Azure Building Blocks – The Forgotten IaC Tool

Whilst researching Infrastructure as Code alternatives to Azure Resource Manager templates I stumbled across the Azure Building Blocks (AZBB) tool. It’s not widely adopted and you’ll see why later on this in blog.

Because I’m not keen on authoring large JSON files (aka ARM templates) for IaC I’m going to put Azure Building Blocks to the test with a simple Hub & Spoke VNET deployment. Later on I’ll also demonstrate the same deployment using an AzureCLI script – my current preferred alternative to ARM Templates – so you’ll see the differences.… [Keep reading] “Azure Building Blocks – The Forgotten IaC Tool”

Your 2020 Study Guide to Azure DevOps Solutions (AZ-400)

With Microsoft announcing sweeping changes to a few Azure exams later in March 2020 the time is ripe to blog about an exam I’ve had my eye on for a while: Azure DevOps Solutions (AZ-400). This is an advanced exam that targets professionals familiar with Azure administration and Azure development. I can see this exam providing value to engineers, consultants, and architects who are driving for increased adoption of Agile practices and Infrastructure as Code.

After doing a few of these exams over the years you’ll find a rhythm that works for you.… [Keep reading] “Your 2020 Study Guide to Azure DevOps Solutions (AZ-400)”

A look into CloudFormation resource import

Just before re:Invent, AWS launched a new feature for CloudFormation … Create Stack with existing resources! This gives a lot of options to start to manage existing resources as code, if they were created via GUI or CLI. Apart from that though, it now gives you the ability to move resources between stacks, rename stacks, etc.

There is a pretty good AWS blog, but there are some things the blog really didn’t cover too well.… [Keep reading] “A look into CloudFormation resource import”

Diary of a re:Invent newbie

Wow, so the end of the year has quickly run up and I’ve finally found some time to write this up. While re:Invent was a few weeks ago, I took a few days vacation on my way home and then it’s been busy busy busy since. So, in the lead up, I’d watched the “How to re:Invent” videos and had advice from our senior AWS guy, Matt. I’d say the advice was pretty good and I made the most of my time.… [Keep reading] “Diary of a re:Invent newbie”

Windows Terminal with Tabs, on Steroids

At Microsoft Build last week, one of the many announcements was a new Windows Terminal.

If you spend anytime as an IT Support Person/ DevOps type role and you checkout that second link above you’ll be mightily keen for this new Terminal.

Tabs in a Terminal Window YES (heck I remember paying for a product to provide that to me in a browser) 15+ years ago; a Terminal Window that is a standard command prompt (with Unicode Support) YES; a Terminal Window for cross platform, CMD, PowerShell, PowerShell Core, Windows Subsystem for Linux DAMN YES. … [Keep reading] “Windows Terminal with Tabs, on Steroids”

Using Ansible to create an inventory of your AWS resources

First published on Nivlesh’s personal blog at


I was recently at a customer site, to perform an environment review of their AWS real-estate. As part of this engagement, I was going to do an inventory of all their AWS resources. Superficially, this sounds like an easy task, however when you consider the various regions that resources can be provisioned into, the amount of work required for a simple inventory can easily escalate.

Not being a big fan of manual work, I started to look at ways to automate this task.… [Keep reading] “Using Ansible to create an inventory of your AWS resources”

A scenario-based tutorial for Azure Kubernetes Service – Part 2

First published on Nivlesh’s personal blog at


In this blog, we will dig a little deeper into Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). What better way to do this than by building an AKS cluster ourselves! Just a heads-up, I will be using terminology that was introduced in part 1 of this mini-blog series. If you haven’t read it, or need a refresher, you can access it at

Let’s start by describing the AKS cluster architecture.… [Keep reading] “A scenario-based tutorial for Azure Kubernetes Service – Part 2”

Using Ansible to deploy an AWS environment

First published at


Over the past few weeks, I have been looking at various automation tools for AWS. One tool that seems to get a lot of limelight is Ansible, an open source automation tool from Red Hat. I decided to give it a go, and to my amazement, I was surprised at how easy it was to learn Ansible, and how powerful it can be.

All that one must do is to write up a list of tasks using YAML notation in a file (called a playbook) and get Ansible to execute it.… [Keep reading] “Using Ansible to deploy an AWS environment”

A scenario-based tutorial for Azure Kubernetes Service – Part 1

First published at


Containers are gaining a lot of popularity these days. They provide an easy way to run applications, without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

As you might imagine, managing all these containers can become quite daunting, especially if there are numerous containers. This is where orchestration tools such as Kubernetes are very useful.

Kubernetes was developed by Google and is heavily based on their internal Borg system. It is an excellent tool to manage containers, where you provide a desired state for your containers and Kubernetes takes care of everything to ensure the containers are always in that state (for example, if a pod dies, Kubernetes will automatically start a new pod for that container, to ensure that the defined number of pods are always running).… [Keep reading] “A scenario-based tutorial for Azure Kubernetes Service – Part 1”

VicRoads digital transformation in the cloud and beyond

How VicRoads managed its cloud migration, improving data compliance and streamlining its digital operations.

Last year, VicRoads embarked on an ambitious project to revolutionise its existing informational website to a transactional one, offering online versions of many regular interactions, such as vehicle registration and permits.

While a big step up for the experience of Victorian motorists, from a technical perspective, this move required VicRoads to completely revisit its cloud architecture and delivery model. This would ensure new personal and financial data being gathered were stored in accordance to best practices and in compliance with government standards.… [Keep reading] “VicRoads digital transformation in the cloud and beyond”