Category: Cloud

Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell

Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell

There are multiple ways to interact and manage resources in Microsoft Azure. You can use the Azure Portal or command line tools like the Azure PowerShell module or the Azure CLI, which you can install on your local machine. However, to set up a cloud management workstation for administrators and developers can be quite a lot of work. Especially if you have multiple machines, keeping consistency between these machines can be challenging. Another challenge is keeping the environment secure and all the tools up to date. This any many more things are addressed by the Cloud Shell.

Cloud Shell is not brand new, Microsoft announced Cloud Shell at Build 2017. This blog post is about how you can master Azure with Cloud Shell and to give you an overview about the possibilities of Cloud Shell.

What is Cloud Shell

Cloud Shell Azure Portal

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. Azure Cloud Shell is assigned per unique user account and automatically authenticated with each session. This makes it a private and secure environment.

You get a modern web-based command line experience which can be accessed from several end points like the Azure Portal, shell.azure.com and the Azure mobile app, Visual Studio Code or directly in the Azure docs.

In the backend Azure uses containers and automatically attaches an Azure File Share to the container. You can store the data on it, so your data is persistent. This persist your data across different Cloud Shell sessions.

Cloud Shell Bash and PowerShell

You can choose your preferred shell experience. Cloud Shell supports Bash and PowerShell and included your favorite third party tools and common tools and languages. If something like a module is missing, you can simply add it.



Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will both be out of extended support within the  next 12 months (detailed dates below). This means if you have these versions, you’ll need to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server or Windows Server or buy Extended Support soon to maintain support and receive security updates and fixes. Buying Extended Support is not cheap. Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the full license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server. A lot of customer should start migrating to newer versions of these products to avoid these extra costs.

Extended Support dates

  • Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019.
  • Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020.

However, in mid-2018 Microsoft announced a new option for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support. Customers running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server in Azure virtual machines will get Extended Security Updates for free. This will give customers some extra time to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Or even better, to Azure PaaS and serverless computing like Azure Functions.

The great thing about this, is that you can also combine this with your Azure Hybrid benefits, to use your SQL Server and Windows Server on Azure with your on-premise licenses.

Extended Security Updates on Azure Stack

If you are thinking to migrate to the cloud, this new option will bring down costs for you. However, not everyone is fully ready to move all their servers to the public cloud. You might still need or want to run some servers on-premise in your datacenter. This will leave you with buying Extended Support or what a lot of people don’t know, you can also run your SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack and get Extended Security Updates for free, since it is basically Azure!

This is great, especially since Azure Stack also comes with great IaaS capabilities. And if you are thinking about using Azure in the mid-term, Azure Stack provides you with Azure capabilities, but still allows you to stay in your own datacenter.



AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

Passed Exam AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

I just took a little bit of my time to do one of the latest Azure exams. The Azure exam AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is, as the name suggests, a basic fundamental exam covering some general knowledge about Microsoft Azure. The exam covers a basic understanding of cloud concepts, core Azure services, security, privacy, compliance and trust, as well as Azure Pricing and support.

AZ-900 is a good exam if you are just starting with Azure and the cloud. It is not just a marketing and sales exam, even do it is a very light exam. you will need to have some technical know-how. If you are planning to take this exam I have some recommendations for you. Understand the benefits of cloud computing and the different cloud models. Go trough the list of Azure services, make sure you know what services are available and for what you would use them. Also make sure that you understand the concepts of Azure in general and in Azure governance, like Subscriptions, Management Groups, Azure Policies, Azure Resource Groups, Role-Based Access Control and many more.

You can find more detailed information on the Microsoft exam website. There you will find all the skills measured in this exam.

Microsoft Learn

I also highly recommend that you make an Azure free (or paid) account and try out different Azure services. But if you really wanna get ready for the cloud and especially for Microsoft Azure, and exam AZ-900, check out Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn is a great free learning platform, where you have free guides, walkthroughs and a hands-on experience. Microsoft Learn also provides you some more advanced trainings and guides, to get some deeper understandings of Microsoft services.

With that I wish you happy learning and good luck with the AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam!



Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs

Listed in the Feedspot Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs To Follow in 2019

Another great thing I found out about today. My blog, ThomasMaurer.ch is listed in the Feedspot Top 20 Microsoft Azure Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2019. I am super excited to be on this list, next to other top blogs and websites. As you can imagine you will find even more about Microsoft Azure on my blog in 2019. You can follow my blog on Feedspot or just check out my Subscribe page, to get my latest blogs.

The Best Microsoft Azure Blogs from thousands of Microsoft Azure blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing my blog! If you have some topics or ideas I should cover in 2019, please let me know!



Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox – Isolated Windows Desktop

Today Microsoft announced a new feature called Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is built based on Windows Container technology, which allows you to spin up an isolated, temporary, desktop environment where you can run untrusted software. The software you run and install in the Windows Sandbox does not affect the host. If you shut down the Windows Sandbox all changes and all software you installed in the Sandbox are gone again. This sounds very similar to the technology Windows Defender Application Guard already used to build a sandbox environment for Microsoft Edge.

Windows Sandbox Overview

Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox has the following properties:

  • Part of Windows – everything required for this feature ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. No need to download a VHD!
  • Pristine – every time Windows Sandbox runs, it’s as clean as a brand-new installation of Windows
  • Disposable – nothing persists on the device; everything is discarded after you close the application
  • Secure – uses hardware-based virtualization for kernel isolation, which relies on the Microsoft’s hypervisor to run a separate kernel which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host
  • Efficient – uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual GPU

Windows Sandbox brings the advantages of Windows Containers and also adds a desktop. If you compare this to a Windows 10 Virtual Machine, the Windows Sandbox will consume much less resources, it starts up match faster and will be much more efficient with hardware resources. You can think of it as a lightweight virtual machine, which can share the same hardware but also the same kernel and memory as the host system (like a container).



Technado Podcast

Interview about Azure and Microsoft on Technado ITPro.TV

I was a proud interview guest at the Technado Podcast by ITPro.TV this week! Together with Cherokee and Don, we were talking about Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack and the Cloud as well as Microsoft in general and my favorite foods.

The Technado, Episode 77: Microsoft MVP Thomas Maurer

 

If you’re plugged into the Microsoft community, you’ve heard of Thomas Maurer. In this episode, Thomas will give Don and Cherokee his take on all things Azure. This week also sees a return of the latest tech news from the week.

ITProTV is the industry leader for online, on-demand IT training for tech professionals, students, and organizations worldwide. Home of binge-worthy learning, ITProTV empowers the world through engaging training.

By blending entertainment and cutting-edge technology with IT education, ITProTV creates high-quality training shows taught by experienced educators and industry professionals. Toss the boring PowerPoint classroom training aside, ITProTV is streaming the latest training for the most current tech trends and certification exams daily. Start FREE today: https://www.itpro.tv/plans/

Enjoy watching!



Azure Stack VM Update Management

Using Azure Update Management on Azure Stack

At Microsoft Ignite 2018, Microsoft announced the integration of Azure Update and Configuration Management on Azure Stack. This is a perfect example how Azure services from the public cloud can be extended into your datacenter using Azure Stack. Azure Update and Configuration Management brings Azure Update Management, Change Tracking and Inventory to your Azure Stack VMs. In the case of Azure Stack, the backend services and orchestrator like Azure Automation and Log Analytics, will remain to run in Azure, but it lets you connect your VMs running on Azure Stack.

Azure Update and Configuration Managemen Schemat

Today, the Azure Update and Configuration Management extension, gives you the following features:

  • Update Management – With the Update Management solution, you can quickly assess the status of available updates on all agent computers and manage the process of installing required updates for these Windows VMs.
  • Change Tracking – Changes to installed software, Windows services, Windows registry, and files on the monitored servers are sent to the Log Analytics service in the cloud for processing. Logic is applied to the received data and the cloud service records the data. By using the information on the Change Tracking dashboard, you can easily see the changes that were made in your server infrastructure.
  • Inventory – The Inventory tracking for an Azure Stack Windows virtual machine provides a browser-based user interface for setting up and configuring inventory collection.

If you want to use Azure Update Management and more on VMs on-premise (without Azure Stack) or running at another Cloud Provider, you can do this as well. Have a look at Windows Admin Center, which allows you to directly integrate with Azure Update Management. However, there will be a difference in pricing.