Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "Cloud Services"

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Cloud Development with Microservices in Azure

Cloud development sometimes winds up looking a lot like traditional application development and hosting. Developers can create large, monolithic, web applications and deploy them to a virtual machine or app service. In that sense, transitioning to Azure can be simple for most developers. However, to make best use of Azure, developers need to start thinking differently. Developers need to start thinking about their software architecture in terms of microservices.
What are microservices?
Microservices are a software architecture style in which applications are composed of small, independent modules that communicate with each other using well-defined API contracts. These service modules are highly decoupled building blocks that serve a small single purpose function. The benefit of microservices architecture is that it makes development and scaling of applications easier. A microservices architecture also makes collaboration between autonomous teams easier and can enable them to bring…

Power BI Users, Guest Accounts and Licensing (Establishing a Power BI Environment)

A Power BI environment is established through the Office 365 admin center. The environment consists of Office 365, Azure Active Directory, and of course, Power BI. Azure AD is the backbone of the environment setup, as user creation, and license assignment all leverage AD functionality.

When setting up your Power BI environment, it is important to understand what data store in Azure the environment will exist. This is not done within Power BI directly, but based on your Office 365 country or Azure AD data center. Note, it is important to think about other Azure resources Power BI may utilize. To prevent things like latency and Azure Egress charges, your environment should reside in the same or nearby Azure region as the related services. You can check your Power BI data store from the Power BI Service at any time.
Power BI…

Accessing SQL Server with Managed Identities

Every developer knows that keeping credentials in code is a terrible idea, however, they some still have that moment of weakness, typically followed by, “It’ll just be temporary.” The simple fact is that storing credentials in a inconspicuous configuration file during development is just the easy way out. This is why Microsoft developed Managed Identities for Azure resource. Managed Identities used to securely gain access to an Azure KeyVault is a easy and safe way to store and access secrets for your application.
A common tactic then is to migrate all the sensitive connection strings into the KeyVault and simply pulling those down for the application to use to connect to a SQL server. However, authenticating to an Azure resource to retrieve the credentials to connect and authenticate with another Azure resource seems a bit redundent. Why not just skip the…

Classify Your Wardrobe Using Azure Custom Vision

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a technology that is used in our daily lives, but understanding how machine learning works is a completely different story. Typically, machine learning has been developed by people who are experts in the AI field and have access to high computing power. Microsoft has removed these barriers by providing Azure Cognitive Services. These services are available to anyone with an Azure cloud subscription and make it easy for developers to add AI features into their own applications. Today, I will be discussing Microsoft’s easy-to-use image classifier service Custom Vision.
I first came across Custom Vision while developing an application to generate fashionable outfits. The idea was to be able to upload an image of an outfit, (found on Pinterest or a fashion blog) and then have the application find similar items at a handful of websites…

Microsoft Power BI Report Builder

Introducing the Power BI Paginated Report Builder

In this post, I’ll discuss the concept of paginated reports, how they typically differ from the dashboard reporting delivered by Power BI, and how Microsoft anticipates and answers the need for generating paginated reports with the Power BI Paginated Report Builder. Moreover, I’ll discuss prerequisites for using the Paginated Report Builder, as well as explore some general considerations for using it to design reports.
So, What are Paginated Reports, Anyway?
Power BI, consisting of cloud-based BI services (“Power BI Services”), together with a desktop-based “studio” interface (“Power BI Desktop”), was released to the general public on July 24, 2015, and has evolved at an accelerated rate ever since.   Power BI offers capabilities that enable straightforward data preparation and data discovery, as well as the assembly of interactive reports and dashboards for collaboration.  Because of its dashboard orientation, Power BI is designed primarily…

Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service for COVID-19 Webinar Series

Last year, our AI team was invited to learn about Microsoft’s new Healthcare Bot. The ability to quickly develop and modify this technology was incredible. The cloud-based service was built specifically using AI to empower and scale the healthcare industry with compliance top of mind, and healthcare-centric language built-in to start.
Our team was already familiar with the Microsoft Bot Framework so we signed on very quickly to become a Certified Bot Partner. We saw the opportunity to help both hospitals and out-patient clinics and offices, we even have a pre-COVID webinar, titled Enabling and Enhancing Patient Engagement in Healthcare published on our Youtube channel that highlights the basic features and benefits of this technology.
At the time, the market was a bit behind the technology. Things like concern about elderly patients interacting with a Chatbot, and fear of change.
Look at us…

2019’s Top 5: Most Viewed Blog Posts

Now that COVID-19 has completely derailed any strategy and subsequent plan to achieve Q1 goals and we are all continuing to adjust to the ‘new normal,’ we’re thrilled to present our curated list of Tallan’s top viewed blog posts of 2019.
It’s no surprise that the top two posts are both about developing in an Azure environment. Microsoft Azure was awarded a highly sought after contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in October of last year. You can read the statement published by the DOD here.
Importantly noted in the statement, is that the DOD has not aligned with any one vendor or provider for their cloud strategy efforts, “Today the Department of Defense has taken another step forward in the implementation of our Cloud Strategy with the award of an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract to Microsoft.  This continues our…

Azure Governance – Part 4 Resource Graph and Cost Management

Azure Resource Graph allows you to explore, query, analyze, and perform an impact assessment across any sized azure environment in seconds. Use the impact assessment option if you want to see how fast your policies can be put into place.  Azure cost management is built into Azure. It encapsulates better analysis and budget alerting, reduced data latency, and it’s a free tool to manage your Azure costs. Governing your environment isn’t solely about managing the infrastructure. We all have budgets we have to stick to.  With Azure cost management, you can stay on track with your budget and re-invest what you save.

Learn more about Azure Resource Graph and Cost Management in our Azure Governance mini video series!
Azure Governance Blog Series:
Introduction
Management Groups
Policies and Initiatives
Blueprints

Learn more about Tallan or see us in person at one of our many Events!

Azure Governance – Part 3 Azure Blueprints

During Azure Infrastructure engagements, we consistently hear that our customers are encountering three common challenges – (i) creating and redeploying infrastructure in a repeatable manner, (ii) creating governed subscriptions, and (iii) protecting foundational resources. Through an Azure blueprint solution, you can compose, deploy and update cloud environments in a repeatable manner, orchestrate the deployment of resource templates and policies, protect your environment by locking down the foundational infrastructure, and empower your teams to use azure in a self-service manner while maintaining organizational standards.
Compose. Orchestrate. Protect. Empower. An automated, easy-to-deploy solution to help govern your organization’s subscriptions, so the infrastructure you build is maintained as you designed it.

Learn more about Azure Blueprints in our Azure Governance mini video series!
Azure Governance Blog Series:
Introduction
Management Groups
Policies and Initiatives
Resource Graph and Cost Management

Learn more about Tallan or see us in person at one of our many Events!

Azure Governance – Part 2 Azure Policies and Initiatives

Azure Policy is a service in Azure that you use to create, assign, and manage policies that enforce rules over your resources to ensure compliance against corporate standards and service level agreements (SLAs).  An initiative is a collection of policies grouped together.  An Initiative simplifies managing and assigning policies by grouping them as one single item.  Azure Policy is comprised of three components – Enforcement and Compliance, Application at Scale, and Remediation.  You will have the ability to turn on built-in policies or build custom policies for all resource types, evaluate and enforce policies real-time, assess compliance and a newly added feature, VM In-Guest Policy that allows you to audit settings inside a machine.  Azure Policy also allows you to apply policies to a Management Group with organization-wide control, apply multiple policies and aggregate policy states with policy initiative AND…

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