Category: Windows Admin Center

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Thomas Maurer Speaking Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Hybrid Cloud Management Session

Last week I had a fantastic time presenting and speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, FL. As mentioned before, I was presenting in the “Modernizing Server Infrastructure” learning path a session called “Integrating cloud technologies”. As you might realize, we had a little surprise in that session. Since we announced Azure Arc on Monday in the keynote, I was able to finally add the topic to the session description. You can now watch my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session about Hybrid Cloud server management online on-demand.

My Microsoft Ignite Session about Hybrid Cloud Server Management

In this session, I am talking about how our demo company Tailwind Traders uses Azure Hybrid Cloud services like Azure Update Management and Azure Arc to make their hybrid server environment, which is Azure, on-prem, edge and multi-cloud, even better.

Hybrid management technologies

Tailwind Traders has now migrated the majority of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019. Now, they are interested in the Azure hybrid technologies that are readily available to them. In this session, learn how Tailwind Traders began using Windows Admin Center and Azure Arc to manage its fleet of Windows Server computers and integrated hybrid technologies, such as Azure File Sync, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Update Management, to improve deployment performance and manageability.

I am speaking about technologies like Azure Arc, Windows Admin Center, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Update Management, Azure File Sync, and many more.

Here are some links to the technologies I am talking about:

  • Azure Arc for Servers – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Update Management – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure File Sync – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Site Recovery – Microsoft Docs (link)
  • Azure Stack – Azure.com (link)

I hope you enjoyed watching my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session, please let me know what you think and if you want to see more of that content.



Azure Hybrid

Azure Arc – Cloud-native Management for Hybrid Cloud

Azure Hybrid is not just Azure Stack, it also includes a couple of other Azure Hybrid services like Azure Update Management, Azure File Sync and many more. Today, Microsoft will extend the hybrid cloud solutions in Azure and announced Azure Arc, which is designed to extend Azure Management to any infrastructure. In the new world where organizations run servers, containers, and applications across multi-cloud environments, on-premises locations, and the edge, managing these hybrid resources becomes challenging. Azure Arc enables cloud-native Azure management across any infrastructure and also allows you to run Azure data services to be deployed anywhere. It includes hybrid server management, Kubernetes and Azure data services.

Azure Arc Overview

Azure Arc Overview

As you can see Azure Arc consists of a set of different technologies and components like:

  • Organize and govern all your servers – Azure Arc extends Azure management to physical and virtual servers anywhere. Govern and manage servers from a single scalable management pane. You can learn more about Azure Arc for servers here.
  • Manage Kubernetes apps at scale – Deploy and configure Kubernetes applications consistently across all your environments with modern DevOps techniques.
  • Run data services anywhere – Deploy Azure data services in moments, anywhere you need them. Get simpler compliance, faster response times, and better security for your data. You can learn more here.
  • Adopt cloud technologies on-premises – Bringing cloud-native management to your hybrid environment.

In this blog post, we will have a closer look at hybrid server management. If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out the announcement blog post by Jeremy Winter, Director of Program Management, Microsoft Azure.

Cloud-native Azure management for hybrid environments with Azure Arc

By extending Azure Resource Manager to support hybrid cloud environments, Azure Arc to make it easier to implement cloud security across environments with centralized role-based access control, security policies. Azure Management provides you now with a single control plane for Azure native and Azure Arc resources.

Azure Management Overview

Azure Management Overview

Hybrid Server Management

Today 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.

Hybrid Server Management

Hybrid Server Management

I had the chance to have a very early chat with Jian Yan from the Azure Management team, a couple of weeks ago, about hybrid server management. Check out the video here:

Join the Preview

Azure Arc for Server is currently in public preview, while you can sign up for the preview to manage Kubernetes and data services. To enable hybrid server management, you must register the required Resource Providers.

