a digital transformation process will have more intelligence, be more competitive, and faster than their competition. And even when the server is the right way, how we used that server, stored data on it, managed it, and ran applications on it 15 years ago probably won’t be the best way to do it today.
I will be presenting the opening keynote at Cloud Camp 2018, and I will talk about these themes. I will share how Microsoft’s innovations in cloud and on-premises, combined with a unique hybrid offering, can change your business – and your career!


About Aidan Finn

I’m an 11-year Microsoft Valuable Professional, currently with the Azure expertise and previously with the System Center Configuration Manager and Hyper-V expertises. I have worked as a consultant and systems administrator, but today I am the Technical Team Lead at MicroWarehouse Ltd. Our team provides “sell with” and “build with” services to our customers, Microsoft partners, for Microsoft’s cloud services such as Azure (application & platform) and Microsoft 365 (modern workplace). I blog on my own site at and I write for, and I have written several IT books over the years.

Why Join Me?

We have a lot of sessions about different parts of Azure, Microsoft 365, Azure Stack, and Windows Server 2019 at Cloud Camp 2019. In my keynote, I will explain the vision that unifies these services and products, and how a new mindset can revolutionise how you provide IT services to internal or external customers.

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Session Highlight: Azure File Sync – Your Cloud File Server


It’s Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here, and in this post, I want to highlight a session that will show you how to modernise your file server to reduce storage costs, simplify backup & DR, and enable cross-server replication through The Cloud.

The file server continues to play an important role, even in this era when The Cloud is supposed to have killed it off. There are times when you need to keep a file server. Maybe internal systems that cannot be moved require low-latency access to shares. You might have huge documents, like AutoCAD, that will be too slow to upload and download from The Cloud. Or maybe you just prefer using a file server instead of a cloud service such as SharePoint Online/OneDrive for Business. But old problems continue to plague the file server.

The first of these is storage capacity and costs. It’s a rare occurrence when I visit a site and the file server isn’t short on storage space. No matter how much disk is put into it, it’s never enough. Eventually you run out of internal disk and then the dreaded word, SAN, is mentioned – there couldn’t be a more expensive way to add disk capacity to a server! Why aren’t the old files deleted? There’s lots of reasons.

Then there’s backup. In the small business or enterprise branch office, the file server might be the only server in the building. Adding a backup server is a bit much. Cloud backup is cool, but recovering large amounts of data, maybe after a crypto-ware attack, can be slow.

And that leads to disaster recovery (DR). Backup is not a DR solution – ever. Backup is slow to restore from (normally) and brings you back to how your files were (probably) yesterday – which can be massively disruptive and expensive.

What if I told you that there was a cloud-based solution that:

To tell you about this magical service, called Azure File Sync, we have Gregor Reimling, a cloud architect from Germany:

Gregor Reimling
Sepago, Cloud Architect

Gregor is working for sepago GmbH as a Cloud Architect for Azure. Before joining sepago, he was working as Cloud- and Infrastructure architect with main focus on Microsoft technologies like Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center.

He is organizer of the Azure Meetup Bonn, an local Azure user group near cologne.


Azure File Sync is relatively new, but I have known about it for quite some time. It’s a service that I (and many others) asked Microsoft to develop and I did a little happy dance when I was first briefed on it. I think Azure File Sync will become a new hot hybrid service for Microsoft, up there with Azure Backup (which it works with). If you want to transform your file server(s), then join Gregor for this session at Cloud Camp 2018.

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Session Highlight: Introduction to Azure Information Protection


It’s Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse again, and this time I’m going to talk about securing a critical asset – your data. One of the reasons that GDPR exists is because companies weren’t doing a good job at securing personally identifiable information (personal data). There was (and still is) a constant run of stories about unencrypted laptops being lost/stolen or unencrypted credit card details being hacked – and thousands of people are being affected. What is happening is that modern threats are completely bypassing security approaches from the 1990s.

