Category: Microsoft

Microsoft Certified Trainer MCT

MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer 2019

After becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) back in 2017, I am happy to let you know that I requalified for the Microsoft Certified Trainer in 2019. Being an MCT again is a great honor and I am happy to be part of this community, even I am now working for Microsoft.

Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts in Microsoft technologies. Join this exclusive group of worldwide Microsoft technical training professionals and reap the benefits of MCT training certification and membership. You will get exclusive benefits as an MCT including access to the complete library of official Microsoft training and certification products, substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products. In addition, you will be able to use Microsoft readiness resources to help you enhance your training career and engage with other MCT members in an online community forum. You will also receive invitations to exclusive Microsoft and local MCT community events.

Microsoft Certified Trainer 2019-2020

If you want to know more about becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer or if you want to know more about Microsoft Certifications, please let me know in the comments. If you want to know more about the latest Azure exams like AZ-10X, AZ-30X or AZ-900, check out my blog posts.

You can find a general overview of the new Azure Certifications here.



Azure Generation 2 Virtual machine

Generation 2 VM support on Azure – and why should I care?

A couple of days ago Microsoft announced the public preview of Generation 2 virtual machines on Azure. Generation 2 virtual machines support a bunch of new technologies like increased memory, Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and virtual persistent memory (vPMEM), which are not supported on generation 1 VMs. But more on that later.

What are Hyper-V Virtual Machine Generations

Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V introduced the concept of virtual machine generations. Not to be confused with Hyper-V configuration versions. The generation of a virtual machine defines the virtual hardware of a virtual machine and adds some additional and modern functionality. In Hyper-V, there are two virtual machine generations, generation 1 and generation 2. Generation 2 virtual machines support Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware instead of BIOS-based firmware. The Hyper-V team also removed a lot of the legacy devices and replaced them with a simplified virtual machine model.

On Windows Server Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs support features and improvements like

  • PXE boot by using a standard network adapter
  • Boot from a SCSI virtual hard disk
  • Boot from a SCSI virtual DVD
  • Secure Boot (enabled by default)
  • UEFI firmware support
  • OS disk > 2 TB
  • improved boot and installation times

However, an important note here, not all of these features are currently available on Azure Generation 2 virtual machines, and not all operating systems are supported in Generation 2 VMs. For example, in Windows7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and 32-bit Windows systems are not supported. You can find more information about Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs here.

Azure Generation 2 Virtual Machines Overview

Azure Generation 2 Virtual Machines are currently in public preview. To be honest, Generation 2 VMs in Azure aren’t that new, with the public preview of Azure Confidential Computing, we already used Generation 2 VMs. However, now we can start using it for other workloads as well. This means that you can now upload and use your local VHD (not VHDX) files based on Hyper-V Generation 2 virtual machines. Before you had to use Azure Site Recovery to replicate and convert your Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs to Azure Generation 1 VMs.

Azure Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 capabilities

Azure Generation 1 vs Generation 2 VM

Currently, Generation 2 VMs are in public preview, and that means next to not having a service level agreement (SLA), the features which are available can and are limited. If you look at features like ASR or Azure Backup, which are currently not supporting Generation 2 VMs.

CapabilityGeneration 1Generation 2
OS disk > 2 TB
Custom Disk/Image/Swap OS
Virtual machine scale set support
ASR/Backup
Shared Image Gallery
Azure Disk Encryption

You can find more information about Azure Generation 2 virtual machines with an updated list of capabilities on Microsoft Docs.

Hyper-V vs. Azure Generation 2 VMs

There are also differences between Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs and Azure Generation 2 VMs. Not all of the features provided in Hyper-V are currently present in the public preview version on Azure.

FeatureOn-prem Hyper-VAzure
Secure Boot
Shielded VM
vTPM
Virtualization-Based Security (VBS)
VHDX format

Again, you can find an up-to-date list on Microsoft Docs.

Getting started

You can get started using the Generation 2 VMs on the following VM Sizes on Azure Premium Storage and Ultra SSD:

Windows Server Azure Generation 2 Virtual Machine

In public preview, you can now also use the following Azure Marketplace images from the “windowsserver-gen2preview” offer.

  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter (2019-datacenter-gen2)
  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter (2016-datacenter-gen2)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter (2012-r2-datacenter-gen2)
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter (2012-datacenter-gen2)

Create a virtual machine

You can use the Azure Portal to create a new VM or the Azure CLI using the following commands:

 
az group create --name myGen2ResourceGroupVM --location eastus
az vm create \
--resource-group myGen2ResourceGroupVM \
--name myVM \
--image MicrosoftWindowsServer:windowsserver-gen2preview:2019-datacenter-gen2:latest \
--admin-username thomas \
--admin-password myPassword12

Conclusion

I hope this gives you an overview of the benefits and how you can run Generation 2 VMs on Azure. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.



Synchronize Folder with Azure Blob Storage using AzCopy

Sync Folder with Azure Blob Storage

With AzCopy v10 the team added a new function to sync folders with Azure Blob Storage. This is great if you have a local folder running on a server or even on a client device which you can to keep synchronized with Azure Blob storage. This will not only upload new or changed files, with the “–delete-destination” parameter you can let AzCopy remove locally deleted files on Azure blob storage and vice-versa.

