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Microsoft – Regular IT guy

Category - Microsoft

Azure VM Compute Documentation project

I’ve been in my new role now for just under 3 months now and today I can actually SHOW you a little bit about what I have been working on.  I’ve been the point person in Azure Compute Engineering on a large refactoring project of our Azure Compute documentation.  I’ve been collaborating with our awesome Documentation team to make the Azure Compute documentation better.


  • We’ve split the massive Azure Compute documentation set into two audience focused nodes
  • We are making our docs more tailored to specific audiences (Windows folks / Linux folks)
  • We are updating existing documents
  • We’re soliciting feedback on the refactoring and approach as well as identifying gaps that need to be addressed

It’s a big team effort and cross team focus. What’s involved? Well – for starters (as a Windows geek) I had to re-aquatint myself with Linux by immersing myself in Ubuntu and AzureCLI.  This has been my working environment (as a linux VM in Hyper-V client) for the last couple of months.

My Desktop Work Environment (As a Hyper-V Client VM)

I then had to start using git (locally and up in a private repo) for source control of markdown files (the format in which we write documentation) created in VS Code (so I can be cross platform on Linux and Windows) all while corralling various Program Manager resources across multiple groups to update and author net new docs.  If that wasn’t enough – we’ve done a MAJOR refactoring of the compute documentation by segmenting the “audience” into Windows admins and Linux SysAdmins.


That’s no small feat cracking apart the ToC, renaming hundreds of files and scanning / fixing thousands of links across this massive documentation repo.  It also involves rebuilding the Table of Contents into a more manageable configuration as well as consistency for links and referrals to other docs – not to mention all the OTHER docs that link to this set.  Luckily I was NOT part of that major chunk of work – I’ll leave that to the documentation experts. It’s LIVE NOW and propagating across the web. There are still errors in the doc links and misc issues that we are tracking down, but at least this is PUBLIC now.

Here’s one of my docs kicking off the Linux Virtual Machines for VM Compute – note the ToC on the left.


The part I find most interesting in this project has been revisiting the documentation approach and tailoring the documents to each audience so they get what they need, show them how to do it, point them to additional references and get them on their way.  What does that mean? At a surface level – you won’t see PowerShell references in the Linux section, or AzureCLI / Linux refs in the Windows section.  Once a doc is found, if someone chooses to browse the ToC for additional info, it’s more logical and easier to find complementary articles once they “pop in” from a search engine.  Lastly –we’re ensuring we touch each doc and update instructions with the latest way of managing the resource (Azure Resource Manager instead of “classic Service Manager” methods).  Don’t worry – we still recognize folks have a lot of Service Manager (Classic) VMs out there and need to continue to manage them – we’re making those docs easier to find too.

Lastly – I wanted to reference the “style” of voice and audience these docs are targeted towards.  This is still a work in progress. You will notice a difference comparing a “Linux doc” to a “Windows doc”.  Here’s an example “Create a Linux VM from AzureCLI for Dev and Test” document.  Notice the “get in and explain what’s up”, then some prerequisites, a summary of the commands in use and finally a “do it” section. Gone are the big verbose areas talking about stuff that was already covered elsewhere or too much background information.


Finally – the best part….

Now that this is in place:

  • We’re quickly iterating on these documents to fix bugs and update the freshness
  • Ensuring they are acturate and up to date
  • Identifying GAPS that exist with the documentation so we can create NET NEW docs that are missing

Each of our docs are tied to their GitHub markdown files.  See a mistake or want to improve a document? just hit that “edit in github” link at the top to contribute to the existing document.


then edit directly on the web via GitHub.


A group of moderators will take your input and push it through where it makes sense or comment / reject the merge where it doesn’t make sense.

So what do YOU think? Have a look through the document set for Linux and Windows. As I mentioned, we are still fixin’ up some bugs and bad links (expected with the size and scope of change) – bare with us as we continue to do this. Shoot me a comment below or send me an email (rick.claus@microsoft.com) about the new concept or discuss missing docs you would like to see.

New Year, New Responsibilities


I’ve spent the last 11 years or so at Microsoft working in a field called “Evangelism” targeting individuals in the IT ecosystem, Partners and Online Communities.  Basically – I’d talk with anyone who works in IT in the broadest sense and talk about “Microsoft Stuff” as part of a broad platform. It’s been awesome and I am thankful to have been part of the “Infrastructure Evangelism” movement within Microsoft since the very beginning.  Part of my recent responsibilities since moving to HQ 4 years ago has been engaging and working with the Azure Engineering team to enable them to evangelize their products / solutions as well as incorporating feedback from my various public and online activities INTO the planning process and formal feedback loop.

