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  • Microsoft Azure
  • Virtual Machine Manager

Category: Windows

AzureStartup

Microsoft Azure Update at Build 2014

At the Build Conference 2014 Microsoft already announced a lot of new stuff for the whole Microsoft or IT ecosystem. There is absolutely no time to cover all the changes and announcements Microsoft has made in the past 2 days. So I will just focus on the things I care about.

  • Prior to the Build Conference Microsoft announced that Windows Azure will be renamed to Microsoft Azure. This will show how Microsoft is not only building on top of the Windows platform, they also have opened up for other platforms an solutions a long time ago. One example for that maybe was the announcement of supporting Oracle Software in Microsoft Azure around a year ago.
  • Mark Russinovich announced some great new changes to Microsoft Azure IaaS. You can now capture and deploy images, you can Puppet and Chef as well as PowerShell DSC support, to configure you server environment. An this is great for developers, some of the features will show up directly in Visual Studio. Microsoft also did some work on the Networking site which was really important, for example you can now change the subnet for Virtual Machines.
    Microsoft Azure Announcements
  • Microsoft also launched a lot of new preview features like Azure Cache and a lot more. What I love the most is the new Microsoft Azure feature called Azure Automation. Azure Automation allows you to automate the creation, monitoring, deployment, and maintenance of resources in your Azure environment using a highly-available workflow execution engine. Orchestrate time-consuming, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks against Azure and third party systems to decrease time to value for your cloud operations. This is basically Service Management Automation (SMA), which was released with System Center 2012 R2 as a on premise version, now running up in Microsoft Azure. For those how haven’t heard about SMA, SMA is a new automation engine and Runbooks in Service Management Automation and Microsoft Azure Automation are Windows PowerShell workflows.
    Microsoft Azure Automation
  • Microsoft also release a new preview of the Microsoft Azure portal. Since Microsoft released a huge number of new features in Azure, the “old” management portal didn’t really fit the requirements anymore. The new Azure management portal helps you to be much more organized and is using a lot of new concept like “blades” to help you navigate through your Azure environment. The new dashboard also gives you a quick overview about the Microsoft Azure datacenters and there service status, and the new touch friendly dashboard also allows you to customize it for your need. You can check it out on portal.azure.com
    New Microsoft Azure Portal
  • I am not a developer but I was really impressed what Microsoft did for developers. They are just generating a huge numbers of new opportunities with their new platforms not only in Microsoft Azure using IaaS, mobile Services or PaaS, Microsoft also announced a new concept of Universal Apps which allows developers to write apps which run on Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox One. Some days ago Microsoft also showed the new Kinect v2 hardware which I hope developers will use to write some really cool stuff. If we have a lot back at Microsoft Azure, what I really liked about the new Portal is the  integration of Team Foundation Server or “team projects”.
    Microsoft Azure Team Projects

This are just a few of the cool new things Microsoft announced at Build 2014, there is a lot more which is definitely worth to talk about.



Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

More about PowerShell OneGet

As already posted and as you can see on my blog, I really like the new feature called OneGet. With the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview, Microsoft released a new PowerShell module which is called OneGet.

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. The way how this works is that you can connect to repositories around the web or you can just add new repositories by your self for example for internal use. In the preview you have the Chocolatey repository connected. I am pretty sure Microsoft will also add some own repositories to the list, so you can install Microsoft software and packages from a trusted source.

You can get all the different repositories with the Get-PackageSource cmdlet.

Get-PackageSource

You can than list all the packages available for you by using Find-Package, or you could use it to find a specific package.

Find_package

If you have found the right package you can also see all the versions available by using the Find-Package <Package> -AllVersions cmdlet.

Find Package Versions

You can now install the version you need or you can just use the Install-Package cmdlet to install the latest available version.

OneGet PowerShell

After you have installed packages you can of course list them by using the Get-Package cmdlet or uninstall a package by using Uninstall-Package.

But this is not everything, another great thing about OneGet is that it can be integrated in PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). So think about it for a moment, you can now create simple server configurations with DSC and you don’t have to think about software repositories at all, OneGet does handle this for you.

By the way, Garrett Serack (Senior Open Source Software Developer at Microsoft) also pointed out to me that OneGet also has a place on the Microsoft Open Source Software site CodePlex.

 

 



Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

Install Sysinternals from PowerShell via OneGet

Microsoft just announced the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview. The Windows Management Framework V5 preview adds some cool new feature called OneGet.

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. With OneGet, you can:
  • Manage a list of software repositories in which packages can be searched, acquired, and installed
  • Search and filter your repositories to find the packages you need
  • Seamlessly install and uninstall packages from one or more repositories with a single PowerShell command

As I did some tests this is perfect to install new software packages very easily. So I started with one of my favorite tools called Sysinternals Suite.

Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

First I have check if there was a Sys internals Package available by using:

This checks online from different sources if there is a package available. After that I installed the package by using:

So this is really easy and guess what, it does not just work for Microsoft Software, there is a lot more of third party Software which can be installed with OneGet. So make sure you checkout the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview to get the new OneGet cmdlets.

 



OneGet PowerShell

Windows Management Framework V5 Preview

I know there is a lot of cool stuff going on right now and Microsoft announced a lot of new things. Like Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana, Windows 8.1 Update, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, Windows Universal Apps, the Nokia Lumia 630, 635 and 930 and much much more. But there just was another announcement from Jeffrey Snover which is really interesting for us automation and management guys. Today Microsoft announced the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview, which brings some new stuff to PowerShell and PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC).

In the release 5.0 of the Windows Management Framework Microsoft did some work on DSC to make it more stable and reliable by addressing bug fixes, performance improvements and general optimizations. But there are coming the new feature to Windows PowerShell.

