Azure Advent Calendar Azure Arc

Azure Advent Calendar 2019 – Azure Arc for Servers

The Azure Advent Calendar is a great initiative by Microsoft MVPs Gregor Suttie and Richard Hooper. Over the course of 25 days, the community creates and released 75 videos about Azure technologies and topics. I am happy to be part of the community and release an Azure Advent Calendar 2019 video on Azure Arc for Servers.

 

Azure Arc for servers allows customers to manage and govern servers across their hybrid cloud environment, Windows and Linux servers running in Azure, on-premises, at the edge, and in a multi-cloud environment. You can use the Azure cloud-native management technologies included in Azure Resource Manager to manage and govern server on any infrastructure.

Azure Arc consists of a set of different technologies and components like:

  • Organize and govern all your servers – Azure Arc extends Azure management to physical and virtual servers anywhere. Govern and manage servers from a single scalable management pane. You can learn more about Azure Arc for servers here.
  • Manage Kubernetes apps at scale – Deploy and configure Kubernetes applications consistently across all your environments with modern DevOps techniques.
  • Run data services anywhere – Deploy Azure data services in moments, anywhere you need them. Get simpler compliance, faster response times, and better security for your data. You can learn more here.
  • Adopt cloud technologies on-premises – Bringing cloud-native management to your hybrid environment. You can learn more about Azure Arc for servers here.

Watch Azure Arc Video

Here you can watch the Azure Arc Video from the Azure Advent Calendar 2019.

You can find and watch the video about Azure Arc for servers here. If you want to see more Azure Advent Calendar videos, you can check the Azure Advent Calendar website and the Youtube channel.

I hope you enjoy the video if you have any question about the Azure Advent Calendar 2019 video and Azure Arc for servers, please feel free to leave a comment.



Surface Pro X User Review

Surface Pro X – First Impressions and Review

I just got my brand new Surface Pro X two weeks ago, and since then, I spent a couple of days with it and started to use it as my daily driver. Since I got a lot of questions around the device, how I am using it, and what the limitations are, I decided to write this short blog post. There are many reviews out there from a lot of professional reviewers who focus more on specifications and restrictions to run all possible workloads. In my Surface Pro X review, I try to share my first impressions and write a short review of how the device works for me. Here is a brief review and my first impressions on the Surface Pro X, which is more focused on my use case and what I think the device is good for as well as where you might hit some limitations.

My First Impression 👓

I want to spend a couple of words on the first impressions I had on the Surface Pro X when I opened the box. Don’t get me wrong, all the Surface devices had an excellent built quality and design, but I have the feeling that the Surface Pro X is on the next level. It is hard to describe why, but the design and the details make it feel a real premium device.

Surface Pro X Body

Surface Pro X Body

On the software side, I was trying to stick with ARM64 apps as much as possible, and with the new Microsoft Edge Insider Canary version, I have almost all the apps I need. With the ARM64 apps, the performance is excellent, with no issues at all. Even emulated x86 32-bit apps like Visual Studio Code run very well for my personal tasks. However, I am not sure what the impact on battery life is if you run these apps most of the time. If you have a Surface Go, which I like very much, I can tell you that the Surface Pro X is way faster.

Why I love the Surface Pro X ❤

After using the Surface Pro X for more than a week, I can say this might be my favorite Surface device ever made. Don’t get me wrong; it can’t run 100% of the workloads I need, like containers and Hyper-V, for example. But for that, I also have my Surface Book 2, which runs all workloads and also provides a larger 15-inch screen.

Surface Pro X vs Surface Pro 7

Surface Pro X vs. Surface Pro 7

However, I was traveling, writing, and presenting a lot in the last couple of days, and I love the weight (774g), the size (287 mm x 208 mm x 7.3 mm), and the 13-inch screen in a 12-inch chassis with very thin bezels. It is very convenient to travel with since it provides the form-factor of a Surface Pro with the kickstand, but it also adds a 13-inch screen. The screen is bright, and the 13-inch display with the 3:2 aspect ratio is fantastic for productivity. The Surface Pro X is also 1mm thinner than the Surface Pro 7, which doesn’t sound like much, but you can feel the difference.

Enabled by the custom Microsoft SQ1 processor, one thing I completely underestimated is the possibility of having an always-on device. If you open up the Type Cover or start the Surface Pro X, it is instantly on and available. With Windows Hello, you are logged in immediately, and you can start working. When you close it and put it in your bag, or you leave it overnight, the battery doesn’t really drain much — speaking about battery life, which seems to be great so far, I get enough out of the machine for a travel day or a day at a conference. Another great feature the new Surface devices have is that they all come with fast-charging, which allows us to charge the machine very quickly.

Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7

Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7

The Surface Pro X also comes with a 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p full HD video and a 10.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4k video. Since I started to work more with video, having great cameras for recordings and Microsoft Team calls, and great audio with dual far-field studio mics, recording videos and doing conf calls works excellent. The 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium are surprisingly good.

Connectivity Qualcomm

Connectivity Qualcomm

I am also pleased about the connectivity options, the Surface Pro X comes with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0 and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE Modem with nanoSIM and eSIM support. This is my first tablet with LTE support, and I like to have that option to be always connected. All of the wireless adapters are now coming from Qualcomm, and I didn’t have any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth issues; everything worked fine and at full speed.

The Surface Pro X also comes with two USB-C ports and a Surface Connect port, which means you can use your existing Surface adapters and chargers.

Alcantara Type Cover

Alcantara Type Cover

I am not sure if the Surface Type Cover for the Surface Pro X is different from the Surface Pro 6 and 7; however, for me, it somehow feels different. The typing experience is excellent, and I love the track-pad. I also got a couple of questions around the new Surface Slim Pen, which you can store in the Type Cover and supports wireless charging. For me, I even like it better than the existing Surface Pen. That said, I am mostly using the Surface Pen to take notes or using the Whiteboard app, and for that, it works great.

If you want to know more about the Surface Pro X Specifications, you can find them here.

What do I run on the Surface Pro X 💻

For me, the Surface Pro X is a great travel and work device. The small form-factor, weight, and the 13-inch display combined with all the Surface features like the touch-screen, Surface Slim Pen, kickstand, and many more, make it a great productivity device. I mostly use it for office tasks, mail, web browsing, note-taking, and doing presentations, and the Surface Pro X is excellent in doing all of that. Especially the mobility and always-on feature combine with the connectivity make is a fantastic device for me.

Surface Pro X with Slim Pen

Surface Pro X with Slim Pen

What I use and what works fine:

  • Office Desktop Apps (Office 365, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Excel) ARM version
  • OneNote ARM version
  • Microsoft Edge Insider (Edge based on Chromium) ARM version
  • Visual Studio Code Emulated x86 32-bit version
  • PowerShell
  • Microsoft Whiteboard App

What I am missing for my workflow:

  • An ARM version of Microsoft Teams, I am currently using the web version of teams and installed it as a progressive web application (PWA), which works great. You can also install the 32-bit version. However, this impacts performance and battery life.
  • Camtasia to do screen recordings
  • A native ARM64 version of Paint.NET. I am currently using the emulated 32-bit version from the Microsoft Store, which works well, but again I would like to see a native ARM64 version with more performance and better battery life.
Install MS Teams PWA

Install MS Teams PWA

I also connect my Surface Pro X to the Surface Docking station, which works great, and it powers to of my monitors.

Limitations and things to consider 🧱

The Surface Pro X runs Windows 10 on ARM, and this is not comparable to Windows RT or Windows 10 S. Windows 10 on ARM can currently run ARM64 apps or emulated x86 32-bit apps. So you can install your Windows applications as long as they are not 64-bit. Something to consider is that applications which are not compiled for ARM64, run emulated. This can have an impact on performance in battery life. In my use case, I run from time to time Visual Studio Code, which doesn’t seem to be an issue or have an impact on battery life. Some of the applications you are using today might are x64 apps. For example, a couple of Adobe apps or others, these apps can currently not run on Windows 10 on ARM. However, Adobe and others are working on bringing and compiling applications to ARM64, so they can run natively on the Surface Pro X and other ARM Windows devices.

Another limitation for me is that I can’t run Hyper-V on Windows 10 on ARM. That means I can’t use it for all my workloads and demos I do with virtual machines and containers. However, that isn’t a big problem, since I am doing more powerful tasks like this on my Surface Book 2 or maybe in the future on a Surface Laptop 3. But yes, you can run the Windows Subsystem for Linux and the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2).

