Working at the Microsoft Reactor Redmond

#CloudAdvocateLife – Work update (Mar 2019)

OK let’s not mention how long it has been since I’ve blogged. Just sit back and enjoy my website refresh and let’s move on ….

Amongst the craziness of my life now I’m full-time at Microsoft, I tweet the occasional #CloudAdvocateLife moment to give you some insight into the highs and lows of my day. Here I can expand a little more on the work I’ve been doing and how I maintain my work/life balance and my mental health. Today, let me catch you up on how the Cloud Advocate role has unfolded so far.

Microsoft’s Cloud Developer Advocacy effort has some great traction within developer communities, so we already have some learnt lessons that we can expand on. Now the IT Pro/IT Operations technical communities are the focus of my immediate team. We’re here to be part of those communities, listen to concerns and questions and be champions for improving Microsoft’s products and resources. In the Azure and Windows Server spaces, we’re also leading with technical guidance and creating supplementary content (both online and in person). In short, I’m surrounded by a bunch of crazy, passionate people who are here to listen to you and who have a direct line to Microsoft’s product owners. It’s a pretty cool job and I’m still pinching myself.

Enough of the sales pitch – what have I actually been doing for the last 8 months?


Cloud and sun from airplane window

Well if you check out my instagram, you’ll see I’ve been on a lot of planes!

(I think this one was a sunset over the Pacific as I flew over to head office in Redmond, WA, USA in Feb 2019. Cover shot for this article is a team event inside the Microsoft Reactor on our head office Redmond campus.)

Apart from some team meetings in Redmond, I’ve been involved in delivering technical sessions at our new Microsoft Ignite the Tour event.  This has been a lot of jet lag, a lot of fun and a lot of great conversations with people on the expo floor. In particular, I’ve delivered sessions HYB30 & HYB40 with a focus on monitoring & automation of hybrid environments and governance of Azure environments with polices, role based access control and blueprints. If you’re interested in these topics & haven’t made it to an event, check out the session decks and recordings (coming soon!) inside Microsoft’s Tech Community. Throw those session codes in the search bar or check out my team’s entire learning path on Building & Maintaining your Hybrid Cloud.

And I was thrilled to join Dona Sarkar, Jason Howard and others from the Windows team at an Ask Microsoft Anything in the Microsoft Sydney retail store. This was a great chance to connect with our Aussie community, especially for this former Windows Insider MVP.

Windows Insider event Sydney

Blogging! Just not here …

My team has established a blog for our technical articles inside Microsoft’s Tech Community. Check out for our perspective on what’s new, how to get started with things like PowerShell, and a bunch of other stuff. As well as insights from my immediate team, there’s guest articles by other Microsoft staff, Microsoft MVPs and community members.

Being a film star

OK, not quite a film but I had a chance to do some on-camera work for our new Microsoft Learn platform. If you haven’t seen Learn yet, it’s a free, online, self-paced learning platform covering a range of Microsoft technologies, with more topics coming soon. See if you can find me amongst the Azure Fundamentals learning path, and tweet me when you do!

Behind the scenes

There’s also a ton of not-so-public-facing work involved in this role. I’ve contacted Microsoft product teams and provided feedback from the community or from my own experiences. I’ve updated documentation at And I’m currently involved in writing some documentation which will be released as a customer-facing resource. I’ve learnt a lot about areas of Azure I hadn’t dug into before and I’ve had the fun of beta testing new products before they are released.

The latest and greatest

It seems like we’re always announcing something, so here are a few of my favourites:

Support for multiple account sign-ins inside the Azure Portal – As an ex-Managed Service Provider with multiple customers, this was fantastic news and I can’t wait for it to be rolled out to more Microsoft online services (no, don’t ask me when).

Azure Blueprints – Now in Preview, this lets you bundle Azure Policy, RBAC, Resource Manager Templates and required Resource Groups, and apply that as a standard stamp into a different subscription or Azure tenancy. There’s more PowerShell support coming (again, do not ask me for a timeframe), but for now there is an Import and Export function.

Azure Monitor Dynamic Thresholds – This gets me excited about the future of work for an IT Pro! With Dynamic Thresholds, machine learning analyses the behaviour of a system and sets the alerting levels for you, including recognising regular “anomalies.” What more will we automate with machine learning in the future?!

Azure Sentinel – Now in Preview, this is Microsoft’s first Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solution. I’m blown away by how many data sources can feed into this and the intelligence behind the alerting, plus the integration with other third party tools. This is a powerful solution for managing your overall security footprint. For more information, visit the announcement blog.

Azure Stack HCI – Launched within the last 24hrs, Microsoft has added a hyperconverged infrastructure solution to the Azure brand, in conjunction with our hardware partners. My colleague Thomas Maurer has some great information on his own blog post, as our resident Azure Stack expert.

So what’s next?

More travelling! I’m leaving for Seoul in a couple of days time for a Microsoft Ignite the Tour event, then I have a Redmond visit in May and I’m speaking at Interop19 in Las Vegas.

More blogging! I’ll continue to add articles to and I will be blogging more here (I promise). My next article might be about how I manage my work/life balance working remotely in a global team.

More behind the scenes work! Product feedback, pre-release technical documentation reviews, some new Microsoft Learn modules and that big writing project.

More announcements! That’s pretty certain in the tech industry!

And the best thing of all – more working with both my amazing immediate team (as we span 4 different countries) and the bigger team of Cloud Advocates, more engagement with talented product engineers, technical writers & field staff, and spending more time with the technical communities I love.

Until the next update!









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