I shared this with my “internal audience” at Microsoft over the holiday break.  But I wanted to let YOU (the outside world) know I’ve accepted a new role as a Sr. Program Manager role in the Engineering world of Azure Compute. I’ve joined the “Linux, Scale Compute and Partner Strategy” team and my first day in the new office! I am really excited as working on the Engineering team has always been one of my long term goals ever since I joined Microsoft.

Leaving the official role of Technical Evangelist at Microsoft is not something I’ve taken lightly – it was a hard decision to make. Evangelism has been a phenomenal place to connect with individuals and champion the IT Pro Audience message both internally and externally at Microsoft. I’ve made lots of friends and met a metric tonne of people over the years – relationships I hope to still maintain in the new role. Don’t worry – I still plan on maintaining my passion for the IT Pro Audience and for creating useful, funny, entertaining Technical content on the Channel 9 platform. Evangelism skills are definitely in demand in a modern PM role at MSFT.

What sort of stuff will I be working on in the new role? Well that’s in a constant state of change and movement – it is the cloud, right? I’ve already started on a few small projects to get ramped up with some new ones on the horizon. I’ll be brushing up my Linux skills, working with a few key partners from an engineering stakeholders perspective and working with the overall engineering team to ramp up THEIR evangelism skills.

Don’t worry – I’m not disappearing… I’ll stay on the social networks ( Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn ).  I’ll keep on publishing on my blog Tech blog here (Regular IT Guy) and producing shows like Tuesdays with Corey and The Patch and Switch show on CH9.

NOTE: Oh hey! looks like they are posting an opening on my Old Job… Are you Interested in one of the most AWESOME jobs in the IT world? Ever wanted to work for Microsoft? Check out this job description, dust off your Resume and APPLY!

The Ops Team #006 – “The Pelican Brief”

The Ops Team is a new weekly show where 4 Technical Evangelists specializing in IT Operations get together to give you the deets on their 4 areas of expertise: Microsoft Azure/Cloud, On-premises datacenter technologies, Enterprise Mobility / Windows and DevOps.

This week on The Ops Team, Rick, Matt and Simon make it into the studio, whilst ‘the new guy’, Oguz, gets his timezones mixed up and misses the recording slot! By the power of editing, I catch up with him in his office later, to bring you the latest in the world of DevOps.

In the news, Rick brings you up to speed on some the updates on the Azure Portal, along with new services such as the Azure Backup Server and the Container Services. Oguz gives us more depth on the Azure Container Service, as well as the gossip on Visual Studio Team Services. Matt gives us the lowdown on more innovation in OMS, along with his Hyper-V challenges over the last week, and finally, Simon gives us the news on some new Intune capabilities, along with some Azure AD news.

As is becoming customary on The Ops Team, aside from still having a dysfunctional dongle, this week’s incorrectly configured AV component was Matt’s microphone, only noticed after the shoot! Doh!

Here’s all the links and info on the topics we covered, along with the time stamps to jump to specific points in the video.

Global Cloud Datacenters with Rick Claus

DevOps with Oguz Pastirmaci

On-Premises Systems with Matt McSpirit

Enterprise Mobile/Gadgets with Simon May

What do you think? Send us an email, comment below in the comments area on Channel 9, or tweet us at @TheOpsTeam.

Using Azure Site Recovery to move Dev-Test workloads up to Azure


Sound interesting?

Tired of having to maintain a local DevTest lab or cobble one together on crappy hardware leftover in your office in order to support a project? How about thinking outside of the box and migrating that workload up to Microsoft Azure in order to run it on demand up in a secure public cloud? Does it run off physical hardware, VMWare or Hyper-V? No problems.  Try out Azure Site Recovery as one way to move that Dev-Test workload / project up into an Azure Datacenter near you.

Picture it.  An exact synchronized copy of what you are working on – replicated and failed over to an isolated environment. ASR is one tool you can use to do this.

I’m going to be talking about this on a webinar tomorrow morning (10 am Pacific time) and showing you how to get started with a trial.

Sign up at this link, join in on the webinar and ask your questions.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you!

Microsoft Mechanics: Hybrid Infrastructure Automation with Azure Resource Manager Templates

Here’s a new video series I am participating in with the larger Microsoft engine: Microsoft Mechanics… I was on deck to work with Corey Sanders on explaining Azure Resource Manager and ARM templates.  Turned out great – have a look and SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel to keep up to date as new episodes kick out.