  • Microsoft.HybridCompute
  • Microsoft.GuestConfiguration

You can register the resource providers with the following Azure PowerShell commands:

Login-AzAccount
Set-AzContext -SubscriptionId [subscription you want to onboard]
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.HybridCompute
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.GuestConfiguration

or with Azure CLI:

az account set --subscription "{Your Subscription Name}"
az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridCompute'
az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.GuestConfiguration'

You can also run them from Azure Cloud Shell. If you want to know more, check out the following Microsoft Docs article.

Onboarding Servers to Azure Arc

As mentioned we will have a closer look here at how you can onboard Linux and Windows Server to Azure Arc. To onboard a server which can run Linux or Windows, physical or virtual, and can run on-premises or at another service provider, you open Azure Arc in the Azure Portal. There you can select manage servers.

Azure Arc Portal

Azure Arc Portal

Here you will see your existing servers which you have on-boarded.

Azure Arc Server in Portal

Azure Arc Server in Portal

 

You can click on Add, to add another server. You will be able to add a single server or get instructions to onboard servers at scale.

Add server to Azure Arc

Add server to Azure Arc

Here you can go through a wizard that will help you to generate a script, which you can copy or download to run it on your server. You can select the subscription and resource group, as well as the region where you want to join your server.

You will also be able to configure a proxy server if your server is behind a proxy. Since this will use the Azure Resource Manager, you will also be able to use tags. After you are done with the wizard, you are able to download or copy the command to run that on your server.

Generate Script

Generate Script

After you have run that command on your on-premises server, your server will show up as an Azure resource in a couple of minutes.

Use Windows Admin Center to onboard a server to Azure Arc

Windows Admin Center and Azure Stack HCI

Windows Admin Center and Azure Stack HCI

If you are using Windows Admin Center on Windows Server or with Azure Stack HCI, you can also onboard servers directly from there. Go to the settings of the server and click on Azure Arc. Now you can sign in and select the specific subscription and resource group.

More

If you want to know more about the Azure Hybrid announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2019, check out the blog post of Julia White. If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out the blog post from Jeremy Winter. If you have any questions about it feel free to leave a comment, or if you are at Microsoft Ignite, feel free to talk to me and the Azure team.

I will also host a Microsoft Ignite Live interview with Jian Yan, which you can watch live in Orlando or online.

Microsoft Ignite Live

Azure is built from the ground up to manage at-scale, cross-geography environments with multiple operational models and DevOps patterns. The vision is to keep Azure at the center of the enterprise as the control plane for governance, management, and modern development and bring the Azure management capabilities and services to any customer environment. In this session, we demo one of the extension services to enable you to bring servers from anywhere to Azure, and use Azure to get a compliance view for all your server assets.



New Windows Server Performance Monitor

New Performance Monitor for Windows Server

In this blog post, I am going to show you the new Windows Performance Monitor feature in Windows Admin Center. This feature was announced publicly at Microsoft Ignite 2019. But before we are going to have a look at the new Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor extension, it is time for some history. If you have worked with Windows or Windows Server in the past, you almost certainly have used a tool called perfmon.exe, or Windows Performance Monitor.

You can use Windows Performance Monitor to examine how programs affect your computer’s performance, both in real-time and by collecting log data for later analysis. It uses performance counters, event trace data, and configuration information, which can be combined into Data Collector Sets. Perfmon exists already for a long time. It is super powerful for troubleshooting Windows. However, it is definitely if you look at the classic MMC user-interface and the user-experience in general, probably not your favorite tool to use. That is why we needed something better.

Perfmon

Perfmon.exe

Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that provides tools for analyzing system performance. From a single console, you can monitor application and hardware performance in real time, customize what data you want to collect in logs, define thresholds for alerts and automatic actions, generate reports, and view past performance data in a variety of ways.

You can find more about the classic perfmon.exe here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Windows Server Program Manager Cosmos Darwin, who works at great features in Windows Server like Storage Spaces Direct. He asked me if I remember my feedback item in user voice, which I created a couple of years ago.

Windows Server Windows Admin Center User Voice Feedback

Windows Server Windows Admin Center User Voice Feedback

Back then, I wasn’t working for Microsoft, but I was working in a couple of different projects where we were using Windows Server and needed to build a real-time performance monitoring system. Which allowed us to monitor remote servers and clusters.

