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Microsoft – Page 2 – Regular IT guy

Category - Microsoft

Now what do I do? Next steps after signing up for an Azure Trial.

With the expanse of what Microsoft Azure can do – it can be daunting to roll up your sleeves and get started without further guidance. Let me get you on the fast track for learning what is possible in a way that is both simple to understand and relevant to what you are doing now.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A while back I started a Category called “Azure4ServerHuggers” – specifically designed to get you up and working with Azure if you are already experienced in the On-Premises world. I haven’t made the time to continue down that path of posts in a while – something I am going to change, starting now.

Lets set some ground rules about what you need to know in order to follow these ongoing posts.  Check out these two posts to get started:

  • Windows Azure–where do I sign up? – info on how to sign up for the Trial and all the background info you will need to know. Plus I do a “Quick Create” Windows Server virtual machine and connect up to it via RDP.
  • Installing the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlet. – Lets face it – you can start in the GUI, but ultimately you need to start working with cloud services in an efficient manner with the proper tools. Get used to working on it via PowerShell.

Now lets work on a baseline sample test environment. My friend Joe Davies and the Azure documentation team have created a set of environments I will be using as my lab setup for all of these “Azure4ServerHuggers” posts going forward. These documents are called “Test Lab Guides” and are designed to have a consistent sample environment from which to start tests. We will ultimately be using the “Setup A Hybrid Cloud Environment for Testing” which looks like the graphic below.

hybrid-cloud-config

This setup can be done on a single Hyper-V or other virtualization box that has a public IP address associated with 1 network card.  Your CLIENT1, APP1, DC1 will be running in an isolated network which has the dual nic RRAS1 box connected to the Public internet. This setup assumes you configure your “corpnet” as per the “Base Configuration for Windows Server 2012 R2 – Test Lab Guide” and then further configure the RRAS1 box to act as your gateway.

But we aren’t going to jump there just yet…This is our starting point.

CorpNet

I wanted to show you where I was heading – a Hybrid Cloud environment that allows seamless access of cloud resources through a gateway, probably the most tangible method of useful connectivity a ServerHugger like me can grasp.

Ultimately, in order to use Azure – you just need an internet connected machine, a trial account and then use the GUI portal or PowerShell (you really should learn to use PowerShell with Azure, have I mentioned that yet?).  Go ahead! Get started with creating a few machines via the portal.  Don’t Worry – any resources you make in Azure are “confined” inside the datacenter and your subscription until you OPEN endpoints from the internet. Until you create a gateway to your private network – all connectivity and traffic has to go across the public internet.

While I am encouraging you to “play” with this before this series gets started – DON’T FORGET: All Public Cloud Services are consumption based and you will be charged for running systems up in Azure and other cloud providers.  Azure bills VMs by the minute based on size of machine and time running.  An A1 machine (1 core, 1.75 GB ram) will cost you $0.002 US a minute (approx. $0.13 an hour) to run but our largest G5 series machine (32 cores, 448 GB ram) costs $0.13 a minute (approx. $7.80 an hour).

Make sure you shutdown any machines you create which are not required after working with them in the lab – I’ll show you how to automate this in a future post.

If you are looking some consumable video content before we get started – I’d suggest checking out this list of courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy.

A couple of topics I will be covering in this series (list will grow over time):

  • Quick Create of a VM via new portal.
  • Creating a VM via Powershell
  • Creating Multiple VMs on the same vNet
  • Scale OUT (multiple VMs) and Scale UP (VM size and performance optimization)
  • Designing IaaS for higher availability to minimize service interruptions
  • Creating a Hybrid Environment
  • Having a PaaS Azure Website talk to a VM on a vNet
  • Migrating on-premises / other Cloud Provider VMs to Azure

Do you have suggestions for additional topics? Leave them in the comment area!

Microsoft Ignite countdown: The One About Getting Certified and Not-To-Miss Places in Chicago

Here is the third installment of the Microsoft Ignite countdown show – where Joey and I talk about all things certification.  Take advantage of the %50 off certification exams and all the study resources while you are attending this awesome technology event in Chicago from May 4th to 8th. We’re talking study halls, prep sessions and practice test resources – all targeted to help you pass whatever Microsoft exam you have in your sights.

