Johan Vanneuville, Azure Engineer at Cheops, started a blog about Azure and the Hybrid Cloud in 2020. In the same year, he also founded the Belgium Windows Virtual Desktop User Group (BWVDUG). As a true expert, he has a lot to say about trends in Azure and the cloud.
Why did you start your blog about Azure and Hybrid Cloud?
Johan Vanneuville: “I had been playing with the idea of starting a blog for a long time, but at first I didn't know what it would be about. Then I noticed that there was a lot of interest among IT professionals in Azure and the cloud, and I decided to make that the theme. In practice, my blog posts are currently mainly about Azure and Windows Virtual Desktop as a way of giving end users access to a virtual desktop environment based on Azure. In 2020, interest in the subject increased enormously due to the corona crisis: suddenly companies had to let their employees all work from home. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can organise this in just a day.”
Who is the blog for?
“Getting started with Windows Virtual Desktop and Azure is not that difficult, but of course there are additional aspects to consider. For example, the security – very important for working from home. Management can also be complex. All the different components around it make it complicated and quite technical. So with my blog, I mainly focus on IT specialists who are looking for answers. Many people from Microsoft also read my blog. Every week, readers will find new articles on WVD and Azure. I myself follow everything that appears and put a lot of time into selecting the most interesting posts. This way, I keep up to date and gather knowledge that I can use in my job.”
What do you want to achieve with the Belgium Windows Virtual Desktop User Group (BWVDUG)?
“When Microsoft issued a call in 2020 for a local WVD User Group to be established in every country, I went for it. The response has been great. Since physical meetings are currently not possible due to the corona measures, I organise online meetings. The aim is to reach as many Belgian users as possible with interesting topics and to share our knowledge. The presentations last half an hour to an hour and are usually in English or Dutch. Usually there are about 25 participants. We try to hold such an online meeting every month.”
Which topics are covered?
“The topics of the WVD User Group are quite technical. For example, we talk about managing Windows Virtual Desktop, new features, security or application management. There is a lot to talk about and it is always very informative for me as well. I set the topics but I am also inspired by other user groups. Sometimes the members themselves ask to discuss certain subjects, and everyone is welcome to present a session themselves.”
Why would someone want to be a member of the BWVDUG?
“Not everyone can keep up to date with all the news about Windows Virtual Desktop. The User Group is an efficient way to stay informed. We also exchange tips and you can discuss technical problems. Participants are given the opportunity to ask questions during or after the online sessions. Membership is free anyway and does not involve any obligations. Anyone can become a member through the Meetup website. Communication with the members mainly happens through Meetup or LinkedIn.”
Do you think it is an advantage that the User Group events take place online?
“The handy thing about the online events is the greater efficiency compared to physical meetings. You don't have to invest time in travelling, so we can organise and attend many more events. Moreover, they can be viewed afterwards on YouTube. However, it would be nice to get to know each other personally. That is the long-term aim. When it becomes possible again, we want to organise physical meetings.”
How do you see the cloud evolving?
“More and more companies are moving to the cloud, a trend that continues. The switch is usually made because of the need for an IT environment that is always available, that you don’t have to manage yourself and for which you don’t need to maintain your own data centre. Many companies engage consultants for help in making the right choices. My advice is always to first take a good look at all the applications and data you have. Then you have to decide which ones you may want to keep on-premises, which ones to place in a private cloud and which ones in the public cloud. Many companies like to have a bit more control over sensitive information. Still, I think that more and more will move to the cloud.”
What challenges does this evolution bring for companies?
When you move to the cloud, you also need the knowledge to manage everything. Azure, for example, is a very comprehensive platform and it is also constantly changing. Most companies don’t have in-house staff who have all that expertise. That’s why they often engage external specialists for advice and management.”
Discover Johan Vanneuville's blog: https://johanvanneuville.com/
Welcome to the Belgium Windows Virtual Desktop User Group (BWVDUG): https://www.meetup.com/nl-NL/Belgium-Windows-Virtual-Desktop-User-Group/