Speaking at the European SharePoint Office 365 Azure Conference

Speaking at the European SharePoint Office 365 & Azure Conference 2019

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking at the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference 2019 in Prague. The conference will be held in Prague from 2-5, December 2019.

This year ESPC has launched “Azure @ ESPC19”. Hear directly from many of the world’s leading Azure experts and master your Azure skills by receiving the very latest Azure knowledge and innovation across 2 keynotes, 5 full-day tutorials and 40 in-depth sessions. View the full Azure @ ESPC19 program here.

I will be speaking in the Azure track about Azure Cloud Shell.

Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell!

Azure can be managed in many different ways. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

If you are planning to attend, don’t forget, you or your team can use my coupon code ESPC19SPK to receive a special €100 discount. I hope to see you there!



Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

How to manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center is a browser-based management tool to manage your servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows 10 PCs. You can deploy it anywhere you want. If you run on-prem, you can install it on a Windows Server running in your infrastructure, or you can also install Windows Admin Center on an Azure virtual machine (VM). In this post, we want to address scenarios where you have deployed Windows Admin Center on-premises, and you want to manage some Azure VMs. In this post, I am going to show you how you can manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center (WAC).

If you want to know more about Windows Admin Center in general, check out my blog post.

How to manage Azure IaaS VMs with your on-premises Windows Admin Center gateway

As mentioned before, you can also install a Windows Admin Center server running on Azure IaaS virtual machine, but more on that in another post. In this post, I will cover how you can connect to an Azure VM from your on-prem Windows Admin Center (WAC) installation. There are two ways you can connect from WAC to Azure VMs.

The first one would be using the public IP address of a virtual machine running in Azure. This would mean that you need to open the PowerShell remoting port in the network security group (NSG), to be able to connect. I wouldn’t recommend this scenario since this exposes your virtual machines to the public internet. However, if you want to know more about that solution, check out the Microsoft Docs.

What I wound recommend is that you use a VPN connection to connect to your Azure virtual network where your VM is running. However, I know that in a lot of cases, you might not have a Site-2-Site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network. To still be able to connect form Windows Admin Center to an Azure VM, you can use the Azure Network Adapter feature. The Azure Network Adapter will create a Point-2-Site VPN connection from your Windows Server to Azure. And we are going to use this feature on our WAC gateway, so the WAC gateway is able to reach the virtual machine in Azure.

Add Azure Network Adapter

Add Azure Network Adapter

First, you will need to add a new Azure Network Adapter. This can be done in the Network extension in Windows Admin Center. This will open up a wizard that will guide you through the setup and if needed also helps you to register WAC in Microsoft Azure.

Create Azure Network Adapter

Create Azure Network Adapter

The setup can take a while, depending on if you already have a VPN gateway in Azure or not. WAC will create all the necessary resources in Azure, and create the Point-to-Site VPN connection for you. Also, keep in mind that the VPN gateway is an additional resource and will have an additional cost.

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Now you can add and connect to your virtual machine running in Azure, using the private IP address of the machine.

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

You add a server by directly entering the IP address or you can use the Add Azure Virtual Machine wizard, to discover the VM in your Azure subscription.

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

I hope this helps you to connect your Azure virtual machines security without exposing ports to the public internet. If you have a site-to-site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network, you can use this as well without the need of setting up Azure Network Adapter.

If you are interested in other Azure Hybrid services in Windows Admin Center, check out the following blog post including the video series: Configure Azure Hybrid Services in Windows Admin Center

Besides, you can also have a look at my other blog post about how to set up Azure hybrid cloud services.

If you want to download Windows Admin Center, check out the download page. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Microsoft Ignite 2019 Orlando

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019

After speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017, and at Microsoft Ignite the Tour 2019, I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, FL. As part of our Cloud Advocates team, I will be speaking in the “Migrating server infrastructure” learning path.

This learning path is designed for Microsoft Ignite and gives attendees an overview of how to update your on-premises server infrastructure so that your organization is ready to start its cloud journey through the adoption of hybrid technologies and migration of appropriate workloads. Learn through the story of Tailwind Traders, which has a substantive physical and virtual deployment of Windows Server 2008 R2 hosting domain and network infrastructure services, file servers, and workloads, including SQL Server.

Hybrid management technologies

Tailwind Traders has now migrated the majority of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019. Now, they are interested in the Azure hybrid technologies that are readily available to them. In this session, learn how Tailwind Traders began using Windows Admin Center to manage its fleet of Windows Server computers and integrated hybrid technologies, such as Azure File Sync, Azure Update Management, and Azure Site Recovery, to improve deployment performance and manageability.