Windows PowerShell OneGet

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. With OneGet, you can:
  • Manage a list of software repositories in which packages can be searched, acquired, and installed
  • Search and filter your repositories to find the packages you need
  • Seamlessly install and uninstall packages from one or more repositories with a single PowerShell command

Network Switches

Microsoft will offere a new PowerShell module which brings the possibility to manage Network Switches. In this release Microsoft added a set of L2 Layer NetworkSwitch management PowerShell cmdlets to manage Certified for Windows network switches. This effort was part of the Data Center Abstraction (DAL) vision which was led by Microsoft working closely with industry leaders in this space such as: Arista, Cisco and Huawei. Using Windows Server 2012 R2, network switches that pass the Certified for Windows program can now be managed natively by System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 (SCVMM) without the need to write custom plugins.

I think this is not just a small announcement, this is a pretty big one to me.

Get more Information on the Windows Server Blog about the Windows Management Framework V5 Preview.



CLIXML Export Import

Save PowerShell Object to file for Remote Troubleshooting

This is not something new to the most of you PowerShell guys out there, but still there are a lot of IT Pros which do not know about this. Sometimes we have to do some remote troubleshooting without having access to the system itself. The thing you can do is to let the customer send you some screenshots but that doesn’t really show everything and maybe you have to contact the customer like 100 times to get the right information. A better solution is to let the customer to run a PowerShell command or script and send you the output. But even a text file or screenshot of the PowerShell output is not the best solution. If you get a lot of text in a TXT file it is hard to sort it and maybe there are some information missing because the txt output does not include all information of the PowerShell object.

I have started to use a simple method to export PowerShell objects to a XML file and import the object on another system. This can be done by the PowerShell cmdlets Export-Clixml and Import-Clixml.

What I do is, I tell the customer to run the following command to generate a XML with the PowerShell objects about his disks for example.

After I got this XML file, I can import it here on my local system and can work with it as I would be in front of the customer system.

CLIXML Export Import

As I said, this is nothing new but this can save you and your customer some time. Of course this works with other objects not just disks ;-) For example you can get Cluster Configurations, Hyper-V Virtual Switch Configurations and much more.

 

 



Veeam Webinar

Veeam Hyper-V 2012 R2 Webinar recording available

Yesterday I had the chance to do a webinar on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication V7 R2 together with Moritz Höfer (System Engineer at Veeam). The webinar is in German and covers some of the new feature ins Hyper-V 2012 R2 and the Veeam Backup & Replication solution for Hyper-V with slides and live demos. You can watch the webinar for free on the Veeam website.

Veeam Webinar Hyper-V 2012 R2



Surface Pro and Nokia Lumia 1020

4 months working and traveling with the Surface Pro 2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020

In October 2013 I got my Surface Pro 2 which replaced my Surface Pro as my daily work device. Some weeks before I also got a Nokia Lumia 1020. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I want to share some of my impression about this combo. First of all I love the devices from a design and quality view. Both, the Lumia 1020 and the Surface Pro 2 are great devices with a high build quality.

First, the Surface Pro 2 is a perfect machine if you are doing a lot of traveling. I use the Surface Pro 2 as my daily machine for work, university or personal stuff. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I really enjoy having a really small and light device with me instead of caring a heavy notebook, ultrabook or even an additional tablet. The form factor and the extended battery life makes the Surface Pro 2 is like one device to rule them all. For example I have used the Surface Pro as tablet during long flights to watch movies and videos or at home in front of the TV.

Surface Pro 2

I also used it as notebook replacement for work or at university to take notes. I really love the stylus to draw and highlight things in the slides I printed to OneNote.

Microsoft Surface Pro

I also used my Surface Pro 2 to deliver my presentations and trainings. The stylus and the touchscreen is perfect especially during delivering trainings or in meetings to replace the whiteboard.

Surface Presentation

The second thing I love it the Nokia Lumia 1020. I don’t really own or carry a separate camera, so I use my phone to take pictures. During the presentations I did in Rome, Paris and Berlin I took a lot of pictures and honestly I haven’t owned a better compact camera yet. The quality of the pictures are just amazing.

This are some dedicated features to the devices itself, but what I really love is how they work together using Windows, Windows Phone and Microsoft Online services like SkyDrive (OneDrive). For example I planned and organized all my trips and presentations on my Surface or PC at home and saved everything into an OneNote notebook. The great thing about this is that all this information gets sync across my devices. So for example the e-ticket for my flight shows up on my phone. And even I lose my phone I can still access everything on my Surface or on another PC over the web, which makes it impossible to lose something.

I already mentioned that I took a lot of pictures with my phone. Now the worst thing which could happen, would be losing my phone with all my picture on it. With the Windows Phone SkyDrive integration, pictures get synced over the internet to my SkyDrive and across all of my devices. The same thing is true for my documents and presentation, I never have to think about coping a file from my PC at home to my Surface or something like that. All my files get synced automatically via SkyDrive. This gives me more time to work on my presentations and enjoy the places I can stay.

I really love the devices and I would really hate it if I had to give up on one of them. I think it would make me less productive and of course I would have to carry more stuff like an extra camera, phone, tablet and a notebook. And don’t for get to carry all the power adapters for all those devices. This is another small but great feature of the Surface Pro, the power adapter does not only charge the Surface it also has a USB port, with which you can charge your phone at the same time. I always thinking what could be better and besides lighter and slimmer devices and more battery life (which is always better, even the Surface Pro 2 runs for me mostly more than hours), the only thing I can think of is that I would love to have a Surface Pro with a bigger screen. The screen right now is great, but if you are working with a device for some hours you really start to like bigger screen.