The first question you should be asking if you’re not already an expert in Windows Azure – What training can I attend to learn about Windows Azure as an IT Professional?  With the General Availability of Windows Azure IaaS on April 16th, you now have a 99.95% financially-backed SLA for your Windows Azure VMs inside an availability set. 

Here are the resources I’d recommend:

  1. Windows Azure Jumpstart for IT Pros http://aka.ms/AzureJS – On May 16th, myself and David Aiken will walk you through a day of demo-heavy content focused on a little bit of the “why” on the 1st overview module and then the rest of the day on the practical “how” to get it done.  This will eventually become a MVA course and I will update this link to point to it after the event. Attending live is best to get your questions answered in an interactive format!
  2. Windows Azure Training Kit – contains a TON of Demos, HOLs, and Presentations (PPTs) which pertain to everything Windows Azure including developer content.  It comes in three major formats: GitHub, Web Installer, and an offline package.  I’d highly recommend going to the GitHub source for the latest content as the web installer and Offline package pulls from this source.  That being said, here are some of the modules relevant for IT Professionals I’d recommend:
    PRESENTATION-WindowsAzureITProOverview
    HOL-ProvisioningAWindowsAzureVM
    PRESENTATION-WindowsAzureVirtualMachines
    HOL-UnderstandingVMImagingWithCapture
    HOL-UnderstandingVMImagingWithCapturePS
    PRESENTATION-VirtualNetworks
    DEMO-LoadBalancingAvailability
    DEMO-DeployingHybrid
    PRESENTATION-DeployingActiveDirectory
    HOL-DeployingActiveDirectory
    HOL-DeployingActiveDirectoryPS
    PRESENTATION-MigratingAppsAndWorkloads
    PRESENTATION-DeployingSharePointOnVMs
    DEMO-MigrateVMAppController
  3. Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) Courses – are great if you want a structured learning experience where you can prove your knowledge and go through it at your own pace.  Right now there are 3 courses:
    Windows Azure Security Overview – focuses primarily on PaaS and core Windows Azure infrastructure, NOT security within the VMs themselves.
    Overview of Virtual Machines
    Introduction to Windows Azure Training
    The latter two courses will likely be deprecated upon the creation of the Windows Azure Jumpstart MVA course (based on #1 above).
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