Posted by: kurtsh | April 20, 2018

BETA: Visual Studio Live Share

imageVisual Studio Live Share is an exciting new capability which allows developers to collaboratively edit and debug in real-time, from the comfort of their favorite tools.

It enables you to instantly share your entire project and locally running app, directly from Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code. You can then invite others to join your collaboration session, without requiring them to download the codebase, or install additional extensions or SDKs.

Visual Studio Live Share is currently in private preview but will enter public preview at Build on May 7th.

Check It Out Today!

imageOur Technology Specialist for Voice Communications & Skype for Business, Arshad Shaikh, pointed out to me that there are also really deep courses available online that we host at EdX at no cost to customers

Here’s some of them:

  1. Skype for Business: Infrastructure Planning and Design
  2. Skype for Business: Infrastructure Implementation and Conferencing
  3. Skype for Business: Voice Concepts and Planning
  4. Skype for Business: Voice Hybrid and Routing
  5. Skype for Business: Voice Advanced Workloads

See the entire list here:

imageAll courses available for enrollment through Software Assurance Training Vouchers are listed on this database:

Doing a search on Skype for Business reveals the following:

  • Course20334 : Core Solutions of Skype for Business 2015
    This course teaches IT professionals how to plan, deploy, configure, and administer a Skype for Business 2015 solution.  Students will learn how to deploy a multi-site  and highly available Skype for Business infrastructure that supports instant messaging, conferencing, persistent chat, archiving and monitoring. Students will also learn how to manage, maintain and troubleshoot issues in the infrastructure. This course focuses primarily on the on-premises deployment of Skype for Business, but does include information on how to integrate the on-premises deployment with Skype for Business Online as well as how to migrate from previous versions of Lync Server. This course helps the student prepare for Exam 70-334.
  • Course40409 : Deploying Voice Workloads for Skype for Business Online and Server 2015
    This five-day instructor-led course teaches how to design, plan, and deploy the various voice solutions available with Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server 2015. This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to configure and manage Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling, Cloud PBX with On-Premises PSTN Connectivity, Cloud Connector, and on-premises Enterprise Voice. This course will also provide procedures, guidelines, best practices, and other important considerations that will help you implement, optimize and troubleshoot Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server 2015 voice solutions. This course helps students prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-333 “Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015”.

Both are 5 day courses.  In order to enroll, one needs to:

  1. Select a Microsoft certified Training facility/”Learning Partner”.  This can be a New Horizons, a 360Training, or any number of other training centers:
  2. Have a Software Assurance Benefits administrator in your company create a Software Assurance Training Voucher for 5-days out of the company’s allocation (This will output a voucher ID):
  3. Schedule the class directly with the training company and reference your training voucher ID.

More details are available here:

imageThis is a multipart video series we did on Security with Microsoft CISO, Bret Arsenault, in December of 2017:

imageWe at Microsoft are offering DevOps training programs to the public – at no cost – to allow people to up their skill set for working in DevOps-wired environments.

To support companies to be more agile, the lines between development and operations are becoming increasingly blurred. Through continuous integration and deployment, students will learn how to react to changing market conditions. In a world where your audience taste can change on a dime, ensure audience happiness by learning about application monitoring and feedback loops.

imageDevOps is the union of people, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to end users. Learn about continuous integration and deployment, infrastructure as code, testing, databases, containers, and application monitoring: skills necessary for a DevOps culture in your workplace.

You’ll Learn About

  • Infrastructure as Code
  • Continuous Integration
  • Continuous Deployment
  • DevOps Testing
  • Databases
  • Feedback Loops
  • Application Monitoring
  • Configuration Management

For more information on how to take advantage of Microsoft’s DevOps courses, read this track description:

imageWe at Microsoft are offering Artificial Intelligence training programs to the public – at no cost – so that all can learn job-ready AI skills.

From the public announcement:

On Monday, the company announced the Microsoft Professional Program in AI, the latest learning track open to the public. The program provides job-ready skills and real-world experience to engineers and others who are looking to improve their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors.

imageThe program is part of a larger corporate effort that also includes the enterprise developer-focused AI School, which provides online videos and other assets to help developers build AI skills. That program includes both general educational tools for developers looking to expand AI capabilities and specific guidance on how developers can use Microsoft’s tools and services.

For example, AI School covers how to use offerings such as Microsoft Cognitive Services, which allow developers to incorporate intelligent algorithms for computer vision, natural language processing and translation capabilities into their products, and the Azure Bot Service.

For more information on how to take advantage of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence courses, read this announcement:

imageMaintaining the security of your cloud-based data is a shared responsibility between you and your cloud provider.