For example, a disk in a laptop might or might not be a company asset, but what the company should care about is the data that might be stored on the disk. If an employee uses their personal laptop to download and use company data, then there’s a probability that the disk is not encrypted. You can have all the rules in the world, and have policies documented in company handbooks, but data is like water; water always finds a way to leak, and data will too. But what if the only people who could open/read the file or email were those who were authorised to, no matter where that file or email went?

Azure Information Protection (AIP), which used to be called Azure Rights Management Services, provides a solution where you can encrypt your files or emails, and you control who can open them and what they could do with them. For example, a pharmaceuticals company could secure prices files so only their sales people could open them. If a sales person handed in their notice, they might be able to send the price files to their email address with the new employer, but once their user account with the old employer is disabled, they will no longer be able to open the files. Or perhaps a sales person could email a price estimate to a customer and put a control on the email, so it could not be printed or forwarded to a competitor. AIP allows you to do these kinds of things using policy templates that can be applied to a document or an email and share the information with any recipient inside or outside of the company – even people that aren’t cloud customers of Microsoft. You can see why interest in AIP has spiked since GDPR came into force last May.

To explain Azure Information Protection and what it can do to secure your data, we have Alexander Solaat Rødland, a Microsoft Valuable Professional, who speaks at many events in Europe and further afield.

Alexander Solaat Rødland
ITpro, MVP, MODE and Technology advisor

The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in

Schrödinger’s Code – Code that has been written, but not tested, and is in a state of neither working nor failing until it is observed.

Besides my activity for ten years as a journalist and product manager for the Norwegian IT- Magazine, I have also managed to acquired two certificate of completed apprenticeship within electronics and ICT.

As of fall 2015 I have completed a bachelor degree in information science (BASV-INFO), and spring 2018 I completed my degree in Work- and organizational psychology at the University of Bergen, combined they focus on software development and motivational- and organization psychology. In my daytime job at Innofactor I focus on user experience and the interrelationship of humans, computers and implementation of new technology to peoples life.

I have been awarded with the MVP since 2014 and MODE (Microsoft OneDrive Expert) since 2017.

I have been a frequent speaker at various local seminars, TechDays Sweden, at Nordic Infrastructure Conference (NIC) and Ignite.


It’s critical that IT pros and IT security officers reconsider how they secure data. Disk encryption just isn’t the way – the data itself must be secured. If you attend this session at Cloud Camp 2018 you will learn how Azure Information Protection provides this level of granular security for files and emails on the device and server.

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Session Highlight: The Ultimate Introduction to Kubernetes


Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here, and this time I want to talk containers, and I’m not talking ships or Tupperware. It’s hard to read about IT these days and not be bombarded with Docker/containers. Good news is that Azure supports running containers in a plethora of ways and this session will focus on the one that Microsoft is betting on.

So, what are containers … often referred to as Docker? Containerisation is a relatively new form of virtualisation. Machine virtualisation, such as Hyper-V or VMware, uses a slim layer of software on a single machine to simulate many virtual machines, each of which has its own guest operating system to patch, maintain, secure, and own. For cloud-scale applications, virtual machines aren’t optimal because they are slow to create (network/disk copy) and there’s a layer of OS management. Containers work at a higher level; instead of simulating many machines, containers use a single OS installation to simulate many operating systems. With an application repository, it’s possible to deploy application-based containers in seconds. And with a layer of management or orchestration, this can scale to huge levels and provide mechanisms that allow developers to create/modify/deploy applications & improvements a cloud speed but with control.

So that brings us to the matter of management. Docker is a container software vendor, and their management products are just one containerisation management option in Azure. The one that Microsoft appears to have bet big on is Kubernetes, also known as K8s. What’s interesting about K8s is that it was created by Google and make available as an open source solution. Microsoft has taken the open source product and baked it into Azure as Azure Kubernetes Service, making this orchestration tool available for free to customers – you pay for the resources used by the containers. Imagine that – Microsoft using a product that originated in Google as a strategic service! This is not the Microsoft of the past.

