Gregor Reimling is a Cloud Architect and Microsoft Azure MVP located in Germany. Gregor focuses on the design and implementation of hybrid and public cloud infrastructures based on Microsoft Azure. He is also the founder of the Azure Meetup Bonn, a popular Azure meetup group which is currently held virtually and includes 800 members.
Gregor completed a business informatics degree at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences in order to improve his skills and further develop his skills in project management. He runs a small consulting company where he advises a number of SMEs on how to modernise their current IT landscape.
Gregor is a respected member of the Tech community and always willing to help. He promotes the words Sharing is Caring and that no one should shy away from asking a question no matter how basic. He is a great asset within the Tech community so please reach out to him via his website or social media profiles documented towards the end of the interview.
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Gregor Reimling Interview
Tell us about yourself?
Hi community friends, my name is Gregor Reimling and I live in Germany near Cologne. My wife is my lovely counterpart, down to earth and is a researcher. We have a lovely daughter and two cat´s named Charly and Pünktchen (in englisch Dots). We love to travel the world and spend our holidays at different places on earth including New Zealand, Australia, Peru, America.
How did you get into IT?
Good question, in my early days when I was a teenager, I started with a C128, more for playing and had many long nights with Airwulf or massacred the joystick at the Olympics. My first PC ran Windows XP and I was one of the people in school with IT skills so I had the key to our IT room. I helped many people with computer problems and also repaired a few computers myself. I also worked in a small computer store for some time.
I have covered different roles since starting my IT career. My journey started as an IT Administrator for a large Government in Germany. This was a really great start to my career, because I worked with a really cool Team on improving the IT landscape in different areas. Starting with moving from Novell to AD, implementing new functionality based on Windows Server up to regular drives with our team to different branches to migrate the whole Server/Client landscape to the next level. These migration weekends were really funny because we had a deadline of 72 Hours to migrate the landscape to the next version including functionality checks and so on. On Monday morning we would leave the branch having successfully completed the migration and plan the next one. This was the start of my IT career which I really enjoyed, including working within a team, customer meetings and the ongoing change in IT which led me to study and eventually move into consultancy. Today, I have worked in IT for over 20 years and have worked with Hybrid and Cloud solutions for the past 10 years.
What is your greatest achievement whilst working in the world of Tech?
I have worked for so long in IT and started a personal blog many years ago. At my last employer I was fortunate to visit various conferences and I met so many people and learned that the IT community is one of the strengths while working in IT. Inspired by many different community speakers, I decided to give something back to the community and began my journey as a community speaker in 2017. In this journey there are so many people that helped and supported me. I had a lot of fun while having discussions with community members about different solutions and we had the opportunity to learn from each other. In 2018 I was really grateful and honored when I was sitting with my friend Marcel (Azure MVP) on a customer call, and I received an email stating that I had been awarded the Microsoft MVP in Azure. I almost fell off my chair in the customer workshop 😊. This is such a great honor and I am really sure that it would not be possible without the support and feedback from the community and the support of many people like Eric Berg, René de la Motte my Wife and many, many more friends.
How did you get into the world of Microsoft Azure?
This was quite simple, because I saw the first version of Azure in 2010 at a small conference and after 2 years, I liked the idea behind Azure to come to a IT as a Service model for the customer. So, I started to evaluate Azure solutions and working on the portal in the old world (called Ibiza Portal) and had many good days and some bad nights which led me working as an Cloud architect.
What are your areas of expertise? Are you still working with other Microsoft products apart from Microsoft Azure?
The Azure world is so big and I think there are so many interesting parts in it. I am working and focussing on the Azure Hybrid solutions like Azure Arc, Azure File Sync, Azure Policy, Azure AD Connect for Identity synchronizing and many more. I also work on many migration projects for customers, which is why I use Azure Migrate a lot and create different “landing zones” for customer environments.
For the Hybrid Cloud solutions I like the idea behind Windows Admin Center, a central web based portal to manage all your Windows VMs over a central place fully compatible with all Windows Versions.