You’re invited to join us for a live webinar with Q&A to learn how Microsoft Azure provides a secure foundation to host your infrastructure, applications, and data in the cloud.

You’ll also learn how Azure’s built-in security controls and capabilities further help you protect your cloud resources.

April 12, 2018
10:00AM-11:00AM PST


How valuable would it be to know how close you are to having your PCs patched to a certain compliance threshold?

Wouldn’t it be great to proactively know which PCs are crashing due to hardware failures?

What if you could be told what device drivers are causing crashes the most in your organization?

imageWelcome to the world of Windows Analytics.  It’s a suite of great services for upgrading, managing, & monitoring Windows 10 PCs that include:

  • Upgrade Readiness
  • Update Compliance
  • Device Health

How much is it?

Before we begin, let’s get this out of the way: You probably already have the rights to use it. 

  • Windows Analytics “Upgrade Readiness” and “Update Compliance” services don’t cost anything to use if you are using Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise.  Again, there is no cost – not even for the (required) usage of Microsoft Operations Management Suite & it’s accompanied cloud storage.
  • Windows Analytics “Device Health” requires that the managed devices be licensed for Windows 10 Enterprise.

What is Windows Analytics?

Windows Analytics are a set of cloud services that Windows 10 administrators can use for Professional & Enterprise systems. They leverage Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) to provide you with extensive data about the state of devices in your deployment. There are currently three solutions which you can use singly or in any combination:

Device Health

Device Health provides the following:

  • imageIdentification of devices that crash frequently, and therefore might need to be rebuilt or replaced
  • Identification of device drivers that are causing device crashes, with suggestions of alternative versions of those drivers that might reduce the number of crashes
  • Notification of Windows Information Protection misconfigurations that send prompts to end users

Update Compliance

Update Compliance shows you the state of your devices with respect to the Windows updates so that you can ensure that they are on the most current updates as appropriate. In addition, Update Compliance provides the following:

  • imageDedicated drill-downs for devices that might need attention
  • An inventory of devices, including the version of Windows they are running and their update status
  • The ability to track protection and threat status for Windows Defender Antivirus-enabled devices
  • An overview of Windows Update for Business deferral configurations (Windows 10, version 1607 and later)
  • Powerful built-in log analytics to create useful custom queries
  • Cloud-connected access utilizing Windows 10 diagnostic data means no need for new complex, customized infrastructure

Upgrade Readiness

Upgrade Readiness offers a set of tools to plan and manage the upgrade process end to end, allowing you to adopt new Windows releases more quickly. With new Windows versions being released multiple times a year, ensuring application and driver compatibility on an ongoing basis is key to adopting new Windows versions as they are released. Upgrade Readiness not only supports upgrade management from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, but also Windows 10 upgrades in the Windows as a Service model.

Use Upgrade Readiness to get:

  • imageA visual workflow that guides you from pilot to production
  • Detailed computer and application inventory
  • Powerful computer-level search and drill-downs
  • Guidance and insights into application and driver compatibility issues, with suggested fixes
  • Data-driven application rationalization tools
  • Application usage information, allowing targeted validation; workflow to track validation progress and decisions
  • Data export to commonly used software deployment tools, including System Center Configuration Manager

To get started with any of these solutions, visit the links for instructions to add it to OMS.

For more information on Windows Analytics, visit the following:

If you’re hosting database workloads within Azure, you may need:

  • High RAM/memory
  • High storage
  • High I/O bandwidth
  • Low CPU core count

Typically, folks find that vCPU count & available RAM grows linearly with each VM size/SKU available, meaning that if you need High RAM/memory, it can appear that you need to also buy high CPU core counts as well.

This may be cost prohibitive for software products that are licensed per CPU core.

Not to worry!  There are certain VM sizes/SKUs available which enable you to select a high vCPU core count & high RAM/memory but constrain/reduce the VM’s available vCPU count.

This enables you to reduce per-CPU software licensing costs by allowing you to select the SKU you need, but reduce the number of vCPU cores available.  The specific SKUs with reduced vCPUs are tagged within the SKU name:

The vCPU count can be constrained to one half or one quarter of the original VM size. These new VM sizes have a suffix that specifies the number of active vCPUs to make them easier for you to identify.

Here’s a snapshot of 2 of the ~25 or so reduced vCPU VM SKUs available in Azure today:


For more information, visit the following sites:

imageTaken from the Gallery description:

I’ve created a features comparison table between Skype for Business and Teams.  I’ve tried to merge informations from various sources, and I’ll continue to update and add new features.

Download the table from here:

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