Category: Microsoft Azure Stack

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Download Azure Stack Update

How to install and manage Azure Stack Updates

At itnetX, we help customers to implement as well as to operate  Azure Stack. One part of operating Azure Stack is keeping it up-to-date. This means installing Microsoft Azure Stack Updates, hotfixes as well as OEM update packages like drivers and firmware. In this blog post I will cover all the information you need to keep your Azure Stack up-to-date.

Why should you update your Azure Stack

Azure Stack Update

This may sound like a simple question, but a lot of people ask for it. First of all, Microsoft and the hardware vendors are obviously delivering quality fixes and security updates to keep Azure Stack stable and secure. But Microsoft also adds new functionality with their updates packages to keep up with the rapid cloud development on Azure. This is important if you want that your Azure Stack stays consistent with Azure in terms of functionality.

Another important reason to stay current is to stay supported. You are allowed to be behind two major versions of Azure Stack, which means 2-3 months. You basically should update monthly, to make sure that you are secure and stable, however there are reasons why you might have to defer an update. For example, this can happen for some companies, when they are in a freeze period where they are not allowed to do changes in their systems. If you are more than 3 major versions behind, your Azure Stack is considered out of support and will not be supported from Microsoft, until you have the at least required version installed.

You can read more about the Azure Stack servicing policy on the Azure Stack documentation site.

Updates for the Azure Stack Integrated System

Azure Stack Operations

As mentioned before, there are basically three types of updates to Azure Stack. The monthly Azure Stack Update Packages from Microsoft, Hotfixes and OEM updates.

  • Microsoft software updates – Microsoft is responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle for the Microsoft software update packages. These packages can include the latest Windows Server security updates, non-security updates, and Azure Stack feature updates. These update packages are non-cumulative updates and need to be installed one after the other. These updates are fully automated and will update the complete Azure Stack infrastructure.
  • OEM hardware vendor-provided updates – Azure Stack hardware partners are responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle (including guidance) for the hardware-related firmware and driver update packages. In addition, Azure Stack hardware partners own and maintain guidance for all software and hardware on the hardware lifecycle host.
  • Microsoft hotfixes – Microsoft provides hotfixes for Azure Stack that address a specific issue that is often preventative or time-sensitive. Each hotfix is released with a corresponding Microsoft Knowledge Base article that details the issue, cause, and resolution. Hotfixes are downloaded and installed just like the regular full update packages for Azure Stack. Other the the major updates, Azure Stack hotfixes are cumulative per iteration.
 ReleaseCumulativeWhere to find
Microsoft Software UpdatesMonthly (4th Tuesday of very month)NoRelease Notes
OEM Hardware Vendor UpdatesDepending on OEMDependsOEM Website
Microsoft HotfixesWhen neededYesKnowledge Base article

By the way, you can only update Azure Stack multi-node systems, the Azure Stack Development Kit needs to be redeployed.



AzsReadinessChecker

Azure Stack Readiness Checker – AzsReadinessChecker

Since I am dealing with a lot of Azure Stack installations I also want to share some interesting tools you can leverage like the Azure Stack Capacity Calculator and others. One of the latest I want to share with you is the Azure Stack Readiness Checker PowerShell module called AzsReadinessChecker. This PowerShell module helps you to run validations of your environment and resources before you deploy Azure Stack. The AzsReadinessChecker module for example validates things like:

  • Certificates
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Accounts
  • Azure Subscriptions

The Start-AzsREadinessChecker cmdlet also helps to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) which you can summit to your CA or your CA provider to get the specific certificates.



Thomas Maurer Speaking at Experts Live

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2018 in Prague

You must have heard about the awesome conference in the heart of Europe, called Experts Live Europe. Today, I am honored and proud to announce that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2018 in Prague at October 24.-26. Since the first European edition back in 2013, I have presented several sessions at each event previously hosted in Bern, Basel and Berlin. I will speak about my favorite topic Azure Stack and will also present another session about Windows Server. The timing of Experts Live Europe is great this year (October), which allows me and other speakers to present the latest updates learned and shared at Microsoft Ignite (September).

I am also excited about the new location. After Bern and Basel in Switzerland, and two years in Berlin, Germany, Experts Live Europe comes to the beautiful city of Prague.

My Sessions at Experts Live Europe 2018

I am proud to present two sessions to cover topics like Azure, Azure Stack, Windows Server and Hyper-V.

Azure Stack - Your Cloud Your Datacenter

Microsoft released Azure Stack as an Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate a Azure Stack in your datacenter. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experience during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP).