To explain what K8s is, you need a self-proclaimed “monolith killer”. Pascal Naber, another Microsoft MVP speaking at Cloud Camp, is that person.

Pascal Naber
Xpirit, Monolith killer & coding Azure architect

Pascal helps companies embrace Microsoft Azure and build large scale distributed systems with modern architectures based on microservices. Pascal works as an Azure Cloud Consultant at Xpirit. He is the co-founder of the Dutch Azure Meetup and is awarded by Microsoft with the MVP award for Microsoft Azure. In his spare time he enjoys killing monoliths, just for fun.


If you are looking to digitally transform your SaaS or line of business services, then Kubernetes/containers is one way to do it in Azure. Check out Pascal’s session at Cloud Camp 2018 and you’ll leave a wiser person.

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


Howdy, it’s Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here. I had dabbled with Remote Desktop Services here and there over the years. Even when I joined MicroWarehouse, a distributor working with most of the Microsoft partners in Ireland, I still only touched RDS on rare occasions. But when we started working in Azure, wow, did that change.

From a very simple perspective, when you start working with Azure virtual machines, the cloud is “just another Hyper-V cluster”, albeit a very big one with lots more functionality than you could ever have on-premises. If you were to move some application/data from on-premises to Azure, you’ve increased the latency between the client and the service from under 1 millisecond to 30+ milliseconds – that’s OK for HTTP/S-based services but it’s a lot for legacy thick client/server applications. When faced with latent connections for thick clients, we’ve often employed Citrix/RDS to move the client app to the same location as the data/service and present the user experience on their device. And we can do that in Azure too – and it’s because of this that I’ve helped customers design & price more RDS deployments in the last 4 years than I had done in the previous 2 decades.

The design of RDS farms in Azure is no different to what they would be on VMware or Hyper-V – you still have the same number of machines, all doing the same roles, with the same amount of processor and RAM. That’s great for internal deployments, but the cost of running RDS infrastructures for managed services providers or ISVs (moving legacy software to Azure) for each customer/tenant could be prohibitive.

Microsoft showed something new at their Ignite conference in 2017. It was a refactoring of the RDS infrastructure roles for a hosted/managed multi-tenant/customer platform for services providers and ISVs called Remote Desktop Modern Infrastructure (RDmi). This solution, based on Azure App Services, provides a central shared RDS infrastructure, with each customer deployed in their own tenant/subscriptions for sessions/desktops and Active Directory Domain Services. This is a seriously cool rethinking of RDS, that I have customers lined up waiting for.

It’s a tech that needs an expert to present – a real RDS expert. I don’t think there is anyone in Europe (maybe anywhere outside of Microsoft) that knows RDmi as well as Freek Berson, MVP. I was quite happy when he submitted an RDmi session for Cloud Camp because I know his work. Freek works, writes, and presents on RDS and the best RDS people follow his work. He also knows RDS and RDmi inside-out.


Freek Berson
wortell, Remoting Windows Enthusiast

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.


I think that RDmi is going to be game changer for hosted services providers and ISVs. And Freek is the best person to talk about the subject – so if you want to figure out how to build a multi-tenant RDS environment in the cloud, join him for this session at Cloud Camp 2018.

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Session Highlight: 99 Problems, But The Server Ain’t One


Hi folks, this is Aidan Finn talking about another one of the great sessions coming at Cloud Camp 2018.

It’s a long time since I wrote a meaningful line of code – I started my career as a programmer on UNIX! But I do remember how much time I spent on the orchestration of functions that were being written. And as a person who worked with developers in the hosting industry, I and the developers struggled with server specs – how often have you asked “What spec should the sever be?” and get a response like “Ah, the usual”, whatever “the usual” is!

Azure has an ecosystem of event-based computing services. One of the most interesting is Functions. The idea with Functions is that the developer focus on atomic tasks and writes the code get a particular result. This function is triggered in some pre-defined way giving you a cause-and-effect form of programming. The real beauty of Functions is that they are serverless – you focus on code & results, not machine sizing and maintenance.

