Category: Hardware

Azure Stack Hardware Augmented Reality AR Experience

Azure Stack Hardware Augmented Reality AR Experience App

As you know, Microsoft Ignite 2020 has gone virtual this year. We have some great sessions, engagement options, the Cloud Skills Challenge, and much more for you. However, one part I would have missed this year would have been the expo hall, where I could look at all the new Azure Stack hardware. That is why the Azure Stack team created a mobile app that allows you to look at Azure Stack hardware and new form factors through augmented reality (AR) in the comfort of your environment.

This app allows you to look at some of our Azure Stack hardware portfolio, including Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, and the all-new Azure Stack Edge and Azure Stack Edge pro devices, running at the edge in your Hybrid Cloud environment.

Azure Stack Hub Lenovo Augmented Reality

Azure Stack Hub Lenovo Augmented Reality

If you want to learn more about the Azure Stack portfolio, check out my blog post and the following links.

  • Azure Stack Hub – Azure Stack Hub broadens Azure to let you run apps in an on-premises environment and deliver Azure services in your datacenter.
  • Azure Stack Edge – Azure Stack Edge brings the compute power, storage, and intelligence of Azure right to where you need it—whether that’s your corporate data center, your branch office, or your remote field asset.
  • Azure Stack HCI – Azure Stack HCI is a new hyper-converged infrastructure operating system delivered as an Azure service providing the latest and up to date security, performance, and feature updates.
Azure Stack Edge Pro

Azure Stack Edge Pro

You can download it for your iOS or Android device. I hope you enjoy the Azure Stack Hardware AR Experience! Let me know what you think! Also, check out the team’s Microsoft Ignite 2020 session about the IT Pro in the Cloud era!



Microsoft Azure Stack HCI version 20H2

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – everything you need to know!

Microsoft just announced the new Azure Stack HCI, delivered as an Azure hybrid service, at Microsoft Inspire 2020. Azure Stack HCI, as a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution, is expanding the Azure Stack portfolio to offer a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure and hybrid cloud environments. In this blog post, I want you to provide you with an overview of the new Azure Stack HCI, version 20H2.

You can also find the full announcement blog on Azure.com.

What’s Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged cluster solution that runs virtualized Windows and Linux workloads in a hybrid on-premises environment. Some of the most popular use cases are datacenter modernization, Remote/Branch office scenarios, SQL Server based virtual applications, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and running Kubernetes clusters.

  • Hyperconverged infrastructure stack – The Azure Stack HCI operating system is based on core components from Windows Server, and it is designed and optimized on being the best virtualization host and hyper-converged platform. It is enhanced with software from Azure that includes our latest hypervisor with built-in software-defined storage and networking, that you install on servers you control, on your premises. This provides additional functionally, features and performance.
  • Delivered as an Azure hybrid service – Azure Stack HCI is now delivered as an Azure service with a subscription-based licensing model and hybrid capabilities built-in. You can enhance the cluster with Azure hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based monitoring, site recovery, and backup, as well as a central view of all of your Azure Stack HCI deployments in the Azure portal.
  • Familiar for IT to manage and operate – Runs on your choice of hardware, from your preferred vendor, and continue using the tools and processes your team already knows to manage virtual machines, including Windows Admin Center, System Center, and PowerShell.

This new Azure Stack HCI product takes its name from a program that Microsoft has run for several years with recent versions of Windows Server. That program was very popular, and it’s what inspired this new product.

Azure Stack HCI - Inspired by its popular predecessor

Azure Stack HCI – Inspired by its popular predecessor

Part of the Azure Stack Portfolio

Azure Stack HCI joins the growing family of Azure Stack solutions, which offers a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure. The Azure Stack portfolio ranges from Azure Stack Hub, which is an extension of Azure, bringing the agility and innovation of cloud computing to your on-premises environment, to Azure Stack Edge, which brings Azure compute for AI and machine learning at the edge.

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 - Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

You can learn more about the Azure Stack portfolio on Azure.com.



Intel NUC Windows Server LAB

Install Intel NUC Windows Server 2019 Network Adapter Driver

As you know, I am using an Intel NUC as my Windows Server lab machine, where I run Windows Server 2019 and Hyper-V on. Many people asked me about how you can install the Intel NUC Windows Server 2019 Network Adapter driver because there are no Windows Server 2019 drivers for it. My blog reader, Michael Williams, shared how you can install the Windows Server 2019 Network adapter drivers on the Intel NUC 8th generation.

