Data Analytics

Export VS Import Price Indexes – All US Commodities

Export price index for BEA End Use, All commodities, not seasonally adjusted

Import price index for BEA End Use, All commodities, not seasonally adjusted

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Charts: TradingView Lightweight Charts


How to sign up for Azure free trial and avoid charges

Microsoft Azure offers a free trial which is a great resource for anyone looking learn cloud computing at a low cost. The Azure free trial allows you to set up Azure virtual networks, virtual machines, and cloud storage.

To sign up for the Azure free trial, all that is required is a email and credit card.

Cloud Security

Azure Security Basics

Security is not a one-size-fits all solution, it requires a customized, multi-layered approach with continuous monitoring.

The core principles of cybersecurity are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.

  • Confidentiality: the data is protected from unauthorized users
  • Integrity: the data remains accurate and complete
  • Availability: the data can be accessed by its intended users

Achieving these security best practices depend upon the assets and services being protected, the constraints, level of compliance, and risk tolerances of the company. As such, IT security policies can vary greatly from one environment to the next.

Securing Azure resources can be broken down into these major disciplines:

  • Identity access management (IAM)
  • Data security
  • System security
  • Network security
  • Monitoring
  • Compliance

In this article we will introduce a checklist for Azure cloud security best practices.


Azure Cloud Migration Services


Migrating online services to the cloud can sound like a headache but there are tools and strategies to help you along the way.

  1. Assess
  2. Migrate
  3. Optimize
  4. Monitor

Azure Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery strategies are important for any business to protect its digital assets and continue business operations during a failure or disaster.

A disaster recovery plan will ensure your files are backed up and allow you to recover data stored on Azure VMs, services, and databases.

Restoration is not immediate. When designing a disaster recovery strategy, it is important to evaluate the following:

  • Recovery time objective (RTO): how long business operations can continue without access to systems.
  • Recovery point objective (RPO): how many hours of data loss is acceptable.

Everyone wishes for these to be zero, but that is an ideal that would be very expensive and almost impossible.

It is important that businesses draft a set of realistic plans and procedures to execute in the event of a disaster.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Mike Tyson

Azure High Availability and Performance Computing

Cloud platforms allow businesses to create highly available and performant computing infrastructure that stands the test of time and growth.

In a global market, sales are being made 24/7 and it is important that systems are able to handle unexpected performance requirements and minimize downtime.

Depending on the business and industry, it is estimated downtime can cost a company on average $336,000 per hour.


Azure Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines (VMs) are software emulations of physical computers hosted on Microsoft infrastructure, including virtual processors, memory, storage, and networking.

Virtual machines are Infrastructure as a Service that provides you complete control over operating systems running on virtualized servers. They can be deployed and managed in three ways:

  • The Azure portal
  • A script using Azure CLI or Powershell
  • Azure Resource Manager templates

Below you will learn how to create an Azure virtual machine and the different steps involved.


Azure Compute Services Basics

Azure compute services can generally be placed into three different categories:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Serverless

Each type of service solves different needs and offers different levels of control and pricing.

In these next articles we will review the different compute options offered by Azure and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each service offering.


Azure Network Design

When designing a modern network, the engineer must account for failure. There are four main pillars of design that make for great architecture.

  • Availability
  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Security

Availability: The system must be highly available so that it can be accessed by users all times of the day.

Scalability: The system must be performant and adaptable to unpredictable changes in demand.

Reliability: The system must be maintainable and resilient to failure.

Security: The system needs to be defensive and protected from unauthorized access.

There are various strategies to address each one of these factors, below we will explore common architectures of Azure networks.


Azure VPNs, Gateways, and Load Balancers

In the previous article we learned about the basic concepts behind Azure networking. In this article we will dive deep into the services used to create a modern network that can handle high amounts of traffic.

One of the benefits of cloud infrastructure is that resources can easily scale to demand. Modern networks need to be able to scale and adapt to unpredictable changes in size and growth. Fortunately, Azure offers many services to create a scalable virtual network.