If you’ve ever had to set up a test or production environment for something like SharePoint, you know there are several pieces to set up – like Active Directory, SQL for your backend data, and then your SharePoint servers. While it’s possible to automate this with advanced scripting or level 400 task sequencer skills, imagine just choosing a template or manifest file and clicking go to spin up a dozen or so VMs all wired together and talking to each other. That is effectively what Azure Resource Manager templates do and what Corey Sanders lead engineer for Azure compute, demonstrates on the show. He also steps back to illustrate how they work as a unified resource automation model for both Microsoft Azure Cloud resources and on premises with the upcoming Azure Stack.

For more information and next steps, check out:

Read: Using Azure PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/doc…

Learn: Advanced PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) – https://mva.microsoft.com/en-us/train…

and Custom Resources or review the fundamentals here: Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 – https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/train…

Try: Azure Resource Manager on Microsoft Azure – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pri…

The Ops Team #003 – “The Egg”

The Ops Team is a new weekly show where 4 Technical Evangelists specializing in IT Operations get together to give you the deets on their 4 areas of expertise: Microsoft Azure/Cloud, On-premises datacenter technologies, Enterprise Mobility / Windows and DevOps.

This week on The Ops Team, Simon makes us all jealous talking about the phenomenal new Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices along with new announcements surrounding Azure Active Directory Domain Services. Matt brings you up to speed with new announcements around the Cloud Platform System, Virtual Machine Manager UR8 and a new Container management UI from the community. Rick gives us the gossip on the new Azure DevTest labs, along with insight into his trip to the DEVintersection 2015 conference. Finally, David wraps up talking about load testing for your apps using cloud-based services!

Apologies for the audio quality for Simon and Rick’s segments – It’ll be all fixed for next time folks, honest!

Here’s all the links and info on the topics we covered, along with the time stamps to jump to specific points in the video.

Enterprise Mobile/Gadgets with Simon May

On Premises Systems with Matt McSpirit

Global Cloud Datacenters with Rick Claus

DevOps with David Tesar

What do you think? Send us an email, comment below in the comments area on Channel 9, or tweet us at @TheOpsTeam.

The Demise of SMB 1 in the Windows Stack

With the passing of support for Windows 2003, something else quietly fades into the background… Support for SMB 1.

My good friend Matt McSpirit has an issue with a file copy between servers in a datacenter. While daydreaming of it’s completion – his mind wanders and encounters three members of the engineering team who supported the SMB 1 stack on Windows Server.

Now that Windows Server 2003 is end of life, you should check out the goodness of SMB 3.x and above at http://aka.ms/serverstorage and http://aka.ms/smb

Thanks goes out to Ned (@nerdpyle), Greg, Dave and Matt (@MattMcSpirit) for helping put this one together!

Can’t make it to Microsoft Ignite? Here’s the details on the LiveStream

On a recent countdown show, we talked about the general format of the Live Stream. I thought it deserved a little more detail and highlights on the schedule.  Since I’m not presenting at Microsoft Ignite this year – my way of contributing during the event centers around this livestream.  I’ve been working overtime with my team to get the right people into the interview chair.


First off: WHERE do you catch it? simple. http://ignite.microsoft.com

Need a reminder? Here’s an ICS calendar reminder for ya.

WHAT is going on? Well – since the conference is just around the corner, I can share MOST of the details of what will be in the livestream. Some things I still can’t share, others I can’t give you too much granularity as of yet. Sorry – that’s just the way it is for now. 😉

Day 1 – May 4th.

This is the highly orchestrated day where we’re trying to hit new audiences with a new level of production Microsoft livestream broadcasts have seen before.  A whole lot of moving parts (some are still moving) in order to bring you the following:

  • Keynote Pre-Show
  • Mainstage keynote
  • Post-Keynote discussion
  • CH9 – Inside Identity and Deployment for Windows 10
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Jeff Woolsey on the Microsoft Datacenter Platform vNext
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – View from the Azure CTO, Mark Russinovich
  • Keynote Pre-show
  • Showcase Keynote
  • Post-Keynote discussion and Wrap

Day 2 – May 5th

We’re hitting the Channel 9 Stage for the remainder of the conference. There will be some cool “recaps” that are produced / pre-recorded from the day before and a couple of folks you might know setting the stage and kicking things off with a cuppa coffee.

