A warm welcome to Stefan Roth, MVP; Co-Organiser of Azure User Group Bern & Global Azure Bootcamp in Switzerland, as he joins us for ‘Voices of the Azure Community’.
We hope you enjoy this insight into the work he carries out to support the Azure Community.
Please tell us about your own role.
First, thank you for giving me a chance to talk a little bit about myself. I work as a Cloud Engineer at a Swiss Insurance company, which runs its business in Switzerland only. We could add to each insurance policy a “Swiss Made” label – just kidding. Our vision is to move the entire workload to Microsoft Azure. Basically, a zero-datacenter strategy. I am working in a cloud team which lays the foundation in Azure for all the custom-made business applications. These applications are to a high degree running in containers, so it is obvious that we will use the Azure Kubernetes services and all the other good stuff there is. My main role in this journey is to cover the Azure Governance part and building the landing zone. I love the opportunity we get, to work on leading edge technologies and moving a leading financial institution to the cloud
How did you become involved with #GlobalAzure Switzerland and the Microsoft IT Pro Schweiz User Group?
Well, it started a couple of years ago, where my colleague and I decided to share our knowledge and get more involved in the community. We both were IT pros working with Microsoft System Center products back then and there was no such user group in Bern. Our goal was to get some sponsors on board so we could provide free food / drinks to the audience and get a different location each time. The first year we ran successfully 5 meetings and after that we were convinced that our concept works out. The rest is history 😊. At some point we got in touch with the Azure User Group Zürich who were organizing the first Global Azure Bootcamp in Switzerland. Because we had the same spirit, passion and ideas we decided to organize the upcoming #GlobalAzure together.
Because our user group must evolve too, we decided this year to merge our IT pro user group together with the Azure User Group Bern so we can use the synergy and members to offer an even broader spectrum of topics and know-how.
What are the greatest benefits of getting involved with the Group for attendees?
I think there are several benefits. First, of course meeting people who share the passion for the same technology. Depending on the sessions presented the audience changes partially, which brings additional know-how and experiences. A very important part is of course networking and socializing. The real benefits show off when certain people changed the company or moved away, a user group will be the anchor for seeing each other. Finally, we are trying to get famous speakers from the community to speak at our meetings like Sami Laiho and other MVPs.
In your opinion what is the most exciting thing about working with Azure?
Having so much power instantly available at your fingertips. If you know how to use the services, it offers you countless possibilities to build what ever solution you want. It does not even cost much; I am thinking now of all the serverless automation products. For me, Azure is like Lego, the Azure services are like Lego bricks and you just need to put them together in the right order and wonderful solutions will appear.
What is your favourite Azure Product and why?
I used to work with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) a lot back then and therefore the natural evolution is Azure Monitor and all its friends. In my heart I am still a monitoring guy and love to work with Azure Monitor, Log Analytics toolset.
What makes a great Azure Developer / Architect?
We all worked with on-premise technologies, principles and concepts. The cloud has new concepts, rules and principles which require a new way how we design and build applications. This is a challenge for everyone not only to learn it but also how to use the new cloud technologies in real-world scenarios. Someone who can quickly adapt the new concepts and technologies makes him a great Architect / Developer etc
What in your opinion has been the biggest advance in Azure in the past 18 months?
I would say 18 month ago EVERYTHING changed and got improved. Azure 18 month ago is not the same Azure as it now. I think the entire backends using Log Analytics / Kusto which is used by a lot of Azure service is a huge advance and right direction Microsoft is taking.
What are the biggest challenges you face working with Azure?
Probably keeping up with the constant changes and improvements of the Azure services.
What are you looking forward to most at the upcoming #GlobalAzure Switzerland event?
We tried to pick an awesome set of sessions and speakers who are presenting real-world projects – no marketing allowed! Of course, getting in touch with all the Azure community friends will be another highlight!
Please tell us about your path to becoming an MVP?
At some point I realized that the projects I am working on are cool and I would like to share the solutions, troubleshooting and findings. So, I started to blog, getting my Twitter handle etc.to share it on the internet. Later on, I did not only write about all the cool stuff, instead I also became a speaker, book author and more active in the community. Finally, I got the attention from other MVPs who nominated me and probably after 2 years I received my first award. This year I hopefully get my 6th award.
Do you have suggestions for other community members who hope to become an MVP?
Share what you do. Do what you love. Love what you do. Do it successfully. Success will be honored. Your honor will be an award.