And I keep an eye on the new solutions coming with Microsoft Teams, because I think this is a great tool to bring us together and enable a better working experience for customers.
What certifications have you achieved, or the certifications you are working towards?
Certifications are a good way to prove your knowledge and validate it. I have achieved some different certifications including Azure Administrator certificate Az-104, the Azure Architecture certifications (Az-300 & Az-301) and the Azure Security certificate Az-500.
I am currently working on updating the Azure architecture certifications (Az-303 and Az-304) and have passed the Az-303 – the Az-304 is still open.
What would you recommend for those wanting to learn Azure Policies?
First of all create a test Tenant to get a place where you can practice things that you are interested in apart from production environments. Reserve time and use the great ways with the online learning courses such as Microsoft learn, Linkedin Learn and YouTube to see how different solutions work and try to build your own. Enroll different Azure Policies and work with Audit and Enforce Mode to get comfortable with it. There are a lots of resource to gain a deeper insight into Azure Policy like the Microsoft learn platform at the following link, Microsoft Learn
The really interesting thing about Azure Policy is that they work for you behind the scenes. Take the Azure Security Center as an example and answer the question on which recommendations the evaluation of the Azure Security Center is based. Do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter if you have found the answer 😊
How do you keep up to date with the latest Microsoft Azure products?
This is a real challenge for everyone in the Azure world. First of all take a focus on your really interesting services and where you will get a expertise about. Then keep an eye on the Azure Blog and Azure Updates page on a regular basis – as an example I have a calendar blocker every Friday about one hour to review the Azure Blog and Updates. Use the benefits from the Community and join the Meetups and get in contact with your community leader that you like. The Community is a great way to get more insights about different services and to get in contact with other people they have experience with services that you want to evaluate. And do not forget to use Twitter. Twitter is a really helpful service to quickly get in touch with other community members and get notified about the latest updates, announcements and new articles about Azure that you are interested in. Start here by searching for #Azure on Twitter.
What would you recommend for someone who wants to become Azure certified?
First of all please avoid the use of Brain Dumps because you only learn about the questions and the appropriate answers, but you do not understand how Azure and the underlying service works and this is really important. So, practice the different module of each service live in the portal to see how it works and which things you had to configure for a successful deployment. Next use the good Study guides from the community to see which part you need to focus and which things to allow you to successfully pass your exam. Finally, use Twitter and ask the community for help, when you come across a challenge, use Tags such as #AzureCertified and #AzureFamily. And keep an eye on the great study guides from Gregor Suttie and Thomas Maurer.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a public speaker but not confident, or not sure where to start?
We all try and there is always a first, so do not be nervous. Start at a local meetup with a topic that you are comfortable with like a success project or a cloud service that you evaluated in the past. Do not be afraid and contact a local Meetup leader and inform them that you are new to public speaking and wish to speak about a topic to gain the experience. The community leaders are always willing to help everyone by providing you with tips and a small stage for you to build on your public speaking.
Another good way for practice is to start with a Youtube Channel.
How did you become an MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional)?
A big and difficult question. I have already written about it in the greatest achievements in the world of technology. It is not about working for it to become an MVP. It’s about having fun working on a tech topic that you like and want to share your knowledge and experience about. The community has a feel for it and will reward you for it and if you enjoy sharing your experiences with the tech world, the MVP award will come naturally. When this award arrives unexpectedly, it is a big surprise and a well-deserved award for your achievement that comes from the community.
What’s next in your Microsoft Azure journey?
In the past I worked with Azure Functions for a short while. My plan is to dive deeper into the possibilities, because Azure Functions brings so much functions (😊 ) to automate the Azure landscape.
What would you recommend for someone who wants to start a career in IT
Start with a topic that you interested in. Block time to dive deeper into a topic and do not remember the rule “Try and Error”. Search for a person who inspires you and whom you want to emulate in some way. Do not be afraid to ask the community about open questions – there are no stupid questions.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Sharing is caring. 🙂
The most important question of all 😊
From a scale from 1 – 10 how crazy are you about Microsoft Azure? (10 being the highest)
End of Interview