  • Daily Welcome / morning show
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Corey Sanders and an update on Azure IaaS
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – The Endpoint Zone LIVE with Brad Anderson
  • CH9 – Containers on Windows, Azure and beyond with Taylor Brown
  • CH9 – Sharing Protected Information
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – SQL unplugged with Scott Klein
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – All Things DevOps with Donovan Brown
  • “hot room” session

Day 3 – May 6th

  • Daily Welcome / morning show
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Microsoft’s Security and Assurance strategy in vNext with Anders Vinberg
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – <redacted – sorry>
  • CH9 – <redacted – sorry>
  • CH9 – Lead Architect’s vision on Server vNext with Jeffrey Snover
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Microsoft Azure technology introspective with Mark Russinovich
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Microsoft Intune and Mobile Application Management
  • “hot room” session

Day 4 – May 7th

  • Daily Welcome / morning show
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Microsoft’s Storage Strategy & Capabilities in vNext
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Microsoft’s Networking Strategy & Capabilities in vNext
  • CH9 – The Patch and Switch Show LIVE
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Identity in Azure Active Directory
  • “hot room” session
  • CH9 – Linux and Open Source in Azure
  • “hot room” session
  • Microsoft Ignite recap

Day 5 – May 8th

  • Daily Welcome /Recap
  • “hot room” sessions

Cool Stuff to do in Chicago During Microsoft Ignite

As part of the Countdown to Microsoft Ignite show, Joey and I got a chance to do a whirlwind tour of Chicago.  We took along a camera crew and filmed at 25 different locations ranging from breweries, museums, restaurants, bars, public parks and coffee joints. This was an awesome experience organized by one of our colleagues (Denise) who handles (among other things) the community experience during Microsoft Ignite.

These videos have been sprinkled over 6 countdown shows.  I highly recommend you watch the whole series of countdown shows, but if you are JUST looking for things to do – I decided to compile a list with links AND direct video snips of each location.


Restaurants / Places to Eat

Ginos East Deep Dish Pizza (Click For Video)
Twitter: @ginoseast

Portillos (Click For Video)
Twitter: @PortillosHotDog

The Berghoff Restaurant (Click For Video)
Twitter: @BerghoffChicago

Breweries and Distilleries

CH Distillery (Click For Video)
Twitter: @CHDistillery

Goose Island Brewery (Click For Video)
Twitter: @GooseIsland

Revolution Brewery (Click for Video)
Twitter: @revbrewchicago

Lagunitas Brewery (Click for Video)
Twitter: @lagunitasbeer

Ultimate Coffee

La Colombe coffee (Click For Video)
Twitter: @lacolombecoffee


Tavern on Rush (Click For Video)
Twitter: @TavernOnRush

Roof on the Wit Bar (Click for Video)
Twitter: @ROOFontheWit

Paddy Longs (Click for Video)
Twitter: @PaddyLongs

Buddy Guys Blues bar (Click for Video)
Twitter: @BuddyGuys

Rockit Bar and Grill (Click for Video)
Twitter: @rockit

Things to do:

Magnificent Mile (Click for Video)
Twitter: @TheMagMile

Art Institute of Chicago (Click For Video)
Twitter: @artinstitutechi

John Hancock tower and 360 Chicago experience (Click For Video)
Twitter: @360chiviews

River Architecture Tour (Click for Video)
Twitter: @CFLCruises

Millennium Park (Click for Video)
Twitter: @millennium_park

The United center (Click for Video)
Twitter: @unitedcenter

Science Museum  (Click for Video)
Twitter: @msichicago

Second City Comedy Club (Click for Video)
Twitter: @TheSecondCity

Wrigley field – The Cubs (Click for Video)
Twitter: @Cubs

Navy Pier (Click for Video)
Twitter: @navypier

If you made it this far – you might want the list of the episodes these all came from:

I hope to see you at the event! If you see the GreenHat – stop and say Hi !

New Azure Planned Maintenance logs and Premium Storage details

A while back I chatted with Drew McDaniel about G-Series machines on Azure and he teased about Premium Storage (SSD based) availability in Azure. Well – that was enough to pique my interest, so I invited him back to talk about it in more detail.  He talks about Premium Storage and some more details on our “Scale Up” G-Series machines on this episode of The Edge Show.

But Wait – there’s more!

Kenaz Kwa comes along and gives us the details on the new availability of Log data around Planned Maintenance in Azure.  In the past – you knew your machines might have been rebooted due to scheduled maintenance, but not much more details. Now you can query and have access to detailed logs about the maintenance and restart details on each of your VMs – all via PowerShell. More info is always good when it comes to planned downtime.

Check out the full details in the video below:

Useful Links:

Azure News:

Connect with the Edge Team:


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