And here it is, the shiny new Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor extension. This new UI is integrated into the web-based Windows Admin Center management tool.

Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor

Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor

Using the Performance Monitor extension in Windows Admin Center uses the same performance data as perfmon, like performance counters, which means that it will just work with your existing configuration. However, it adds a couple of benefits. No worries, the classic perfmon.exe is still there for you to use it.

  • Easy Remoting ✔ – You can easily use it on your remote machine. Windows Admin Center uses PowerShell remoting in the background to connect to the remote computer.
  • Share Workspaces ✔ – You can create workspaces that you can save and use for multiple systems within the same Windows Admin Center instance. But you can also export them and import them on other Windows Admin Center gateway installations.
    Upload and Download Workspaces

    Upload and Download Workspaces

  • Search and highlighting ✔ – You can easily search for objects and counters. Performance Monitor also highlights the useful objects for your system. So you don’t have to guess which counter to use.
    Performance Monitor Search Counter

    Performance Monitor Search Counter

  • Different Graph Types ✔ – You can use different types of graphs, which make it easier to find and compare the right information depending on your scenario.
    Min-Max View

    Min-Max View

    Windows Server Performance Monitor Heatmap

    Windows Server Performance Monitor Heatmap

     

I hope this gives you a quick overview of the new Performance Monitor extension in Windows Admin Center. You can get Windows Admin Center from here. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. There is also a short survey, about different tools like perfmon, this will directly influence the work on Windows Admin Center. You can check out the official announcement blog here.

By the way, Windows Admin Center also offers a great set of Azure Hybrid services integration. Check out my blog post and videos about the Azure Hybrid services in Windows Admin Center.



Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Learn about Azure Stack Migration in this Video Series

Together with Tiberiu Radu from the Azure Stack Product Group, I worked on a series of videos to show how you can migrate workloads to Microsoft Azure Stack. This includes basic workloads like Active Directory Domain Controllers, File Servers, and SQL Servers. We are not only adding videos about Azure Stack Migration, but we also added a couple of tips on how you can take advantage of some of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) features on Azure Stack, like Azure Resource Manager templates and extensions.

The journey to the cloud provides many options, features, functionalities, as well as opportunities to improve existing governance, operations, implement new ones, and even redesign the applications to take advantage of the cloud architectures.
This video series was created in the context of the End of Support (EOS) motion for Windows Server 2008/2008R2 and SQL Server 2008/2008R2, with the target to highlight some of the migration options. The EOS program could be a good opportunity to start this process and it’s not only about the lift-and-shift or move your servers and forget about them, instead it could be the start of a modernization journey. As part of the EOS motion, Azure VMs running Windows 2008/R2 and SQL 2008/R2 on Azure and Azure Stack, offer 3 years of free Extended Support Updates. That means you can enable the same operational processes, use ARM templates, and use the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform on both Azure and Azure Stack, to start this journey.
– Tiberiu Radu

Azure Stack Migration Introduction

Check out my Azure Stack Migration introduction video, which will give you a quick overview of migrating workloads to Azure Stack.

Video Series

You can find the full playlist with the complete Azure Stack Migration video series on YouTube.

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

If you want to read more, check out my blog post on ITOpsTalk.com. There we have some detailed blogs on these videos. I also recommend that you check out the IaaS blog series from the Azure Stack team, which includes different features around running virtual machines on Azure Stack.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Microsoft Ignite 2019 Bag

What’s in my bag for Microsoft Ignite 2019

For the last couple of Microsoft Ignite conferences (2015, 2017, 2018), I wrote a blog about what I will carry in my bag. I decided to do that again, and give you a quick look and share with you what’s in my bag for Microsoft ignite 2019 in Orlando. If you are a first-time attendee, you might enjoy a few tips on how I pack and what I take with me during the conference days. If you already a Microsoft Ignite veteran, you might still find some interesting tips you can use yourself. I am also interested to hear about your tips and what you are packing for Microsoft Ignite 2019.

I am super excited to meet with people from all around the world and help the team presenting and speaking in a couple of sessions and hosting some Channel9 live interviews. So if you are there, make sure you come over and say hi.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the things we keep in mind. First, attendees will get some SWAG like the Ignite backpack and a water bottle. So keep in mind that you might need to leave some space in your luggage on the day way back, and you might not need to bring your own backpack to the event since you will get one. Rick Claus and Joey Snow did a full video review on this year’s Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference backpack here.

The next thing you need to be aware of is that the Microsoft conference is enormous, and your sessions and meetings may be spread over the whole venue. You will walk a lot. It is crucial that you have good and comfortable shoes and save weight as much as possible when packing your bag.

What did I pack for Microsoft Ignite

I try to pack light, and this is what I bring to Microsoft Ignite 2019.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Bag

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Bag

  • Same as last year, the primary devices this year will be the Microsoft Surface Go. Next to it being a notebook, tablet, and desktop replacement, it is very lightweight and small, which will not add a lot of weight. However, it still comes with a full Windows 10. This makes it a great device to carry it around the conference. And with OneNote, it should be great to take notes. I will have a look at the Surface Pro X, which will be available on November 5th, and it looks like a more powerful device then the Surface Go but still is thin and light. There will be a Microsoft pop-up store at Microsoft Ignite, and I hope that they have a couple of Surface Pro X devices available.
  • The Surface Pen, especially for conferences, workshops, and training, I like to take handwritten notes or draw things to discuss ideas and solutions with people.
  • Since I will do some serious work during Ignite, I will bring my Surface Book 2. The main reason for this is the screen size and performance. When I am working a couple of hours, a little bit more screen, real estate helps a lot.
  • The Surface Headphones and their noise-canceling feature is some real lifesaver. I like them especially when I travel and have long flights. But I also like that they now support Bluetooth so that I can connect wirelessly. I also use them regularly for conf calls.
  • I am also carrying the Samsung Galaxy Gear S3, which helps me tracks the steps I walk during Microsoft Ignite and the limited sleep I get during this event. Trust me, you will definitely walk a lot during that conference.
  • For presentations, I got a Microsoft USB-C to HDMI and VGA adapter. Since the Surface Book 2 and the Surface Go, both use USB-C for an external dongle, this makes it simple to carry just one type.
  • I just use one power adapter of the Microsoft Surface Book 2, which can power the Surface Go and the Surface Book 2. It also has an integrated USB port for charging the phone, speaker, and other stuff.
  • I will bring one of my Microsoft hoodies, which I quickly can put on and take off during the conference. As usual, you will experience some temperature differences between outside and inside. To quickly adjust to the right temperature, will not only make you happy but will also reduce the chance of you getting sick.
  • Next to that, I will bring some cables, sunglasses and a bunch of other stuff you need during a conference.

Now you have seen what I will be carrying, let me know what you pack in the comments.

Preparing is key; make sure you have a look at the session catalog and plan your session. You can always switch and go to another session, but making sure you know about the sessions you want to see, helps. Speaking about sessions, make sure you have a look at my session about Hybrid Management Technologies.

Nex to sessions there are other fun things to do:

  • Azure Developer and Architecture Center (DAC) where you can talk and meet with experts to discuss and listen to lightning talks
  • Channel 9 live shows and interviews
  • Microsoft Store
  • Expo Floor with a lot of partners and sponsors
  •  You can also take Microsoft Certification exams directly there, some of them even for free.
  • and much more

This was a quick look at what’s in my bag for Microsoft Ignite 2019. Let me know what your tips for Microsoft Ignite 2019 are in the comments.



Thomas Maurer Speaking about Azure

Join the Azure Training Day: Modern Operations at Microsoft Switzerland

As part of my job in the Cloud Advocacy Methods & Practices team, I am happy to let you know about a free Microsoft Azure Training Day focusing on Modern Operations, which I will be giving at Microsoft Switzerland in the Microsoft Wallisellen office.