First, make sure you install and set up AzCopy.

Sync Folder with Azure Blob Storage

You can use the following command to sync a local folder with Azure Blob Storage. This command will only sync changed and new files, it compares file names and last modified timestamps.

Sync Folder with Azure Blob Storage using AzCopy

 
azcopy sync "C:\Temp\images" "https://tomsaccount.blob.core.windows.net/images" --recursive

As mentioned, if you set the “–delete-destination” parameter to “true”, AzCopy deletes files without a prompt. If you want to check first, which files will be removed, before AzCopy deletes a file, set the –delete-destination flag to “prompt”.

To make sure you are not accidentally are deleting data, make sure to enable the soft delete feature before you use the –delete-destination parameter.

Synchronize Folder with Azure Blob Storage using AzCopy

I deleted the file “3.jpg” locally and I ran the azcopy sync again. You can see that file “3.jpg” was removed from the Azure Blob Storage.

Sync to a local folder

To sync Azure Blob Storage to a local folder, you can use the following command.

 
azcopy sync "https://tomsaccount.blob.core.windows.net/images" "C:\Temp\images" --recursive

As of today, the sync feature does only supports local folders with Azure Blobs. Syncing with AWS or from Storage account to Storage account is currently not supported.

I hope this gives you a quick overview of how you can sync folder with Azure Blob Storage, if you want to know more, check out the Microsoft Docs about how you can transfer data using AzCopy. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Handwritten Email using Outlook

Handwritten Emails and Drawings using Outlook

In the latest Office Insider Fast build for Outlook (1907 Build 11727.20034), you now get the feature to create drawings or handwritten emails in Outlook using your finger or pen. This is great if you want to give your email a more personal touch or quickly create a drawing to explain something quickly. It works with touch, Pens (like the Surface Pen) or even with a mouse or trackpad.

The Outlook team mentions a couple of scenarios for this:

  • Insert a drawing canvas and start inking in an Outlook Email.
  • Insert a picture and ink directly on it with a stylus or Surface Pen
  • Play tic-tac-toe with a colleague and ink continuously on the same drawing canvas by replying back and forth.
  • Save your ink in drafts and reopen them to continue working.
  • Copy and paste ink and drawing canvases from other apps.
  • Use multiple drawing canvases in one email and draw in all of them.

Release notes

If you are running the Office Insider Fast builds on your machine, you can find the notes in “What’s New”.

Office Insider Release Notes Drawing in Outlook

How to enable drawing and handwritten emails in Outlook

If you want to use drawing in Outlook, the Draw tab is enabled by default on touch-enabled devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro. If you are not on a touch-enabled device, you can go to Customize Ribbon and select the Draw tab, to use a mouse or trackpad.

I hope this gives you a quick look at Ink in Outlook and how you can create handwritten emails and drawings within an email.  If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Experts Live Netherlands 2019 - Tech panel

Speaking at Experts Live Netherlands 2019 Breakout and Tech Panel!

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking again at Experts Live Netherlands 2019! Experts Live Netherlands 2019 will take place on 6 June 2019 in Den Bosch. I have excellent professional and personal memories from the latest Experts Live Netherlands conference, and it is always a tremendous honor to speak at a such a great event. This year again, I will be talking about Windows Server 2019 and how it is will enable your hybrid datacenter.

Besides my Windows Server 2019 breakout session, I am proud to also be part of the keynote tech panel with Mary-Jo Foley, Paul Thurrott, and Marc van Eijk.

Windows Server 2019 - The Next big thing for Hybrid Cloud

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the 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 of 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!

There are still a couple of tickets left, so make sure you reserve yours soon! Our Microsoft Azure Cloud Advocates team with Anthony Bartolo, Orin Thomas and I, are hoping to see you there!



Azure OpenVPN Support

OpenVPN support in Azure VPN gateways

Today, the Azure networking team announced the General Availability (GA) of OpenVPN protocol in Azure VPN gateways for P2S connectivity. OpenVPN is an open-source software that implements a virtual private network (VPN) connectivity. Since OpenVPN is widely used in the industry, a lot of devices already have an OpenVPN client built-in. OpenVPN support for Azure VPN gateways should make it easy to set up new VPN connectivity to Azure virtual networks.

To use OpenVPN, you can now just simply select the tunnel type OpenVPN. You can find more information about how to set up an Azure VPN gateway on here.

We are announcing General Availability (GA) of OpenVPN protocol in Azure VPN gateways for P2S connectivity. OpenVPN is a popular open source VPN protocol supported in all major platforms (Windows, macOSX, Linux, Android) and available pre-installed on several WiFi routers and IOT devices. Adding OpenVPN protocol to Azure P2S VPN greatly expands our client footprint for TLS/SSL-based VPN customers and ecosystem.