Gerald Versluis is an MVP and an author that has been working with .NET, Xamarin and Azure. This is exactly the sort of person who can share new ways of making line-of-business applications easier to write, more performant, and more scalable – some of the biggest systems in Azure use Functions to gain elastic scaling and extremely granular levels.


Gerald Versluis
Developer | Microsoft MVP

Gerald Versluis (@jfversluis) is an all-round software developer, Microsoft MVP and two-time author from The Netherlands. After years of experience working with Xamarin, Azure and .NET technologies, he has been involved in a number of different projects and has been building several apps and solutions.

Not only does he like to code, but he is also passionate about spreading his knowledge – as well as gaining some in the bargain. Gerald involves himself in speaking, providing training sessions and writing blogs ( or articles in his free time. Twitter: @jfversluis | Website:


This is an extremely exciting time to be a developer. If I was coding today, things like Cosmos DB, Logic Apps, Event Grid, and Functions would have my full attention. I’ve done some architecture bootcamp stuff with Microsoft and I’ve found the possibilities to be very interesting. If you want to learn more about writing code with cloud patterns then this session at Cloud Camp 18 should be on your schedule.

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Session Highlight: Azure AD Domain Services – Domain Controllers in the Cloud


It’s Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here again. Azure AD is deeply misunderstood by most people. Office 365 administrators often have no idea that the user accounts are Azure AD (the tenant) user accounts that are used by Office 365 – they assume that they’re Office 365 user accounts. And the terms “Azure AD” and “domain” (I dislike how over used this word is) cause people to think that Azure AD is a replacement for an Active Directory domain – correctly referred to as Active Directory Domain Services. Azure AD is not a domain like the domain you’ve been working with since Windows Server 2000; it’s an authentication/authorization service for other cloud services.

Then, along comes Azure AD Domain Services which gives you a domain, complete with OUs and GPOS, that is powered by Azure AD. And yes, you can join Azure VMs to it, but it’s not for PCs or laptops. Are you confused yet?

What we need is a person who works with this technology to build solutions to explain what it all is, and importantly, what it isn’t. Sam Cogan, MVP, is that man and that’s what he’ll be doing in this session.


Sam Cogan
Cloud Solutions Architect & Azure MVP

I’m a Solutions Architect and Microsoft Azure MVP, focused on providing architecture and technical solutions for cloud-based SaaS projects using Azure.
I’m particularly focused on areas around cloud automation and deployment, devops, configuration management, along with high performance and grid computing in the cloud.
I blog about Azure and cloud-related topics at


This is one of the “must see” sessions if you are new to Microsoft cloud technology. Azure AD is the tenant that all Microsoft cloud services leverage, and it can even be extended to thousands of third-party clouds (including AWS and Google) and custom-written applications for single sign-on, including integrations with the likes of Facebook or Twitter for consumer identity management. So whether it’s VMs, custom-written applications, ID for productivity & security solutions, Azure AD is critical, and this session offers another compelling reason to join us at Cloud Camp 2018.

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Session Highlight: Protecting VMware & Windows Using Azure


Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse again! Backup is both one of the most important things that IT does, and one of the most annoying things that we must do in IT. Sit back and think for a minute – how many hours have you wasted fixing tape drives, cataloguing tapes for a restore, restoring a “job service”, explaining why a backup didn’t work to a boss/customer, or configuring emails to tell you when a backup has worked – a true sign that this is the exception instead of the norm!

Cloud backup is nothing new. It offers offsite storage, helps companies get closer to the 3-2-1 ideal, and can reduce long-term storage costs. Without a cloud service, you need to have a second location for off-site storage.
Traditionally, that meant paying for a tape storage service – a courier would collect your tapes (hopefully encrypted), drive at great speed over speed bumps and potholes, and deposit your (probably misaligned by now) tapes to some storage facility. If you wanted a restore, then the tapes had to be recalled (via the courier), catalogued, and a slow restore would begin. If you had a second location, then you could replicate the backup storage to there … but that increased the costs of storage.