  • Drivers for hardware, games and apps will only work if they’re designed for a Windows 10 ARM-based PC. For more info, check with the hardware manufacturer or the organization that developed the driver. Drivers are software programs that communicate with hardware devices—they’re commonly used for antivirus and antimalware software, printing or PDF software, assistive technologies, CD and DVD utilities, and virtualization software.
    If a driver doesn’t work, the app or hardware that relies on it won’t work either (at least not fully). Peripherals and devices only work if the drivers they depend on are built into Windows 10, or if the hardware developer has released ARM64 drivers for the device.
  • 64-bit (x64) apps won’t work. You’ll need 64-bit (ARM64) apps, 32-bit (ARM32) apps, or 32-bit (x86) apps. You can usually find 32-bit (x86) versions of apps, but some app developers only offer 64-bit (x64) apps.
  • Certain games won’t work. Games and apps won’t work if they use a version of OpenGL greater than 1.1, or if they rely on “anti-cheat” drivers that haven’t been made for Windows 10 ARM-based PCs. Check with your game publisher to see if a game will work.
  • Apps that customize the Windows experience might have problems. This includes some input method editors (IMEs), assistive technologies, and cloud storage apps. The organization that develops the app determines whether their app will work on a Windows 10 ARM-based PC.
  • Some third-party antivirus software can’t be installed. You won’t be able to install some third-party antivirus software on a Windows 10 ARM-based PC. However, Windows Security will help keep you safe for the supported lifetime of your Windows 10 device.
  • Windows Fax and Scan isn’t available. This feature isn’t available on a Windows 10 ARM-based PC.

On the hardware, you need to be aware of is that the black color looks great, but it also picks up a lot of fingerprints. I also don’t like it too much that the Surface Connect port (for charging and connecting the docking station) moved a little up on the side. I think the reason for this is that the bottom of the tablet is just too thin. This is not a big deal, but just something to be aware of.

Conclusion 📝

The question is, should you buy it? And my answer is, it depends. Again I love the hardware and how it works together with Windows 10 on ARM. If you are looking for a machine, which can do what you need to do, then it is a no-brainer. If you are running 64-bit apps, for example, some of the Adobe applications, you might want to may go with a Surface Pro 7 or Surface Laptop 3.

For me personally, the Surface Pro X is a great companion to my Surface Book 2 or the Surface Laptop 3. Depending on what I need to do, I only travel with my Surface Pro X, because it is light and brings all the advantages of the Surface Pro form-factor. If I am traveling for a longer period of time, I will also bring my Surface Book 2 with a large 15-inch screen, as a mobile workstation.

Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3

Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3

If I am traveling, I can use the Surface Pro X as a secondary screen.

Surface Pro X Box

Surface Pro X Box

I hope this review gives you a couple of impressions about the Surface Pro X and why you should or shouldn’t get it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Just to make sure, in case you didn’t know, I am a Microsoft employee working in the Azure Engineering team. I am not evolved in the Surface product at all.

By the way, this review was written on the Microsoft Surface Pro X.



Reset RDP and Admin Password Azure VM

How to Reset RDP and Admin Password of an Azure VM

I think we all had that experience where we suddenly couldn’t use Remote Desktop Services (RDP) to access our Windows Server anymore. Luckily, if this happens to an Azure virtual machine (VM), we can use the VMAccess extension to reset the RDP configuration as well as the password of the Azure VM. You can reset the RDP configuration or the Azure virtual machine password using the Azure portal or Azure PowerShell.

Reset the administrator password of an Azure VM 🔓

To reset the password of an Azure VM, you can use the Azure portal or Azure PowerShell. If you take the portal path, log in to the Azure portal, go to the Azure VM, you want to reset the password. Under Support + Troubleshooting, click on Reset Password, and follow to the Reset Password wizard to update the credentials. Note that this is not supported for Active Directory Domain Controllers.

Reset Administrator Password of an Azure VM

Reset Administrator Password of an Azure VM

If you want to use Azure PowerShell, you can run the following commands:

$SubID = "SUBID" 
$RgName = "RESOURCE GROUP NAME" 
$VmName = "VM NAME" 
$Location = "LOCATION"
 
Connect-AzAccount 
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubID 
Set-AzVMAccessExtension -ResourceGroupName $RgName -Location $Location -VMName $VmName -Credential (get-credential) -typeHandlerVersion "2.0" -Name VMAccessAgent

This should help you to reset the password of an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) if you lost access to it. If you want to know more, read the following troubleshooting article on Microsoft Docs.

Reset RDP configuration 👩‍💻

If you can access your Azure Virtual Machine using RDP, you can reset the configuration, and this will enable Remote Desktop service in the VM and create a firewall rule for the default RDP port 3389. To reset the Remote Desktop Service (RDP) configuration, you again login to the Azure portal, select the virtual machine you want to reset the RDP configuration. Under Support + Troubleshooting, click on Reset Password, on the new blade select Reset configuration only, and click on update.

