Microsoft Virtual Academy: Cloud Development

It sure is getting cloudy out there…

More and more developers are opting to move applications to a cloud. Cloud computing has its roots in the 1970’s, when IBM developed the first virtual machine operating system. In the 90s, cloud computing was offered in the form of virtual private networks (VPNs). The essence of cloud computing – in other words, the idea of time-sharing, and of large-scale computing power readily available to users through time-sharing – really took shape and began to grow at the turn of the 21st century. This is how we arrived at today’s cloud computing.

Cloud development courses have been available on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) since 2013. There are 70 different courses, in a variety of languages, which have to do with cloud storage, computing, and functionality. Many of the courses are related to Microsoft Azure and Big Data. The courses relate to the different types of clouds – public, private, and hybrid. These MVA courses on cloud computing cover many different topics. From introductory courses on website-creating software such as Python or Flask, through ones which instruct gamers in how to better utilize Microsoft Azure for their gaming needs, to courses on the fundamentals of Visual Studio Online.

The top courses on cloud development are: Introduction to Microsoft Azure Mobile Services, Cloud Fundamentals for Developers, MPN Training Cloud Profitability Webcasts, and Azure SQL Database for Business-critical Cloud Applications.

Course Review: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Storage and Data

One of the most popular cloud courses is Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: Storage and Data, instructed by Bob Tabor. This course is the third in a series of four courses, which aim to provide students with the fundamentals of working with Microsoft Azure. It outlines the various ways in which a user can store data in the cloud. Data which is structured, semi-structured, and even scheme-free. The course has examples of codes, and the source code for the course is also downloadable through MVA.

The topics which this course covers are:

Instructor Bob Tabor

Instructor Bob Tabor

  • Data Storage Options
  • Understanding the Azure SDK and Azure Tools for Visual Studio
  • Working with Azure Storage
  • Browsing and Managing Storage Resources with Visual Studio Server Explorer
  • Using the Azure Storage Emulator for Development and Testing
  • Understanding Azure Table Storage
  • Performing Common Tasks with Azure Table Storage
  • Paging Entities from Azure Table Storage using Continuation Tokens
  • Dynamic Creation of Types from Semi-Structured Azure Table Storage Entities
  • Understanding Azure Queue Storage
  • Performing Common Tasks with Azure Queue Storage
  • Understanding Azure Blob Storage
  • Performing Common Tasks with Azure Blob Storage
  • Controlling Access to Blobs and Containers
  • Leasing a Blob to Update It
  • Securing Access to Storage Services with Shared Access Signature
  • Understanding Azure SQL
  • Performing Common Tasks with Azure SQL
  • Importing a Database into Azure SQL
  • Backing up and Restoring an Azure SQL Database
  • Understanding Standard and Active Geo-Redundancy
  • Understanding DocumentDB
  • Performing Common Tasks with DocumentDB
  • Understanding DocumentDB Consistency
  • Using SQL to Query DocumentDB
  • Understanding DocumentDB Programmatically
  • Recommended Resources and Next Steps


There are no prerequisites for enrolling in this course. The course is worth 112 points, and runs approximately seven hours long. It includes 29 modules, which have within them slideshow presentations and self-assessment quizzes. It is an extensive and in-depth course, though it is categorized as a level 100. That should give students an idea of just how massive and game-changing program Azure really is. This course is rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Azure supports different application architectures by utilizing various technologies which are built-in to it. Using this course, students will be able to educate themselves on these technologies, and improve their Azure skills by working through code examples. This is a course (or a series of courses, rather) which gives newcomers the keys to unlocking Azure’s potential, and puts the user in the driver’s seat.

Bob Tabor is a .NET and C# developer, a Channel9 / MVA contributor, and the founder of LearnVisualStudio.NET. He is an author and entrepreneur, with a 12-year history of experience and success.

Course Review: Developing Windows Azure and Web Services Jump Start

Another very popular course in cloud development is Developing Windows Azure and Web Services Jump Start, instructed by Bret Stateham and Bruno Terkaly. This course is aimed mainly at two audiences. First, for those who are about to sit for their 70-487 exam, as part of their Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Web Applications certification. Second, it is meant for those who are interested in expanding their reach and reduce the amount of time put into completing a specific task.

Instructor Bret Stateham

Instructor Bret Stateham

The topics which this course covers are:

  • WCF Web Services
  • Windows Azure Services
  • Azure Storage and SQL Database
  • Data Access Technologies
  • Data Access with Entity Framework
  • Web API Services
  • Advanced Topics
  • Recommended Resources & Next Steps
Instructor Bruno Terkaly

Instructor Bruno Terkaly

There are no prerequisites for enrolling in this course. It is worth 66 points, and runs approximately seven hours. There are eight modules in this course, and they include slideshow presentations and assessment quizzes, which can be found at the end of each module. The course level is 200, and it is rated a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

Different applications can be hosted on Microsoft Azure, and this course can help users become familiar with them. It teaches students how to construct Web API and WCF services, and develop services which can be accessed by multiple devices. It is an all-encompassing course on application-building in the Azure environment.

Stateham is a Microsoft Technical Evangelist. His long-term favorite Microsoft product is SQL server, but he is passionate about all things technological.

Terkaly is a Microsoft Developer Evangelist, invested in all things cloud-related. He is Principal Software Engineer for Mobile/Cloud/Startup/Enterprise environments.

Their course is long, but very helpful. As far as the 70-487 certification exam is concerned, this course has got it covered from A to Z. Students who take advantage of the course, its slides, and its assessment quizzes, will have no problem getting themselves MCSD certified.

From the 1970’s to our present time, cloud computing has advanced at a tremendous rate, and has enabled laymen and professionals to do amazing things. The future of cloud computing is very bright, indeed, and cloud developers are the ones who are making it all happen.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply