Category: Windows Admin Center

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.



How to Install a Windows Server Container Host

How to Install a Windows Server Container Host

In this blog post, I want to quickly guide you through how you can install a Windows Server Container Host running Docker. This guide will help you set up, install, and run Windows Containers on Windows Server. In my example, I will install a container host on a Windows Server, version 2004, which is a Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) release. Windows Server SAC releases are released twice a year and are optimized for containers. In the Windows Server, version 2004 release, the team continued improving fundamentals for the core container platform such as performance and reliability.

If you want to learn more about the differences of Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) vs. Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), check out my blog post.

Requirements

  • A virtual or physical server running Windows Server 2016 or higher (Also including Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) releases. In my blog post, I will use the latest available releases and run the latest Windows Server SAC release, which offers the latest enhancements on the container host.
  • You can also use the Windows Server 2019 LTSC version

Set up and install the Windows Server Container Host

Since I am using the latest SAC release of Windows Server, the server is available as Windows Server Core only. This means I am going to use a tool called “sconfig” to set up my server for the first time. Of course, you can also use existing methods like unattend.xml files or PowerShell scripts to set up your server.

Windows Server Core

Windows Server Core

With sconfig, you can run all the simple configuration tasks to configure your Windows Server.

Windows Server SCONFIG

Windows Server SCONFIG

After the Windows Server is configured and patched, we can now install Docker, which is required to work with Windows containers. Docker consists of the Docker Engine and the Docker client. You can simply install Docker on Windows Server using the following commands.

Install-Module -Name DockerMsftProvider -Repository PSGallery -Force
Install-Package -Name docker -ProviderName DockerMsftProvider
Install Docker on Windows Server

Install Docker on Windows Server

After these commands, you will need to restart the server.

Restart-Computer -Force

If you want to learn more about installing Docker on Windows Server, check out Microsoft Docs.

Run Windows Container Docker Images on Windows Server

Run Windows Container Docker Images on Windows Server

Now you can start pulling your docker container images to your Windows Server. I will use the latest Windows Container images, which came with Windows Server, version 2004. You can read more about the improved container images here.

docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/servercore:2004 
docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/nanoserver:2004 
docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows:2004

You can now use the docker client to manage your containers on your Windows Server, or you can also use the new Windows Admin Center Container extension, which was released a couple of weeks ago.

Manage Windows Server Containers with Windows Admin Center

Manage Windows Server Containers with Windows Admin Center

And yes, if you have a standalone Windows Server Core, you can also directly install Windows Admin Center on your Windows Server Core.

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives you a great overview of how to install and set up a Windows Server container host. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Windows Server 2019 Inside Out Microsoft Press Book

Windows Server 2019 Inside Out Microsoft Press Book Available

My friend and colleague Orin Thomas just shared some fantastic news. His new book Windows Server 2019 Inside Out for Microsoft Press is now available. I was able to provide some early feedback during the writing process and I can tell you this book is a must-have if you are working with Windows Server 2019.

Dive into Windows Server 2019—and really put your Windows Serverexpertise to work. Focusing on Windows Server 2019’s most powerful and innovative features, this supremely organized reference packs hundreds of timesaving solutions, tips, and workarounds—all you need to plan, implement, or manage Windows Server in enterprise, data center, cloud, and hybrid environments. Fully reflecting new innovations for security, hybrid cloud environments, and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI), it covers everything from cluster sets to Windows Subsystem for Linux.

You can get the book on Amazon and you will learn how to:

  • Optimize the full Windows Server 2019 lifecycle, from planning and configuration through rollout and administration
  • Leverage new configuration options including App Compatibility Features on Demand (FOD) or Desktop Experience
  • Ensure fast, reliable upgrades and migrations
  • Manage Windows servers, clients, and services through Windows Admin Center
  • Seamlessly deliver and administer core DNS, DHCP, file, print, storage, and Internet services
  • Use the Storage Migration Service to simplify storage moves and configuration at the destination
  • Seamlessly integrate Azure IaaS and hybrid services with Windows Server 2019
  • Improve agility with advanced container technologies, including container networking and integration into Kubernetes orchestration clusters
  • Deliver Active Directory identity, certificate, federation, and rights management services
  • Protect servers, clients, VMs, assets, and users with advanced Windows Server 2019 security features, from Just Enough Administration to shielded VMs and guarded virtualization fabrics
  • Monitor performance, manage event logs, configure advanced auditing, and perform backup/recovery Windows Server 2019
Microsoft Inside Out Windows Server 2019 Book

Microsoft Inside Out Windows Server 2019 Book

If you got the new Windows Server 2019 Inside Out Microsoft Press book, let me know what you think!



Windows Server webinar miniseries - Month of Cloud Essentials Speakers

Windows Server webinar miniseries – Month of Cloud Essentials

I want to let you know that in June I will be speaking in the Windows Server webinar miniseries focusing on how you can leverage the power of Azure together with Windows Server. Jeff Woolsey, Pierre Roman, Orin Thomas and I will be speaking about different scenarios using Windows Server in a Hybrid environment.

Join this four-part Windows Server webinar miniseries to learn tips and best practices for bringing the efficiencies and cost savings of Azure to your Windows Server workloads. Each 30-minute session includes demos and a live Q&A with Microsoft technical experts.

The Windows Server webinar miniseries – Month of Cloud Essentials sessions will focus on:

Intro to Windows Server Apps in the Cloud
June 4, 9:00 AM–9:30 AM Pacific Time by Jeff Woolsey 📅
Get an overview and explore resources to help you start running your Windows Server workloads on Azure.

How to Manage Windows Server Roles with Azure Services
June 11, 9:00 AM–9:30 AM Pacific Time by Orin Thomas 📅
Learn best practices to help improve security and scalability for apps by easily migrating Windows Server roles such as Active Directory, Windows File Server, and DNS to Azure.

Create Highly Available Apps with Azure VMs
June 18, 9:00 AM–9:30 AM Pacific Time by Pierre Roman 📅
Find out how to run business-critical Windows Server applications on Azure with consistent security, identity, and management features.

Modernize Windows Server Apps on Azure
June 25, 9:00 AM–9:30 AM Pacific Time by Thomas Maurer 📅
Explore hybrid cloud approaches for connecting your on-premises and multicloud environments to Azure with strategies that include containers.

I am looking forward to seeing you in the Windows Server webinar miniseries – Month of Cloud Essentials. If you miss any of the sessions, watch them on demand. You can register here.

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



Skylines Summer Sessions - Azure Arc - Azure StackSkylines Summer Sessions - Azure Arc - Azure Stack

Skylines Summer Sessions – Azure Arc & Azure Stack

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking about Azure Arc and Azure Stack during the Skylines Summer Sessions. During the Summer months, Sklines Academy is bringing you a host of different interactive chats with Azure experts from around the world. You can join these sessions on YouTube. My video will air on Tuesday, June 2nd, at 7 pm CEST.

In this Skylines Summer Session, I am discussing Azure Hybrid together with Microsoft MVPs Richard Hooper and Gregor Suttie.

I hope you enjoy the Skylines Summer Sessions. You can check out more about the Azure Stack Portfolio or Azure Arc for Cloud-Native Hybrid Cloud management on my blog. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.



Microsoft Build 2020

Microsoft Build 2020 Expert Q&A Azure Hybrid Cloud Management

This year, the Microsoft Build 2020 (May 19-20) will be a global digital experience with a non-stop, 48-hour interactive livestream experience straight to your screen. In the digital event session catalog, you find out more about the learning content at the for Microsoft developers but also IT Pros. I am happy to let you know that I will be part of a Microsoft Build 2020 Expert Q&A session on Azure Hybrid Cloud Management together with Sarah Lean (Microsoft Cloud Advocate).

Expert Q&A: Azure Hybrid Cloud and Management

Wednesday, May 20 – 11:45 AM – 12:15 PM CEST 

Community Connections experience – Connect with experts to discuss Azure Hybrid Cloud and Management Technologies like Azure Arc, Azure Stack, Azure Stack HCI, Azure Management, Azure Governance, Azure Migrate, and Azure File Sync.

In this Microsoft Build Q&A session, we will be there to answer questions about Azure Hybrid Cloud and Management. Join us on topics like:

I hope you join us at this year’s Microsoft Build 2020 conference online! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.



Livestream Hybrid Cloud Server Management with Azure Arc

Livestream on Hybrid Cloud Server Management with Azure Arc

On Wednesday, May 27, I plan to do a Livestream on how to govern and manage servers in a hybrid cloud environment with Azure Arc. In the live stream, we will set up my Azure environment and add on-premises Windows and Linux servers to Azure Arc, so I can start managing them using the Azure Resource Manager.

Azure Arc allows you to onboard physical and virtual servers in your hybrid environment (on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud). By joining serves to Azure Arc, you get the benefits you are used from native Azure resources, like tags, RBAC, and many more. In the preview, you can now use Azure Management services like Azure Log Analytics and Azure Policy to make sure your servers are compliant across your hybrid environment.

Livestream Azure Arc for Servers – Hybrid Cloud Server Management

YouTube Livestream will be starting on Wednesday, May 27 at 16:00 (CEST): Make sure you set a reminder!

 ▶ Download the calendar ICS file here. 📅✔

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to get a notification.

Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Thomas Maurer shows you how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, similar to how you manage native Azure virtual machines. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. Azure Arc provides you with the familiar cloud-native Azure management experience, like RBAC, Tags, Azure Policy, Log Analytics, and more.

If you are interested in these topics, join me and check out the following links:

Join us on the YouTube Livestream

If you are interested, join us on May 27 online. I am really looking forward to chatting with you in the Livestream about hybrid cloud server management with Azure Arc. You can find the live stream here on YouTube.

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