What took ya so long? Introducing the Cloud Ops Advocate team
Published Sep 17 2018 06:05 AM 2,662 Views

There’s a new team in town and we’re here to connect, listen and advocate on your behalf with the Engineering teams.  We’re a specialized group within the "Cloud Developer Advocate" team at Microsoft – BUT there is a big difference. 


We’re advocating for the IT Pro / Operations folks out there as our primary focus. 


Yup - I said it. IT Pros, Lan Admins, SysAdmins, IT Operations folks, Infrastructure specialists – the communities MSFT hasn’t been spending a lot of time with over the last few years.  


Rick Claus MicrosoftRick Claus MicrosoftIn case you don’t know me – I'm Rick Claus, the Team Lead for the Core Infra (Microsoft Ecosystem) team of Cloud Advocates.  I’ve been connecting and working with IT Professionals / Operations folks for over 14 years at Microsoft. I took a break three years ago to work directly in the Azure Core Compute team in order to get a deeper understanding of how that engineering team worked.  In the spring of 2018 I got the opportunity to return to the Advocacy space to build a brand new team of "Ops" focused Advocates. When the search kicked off and the team started to grow - I quickly realized we needed some sort of home base - someplace where we can hang our hats and drop some roots. What better place than here on the TechCommunities site at Microsoft! Over the next while you will find articles / posts from all the team members across a wide range of technologies and topics - all related to the IT Operations space.


It's about time for me to introduce the rest of the team and their areas of specialty.   To start things off, it should be understood that each Advocate listed below has a high level of proficiency in the IT Operations side of things in both the Azure and on-premises worlds. They come from a long background in the IT infrastructure space and have worked with all sorts of sizes of customers across many different verticals. All that being said - here are some basic facts around each of the Cloud Advocates.


AnthonyBartolo.jpgAnthony Bartolo (Toronto, Canada)

  • Areas of Specialty: IoT for Ops, Security, Identity and diagnostics
  • Twitter: @WirelessLife



Michael Bender (Madison, WI)

  • Areas of Specialty: Automation, Powershell, Windows Server
  • Twitter: @MichaelBender


SoniaCuff.jpgSonia Cuff (Brisbane, Australia)

  • Areas of Specialty: SaaS Architecture / Admin, Cost Benefit Analysis, Identity, Business Continuity
  • Twitter: @SoniaCuff


NeilPeterson.jpgNeil Peterson (Redmond, WA)

  • Areas of Specialty: Containers, Orchestration, Automation, Patch Management
  • Twitter: @NePeters


ThomasMaurer.jpg Thomas Maurer (Switzerland)

  • Areas of Specialty: Azure Stack, Azure Infra, Windows Server
  • Twitter: @ThomasMaurer


PierreRoman.jpgPierre Roman (Ottawa, Canada)

  • Areas of Specialty: Datacenter Migration, Windows Server, Upgrades
  • Twitter: @WiredCanuck


PhoummalaSchmidt.jpgPhoummala Schmitt (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Areas of Specialty: Virtualization, Storage, core infrastructure
  • Twitter: @ExchangeGoddess


orinThomas.jpg  Orin Thomas (Melbourne, AU)

  • Areas of Specialty: Windows Server, Security, Azure and everything Microsoft
  • Twitter: @OrinThomas


Each of the Cloud Advocates will be posting articles here over the next while on a variety of subjects.  You'll get a chance to get to know them better through their posts, in person at events and online here in the TechCommunity. We're also fairly active  on Twitter - here's a handy list I maintain of the Cloud Advocates on my team.


Part of our job as Advocates is to connect with the IT Pro / Ops audience, listen to any comments or concerns you may have and provide feedback to the product teams.  We act as your advocates during product review meetings with senior leadership. How can you get your feedback in front of us? Do you have a question or a comment or just want to say hi?  We monitor the #AzOps hashtag on twitter - so tweet away and tag it, we'll get back to ya. 


It's taken us a while to get back to where we needed to be - here with you, the IT Pro / Operations audience, working away to keep the systems up and running. Please be patient with us as we get back up to speed with working with you all once again.


Don't worry - we're here...  and we have your back. 

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‎May 21 2019 11:04 PM
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