Learn about new tools and processes for maintaining peak operations efficiency at Microsoft Azure Training Day: Modern Operations. You’ll discover how to leverage the Azure cloud to define and achieve service reliability, cost management, operational simplicity, business agility, and hybrid cloud management. Also, hear about proven concepts and practices in architecture, monitoring, mitigation, and continuous improvement for enterprise environments.

On the Agenda we have:

  • Azure Reliability: Achieving resilience in the cloud
  • Governance + “Why Ops”
  • Hybrid Management
  • Monitoring your infrastructure and applications in production
  • Scaling for growth and resiliency
  • Diagnosing failure in the cloud
  • Responding to and learning from failure

If you are interested you can find more information and register here.

Microsoft Azure Training Day: Modern Operations

Wednesday, 27 November 2019, 9:00 – 16:50 (Check-in starts at 8:30) Microsoft Switzerland Richtistrasse 3 8304 Wallisellen

I hope to see you at the Microsoft Azure Training Day for Modern Operations and maybe I can add one or the other news from Microsoft Ignite 2019. Let me know if you are joining! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

How to manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center is a browser-based management tool to manage your servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows 10 PCs. You can deploy it anywhere you want. If you run on-prem, you can install it on a Windows Server running in your infrastructure, or you can also install Windows Admin Center on an Azure virtual machine (VM). In this post, we want to address scenarios where you have deployed Windows Admin Center on-premises, and you want to manage some Azure VMs. In this post, I am going to show you how you can manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center (WAC).

If you want to know more about Windows Admin Center in general, check out my blog post.

How to manage Azure IaaS VMs with your on-premises Windows Admin Center gateway

As mentioned before, you can also install a Windows Admin Center server running on Azure IaaS virtual machine, but more on that in another post. In this post, I will cover how you can connect to an Azure VM from your on-prem Windows Admin Center (WAC) installation. There are two ways you can connect from WAC to Azure VMs.

The first one would be using the public IP address of a virtual machine running in Azure. This would mean that you need to open the PowerShell remoting port in the network security group (NSG), to be able to connect. I wouldn’t recommend this scenario since this exposes your virtual machines to the public internet. However, if you want to know more about that solution, check out the Microsoft Docs.

What I wound recommend is that you use a VPN connection to connect to your Azure virtual network where your VM is running. However, I know that in a lot of cases, you might not have a Site-2-Site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network. To still be able to connect form Windows Admin Center to an Azure VM, you can use the Azure Network Adapter feature. The Azure Network Adapter will create a Point-2-Site VPN connection from your Windows Server to Azure. And we are going to use this feature on our WAC gateway, so the WAC gateway is able to reach the virtual machine in Azure.

Add Azure Network Adapter

Add Azure Network Adapter

First, you will need to add a new Azure Network Adapter. This can be done in the Network extension in Windows Admin Center. This will open up a wizard that will guide you through the setup and if needed also helps you to register WAC in Microsoft Azure.

Create Azure Network Adapter

Create Azure Network Adapter

The setup can take a while, depending on if you already have a VPN gateway in Azure or not. WAC will create all the necessary resources in Azure, and create the Point-to-Site VPN connection for you. Also, keep in mind that the VPN gateway is an additional resource and will have an additional cost.

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Now you can add and connect to your virtual machine running in Azure, using the private IP address of the machine.

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

You add a server by directly entering the IP address or you can use the Add Azure Virtual Machine wizard, to discover the VM in your Azure subscription.

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

I hope this helps you to connect your Azure virtual machines security without exposing ports to the public internet. If you have a site-to-site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network, you can use this as well without the need of setting up Azure Network Adapter.

If you are interested in other Azure Hybrid services in Windows Admin Center, check out the following blog post including the video series: Configure Azure Hybrid Services in Windows Admin Center

Besides, you can also have a look at my other blog post about how to set up Azure hybrid cloud services.

If you want to download Windows Admin Center, check out the download page. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.