Here are the simple steps you can follow to install the Intel NUC Windows Server 2019 Network Adapter Driver:

  1. Download the latest PROWinx64.exe for Windows Server 2019 from Intel including drivers for the Intel® Ethernet Connection I219-V
  2. To manually install the network drivers, extract PROWinx64.exe to a temporary folder – in this example to the C:\Drivers\Intel\ folder. Extracting the .exe file manually requires an extraction utility like WinRAR or others. You can also run the .exe and it will self-extract files to the %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\RarSFX0 directory. This directory is temporary and will be deleted when the .exe terminates.
  3. The driver for the Intel I219-V network adapter can be found in the C:\Drivers\Intel\PRO1000\Winx64\NDIS68.
    Extracted Network Drivers for Windows Server 2019 - Intel NUC PROWinx64

    Extracted Network Drivers for Windows Server 2019 – Intel NUC PROWinx64

  4. Open Device Manager right click on Ethernet Controller and select Update Driver.
    Device Manager Update Driver Ethernet Controller - Intel NUC Windows Server 2019 Driver

    Device Manager Update Driver Ethernet Controller – Intel NUC Windows Server 2019 Driver

  5. Select “Browe on my computer for driver software”, and select “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer”, now you can select Network Adapter.
    Update Driver

    Update Driver

  6. Click on “Have Disk…” enter the following path “C:\Drivers\Intel\PRO1000\Winx64\NDIS68.”

    Driver Location

    Driver Location

  7. Now select Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (The I219-V version is not shown)
    Select the Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM

    Select the Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM

  8. And you are done.

Huge thank you again to Michael Williams for sharing that with us. I hope this short blog post provides you a step by step guide on how you can install Windows Server 2019 Network adapter drivers on the Intel NUC. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Mini Review

Surface Headphones 2 Mini Review

This week I just got my new Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, and since I got asked a lot about my first impressions, I want to share this mini-review. First, let me quickly tell you why I bought the Surface Headphones 2 since I also got the Surface Earbuds. I really like the first generation Surface Headphones, which I use in my home office or when I fly. However, they are pretty big, and when I go to the local office, I don’t feel like taking the large headphones with me, that is where the Surface Earbuds come in.

Surface Headphones 1 vs Surface Headphones 2

Surface Headphones 1 vs Surface Headphones 2

For me, the Surface Headphones are great because they are very comfortable, they connect to multiple devices at the same time. They also have great controls for noise cancellation as well as amplifying the sound around me, so I don’t have to scream during calls because I can’t hear myself talking.

Surface Headphones 2 Mini Review

Here are my impressions of the Surface Headphones 2:

  • The look and feel is mostly the same as the first generation. I like the dial controls to change volume and noise cancellation.
  • The Surface Headphones 2 also have buttons on the side, which allow you to pick up and end calls, skip to the next track, pause and resume music playback.
  • You get the same 13 levels of noise cancellation as on the first generation headphones, which is excellent. I also really like to amplify the sound around me, so I can hear myself speaking during calls, so I don’t scream into the microphone.
  • They are now available in a beautiful matt-black color.
  • They’ve been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.0 and now support Qualcomm’s aptX Bluetooth codec, which offers better audio quality.
  • I love that they connect easily to multiple devices at the same time. For example, I can have them connected to my Surface Laptop 3 to do Microsoft Teams calls and can easily just take a phone call on my Android phone.
  • That said, they are not Microsoft Teams certified. Don’t get wrong; for me, they work great with Microsoft Teams. However, some things just don’t work together. For example, the mute button on the Surface Headphones 2 does mute the microphone on the headphones, but that does not show in Microsoft Teams.
  • Bluetooth connection works great for me. I heard that others are having trouble with BT headphones like delay. I never experience this on the Surface Headphones 1 and Surface Headphones 2. But this can also heavily depend on your Bluetooth hardware on your computer, laptop, or phone.
  • The ear cups can now rotate 180 degrees.
  • They charge using a USB-C port and they come with an extra audio cable for devices you can’t connect using Bluetooth.
  • The On/Off button and the mute button stick out more, to make it easier to find them.
  • Battery life has also been extended from 15 hours to 20 hours (I was not able to test that yet, but for my workflow, the first generation was already good enough.
  • The voice of the assistant has changed and is much faster in some cases. I like that when you turn on your headphones, and the assistant tells you how much battery they have left, and to which devices you are connected to.

These were my quick first impressions of the Surface Headphones 2. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. If you want to know more, check out the Microsoft tech specs here.

Surface Headphones 2 Box

Surface Headphones 2 Box

Conclusion

Overall I like the Surface Headphones 2. They bring the great experience and features from the first generation Surface Headphones with a couple of improvements and a lower price. I hope you liked my Surface Headphones 2 mini-review. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft, but I am not part of the Microsoft Surface team.



Connect Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine to Azure VPN

Connect Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine to Azure VPN

A couple of days ago I got a Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine, which is an all-in-one device with an access point, 4-port switch, and a security gateway. After the basic setup, I wanted to connect my Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine USG to an Azure VPN Gateway (Azure Virtual Gateway), using Site-to-Site VPN. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can create a site-to-Site (S2S) VPN connection from your Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine to Azure Virtual Network Gateway.

Azure Virtual Network Gateway and Connection

I already have a virtual network in Azure with the address space 10.166.0.0/16, and I also deployed the Azure Virtual Network Gateway connected to that vNet. The next thing I did was to add a connection to the gateway.

