Microsoft Azure is a constantly evolving platform, so it can be a challenge to keep pace with daily changes. Learn about the key online sources to gain greater confidence with Azure over the longer term.

Is anybody truly up to date with understanding the Microsoft Azure platform? My strong contention is "no." That said, I have a whole bunch of resources you should embrace to minimize your "surprise factor" and maximize your confidence in Azure. Let's get started!

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure

Follow the Azure product teams' blogs ^

I don't hear much about Really Simple Syndication (RSS) nowadays, but I rely upon the protocol every day to stay current with tech and non-tech news. Now that Google Reader is gone, I use Feedly, but I suppose any RSS reader will do the trick.

Here are a number of Microsoft Azure blogs you may want to track in your RSS aggregator:

  • Azure Blog: Here you should find blogs for most of the Azure development teams
  • Azure Updates: Azure product and roadmap briefs
  • Azure Announcements: Azure product promotions
  • Cloud Solution Architect: Good, high-level, real-world experience and advice
  • Microsoft Docs: Given how robust the Azure documentation is, you should be aware of updates to the underlying platform as well as its content
  • Cloud Perspectives: These are more philosophical stories about the public cloud in general and the Microsoft cloud in particular
  • Azure YouTube: Video announcements, demos, and interviews
  • Azure Friday: Scott Hanselman interviews Azure product team members
  • Azure Overview: This is technically a third-party site, but it is great to look up Azure product status quickly (for instance, whether the product is generally available or still in preview)

Subscribe to selected Azure email newsletters ^

Microsoft and some well-known partners provide excellent weekly Azure-related newsletters you can subscribe to. I like the convenience of having Azure news come to me in my email inbox.

  • Azure Newsletteris the official Azure newsletter from Microsoft.
  • Source is also from Microsoft and also constitutes an important section of the Microsoft Azure blog network.
  • Build Azure Weekly is a service from Chris Pietschmann and the Opsgility team. They are super-engaged in the Azure community, and because they are teachers, they know how to organize information.
  • Azure Weekly is a service by Endjin, a Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform partner. It's a robust newsletter I like a lot. It's a no-nonsense links list that provides no commentary.

Apply to the Azure Advisors program ^

Azure Advisors is a community of Microsoft Partners, MVPs, and industry professionals who get direct access to Microsoft Azure product teams. Microsoft's non-disclosure agreement (NDA) protects all of your communication with them, but the degree of insight you obtain into Azure is impressive.

Moreover, you have the valuable opportunity to give the Azure development groups feedback on what you think works, what you think doesn't, and what future changes you would most like to see. You also have a much better chance of being selected to participate in private previews.

Membership to Azure Advisors is by invitation only. I suggest you complete the Azure Advisors nomination form and keep your fingers crossed.

Keep an eye on the Azure Feedback forum ^

The General Feedback forum is where Azure customers go to give the Azure product groups suggestions for improvement. Reading the replies by Azure team members is largely insightful. You should also check out the Stack Overflow and the MSDN Forums, both of which the Azure development and program management staff engage.

Set Twitter alerts ^

If you are a Twitter user, consider using Twitter lists and alerts to keep abreast of Azure announcements. Lists help you organize tweets, and alerts are triggered when keywords you specify show up in Twitter tweets. Here's some assistance:

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Wrap-up ^

There you have it! I hope you are in a better position to stay current with Microsoft Azure. I want to let you know that even though I am an MVP and an Azure Advisor member, Azure announcements I had no idea about still surprise me regularly. I've even spoken with Azure team members who are surprised themselves, so please don't feel alone in thinking it's nearly impossible to be completely up to date with Azure developments.

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