Windows Server 2019 - The Next Generation of Software-Defined Datacenter

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview about the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job.   In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations in Windows Server 2019 and the Semi-Annual Channel including: ○ Windows Server Containers ○ Azure Integration ○ Hyper-V features ○ Storage ○ Networking ○ Security ○ Windows Server Containers And more!

Besides 2 days of break out sessions, you will also have one extra day with three great technical workshops about Cloud Security, Workplace and Automation.

About Experts Live Europe

Experts Live Europe is one of Europe’s largest community conferences with a focus on Microsoft cloud, datacenter and workplace management. Top experts from around the world present discussion panels, ask-the-experts sessions and breakout sessions and cover the latest products, technologies and solutions. It’s the time of the year to learn, network, share and make valuable connections.

 

Experts Live VIP Party in the Cloud

The famous Speakers & Sponsors VIP Party of Experts Live Europe will take place on Wednesday, October 24th. This is a great opportunity to network with our speakers and sponsors in a fun and easy-going setting. Tickets for the VIP Party are limited due to location capacity, so if you don’t want to miss out, make sure you register fast!
The VIP Party will take place in Cloud9 Sky Bar & Lounge, at the rooftop of the Hilton hotel in Prague. The Sky Bar is famous for its stunning panorama views of the city, the signature cocktails, the rooftop terrace and the vibrant atmosphere.

It still takes a couple of months until October, but I am already very excited for another Experts Live Conference. I really hope to see you there, so make sure you get a ticket as soon as possible!



Microsoft MVP Award 2018

Microsoft MVP 2018-2019 Cloud and Datacenter Management

I am proud to announce that I was awarded today by Microsoft, with the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for 2018-2019 in two major categories Cloud and Datacenter Management and Microsoft Azure. This is my 7th Microsoft MVP award since 2012, and I couldn’t be more excited about this one.

Dear

Thomas Maurer,

We’re once again pleased to present you with the 2018-2019 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in recognition of your exceptional technical community leadership. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in the following technical communities during the past year:

 

·   Cloud and Datacenter Management

The Microsoft MVP award title is a huge honor and it stand for the contributions I have been doing in the IT community as an Microsoft expert for the past years. The Microsoft MVP award also comes with some benefits, like a NDA and access to the Microsoft Product Groups, as well as the yearly Microsoft MVP Global Summit on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. But one of the biggest benefit overall is that it gives you the opportunity to speak at different conferences all over the world. This and having the chance to speak with people from all over the world, which share the same passion is priceless.

Who are MVPs?

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

 

Source https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/Overview

I need to thank many people which are helping me to achieve this and making the most out of it. I would like to thank my employer itnetX which is supporting me in the best possible way all these years, my current and former colleagues from which I can learn a lot, the Microsoft MVP community and of course Microsoft employees in Redmond and all over the world, to work with us and collect feedback. Last but definitely not least, I have to thank my girlfriend, which not only helps me out with many things, but also needs to be patient, with my extra work so many times. She is also one of my biggest and also most critical supporters. She helps me to understand things better, promote my activities better, fixing my blog post 😉 and makes all the traveling more joyful.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.



Azure Stack Event HPE Geneva

Speaking at the Microsoft Azure Stack Customer Event at the HPE Innovation Center in Geneva

As you might have seen we at itnetX are heavily pushing Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack. Besides our webinar series about Azure Stack, we are working together with Microsoft and HPE to present the Azure Stack solution at a live event in Geneva. Attendees will first have the chance to have a tour trough the HPE Customer Innovation Center, and after that itnetX and HPE will present two session about Microsoft Azure Stack, followed by networking and drinks.

  • HPE Customer Innovation Center Tour
  • Session: Microsoft Azure Stack – Your Cloud, Your Datacenter
  • Session: The Hybrid IT Approach with Microsoft Solutions
  • Networking & Closing Apéro

If you are interested to learn about Azure Stack from itnetX, Microsoft and HPE, join the Microsoft Azure Stack Customer Event at the HPE Customer Innovation Center in Geneva on June 27th.

I will be speaking together with Charbel Nemnom (itnetX and Microsoft MVP) and we will be joined by Christine Perrin (HPE Presales Consultant, Hybrid IT Innovation Center team).

Presentation - Microsoft Azure Stack - Your Cloud, Your Datacenter

By Charbel Nemnom & Thomas (Microsoft Cloud & Datacenter Most Valuable Professionals) Microsoft released Azure Stack as an Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate Azure Stack in your datacenter. Discover the features and services and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation, Charbel Nemnom and Thomas Maurer will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experiences during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP).