(Personally – I plan on knocking off my 70-534 – Azure Architecture exam while I am on site.)

We’re also continuing to paint some more “Colour” about the host city: Chicago.  This time we’ve got some ideas on WHAT ELSE you can do while in town for the conference.  I tell ya – I loved the Art Gallery – definitely a must see!  Check out the video below for full details.

Don’t forget! Microsoft Ignite is May 4–8 in Chicago at McCormick Place. Register today.

Trust. You have to build it one step at a time

I think the title says it all. Working in Cloud environments with various cloud providers you start to realize your comfort level with their services comes down to how much you Trust your provider and the services they provide.  When issues come up – how they are handled and what measures are put in place to prevent them from happening again are small steps forward to continuing to build trust. I get asked the trust question a lot by customers who are considering using cloud services.

Today MSFT takes one more step forward by announcing we’re the first provider to adopt and adhere to ISO/IEC 27018 – an international standard for cloud privacy. It is one of many different ISO certifications and attestations that our cloud services achieve. This one is very cool as it relates specifically towards privacy and “Your Data”.  I suggest you have a read at Brad Smith’s blog post to get some more specific info and links.  Some quick points from his post I found interesting:  By adhering to ISO 27018, we’re committed to protecting your privacy and data in a number of ways:

  • You are in control of your data. Adherence to the standard ensures that we only process personally identifiable information according to the instructions that you provide to us as our customer.
  • You know what’s happening with your data. Adherence to the standard ensures transparency about our policies regarding the return, transfer, and deletion of personal information you store in our data centers. We’ll not only let you know where your data is, but if we work with other companies who need to access your data, we’ll let you know who we’re working with. In addition, if there is unauthorized access to personally identifiable information or processing equipment or facilities resulting in the loss, disclosure or alteration of this information, we’ll let you know about this.
  • We provide strong security protection for your data. Adherence to ISO 27018 provides a number of important security safeguards. It ensures that there are defined restrictions on how we handle personally identifiable information, including restrictions on its transmission over public networks, storage on transportable media, and proper processes for data recovery and restoration efforts. In addition, the standard ensures that all of the people, including our own employees, who process personally identifiable information must be subject to a confidentiality obligation.
  • Your data won’t be used for advertising. Enterprise customers are increasingly expressing concerns about cloud service providers using their data for advertising purposes without consent. The adoption of this standard reaffirms our longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes.
  • We inform you about government access to data. The standard requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to you as an enterprise customer, unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. We’ve already adhered to this approach (and more), and adoption of the standard reinforces this commitment.

Go read Brad’s article and check out the additional links – it makes for a good read.

Interview with Jeffrey Snover: Windows Server Futures

One of the cool things I get to do (and I am still giddy about) is to get the opportunity to have a chat / interview with the likes of a Distinguished Engineer and lead architect for Windows Server and System Center – Jeffrey Snover.

My friends in the UK Subsidiary of Microsoft were holding their TechDays Online event and wanted me to act as a host / facilitator for Jeffrey’s keynote.

Who am I to turn down such an opportunity?

Tune in to hear what Jeffrey has to say and get a glimpse into what we’re planning for the next release.

How “Azure in a box” eases your move to a hybrid cloud

I have been talking a lot about Microsoft Azure, cloud services and hybrid connectivity over the last while. I thought I should step back for a moment and acknowledge that some people might not be ready for doing any sort of Hybrid environment as of yet and want to stay exclusively On-Premises. Organizations of all sizes have made substantial investments in their on-premises virtualization technologies and may not have taken the next step and made these technologies more “cloud like”.  Have you started to think of your virtualization technologies as simply abstractions of “compute”, “storage” and “network” that allow you to run various “workloads”? What would you be able to do if you had an “Azure in a box” type service running in your own datacenter on your own hardware

If you haven’t thought about it – maybe you should.

