Microsoft OMS Book – The excluded chapter

Chiyo OdikaAZURE, Microsoft Operations Management Suite, OMSLeave a Comment

Writing technology books is a challenging enough proposition as it were. The challenge increases exponentially when one  undertakes the writing of a book about a cloud platform, as was the case with my writing the Microsoft OMS book. The challenge with this stems from the fact that I intend for this book to be a technical reference for readers as they work with the OMS platform and underlying Azure services, and as such, the book must, by necessity, reference not just relevant concepts, but also current, and up-to-date content. Admittedly, the nature of the book – publisher’s cookbook format – heightened said need for pertinence, and up-to-dateness of the material, because readers expect to be able to follow along with the detailed steps and guidelines outlined in the book.

Writing technology books for cloud platforms is especially challenging because it presents at least two problems:

Problem one, the update cadence that underlies various cloud platforms tends to be more frequent. This in general is inherent in how cloud service providers render feature and other capability updates to their SaaS and other “as-a-service” offerings. It’s great, unless you are writing a book about it, and having it published through traditional channels. This is especially poignant when taken in the context of the second problem.

Problem two, updating takes several weeks or months. Essentially, in the time it would have taken me to write about the Azure Log Analytics service in early Q1 2017, and have the book copy-edited, subjected to other publishing workflows and published, the new and improved Log Analytics query language, which was being beta-tested for Azure Log Analytics by late Q1/early Q2 2017, would have been introduced and effectively rendered some of the material – probably just the code, because underlying concepts still apply – dated. Thankfully, there’s nothing in the roadmap that suggests any updates to the new Log Analytics query language in the near future, and so content in this book will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. The key takeaway here is that Publishers are simply not geared for this kind of release cycle. The logistics involved is wherein the challenge lies.

Throughout the course of this book project, I was actively engaged with the Microsoft OMS product team, and knew about upcoming changes to the Azure Log Analytics service from the outset, but did not anticipate the extent to which support for the legacy Log Analytics query language and some of the related legacy features (Power BI integration for query result dataset exports, etc.) in the Log Analytics service would be deprecated. As such, I wrote two chapters, for the new and improved Log Analytics query language (Kusto), and the legacy Log Analytics query language, respectively, but the legacy language chapter didn’t make it into the book.

My intent was to provide readers with an overview of not just query language features, but also a good reference for contrasting the two languages, and I also meant for this chapter to serve as a reference for users who have already invested in production or other workflows (for alert management, event management, process automation etc.) that are based on the legacy query language. The decision to drop an entire chapter from the book was a difficult one because well, time spent, and perceived value lost, and all that…but after much deliberation, and consultation with other platform experts, and the Microsoft product team, and the Publishers’ technical and content development editors, we felt it best to leave the chapter out of the book.

I will however post the excluded chapter online to TechNet for any users of the legacy query language, or other interested persons to peruse. Hopefully someone finds if instructive. Note however that this chapter never quite made it to copy editing, nor went through the review process, and so you will find it in its raw, and rather unprocessed form. It is essentially a first draft that never quite made the cut, and so kindly review it as such. Cheers!

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Author, consultant, strategist and thought leader who is passionate about data-driven management and architecture. Chiyo excels at helping clients think strategically about how to use technology to optimize the service delivery to the business, and to create fundamental business change and value.

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Chiyo OdikaMicrosoft OMS Book – The excluded chapter