HPE Customer Innovation Center in Geneva

The Customer Innovation Center environment is designed to help you get an end-to-end understanding of the HPE portfolio and partner eco-system capabilities. As part of the Microsoft Azure Stack event, you will be able to explore different showcase areas including the industry zone presenting live intelligent edge uses-cases, the transformation zone with a see and touch experience on products, technology in action with a tour within the modular Datacenter (MDC) and finally the success gallery.

Managed Azure Stack

The operation of Azure Stack requires a lot of know-how: special business processes have to be established. The infrastructure requires a high degree of monitoring and capacity planning and the offered services must be configured and optimized continuously. During two sessions, HPE and itnetX will share their expertise knowledge on the entire operation of the Azure Stack infrastructure and will provide you with useful insights into how to successfully integrate, manage and operate Microsoft Azure Stack.



Thomas Maurer Azure Stack Webinar

Azure Stack Webinar by Microsoft MVP Thomas Maurer

Together with itnetX we are starting a couple of webinars on Microsoft Azure Stack. I am happy to announce that I will be speaking in the first webinar about Azure Stack, what it is, what are the use cases for it and how you can leverage it to build a true hybrid cloud. The free webinar will take place at June 21, 4pm-5pm CEST and will be held in English.

Make sure you register to reserve you seat:

Azure Stack Webinar

In this session, Thomas Maurer will talk about Microsoft Azure Stack. Learn what it is, what it is meant for, and discover the real Microsoft Hybrid Cloud benefits, delivered by Azure Stack!

In the second Azure Stack webinar, my colleague and friend, Charbel Nemnom (Microsoft MVP) will talk about how Microsoft Azure Stack is integrated into your datacenter, how it’s operated and how it can be used to offer services to consumers. Besides that, he will also dive into the Azure Stack Development Kit, a free single-server deployment option that lets you test Azure Stack and prototype your applications and services before you commit to purchase Azure Stack.



Altaro Webinar Journey to the Clouds

Webinar: Journey to the Clouds – Masterclass on Cloud Migration

Together with Altaro and my MVP colleagues Andy Syrewicze and Didier Van Hoye, I will be part of a free webinar called Journey to the Clouds- Masterclass on Cloud Migration. In this webinar we will dicsuss differnent cloud scenarios.

There are two options available depending on which time zone you are in.

  • Session 1: 2pm CEST – 5am PDT – 8am EDT
  • Session 2: 6pm CEST – 9am PDT – 12pm EDT

Join Webinar Journey to the Clouds

Want to migrate your datacenter into the cloud but unsure how to make the transition successfully? 3 Microsoft MVPs discuss your options in this upcoming panel webinar. Join Andy Syrewicze, Didier Van Hoye, and Thomas Maurer for a crash course on how you can plan your journey effectively and smoothly utilizing the exciting cloud technologies coming out of Microsoft.

Want to migrate your datacenter into the cloud but unsure how to make the transition successfully? 3 Microsoft MVPs discuss your options in this upcoming panel webinar.

Join Andy Syrewicze, Didier Van Hoye, and Thomas Maurer for a crash course on how you can plan your journey effectively and smoothly utilizing the exciting cloud technologies coming out of Microsoft including:

  • Windows Server 2019 and the Software-Defined Datacenter
  • New Management Experiences for Infrastructure with Windows Admin Center
  • Hosting an Enterprise Grade Cloud in your datacenter with Azure Stack
  • Taking your first steps into the public cloud with Azure IaaS

With cloud technologies improving exponentially migrating to a cloud-based model is a dilemma facing most organizations today. Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack, and the software defined datacenter, offer numerous benefits but moving existing infrastructure into a cloud model is a challenging step.

 

Many IT Pros are justifiably wary of new platforms and cloud services are particularly worrisome involving core infrastructure elements hosted offsite. This is why some of the new technologies coming from Microsoft are so compelling as they are designed to help organizations make that transition slowly and at their own pace. This webinar covers both fully-serviced cloud offerings as well as smaller-scaled solutions that provide more accessible steps to realizing the benefits without fully committing.

 

After watching the experts discuss the details, you’ll see that the cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing discussion. The journey from on-prem to the cloud is different for every organization, as is the destination. This webinar will prepare you for your unique journey by revealing the available options and how to make the most out of them.

 

Join us for some insightful discussion, use-case examples, and tips for getting started with these new technologies. Sign up today.

 

We hope to see you there!