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DSCManager_Clients

Announcing the itnetX PowerShell DSC Manager

Less than a year ago I worked with a couple of enterprise customers and had some interesting talks about configuration management in a modern Windows Server based datacenter where PowerShell DSC is the obvious. However the lack of graphic on premise management tools was a huge challenge for a lot of companies. While the concept of writing your configurations may not seem complicated, appropriately distributing them to machines and being able to report on the status is something that is very challenging to do on-prem. That’s where the idea was born to bring a graphical user experience for PowerShell DSC.

DSCManager_Green_150x150

Within itnetX we have done a couple of projects for service providers and other customers to help them automate deployments but also do configuration management, which provides us with the technical knowledge and experience what customers truly need.

Today I am happy to announce the itnetX DSC Manager.

Our customers love DSC to manage the configuration of their servers. However, they complain that maintaining DSC and getting insights is very cumbersome due to the lack of a user interface.

With DSC Manager, we respond to our customers with an easy to use and fresh user experience for having DSC under total control.

Dieter Gasser, itnetX Head of Product Management

itnetX DSC Manager

DSCManager_Dashboard

The itnetX DSC Manager provides a single pane of glass for all your clients, configurations and modules, regardless of where they are in your datacenter. itnetX DSC Manager allows you to implement configuration management the way DSC was intended from the beginning. Allowing you to effectively mitigate configuration drift, reconfigure servers with a few clicks and report on the configuration of any one server or group of servers

Key Benefits

  • Easy to read reports & dashboards
  • Remote configuration of LCM
  • Graphically view and build configurations
  • Manage large estates of PullServers
  • Build into existing automation with REST
  • Audit changes for compliance

Features

  • HTML reports and dashboards
  • Assign Named and Partial configurations
  • Configure LCM remotely to control for example reboot behavior
  • Visually view and build configurations
  • Manage agents from multiple PullServers
  • Manage Module repository
  • Automate via REST

Get Free Trial

DSC Manager is delivered as a prepackaged web application. The installation is simple and the clients can be installed and up and running within minutes. You can use DSC Manager for free to manage up to 5 clients. For managing more clients, you will require a license.

Big thanks goes to itnetX and the team behind the DSC Manager. itnetX also has a process in place which allows employees to build and work on their own ideas and bring them to market. Together with DSC experts like Ryan Bartram itnetX started that journey and we finally have something to celebrate.

Btw: If you need some help for a faster setup, check out: the Quick itnetX DSC Manager Installer script, which removes a couple of manual tasks.

 



ThomasMaurer HTTPS

ThomasMaurer.ch now forcing https SSL encryption

Well this time it is just a small post about this blog here. ThomasMaurer.ch is available using SSL encryption (https) for quite a while, it was available for most of the content but it was not forced and not all of the content was available through SSL. This has changed a couple of days ago. ThomasMaurer.ch is now not only reachable using https, it is also forced to use https://www.thomasmaurer.ch.

This has several reasons, but mostly it should protect your data while visiting my website.

Since this was not as easy as you might think, there could be still some issues with the site. If you find any issues or have any problems accessing the site, leave a comment or use the contact form to contact me.



Azure Cloud Shell

Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell

Today at the Microsoft Build Conference, Microsoft announced the Azure Cloud Shell. The Azure Cloud Shell is a browser-based shell experience to manage and develop Azure resources.

Azure Cloud Shell offers a browser-accessible, pre-configured shell experience for managing Azure resources without the overhead of installing, versioning, and maintaining a machine yourself. Today it gives you a variety of different tools directly from your web browser in the Azure Portal.

Linux shell interpreter

  • Bash
  • sh

Azure tools

  • Azure CLI 2.0 and 1.0

Text editors

  • vim
  • nano
  • emacs

Source control

  • git

Build tools

  • make
  • maven
  • npm
  • pip

Containers

  • Docker
  • Kubectl
  • DC/OS CLI

Databases

  • MySQL client
  • PostgreSql client
  • sqlcmd Utility

Other

  • iPython Client

It also looks like PowerShell will be available later, hopefully it will arrive soon. Microsoft also announced Azure PowerShell 3.0.



Bash on Windows 10

How to Install Linux Bash on Windows 10

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which was released by Microsoft in Summer 2016, Microsoft included a Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10. This allows you to enable Bash on Windows 10. In this blog post I quickly want to show how you can enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 10. This is great if you want to use some Linux tools on your Windows 10 machine. I use it for example to use SSH to connect to Linux Virtual Machines on Azure.

