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Who Am I?

Michael Levan is an Engineer at heart. He is a Lead Engineer of DevOps and leads a team of DevOps Engineers in the US. Michael started out his career like most do, in helpdesk/desktop support. After realizing the different ways to automate his job, he quickly realized the next step to his career, DevOps and Cloud Engineering. After working as a Sysadmin managing Hyper-V, ESXi, and all-around Windows Infrastructure, he wanted to take the next step in his career. This led him to doing a complete 180 and moving into Linux and AWS. After not knowing much about this space, Michael buckled down, studied, and quickly became a Subject Matter Expert. After working with Linux, AWS, Python, Ansible, Containerization, Orchestration, and Web Applications, Michael started to become fascinated with the improvements that Microsoft was implementing in the same space that Linux and Open Source tooling have been in for so long. He took this opportunity to to do yet another 180 and come full-circle back to the Microsoft space to focus his efforts on practicing DevOps on the other side of the realm. This was what inspired him to write this book. Michael's primary day-to-day as a Lead DevOps Engineer revolves around Configuration Management, Source Control, Azure, Azure DevOps, PowerShell, .NET, Docker, Orchestration, Cloud Engineering, and helping the organization continuously deliver value to our end-users. He is a public speaker, blogger, author, all around technology enthusiast, and podcaster.

His career started out in helpdesk and he knew he wanted to progress as fast as possible. Michael loved the field and there was so much to learn and so much to do. Because of that, he has done everything from desktop support to project management to sysadmin duties to network administration to security to cloud engineering to programming and everything in-between.


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DevOps tooling in the Microsoft realm

When I really started to dive into automation and practicing DevOps with specific tooling, there were a few key players. At the time Microsoft was not one of them. They were just starting to embrace the open source world, including the art and practice of DevOps. Since then Microsoft has went all in and the tech giant has made some incredible tooling. Recently I switched to a Microsoft-heavy environment and I love it. I went from AWS/Python/Ansible/Jenkins to Azure/PowerShell/ARM/Azure DevOps. My first programming language was PowerShell so being back in the saddle allowed me to do a full circle between all of the different types of tooling in both worlds. Today I want to share some of that tooling with you.

The first thing I want to talk about is ARM. What is ARM? ARM is a configuration management tool that allows you to perform software-defined-infrastructure. Much like Ansible and Terraform, ARM allows you to define what you want your environment to look like at scale. With ARM, yo…

Monitoring your containers in an AKS cluster with Prometheus

Monitoring and alerting is arguably one of the most important thing in Cloud Engineering and DevOps. It's the difference between your clients stack being up and a client being down. Most of us have SLA's to abide by (for good reason). Today we're going to learn how to spin up Prometheus in an AKS cluster to monitor our applications.

1. Intermediate knowledge of Kubernetes
2. An AKS cluster spun up in Azure

Recently AKS supports Prometheus via Helm, so we'll use that for an automated solution to spin this up. This installs kube-prometheus, which is a containerized version of the application. With raw Prometheus, there are a few things that are needed for the operator;

1. Prometheus: Defines a desired deployment.
2. ServiceMonitor: Specifies how groups of services should be monitored
3. Alertmanager: Defines the operator to ensure services and deployments are running by matching the resource

With kube-prometheus, it is all packaged for you. This means configuri…

So, you want to be a Cloud Engineer?

In 2019 one of the biggest pieces of tech is the cloud. Whether it be public cloud or private cloud, cloud technologies are here to stay (for now). I predict that Cloud Engineering will be a very big part of IT (and development) for another 5-10 years. Today I want to share with you my journey in becoming a Cloud Engineer and some helpful tips. A career timeline to be a Cloud Engineer can go like so;

Desktop Support > Junior Sysadmin > Sysadmin > Sysadmin/Technical Lead > Engineer >  Cloud Engineer.

Although our career paths may not align, I believe that this progression is very import. Let me tell you why.

Helpdesk/Desktop Support Helpdesk and desktop support get your feet wet. It allows you to understand technology and how it's used in the workplace from a business perspective. It shows you what technologies may be best in the current environment your in and how to support those technologies. It also teaches you soft skills and how to support people from a technic…