And let’s not forget the companies where a receptionist would take the last backup (USB disk) home on the bus as “off-site storage”!

Back to the cost of storage – if you need to keep 1 year, 10 years, and even 99 years (some companies do!) of retention then keeping that data around is going to be expensive – at least with on-premises storage. I have a friend who has even talked about a previous employer that dumped the backup process because the cost of backup storage was higher than the cost of losing data!

The cloud, particularly Microsoft Azure, offers ultra-cheap storage, which is purchased and deployed in ways and scales that no one can match. The result is that Azure can provide the platform for cloud-based back that supports, obviously, the Microsoft stack, including Hyper-V, but can also protect VMware … yes, VMware!

Azure Backup has been a “first step” to the cloud for many businesses. The service has improved in many ways since I started working with Azure. I’ve found their team to be one of (if not the) very best at taking feedback and implementing it. Many of these improvements will be discussed in this session. This is a session that I would have normally done, but the Azure Backup team reached out to us and asked if they could take part in Cloud Camp. Of course we’d love them to join us! Kartik Pullabhotla, a Program Manager with the team, will be talking about how Azure Backup can be used to protect your on-premises IT investments, including VMware and Hyper-V. He’ll discuss some of the new developments with Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, and I’m sure he’d like to talk about backup at scale too!

So come on – learn how to transform your backups from A**Serve and tapes like the dinosaurs used before they croaked, and join the rest of us in the 21st century by joining Kartik at this session at Cloud Camp 18.

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Session Highlight: How to Implement a Hybrid Microsoft 365 Environment


Aidan Finn from MicroWarehouse here! If you don’t know what Office 365 is, then you’ve been hiding under an IT rock for most of the last decade. Things have moved on, because Microsoft has created a new endpoint & data productivity & security bundle that is based on Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and more, called Microsoft 365 (M365).

Some markets, such as Ireland, are quite mature when it comes to Office 365 – we’ve lead the way in adopting cloud-based productivity, communications, and collaboration. Now it’s time to move on to the next part of the journey – and to be honest, GDPR has driven a lot of this interest. Security is not just an IT issue now, it’s a director and shareholder business issue. And recent headlines are finally getting an important message through to people: IT security is more than just a firewall and some antivirus.

M365 is a complete lifecycle solution. You get device & app deployment, productivity and collaboration services, and the means to secure data, no matter where that data goes. As you can imagine, there’s a lot in M365 to discuss in 1 hour. So, we needed someone who knows the platform. Simon Binder is a Principal Solution Architect working with M365, so he can share what he knows with those who are keen to learn how to deploy it.


Simon Binder
ATEA, Principal Solution Architect

Sharing my time between a role as Modern Workplace/Productivity Solution Architech and Technical Sales Specialst with a focus on Modern Workplace regardless of technology – but with a strong Microsoft focus.

I like to call myself a Technical Evangelist and i absolutely love to be challenged and inspire colleagues, customers and the community in general. My goal is to empower every person to be both productive and happy at work – regardless of where it is at any particular moment.

I hold several Microsoft certifications, work as a P-Seller with Microsoft and are proud to call myself MCT. I have always been a tech-guy, and even though my current role isn’t a technical one, I make sure to be up to date – with hands-on experience. And now, its more important than ever to look outside the Microsoft-sphere, even if it feels scary sometimes. And yes, I do have both a blog and a Twitter account.

Off work, I love being out and about, doing all kinds of sports – even though I lack talent in most. I’m passionate about whisky (and beer) and if I could live anywhere else other then Sweden, it would be Scotland or Antarctica.


Join us at Cloud Camp 18 to start your next step in the cloud journey, and consider attending this session by Simon to learn how to start deploying Microsoft 365.

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