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017 Theater

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017 Theater

I will also be giving two lightning talks at the Developer and Architecture. These will not show up in the session scheduler, but they will be on Thursday 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

Connect your Windows Server to Azure Hybrid services

Learn how you can connect your Windows Server environment to Azure and enhance it with Hybrid services like Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Monitor and many more!

Keep your servers up to date across Azure and on-premises using Azure Update Management

Learn how you can manage updates of your servers across Azure, on-premises and even other cloud providers using Azure Update Management

I am also happy to talk with you in the expo hall about the latest and greatest features in Azure, Azure Stack, and Windows Server, as well as learning from your experience. So join the Cloud Advocates team and me at Microsoft Ignite the Tour. Let me know if you are there and want to meet.

If you want to join, check out the Microsoft Ignite 2019 website. Orlando is already sold out. However, you can join the waitlist, and there are a lot of great community conferences like Experts Live Europe and others.



Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Install Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM

The great thing about Windows Admin Center (WAC) you manage every Windows Server doesn’t matter where it is running. You can manage Windows Servers on-prem, in Azure or running at other cloud providers. Now if you want to use Windows Admin Center to manage your virtual machines running in Azure, you can use either an on-prem WAC installation and connecting it using a public IP address or a VPN connection, or you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in Azure. This blog post will show you how you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM).

How to deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM)

With this guide, you can directly deploy and install a new Windows Admin Center gateway in an Azure VM. If you have already a VM deployed, you can also follow this guide to install Windows Admin Center manually. For the installation, we will use Azure Cloud Shell do run a PowerShell installation script.

Preparation

As mentioned we will run the installation script from Azure Cloud Shell. Optionally you can also install Azure PowerShell on your location machine and run the same steps for the installation on your local machine.

  1. Set up Azure Cloud Shell if you haven’t done it yet.
  2. Start the PowerShell experience in Cloud Shell.
  3. Optional: If you want to use your own existing certificate, upload the certificate to Azure Key Vault.

Installation

Now you can start with the installation process. First, you will need to download the installation script from the following URL. Navigate to your home directory and download the file using PowerShell.

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

# Navigate to your home directory
cd ~
 
# Download file
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/deploy-wacazvm -OutFile Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Expand Zip file
Expand-Archive ./Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Change Directory
cd Deploy-WACAzVM

After successfully downloading and unpacking the Windows Admin Center deployment script, you will need to modify a couple of parameters. I will use the default parameters to deploy a new Windows Server 2019 and generate a self-signed certificate. However, if you want to use other options, check out the script parameter list.

Configure Parameter

Configure Parameter

$ResourceGroupName = "demo-wac-rg"
$VirtualNetworkName = "wac-vnet"
$SecurityGroupName = "wac-nsg"
$SubnetName = "wac-subnet"
$VaultName = "wac-key-vault"
$CertName = "wac-cert"
$Location = "westeurope"
$PublicIpAddressName = "wac-public-ip"
$Size = "Standard_D4s_v3"
$Image = "Win2019Datacenter"
$Credential = Get-Credential
 
$scriptParams = @{
ResourceGroupName = $ResourceGroupName
Name = "wac-vm1"
Credential = $Credential
VirtualNetworkName = $VirtualNetworkName
SubnetName = $SubnetName
Location = $Location
Size = $Size
Image = $Image
GenerateSslCert = $true
}
./Deploy-WACAzVM.ps1 @scriptParams

This will deploy a new Azure virtual machine with Windows Admin Center installed and open the specific port 443 on the public IP address. You can find more install options and parameters to install WAC on an existing virtual machine or with an existing certificate on Microsoft Docs.

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

After the deployment has finished, simply click on the URL or IP address and it will open the Windows Admin Center portal.

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

I hope this gives you an overview about how you can deploy Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

Speaking at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking online at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI Day. The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI is an online event, organized and presented by Microsoft MVPs as part of the MVPDays. MVPDays was founded by Cristal and Dave Kawula back in 2013. It started as a simple idea; “There’s got to be a good way for Microsoft MVPs to reach the IT community and share their vast knowledge and experience in a fun and engaging way”.

The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays is a full-day online event on October 23. you can find out more here. In my session, I will be speaking about Azure hybrid management services and how you can connect your Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment with Microsoft Azure.

Hybrid Management Technologies using Azure Stack HCI

Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI and Windows Admin Center not only provide you with great hyper-converged solutions but also enable you to connect to Azure Hybrid Cloud services. In this session, Thomas Maurer will show you how you can connect Azure services like Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, Azure Monitor and many more to your on-prem Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment.

As soon as it is available you can watch my session here:

And you will find the full MVPDays online event here.

If you want to know more about it check you the following blog posts:

I hope you will join us at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays. Let me know if you have any questions.