Azure VPN Connection

Azure VPN Connection

You need the following:

  • Name for the connection
  • Set Connection type to Site-to-site (IPSec)
  • Create a local network gateway (basically the configuration of your local VPN gateway.
  • Define a shared secret

Configure Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine VPN connection

Now you can switch to your UniFI Dream Machine, which has an UniFI USG integrated. Under settings go to Networks and click on Create new Network

UniFi Network Azure VPN

UniFi Network Azure VPN

Here you configure the following:

  • Name of your VPN connection
  • VPN Type Manuel IPSec
  • Remote Subnets which is the Azure vNet address space (in my case 10.166.0.0/16)
  • Peer IP which is the public IP address of the Azure virtual network gateway
  • Local WAN IP
  • the pre-shared key (shared secret)
  • IPSec Profile: Customized
  • Key Exchange Version: IKEv2
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • Hash: SHA1
  • DH Group: 2

After that, the VPN will connect and the status of your Azure virtual network gateway connection will change to connected.

Dream Machine Azure VPN Connection

Dream Machine Azure VPN Connection

You can now reach your Azure virtual machine using the private IP address range.

Connected Azure VPN

Connected Azure VPN

I hope this was helpful and show you how you can connect a Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine (USG) to an Azure Virtual Network using a site-to-site VPN connection. If you want to learn more about Azure Virtual Network Gateways check out the following documentation:

If you want to know more about point-to-site VPN connection to Azure check out my blog posts:

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Home Office Setup 2020

My Home Office Setup 2020 – How does yours look like?

A couple of days ago, Microsoft and other companies recommended that people work from home (if they can) due to the Corona disease (COVID-19). Since I am part of a remote team, I work mostly from home when I am not traveling, and so let me share my home office setup 2020 with you. I did share my home office setup already in 2018 after we just moved. Since then, I have upgraded my home office with a couple of new things, which I believe make working from home even more productive and enjoyable.

This is it, this is my Home Office Setup in 2020

Here is a quick view at my desk setup:



Surface Pro X Windows 10 on ARM WSL 2

How to Install WSL 2 on Windows 10 on ARM

This is just a quick blog post about the experience on running the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows 10 on ARM, which comes on devices like the Surface Pro X. Since I got many questions from developers and IT Pros about the Surface Pro X and how it can handle different workflows on Windows 10 on ARM, I decided to write a blog post, on how you can install WSL 2 on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X.

Requirements

You need a device that runs Windows 10 on ARM like the Surface Pro X. Yes, WSL 2 works on the Surface Pro X, and you can run Ubuntu 18.04, which comes as an ARM compiled distro. But you will need to install at Windows Insider build (19041 or higher, also known as Windows 10 20H1 or Windows 10 version 2004). And yes, if you are running an Intel or AMD based machine, you can also install and run WSL 2 on Windows 10.

Install Windows 10 on ARM Windows Insider Build

Install Windows 10 on ARM Windows Insider Build

To run Windows 10 Insider Builds, you can go to Settings, Update & Security, and the Windows Insider Program and join the program. If you get asked to choose the Ring, you will need to select the Insider Slow Ring. You will need to reboot your machine and check for updates, to install the Windows Insider builds.

Install WSL 2 on Windows 10 on ARM

To install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), you need to follow these tasks.

  • Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux Optional feature (WSL 1 and WSL 2)
  • Install a distro for the Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Enable the ‘Virtual Machine Platform’ optional feature (WSL 2)
  • Configure the distro to use WSL 2

Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Virtual Machine Platform

Windows 10 on ARM Control Panel WSL2

Windows 10 on ARM Control Panel WSL2

You can enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and the Virtual Machine Platform feature in the Control Panel or with PowerShell.

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
 
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform

These commands will need a reboot of the machine.

Install a Linux distro for the Windows Subsystem for Linux

If you don’t already have installed a WSL distro, you can download and install it from the Windows 10 store. You can find more here: Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store.

Install Ubuntu ARM WSL 2 Windows Store on the Surface Pro X

Install Ubuntu ARM WSL 2 Windows Store on the Surface Pro X

If you want to run a full Ubuntu virtual machine on Windows 10 Hyper-V, you can check out my blog post.

Set WSL distro to use version 2

After you completed the first two steps, you will need to configure the distro to use WSL 2. Run the following command to list the available distros in PowerShell:

wsl -l -v

If this command doesn’t work with the -v parameter, you don’t have the right Windows 10 build installed.

To set a distro to WSL 2, you can run the following command:

wsl --set-version DistroName 2
Convert to WSL 2

Convert to WSL 2

You can also set WSL 2 as the default. You can also run the command before you start the Linux distro for the first time, which will give you faster setup speeds.

wsl --set-default-version 2

To find out more about installing WSL 2, check out the Microsoft Docs page.

After you have enabled WSL 2 you can see that WSL 1 was running kernel version 4.4.0.

WSL 1 Kernel Version

WSL 1 Kernel Version

 

WSL 2 is running Linux kernel version 4.19.84

WSL 2 Kernel Version

WSL 2 Kernel Version

You can also see, that this is an ARM version of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu ARM

Ubuntu ARM

Conclusion

I hope this helps you and gives you a quick overview on how you can install WSL 2 on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and check out the WSL 2 FAQ. The Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 Kernel is also open-source, you can follow the project on GitHub.

By the way, you can now also start using Docker Desktop together with the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and even use WSL 2 on Windows Server.