Reset Remote Desktop Services RDP of an Azure VM

Reset Remote Desktop Services RDP of an Azure VM

There is also an Azure PowerShell command available to do this:

$SubID = "SUBSCRIPTION ID" 
$RgName = "RESOURCE GROUP NAME" 
$VmName = "VM NAME" 
$Location = "LOCATION"
 
Connect-AzAccount 
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubID 
Set-AzVMAccessExtension -ResourceGroupName $RgName" -VMName $VmName" -Name "myVMAccess" -Location $Location -typeHandlerVersion "2.0" -ForceRerun

I hope this gives you an overview of how you can Reset your Remote Desktop Service of an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) if you lost access to it. If you want to know more, read the following troubleshooting article on Microsoft Docs. You can also use Azure PowerShell in Cloud Shell.

If you want to know more about how you migrate your virtual machines to Azure, check out my blog post about Azure Migrate.

 



Azure Modern Cloud Operations Ops Training Day

Join the Azure Training Day: Modern Operations at Microsoft Switzerland

Last week I had the chance to deliver one of the Azure (Ops) Training Days for Modern Operations in the Cloud at Microsoft Switzerland. Because of the high demand, we decided to set up another one in January 2020. I am happy to let you know that as part of my job in the Cloud Advocacy Methods & Practices team, I will speak at another a free Microsoft Azure Ops Training Day focusing on Modern Operations, which I will be giving at Microsoft Switzerland in the Microsoft Wallisellen office.

The full-day workshop is many focused on Azure Cloud Operations (Ops). At this training day, you will learn about new tools and processes for maintaining peak operations efficiency at Microsoft Azure Training Day: Modern Operations. You’ll discover how to leverage the Azure cloud to define and achieve service reliability, cost management, operational simplicity, business agility, and hybrid cloud management. Also, hear about proven concepts and practices in architecture, monitoring, mitigation, and governance for enterprise environments.

On the Agenda we have:

  • Azure Reliability: Achieving resilience in the cloud
  • Azure VM Operations
  • Governance + “Why Ops”
  • Hybrid Cloud Management
  • Cloud Security Operations
  • Monitoring your infrastructure and applications in production

If you are interested you can find more information and register here.

Microsoft Azure Training Day: Modern Operations

Wednesday, 22 Januar 2019, 9:00 – 16:50 (Check-in starts at 8:30) Microsoft Switzerland Richtistrasse 3 8304 Wallisellen

I hope to see you at the Microsoft Azure Training Day for Modern Operations and maybe I can add one or the other news from Microsoft Ignite 2019. Let me know if you are joining! If you have any questions about the Azure Ops Training Day, feel free to leave a comment.



Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 - Azure Stack Edge

Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 – Azure Stack Edge

At Microsoft Ignite 2019, I had the chance to interview different people across the Microsoft product groups on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage. In the next couple of weeks, I will share with you the links to the recordings of these videos. In this video, I was able to speak to Stephanie Krieger and Chris Dickens from the Azure Stack Edge team about the new AI on the edge with Azure Stack Edge, which was formerly known as Azure Data Box Edge.

Video: Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge is a cloud-managed edge computing appliance that you subscribe to as an Azure service and deploy locally. Join us to learn how you can use intelligent applications at the edge for quick insights from your data and then aggregate that data in the cloud for deeper analytics.

I hope this gives you a short overview of Azure Stack Edge. You can check out the following links to get more information:

Microsoft Ignite 2019 was a lot of fun, and you can also watch my session about Hybrid Cloud Management at Microsoft Ignite. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.




Azure Friday Windows Server Azure Hybrid Cloud Windows Admin Center

Azure Friday: Connect Windows Server to Azure Hybrid services

Last Friday, I had the honor to be part of the Azure Friday show with Scott Hanselman. On this Azure Friday episode, I was talking about how you can connect Windows Server to Azure Hybrid Cloud services using Windows Admin Center. You can watch the full episode here:

If you want to know more about the Azure Hybrid services and Windows Server, check out the following blog post and Microsoft Docs articles:

Back at the time of the recording, we didn’t have the chance to talk about Azure Arc, but if you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out my blog post and my session from Microsoft Ignite, as well as the Microsoft Ignite Live stage interview with Jian Yan. I hope you liked this Azure Friday episode about how you can connect Windows Server to Azure Hybrid services with Windows Admin Center. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.