VeeamON Virtual 2019

Experts Lounge at VeeamON Virtual 2019 Conference

I am happy to announce that I will be part of this year’s VeeamON Virtual Conference for Cloud Data Management. I will be part of the virtual expert’s lounge during the online event. As a Veeam Vanguard, this is a great opportunity and I am already looking forward to being part of this event. VeeamON Virtual will be on November 20, 2019, and you can find more information here.



Azure IaaS VM enable Update Management

How to Manage Updates for Azure IaaS VMs

As a lot of customers are moving their workloads to Azure and specifically moving virtual machines to Azure Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), the question is how do I manage my Azure virtual machines (VMs) efficiently. The great thing about Azure IaaS, it is not just another virtualization platform. Azure IaaS also offers a lot of other benefits versus classic virtualization. Azure IaaS and Azure Management provide a lot of functionality to it make it more efficient to run and manage virtual machines. One of them is Azure Update Management. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can efficiently manage updates for your Azure IaaS VMs.

Overview and benefits Azure Update Management ☁

The Azure Update Management solution is part of Azure Automation. And with Azure Update Management you can manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux computers in Azure, in on-premises environments, or in other cloud providers. That is right, it is not only for your Azure VMs, it also works with all your environment and provides you with a single pane of glass for your Update Management. It allows you to quickly assess the status of available updates on all virtual machines and servers, and manage the process of installing required updates for servers.

  • Azure Update Management works with Azure IaaS VMs, on-premise servers and even servers running at other cloud service providers.
  • Update Management supports Linux and Windows servers
  • It is directly integrated into the Azure portal and onboarding of Azure VMs is very simple.
  • It works with existing update sources like Microsoft Update, WSUS or on Linux with private and public update repositories.
  • Azure Update Management can be integrated into System Center Configuration Manager. You can learn more about Azure Update Management and System Center Configuration Manager integration on Microsoft Docs.
  • You can onboard new Azure VMs automatically to Update Management in multiple subscriptions in the same tenant.
Architecture

Architecture

How to onboard Azure IaaS VMs ✈

Onboarding Azure VMs to Azure Update Management is fairly simple and there are many different ways you can enable Update Management for an Azure VM.

One thing I want to highlight is, that you can set up automatic enablement for future virtual machines. With that Azure virtual machines, you create in the future, will automatically be added to the Update Mangement solution.

Onboarding

Onboarding

Since this blog post is all about managing updates for Azure VMs, I will keep it short, but if you want to add servers running on-premises or at other service providers, you can have a look how you can configure Azure Update management from Windows Admin Center. If you are running Azure Stack, you can also easily add your Azure Stack VMs to the Update Management solution.

Update Assesment 📃

Azure Update Management Compliant Assessment

Azure Update Management Compliant Assessment

After you have enabled and connected your virtual machines, Azure Log Analytics and Update Management start to collect data and analyze it and creates a continuous assessment of your Azure VM infrastructure and the additional servers you added. It will let you know which servers are compliant and which updates are missing. In the Azure documentation for Azure Update Management, you can find the schedules and time new updates will be added to the assessment.

Manage and deploy updates to Azure VMs 🔧

After you know which servers are compliant or not, you can schedule an update deployment, to update your servers.

Update Azure VMs using Update Deployment

Update Azure VMs using Update Deployment

An update deployment configuration is done very easily.

  1. Enter a name for the update deployment
  2. Select which operating system you want to target with the deployment (Linux or Windows)
  3. Choose the machines you want to update. You can select specific Azure virtual machines, non-Azure machines, groups, AD, WSUS, SCCM groups and filters.
  4. Select the Update Classifications you want to deploy
  5. Include or exclude updates
  6. Schedule the deployment. You can also create recurring update deployments for example for monthly patching.
  7. Configure pre- and post-scripts
  8. Configure the maintenance window size
  9. Configure the reboot update after the updates are installed

View update deployments ✔

Update Azure VMs Status

Update Azure VMs Status

During and after the duration of the update deployment, you can see an overview of the deployment, which updates on which machine were installed and if they were successful.

Pricing – What does it cost? 💵

Now I know what you are thinking now, this is great, but I am sure Microsoft is making me pay for this. No! there are no charges for the service, you only pay for log data stored in the Azure Log Analytics service. You can find more pricing information here.

Conclusion and Learn more 🎓

Update Management is a great solution to keep your environment up to date. If you want to know more, check out Microsoft Docs or follow this tutorial to onboard Azure VMs. There is also a very good blog series by Microsoft MVP Samuel Erskine. If you don’t have Azure today, create an Azure Free account.

Create free Azure Account ☁

Create your Azure free account today and get started with 12 months of free services!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.