Security Update Guide

From the Windows Server Update Services, Microsoft Security Bulletins, and Patch Tuesdays, Microsoft has had a long history in being a leader with security updates. In an effort to modernize the process of informing organizations with needed information, Microsoft is introducing the new Security Update Guide, which is a searchable database that you can use to find updates and filter them based on what you’re interested in. Once you find what you’re interested in, you can then download the list of updates and associated data as an Excel spreadsheet.

SQL Server on Linux

sql-server_thumb Today, Microsoft announced the public preview of the next release of SQL Server on Linux and Windows, which brings the power of SQL Server to Linux for the first time ever. But the love fest doesn’t stop there. The Linux Foundation announced today that Microsoft has joined the organization as a Platinum member during Microsoft’s developer event in New York. Want to learn how to get started? The Microsoft Mechanics demonstrates SQL Server on Linux, including how you can: download and install SQL Server on a Linux Virtual Machine; run your SQL Server-based apps inside of Docker containers and improve the performance of your applications using powerful features such as Column Store in SQL Server.

Microsoft Streamlined Certification Paths

mcsp Microsoft is streamlining its expert-level certifications to provide more flexibility and a wider array of starting points towards certification. There will be Four new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications and One Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification.

You will first need to earn a qualifying Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) from one of many qualifying paths and then pass a single additional exam from a list of electives to earn the corresponding MCSE or MCSD.

The MCSA/MCSD you earn will never expire, however each year you will have the chance to re-Earn the certification by passing an additional exam from the ever growing list of electives. This replaces the existing requirement of needing to renew your certification every 3 years and will help you gain new skills on new exams instead of continuing to re-test on older skills over and over again. To find out more, download the list of exams and electives for the Microsoft Streamlined Certification Paths here.

MVP: Data Platform

mvp I am deeply honored and extremely humbled to be joining the MVP community. This is not something you earn on your own and there are so many people to thank, which I will do individually when I see them. It is always nice to know that my passion for learning and teaching technology is recognized by the community at large. Thank you very, very much.

Ignite Attendee Celebration

ctj2sfywcaa2zry Now that was a great party at Centennial Park. I had a nice view from atop the Ferris Wheel looking down on 23,000 of my closest techie friends. Not going to lie, I did eat two turkey legs. I mostly sat back and listened to the live band and enjoyed the great fall evening in the host city of Atlanta. I have heard rumors that next year Microsoft Ignite will be held in Orlando. I know I will definitely be back.

The 2016 Krewe Photo

ctm1bluxyaamahi Every year, The Krewe gets together at noon on Tuesday in front of the New Horizons booth for our annual picture. And I have no idea why I am looking in a different direction than everyone else. New this year at the Ignite conference were the BeamBots, for people who could not make the trip to Atlanta. Of course, The Krewe hijacked them all for the photo to get a truly international picture. In case you are wondering, The Krewe is a loosely based group of international techies who attend a lot of conferences. You can find them on Twitter @TheKrewe or on Facebook somewhere.

First day of Ignite 2016

14463077_1266149963403257_7021987707697021234_nFirst day of Microsoft Ignite. First lesson, with 23, 000 attendees you need more than ONE working escalator. Second lesson, I really loved the hangout area. I could not decide on which session to take so I took them all. This is one large screen where you can switch back and forth between sessions or just watch CNN. Lesson Three, CNN headquarters is right across the street and they have a great food court, which after today is where I will be eating lunch.14468263_1266643663353887_5364675333849623436_o

Microsoft Tech Community

tech This has been rumored for some time, but it now seems that Microsoft’s latest iteration of online community is live. Launched on September 2nd, but in beta testing for months, the Microsoft Tech Community asserts to bring multiple communities together in a central location. Sound familiar? That’s essentially what Microsoft did by ending 5 different conferences and merging them into Microsoft Ignite.

Subject Expert at Ignite

Capture  Very excited and honored to be once again working at the Microsoft Ignite conference. It is always a fun time and an incredible learning opportunity. Be sure to stop by and see me as Microsoft Ignite is again bringing certification and training resources to “Certification Central”. You’ll find exam prep sessions, a study hall full of learning resources, and an onsite testing center managed by the Microsoft Learning team. During the conference week, all Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams will be offered at a 50% discount exclusively for Microsoft Ignite attendees, and all practice tests will be free to attendees who activate them in the study hall. Exam appointments will be available Monday through Friday and pre-registration will open in July 2016.

Data Science Summit

13606998_1200631483288439_8477340474913116672_n Hear from Microsoft Engineers and customer experts on how you can build data driven intelligent solutions, on-premises and in the cloud, with R, Python, Hadoop,and Spark that will drive new and exciting services at the two days at the Data Science Summit that coincides with Microsoft Ignite in September. I am definitely going to try and catch a few of these sessions.

Microsoft and LinkedIn

li What happens when you join the world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network? We are about to find out. Today, it was announced that LinkedIn has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. My first thought was, didn’t LinkedIn just buy less then a year ago? This is a seismic shake in the Information Technology world that will ripple through the industry for years to come.

IT Pro Cloud Essentials

Microsoft is currently offering two new ways to support IT professionals and their companies in a smooth transition to the cloud: Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials and Microsoft IT Pro Career Center. The IT Pro Cloud Essentials and the IT Pro Career Center are the two newest programs to help IT professionals familiarize themselves with Microsoft’s available cloud technologies and sharpen their IT skills. The free annual subscription to IT Pro Cloud Essentials offers IT professionals direct access to cloud services, including training, support and certification. Other benefits of the free IT Pro Cloud Essentials annual subscription include:

March 2016 MCT Update

MCTstatsIt is time for a long overdue MCT update. First of all you may noticed that we are now just under 10,000 active Microsoft Certified Trainers out there in the world. Click here if you would like to see the breakdown by country. . Next up, the new Microsoft Official Curriculum updates were just released with at least 20 new or updated courses being released, I have the breakdown here and provide some additional notes on how this relates to exams.Which brings us to something we have been waiting years to see, a new Learning Download Center for all your MCT materials. Finally, I was recently asked to look up offers available for MCTs and found this great list of free or discounted software.