First you have the following requirements:

  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update – Windows 10 Build 14393 and higher
  • 64-bit versions of Windows 10
  • Internet Connection to download the Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows
  • Active Developer Mode in Windows 10

First enable Developer Mode There are two option you can do this

Open the Settings App, go to Update & Security, go to For developers and enable Developer mode:

Windows 10 - Developer Mode

You can also use the following PowerShell command to enable Developer Mode:

After this you can enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux as a Windows Feature in the Control Panel or PowerShell

Windows 10 - Windows Subsystem for Linux

Run the following PowerShell command to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux:

Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux using PowerShell

After that you will need to restart your computer.

Now you can open up PowerShell or the command prompt and start using bash. (You can also start Bash directly from the Start Menu)

Bash on Windows 10

Hope this helps you to get started.

 



FindTime for Outlook – Doodle for Business

Scheduling meetings can be a real pain you have to do calls, ask people and check calendars which can be a huge time effort. Lucky there are solutions like Doodle to schedule meetings and a lot of us are using Doodle in our personal life which is great, but it could be a lot better, especially if you are using it for business meetings. Microsoft released a Outlook solution for this a couple of months ago called FindTime for Outlook. But since not a lot of people seem to know about FindTime I decided to write a quick blog post about it.

FindTime is a Office Plugin for Outlook which allows you to schedule and plan meetings. To use FindTime just do the following steps:

  1. Install FindTime
  2. Restart Outlook and the Plugin will automatically appear (btw. Works with Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web)
  3. Compose a new email or reply to an existing email
  4. Click “New Meeting Poll” in the Message tab of the email. This will open a new poll and will automatically check if people in your organization are available or not, depending on there calendar. External people will just show up in grey.
    FindTime New Meeting Availability
  5. You also have different options from Online Meetings (using Skype for Business) or meetings in different locations. People will then get the link to vote for the meeting date. You also have different options like Notifications when someone votes, Auto scheduling of the meeting if everyone required has voted and more.
    FindTime Send Invite
  6. People can now vote on the FindTime website. People can also use preferred dates and can see how others have voted. You can schedule the meeting manual or you can set the option to auto schedule, this will automatically send the invites after everyone required for the meetings has voted.
    FindTime Meeting Voting

For me FindTime for Outlook is a huge time saver if you have to schedule meetings and appointments with other attendees. So make sure you have a look at it, the only thing your organization needs, is a Office 365 subscription.



Azure PowerShell Installing

How to Install the Azure PowerShell Module

Well if you are working with Microsoft Azure you may need the PowerShell Modules for automation and some settings which are only available in PowerShell. With the latest releases you can install the Azure PowerShell Module in several different ways.

Install Azure PowerShell

For me using the PowerShell Package Management and the PowerShell Gallery is may the easiest and fastest way to install it. In Windows 10 or a computer with the Windows Management Framework 5 installed, you can use the following PowerShell cmdlets to install it:

Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (new Portal):

And you can use the following command to login:

If you are using it against the classic Azure Portal you can use the following:

And you can use the following command to login:

 

You can also see the Azure PowerShell Modules and versions using the PowerShell Package Management:

Azure PowerShell Module

 

 



Microsoft Band 2

Impressions of the Microsoft Band 2

A couple of months back I had the chance to visit and speak at several tech conferences, and during this time Microsoft released several devices such as the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and the Microsoft Band 2. I was a Microsoft Band user since November 2014 and as you can see at my review on the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health I really liked the concept of the device.

With the Microsoft Band 2 Microsoft address some of the wishes of the users. So here are some of my impressions:

  • The Microsoft Band 2 is a welcome upgrade in terms of quality and design over the first version of the Microsoft Band
  • The new curved AMOLED display is bigger and looks much better than the old one. It also improves the touch quality after workouts with wet fingers.
  • The feel is much better. Even I got used to the first version of the Microsoft band very quickly the Microsoft Band 2 improves that and sometimes I even have to check if I am still wearing it.
  • Microsoft also added some new functionality to the Band 2 such as a Barometer and a better or always one UV sensor. But what I really like is the new Smart Alarm. When you are using the Band and start sleep mode you can also set an alarm, as a option you can also enable the Smart Alarm, and this will wake you up at the optimal wake up phase 30 minutes before the alarm was set. If you are still in deep sleep the Band will take the time you set as the alarm time to wake you up.

Microsoft also added some fun things to the Microsoft Health app. You can now compare your workouts, runs, bike rides, steps and more with your friends. And you can also create challenges and invite your friends, which is really fun.

Conclusion

The Microsoft Band 2 is a very welcome upgrade and looks much better and more mature then the first version. And Microsoft also improved some of the functionality and added some cool new features. Since I started using the Microsoft Band (v1) a while back, I also started to loss some weight. Well of course this also could have been done without any tracker, but a fitness tracker really helps you to stay motivated and have some control over your health. Now after more than a year of using Microsoft health, it is great to find and compare some data about your health, for example how much did I sleep per month, which effect did my sleep have on my running performance and so on.