As you know – I come from a long history of on-premises “Server Hugging” experiences over the years.  I tended to specialize at the infrastructure and virtualization layer while dabbling in the management layer to control the services.  System Center is the tool of choice to manage and monitor all sorts of aspects of your on-premises infrastructure – and once you have it implemented and tuned to your environment, it becomes your management and monitoring fabric looking after all the pieces. When I transitioned to focusing more on Microsoft Azure and other Cloud technologies, an “add on” solution was introduced – originally targeting System Providers. It was called the Windows Azure Pack (or WAP) and relied on components of SystemCenter to be in place in order to give two different experiences: an Administrative portal and a Customer portal.

azurePackexperience

Windows Azure Pack relies on a component in System Center called the Service Provider Foundation. It’s the coordinator and interface to communicate with all the SC components and interface with Virtual Machine Manager in order to manage, deploy and delete VMs. It can also get usage data from Operations Manager to monitor  and meter usage for consumption.

To step back for a moment.

Think of your virtualization (private cloud) environment the same way large public cloud providers do by breaking down the resources into Compute, Storage and Networking.  They become the backbone of what runs your IaaS and PaaS offerings that you provide to your internal clients. You use the skills you  already have (or are developing) like management at scale, automation and scripting in order to manage and provision resources from your datacenter for your clients.  With WAP – you are able to provide a web portal experience that can enable a controlled self service model… but it’s all in house. It’s like having “Azure in a box” – in your datacenter, on your hardware.

Cool.

Windows Azure Pack has been evolving over the last while.  If you are familiar with the “old” Azure interface, it should look pretty darn familiar. This interface can be themed / customized if you like and your environment can be managed via PowerShell cmdlets just like you can with Azure.

There are LOTS of resources out there to help you get started with Windows Azure Pack.  But be forewarned: I’m not going to try to tell you that System Center and WAP are a “click-click-next-next” style install – there are a lot of moving parts to get everything working seamlessly. It’s something that you will want to explore and try out in a lab environment or online before going heads first into a full out implementation.

Here are some resources you can use as a jumping off point:

This is a BIG task. I strongly recommend if this interests you to check out this 7 module online FREE COURSE on Microsoft Virtual Academy

#PingShow 233: DropBox WP App, Brain Games and Freakin’ Holograms!

Mark and I are trying to get back into a rhythm. We’re covering the news items MSFTies are Ping’in each other about. We cover your comments from last time and are trying to talk about OTHER new items since the BIG Windows event on January 21st… It’s hard. 😉

 

Question of the Week!

What kind of experiences would YOU like to see in a Holographic world?

Chat with us throughout the week using  #PingShow on Twitter

Like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/ThePingShow


Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 4 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post brokenhh down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day FOUR – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 4:  Optimize Windows Workload Architecture and Administration Capabilities Within Azure

Identity which of your applications and services are critical in your on-premises environment. Leverage your investment in Active Directory (and other directories) and setup a synchronization with Azure Active Directory to simplify authentication in this Cloud world. You will learn what capabilities each offering has as well as how to configure them to be used for single sign on with over 2000+ Software-As-A-Service offerings like Office365, Salesforce, DropBox enterprise and more.

As an IT Professional managing applications that are currently on premises, you understand what is involved in maintaining all the underpinnings to the IIS Application. What if you could take those applications and move them to a Platform as a Service offering like Azure Websites, where you no longer need to worry about the underlying infrastructure hosting platform, allowing you to focus on what is important to you – your applications. The first step is understanding Azure Websites. Learn how to work with your development team to target a PaaS offering like Azure Websites in order to get ease of scale, load balancing, rapid deployment, staging sites and more

Need a complementary database technology to go along with those PaaS solutions? Want to get some geo-diversified protection that isn’t going to break the bank? With the recent announcements around SQL Azure, more and more organizations are looking at how to leverage these capabilities.

Now that SharePoint is a supported workload on Azure IaaS, the next step is determining the design considerations and limitations that you need to be aware of before deploying your next SharePoint solution. This session has you covered. Learn from the team who has created the detailed spec on how to deploy SharePoint in Azure IaaS and also see how MSIT is doing it for our internal customers.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 3 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day THREE – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 3:  Embrace Open Source Technologies (Chef and Puppet Configurations, Containerization with Docker, and Linux) to Accelerate and Scale Solutions

Most people do not believe that Linux and OSS tools / application layers are first class citizens in our Azure services. We have come a long way in a short period of time to reverse that line of thought. Learn from experts in the Linux and OSS world how to design and deploy Linux and supporting technologies in your Azure environment. You can deploy machines from our Gallery or pull images from our VMDepot to get started quickly without having to re-invent the wheel.