– Ali Zaman, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft

To enable OpenVPN on your gateway you can run the following Azure PowerShell commands. Make sure that the gateway is already configured for point-to-site (IKEv2 or SSTP) before running the following commands:

$gw = Get-AzVirtualNetworkGateway -ResourceGroupName $rgname -name $name
Set-AzVirtualNetworkGateway -VirtualNetworkGateway $gw -VpnClientProtocol OpenVPN

You can find more information about OpenVPN support in Azure on Microsoft Docs:

Next to the Windows Server Azure Network Adapter, which allowed you to configure P2S VPN for Windows Server directly from Windows Admin Center, this is another step to make connectivity to Azure even easier. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

If you want to learn more about Azure networking in general, check out the recording from my Microsoft Ignite The Tour session in Amsterdam, where I was speaking about the basics of building a Hybrid Connectivity with Microsoft Azure.



How to Install AzCopy

How to Install AzCopy for Azure Storage

AzCopy is a command-line tool to manage and copy blobs or files to or from a storage account. It also allows you to sync storage accounts and move files from Amazon S3 to Azure storage. In this blog post, I will cover how to install AzCopy on Windows, Linux, macOS, or in update the version in the Azure Cloud Shell.

AzCopy v10 is now generally available to all of our customers and provides higher throughput and more efficient data movement compared to the earlier version of AzCopy (v8). Version 10 also adds additional functionality like sync of blob storage accounts and much more.

Install AzCopy

You can get the latest version of AzCopy from here: Get started with AzCopy

Install AzCopy on Windows

To install AzCopy on Windows, you can run the following PowerShell script, or you can download the zip file and run it from where ever you want. This script will add the AzCopy folder location to your system path so that you can run the AzCopy command from anywhere.

 
#Download AzCopy
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-windows" -OutFile AzCopy.zip -UseBasicParsing
 
#Curl.exe option (Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update (or later))
curl.exe -L -o AzCopy.zip https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-windows
 
#Expand Archive
Expand-Archive ./AzCopy.zip ./AzCopy -Force
 
#Move AzCopy to the destination you want to store it
Get-ChildItem ./AzCopy/*/azcopy.exe | Move-Item -Destination "C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy\AzCopy.exe"
 
#Add your AzCopy path to the Windows environment PATH (C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy in this example), e.g., using PowerShell:
$userenv = [System.Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("Path", "User")
[System.Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", $userenv + ";C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy", "User")

Install AzCopy on Linux

To install AzCopy on Linux, you can run the following shell script, or you can download the tar file and run it from where ever you want. This script will put the AzCopy executable into the /usr/bin folder so that you can run it from anywhere.

 
#Download AzCopy
wget https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-linux
 
#Expand Archive
tar -xvf downloadazcopy-v10-linux
 
#(Optional) Remove existing AzCopy version
sudo rm /usr/bin/azcopy
 
#Move AzCopy to the destination you want to store it
sudo cp ./azcopy_linux_amd64_*/azcopy /usr/bin/

Authorize with Azure Storage

When you start working with Azure Storage, you have two options to authorize against the Azure Storage. You can provide authorization credentials by using Azure Active Directory (AD), or by using a Shared Access Signature (SAS) token.

It also depends on which services you want to use.

Storage typeSupported method
Blob storageAzure AD and SAS
Blob storage (hierarchical namespace)Azure AD
File storageSAS only

Authenticate using Azure AD

To authenticate with AzCopy using Azure AD, you can use the following command

 
azcopy login

Authenticate using SAS token

To authenticate with AzCopy using a SAS token you can use this command as an example

 
azcopy cp "C:\local\path" "https://account.blob.core.windows.net/mycontainer1/?sv=2018-03-28&ss=bjqt&srt=sco&sp=rwddgcup&se=2019-05-01T05:01:17Z&st=2019-04-30T21:01:17Z&spr=https&sig=MGCXiyEzbtttkr3ewJIh2AR8KrghSy1DGM9ovN734bQF4%3D" --recursive=true

To make things easier you can use Azure PowerShell to generate the SAS token for you. I wrote a blog post on ITOPSTALK.com about how you can do that. You can get the SAS token using the following Azure PowerShell command. If you are running Linux or macOS, you can find on this blog post, how to install PowerShell 6.

 
Connect-AzAccount
Get-AzSubscription
 
$subscriptionId = "yourSubscriptionId"
$storageAccountRG = "demo-azcopy-rg"
$storageAccountName = "tomsaccount"
$storageContainerName = "images"
$localPath = "C:\temp\images"
 
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubscriptionId
 
$storageAccountKey = (Get-AzStorageAccountKey -ResourceGroupName $storageAccountRG -AccountName $storageAccountName).Value[0]
 
$destinationContext = New-AzStorageContext -StorageAccountName $storageAccountName -StorageAccountKey $storageAccountKey
 
$containerSASURI = New-AzStorageContainerSASToken -Context $destinationContext -ExpiryTime(get-date).AddSeconds(3600) -FullUri -Name $storageContainerName -Permission rw
 
azcopy copy $localPath $containerSASURI --recursive

To learn more about SAS tokens, check out Using shared access signatures (SAS).

I hope this helps you to install AzCopy and configure it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.