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532-533-535 Exams Retirement


Azure fathers: Dave Cutler and Amitabh Srivastava

In 2006, Amitabh Srivastava was a corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Windows division, working on redefining the organization’s engineering processes.  Ozzie had recently been named the company’s chief software architect and the two had their first meeting one late afternoon in Building 34 on Microsoft’s campus.

Srivastava has always had a rule: If he’s in town, he never misses dinner at home with his family – or if he needs to, he tells his family he’ll be late.  That evening, Srivastava lost track of time.  He missed dinner and never called home to say he’d be late.  The one-hour meeting began at 4 p.m. and went until 8 p.m.

“By the end of that meeting, I was convinced software wouldn’t be shipped as it had been.  My personal realization was, ‘I’m working on the wrong thing,’” Srivastava recalled.

At the time, Srivastava’s office was across from Cutler’s, and the two often got to the office early.  Soon after the meeting with Ozzie, Srivastava recalls telling Cutler, “I don’t know what needs to be done, but I know there’s something changing dramatically and we’ve got to rethink our approach.”

After a few more weeks of discussions, Srivastava knew Microsoft needed to build an operating system for the cloud, and he identified his first task: Recruit Cutler.

“So I go to Dave and he says ‘I think I’m ready to retire,’” Srivastava said. “I said, ‘Dave, not quite. This is different.  This could change the world.’”

Cutler didn’t say yes to Srivastava, but he also didn’t say no.  “I had worked with Dave long enough to know that when he didn’t say no right away, that was a good sign.”

Srivastava developed a plan for Cutler and him to visit every team at Microsoft running a cloud service, from MSN and Hotmail to Xbox Live and the company’s cloud data centers.

The due diligence process took a few months as Cutler and Srivastava listened to the pain points and band-aid approaches teams had taken to keep their cloud services running.  After the tour, Cutler and Srivastava never had a formal discussion about him joining the team. Cutler was on board.

Two years later, on Oct. 27, 2008, Ozzie stood on stage at the company’s Professional Developer’s Conference in Los Angeles and announced a technology preview of Windows Azure (now Microsoft Azure).

At PDC 2008, Ray Ozzie announced a technology preview of Windows Azure (now Microsoft Azure).

Amitabh Srivastava on stage at PDC 2008, wearing the “Project Red Dog” sneakers that Cutler designed.


What is Windows Azure Pack (WAP)?

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center. It runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies.

Services that are available out of the box with WAP:

  1. Virtual Machines (via System Center VMM integration)
  2. Websites (distributed, multi-tenant, highly available web hosting service)
  3. Database (via SQL Server and My SQL)
  4. Automation (via System Center Runbooks)


  1. Step-By-Step: Installing Microsoft Azure Pack for Windows Server
  2. Windows Azure Pack – Infrastructure as a Service 

Azure AD B2C for ASP.NET Core Web Application

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2C is an identity management service that enables you to customize and control how customers sign up, sign in, and manage their profiles when using your applications.

Learn how to set up identity management for the customers that use your ASP.NET Core Web Application:

Step 1: Create an Azure AD B2C tenant
Step 2: Register an application
Step 3: Create sign in & signup policy
Step 4: Add configuration details inside .NET app

Learn more:

  1. Azure Active Directory B2C Documentation
  3. Getting Started with Azure AD B2C Built in Policies

Azure AD B2C: How to enable consumer logins and access management for your B2C apps

Azure Active Directory B2C

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2C is an identity management service that enables you to customize and control how customers sign up, sign in, and manage their profiles when using your applications. This includes applications developed for iOS, Android, and .NET, among others. Azure AD B2C enables these actions while protecting the identities of your customers at the same time.



Azure AD, B2B, B2C

Azure AD

Azure Active Directory (in short  Azure AD) is a cloud identity provider service or Identity as a Service (IdaaS) provided by Microsoft. Its primary purpose is to provide authentication and authorization for applications in the cloud (SaaS apps).

Azure AD B2B

Now for Azure AD B2B (which of course stands for Business-to-Business). Is it a different version of Azure AD? No! It’s only one of its service features. It allows one organization to invite members from other organizations to share application access.

Azure AD B2C

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2C: it is a separate service from Azure AD. Built on the same technology, but still… for different purposes. It’s  an identity management service that enables you to customize and control how customers sign up, sign in, and manage their profiles when using your applications. Also it’s built to allow anyone to sign up as a user in a service with their email or social media provider like Facebook, Google or LinkedIn.

Regions, availability zones, and fault domains

A region, is a geographical region on the planet, potentially multiple datacenters in close proximity, networked together. Those datacenters are sometimes called availability zones. An availability zone, has its own independent power and networking. It is set up to be an isolation boundary. If one availability zone goes down, the other continues working. The availability zones are typically connected to each other through very fast, private fiber-optic networks.

Within the availability zone, the VMs are deployed on machines, that are organized in racks. Each rack has its own router. The virtual machines on one single physical machine may run multiple containers.

When an incoming request comes to the endpoint, it is usually first delivered to a load balancer to route the traffic to an instance of a service. The goal is to run the code on different VMs that are not close to each other to reduce the chance of single point of failure. The unit of single point of failure is called a fault domain. With this hierarchy, when:

  • a region goes down, everything inside the region is down.
  • an availability zone goes down, everything inside the availability zone is lost.
  • a rack goes down, it is the PCs that are lost.
  • a PC goes down, it is the VMs on it that are lost.


What are Availability Zones in Azure?

Availability Zones is a high-availability offering that protects your applications and data from datacenter failures. Availability Zones are unique physical locations within an Azure region. Each zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking. To ensure resiliency, there’s a minimum of three separate zones in all enabled regions. The physical separation of Availability Zones within a region protects applications and data from datacenter failures. Zone-redundant services replicate your applications and data across Availability Zones to protect from single-points-of-failure.

Azure services that support Availability Zones fall into two categories:

  • Zonal services – you pin the resource to a specific zone (for example, virtual machines, managed disks, IP addresses), or
  • Zone-redundant services – platform replicates automatically across zones (for example, zone-redundant storage, SQL Database).

To achieve comprehensive business continuity on Azure, build your application architecture using the combination of Availability Zones with Azure region pairs. You can synchronously replicate your applications and data using Availability Zones within an Azure region for high-availability and asynchronously replicate across Azure regions for disaster recovery protection.



Azure Paired Regions

Each Azure region is paired with another region within the same geography, together making a regional pair. The exception is Brazil South, which is paired with a region outside its geography.

Figure 1 – Azure regional pair diagram


Geography Paired regions
Asia East Asia Southeast Asia
Australia Australia East Australia Southeast
Canada Canada Central Canada East
China China North China East
India Central India South India
Japan Japan East Japan West
Korea Korea Central Korea South
North America North Central US South Central US
North America East US West US
North America East US 2 Central US
North America West US 2 West Central US
Europe North Europe West Europe
Japan Japan East Japan West
Brazil Brazil South (1) South Central US
US Government US Gov Iowa US Gov Virginia
US Government US Gov Arizona US Gov Texas
US Department of Defense US DoD East US DoD Central
UK UK West UK South
Germany Germany Central Germany Northeast

Table 1 – Mapping of Azure regional pairs

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