If you are a SysAdmin who already supports solutions on the Linux platform at scale, you are probably familiar with Chef and Puppet. Did you know they are also available in Azure for both Linux and Windows Machines? You can take your existing instructions and configurations and configure agents on your IaaS instances to point to your servers for deployment. Learn how to implement these amazing technologies for your Linux and Windows Azure hosted solutions.

You might have heard about containerization technologies like Docker that allow you to achieve greater density and better performance than traditional full-fledged IaaS Virtual Machines. We recently announced support for Docker on Azure and all the goodness that it brings to your solutions. How should an IT Implementer / SysAdmin deploy and leverage this new technology? This session will tell you everything you need to know.

Attend this session to learn how to leverage the scale and infrastructure of Azure to deploy large sets of Linux VMs in the cloud. If you are running a large Linux server farm and are wondering what steps it takes to move it to Azure, this session will provide you with guidance and best practices. You will see how to script and simplify this effort as well as learn key considerations and principles. We will also walk through best practices for configuring and deploying the data tier of your workload.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

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Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 2 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day TWO- a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 2:  Dive Deep into Networking, Storage and Disaster Recovery Scenarios

. YushWang

Yu-Shun Wang is a Program Manager in Azure Networking team working on Hybrid Connectivity and Network Virtual Appliances in Azure. In his free time, he likes camping, skiing, and swimming.

Your infrastructure in Azure can be isolated and purpose built for public consumption. How do you design your virtual networks and access controls to ensure everything is as desired? Now that you understand the fundamentals of Virtual Networks in Azure, let’s dive deeper into hybrid connectivity options using Site to Site VPNs, allowing your datacenter to extend to your Azure environment.  Concerned about speed and latency for your applications? Don’t want your internal data being routed over the public internet? Explore what ExpressRoute can offer as the ultimate connectivity option

Unlike other cloud providers, our story on storage is consistent across all of our Azure offerings. This means as new technologies are introduced to our storage platform, they become available to all of our services in a timely manner. Learn how to get the maximum IOps for your workloads and what new technologies are coming soon.

Disaster Recovery and OffSite replicas of critical workloads used to be a very costly and complex thing to orchestrate. With System Center and Microsoft Azure, you can leverage Azure Site Recovery to coordinate a site failover from one datacenter to another. We recently announced that Microsoft datacenters could be a possible failover target, provided you are aware of the dependencies. Lean how to set up Azure Site Recovery to use your Azure environment as your replica destination to coordinate a failover before disaster strikes. If you’re not ready for a full solution, but looking to migrate specific machines from On-Premises to Azure, we have you covered in this session as well. See how InMage can migrate your workloads from VMware, AWS and Hyper-V to your Azure IaaS environment.

When transitioning your skillset from on-premises to a more hybrid cloud environment, you have to also transition your management techniques from GUI and One-Off solutions to a more reproducible Automated environment.  Learn the ins and outs of Azure Automation Services and the new Automation Script Gallery. Leverage existing scripts or publish your own for others to use in their environments. Looking to take this to the next level – bring in some new DesiredStateConfiguration skills to standardize, configure and maintain your deployments at scale in the cloud.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

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Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 1 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day ONE – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 1:  Establish the Foundation: Core IaaS Infrastructure Technical Fundamentals

Mark Russinovich will share his vision on what Azure is today and where Microsoft is taking it in the future. As one of the most trusted Technical Fellows at Microsoft and with his new role as CTO for Azure, Mark has a unique perspective of how Azure is architected and what individuals can do to get the most out of this platform.

Who better than Corey Sanders to take us through the nuts and bolts of what Azure IaaS is and how it works for IT professionals. Corey leads the team that designed and created Azure IaaS and is very passionate about all that it can do. He will move rapidly from the fundamentals to advanced configurations and how to use and interact with your environment.

AND

Drew picks up where Corey left off, going even deeper. He’ll focus on the specifics of how to get the most from your Windows workloads with Azure IaaS.

How do you design your IaaS implementations for optimal performance, maximum redundancy and geo-diversity? How do new machine series gain you better performance and leverage new hardware capabilities in our datacenters? Learn how to design your systems to minimize reboots and downtime due to user error or planned maintenance. This session has it all the answers and more.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

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