Category: Windows Admin Center

Setup VM Protection in Windows Admin Center_LI

Configure Azure Site Recovery from Windows Admin Center

With the Hybrid Cloud effort Microsoft invested heavy to make Windows Server and Hyper-V better connect to Microsoft Azure. One way of doing that is with Windows Admin Center and Azure Site Recovery. The Azure Site Recovery integration in Windows Admin Center, allows you to easily replicate Hyper-V virtual machines to Microsoft Azure. The technology is not new, ASR does exist for a long time and allows you to not only replicate Hyper-V VMs, but also VMware VMs and physical servers. However, with the integration in Windows Admin Center, setting up Azure Site Recovery became super easy.

Set up Azure Site Recovery from Windows Admin Center

Setup VM Protection in Windows Admin Center_LI

In the Virtual Machines extension, you can already see a recommendation to setup ASR: “Help protect your VMs from disasters by using Azure Site Recovery.” Which will guide you through the onboarding steps. If you don’t see that banner, just click on the VM you want to protect and replicate to Azure. Click on More and select “Set up VM Protection“, this will guide you through the same wizard.

If you haven’t connected your Windows Admin Center to Microsoft Azure yet, the wizard will help you to go through and set up this connection.

Setup up Hyper-V ASR Host with Windows Admin Cenetr

After your WAC is connected to Azure, you will now setup Azure Site Recovery for the Hyper-V host in Azure. This can directly be done from Windows Admin Center. For example, this will let you select the Azure Subscription you want ASR to connect to. It will let you create a new Resource Group and Recovery Services Vault or use an existing one. After you have done the configuration part, WAC will create the specific Azure resources and configure the Hyper-V host for Azure Site Recovery. This can take up to 10 minutes depending if you are using existing resources or creating new once.

If you have a look at the Hyper-V Replica settings in Hyper-V Manager, you will see that ASR is completely setup and configured.



Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Connect Windows Server to Azure Monitor

As mentioned in blogs posts before, Windows Admin Center allows admins to extend their on-prem environments with hybrid Azure services. The latest addition is the integration of Azure Monitor in Windows Admin Center. This allows you to connect your Windows Server to Azure Monitor. Azure Monitor collects events and performance counters from Windows Server to run analytics and reporting in Azure and take action when a particular condition is detected. This can then be a notification (SMS, email, push notification) and/or a direct action using Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions, Azure Automation Runbooks, webhooks or integration into ITSM tools.

Setup monitoring and alerts for Windows Server to Azure Monitor with Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Setting up the Azure Monitor connection in Windows Admin Center is simple. Select the server you want to connect to Azure Monitor. Go to Settings and then Monitoring Alerts.

Connect Windows Server to Azure Monitor

Connect Windows Server to Azure Monitor

Here you will be able to configure the server with the right Azure subscription, resource group and log analytics workspace.



Skane Azure Usergroup

Speaking at the Skane Azure Usergroup in Malmö

I am happy to say that I will be speaking at the Skåne Azure Usergroup in Malmö. On Tuesday April 9, I have the opportunity to speak at the event of the Skåne Azure Usergroup with a couple of Microsoft MVPs like Stefan Johner, Eric Berg, Henk Boelman and Tom Janetscheck.

“These speakers are in the region because of the Intelligent Cloud Conference (https://intelligentcloud.dk/) taking place in Copenhagen on April 9-10 (preconference workshops on April 8). Regardless If you attend this meetup, we would encourage you to check-out the conference and use this Discount code: azugskaane to get 10% discount on attendance”

I will be speaking about Azure Stack and the latest Azure Stack family member, Azure Stack HCI solutions. There will also be a lot of great other topics like:

  • Azure Stack: How to build a true hybrid cloud experience based on experiences from early programs and how to offer services from Azure stack to customers
  • Azure Labs: Deliver test environments quickly, controlled and cost effective with Azure DevOps CI/CD
  • Azure Governance: Keep you Azure investments secure, under control and healthy in automated or manual way.
  • AI: DevOps for AI and also Global AI/MR Bootcamp.
  • Azure Security Center: Protect against attacks and keep your Azure secure

Azure Community Heroes visits Skåne Azure Usergroup

Preliminary Agenda 17:30 – Introduction 17:45 – 18:45 – Presentations 18:45 – 19:15 – Meet & Eat 19:15 – 20.30 – Presentations

I always enjoy the great community work and great conversations about cloud technology when I am in the nodrics. I hope to see you there and also the the Intelligent Cloud Conference in Copenhagen. Let me know if you are there as well. If you can’t join on that date, there is also a meetup by the Skane Azure Usergroup with Orin Thomas about Azure Networking on Apirl 16.



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.



System Center Journey

System Center 2019 – What’s new

Microsoft just launched Windows Server 2019 and Windows Admin Center, which also raised the interest in System Center 2019. At Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft was talking about what is new in System Center 2019, the future of System Center, and how it fits in with Windows Admin Center and other management tools.

Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Story

Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Overview

With Microsoft now offering a range of products to manage your Cloud and Datacenter environments, the question comes up “which is the best solution?”. It is not only depending on the size of your company, it also depends on which services you are using and what your job role is. Coming from the Azure site, you have Azure Security and Management, which allows you not only to manage your Azure resources but also integrates and extends with your on-premises environment. System Center is aimed to manage datacenter environments at scale, and Windows Admin Center helps you to dig deeper to manage individual servers or single cluster management. Both Windows Admin Center and System Center 2019, can be used side by side and both are integrated into Microsoft Azure.

System Center Windows Admin Center better together

System Center vs Windows Admin Center

I often get the question, does Windows Admin Center replace System Center? The answer to this is no, System Center is aimed to do management at a datacenter scale, while Windows Admin Center is giving you deep management access to a single server or clusters. In small environments you might end up using Windows Admin Center only, but in larger datacenter deployments, you are likely to use a combination of System Center and Windows Admin Center.

System Center 2019 Suite Improvements

System Center 2019 Focus

The System Center 2019 release focuses on three main areas. First of all, it adds more capabilities to the existing components and features which were requested by customers. Secondly, it brings integration for the next version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2019 and brings new Windows Server features to life in System Center. Last but not least, System Center 2019 adds more Hybrid Cloud integrations with Microsoft Azure.



Intel NUC Windows Server

Building a Windows Server Lab with an Intel NUC

With the release of Windows Server 2019, which includes a ton of Hybrid Cloud integration features, it was time to build a new lab environment. The plan is to create a lab and demo environment for my presentations and workshops. Until today, I was still using my hardware from 2011, which was built from Cisco C200 and HPE ProLiant servers. This was, more or less, datacenter grade hardware, it was using a lot of electricity and made a lot of noise. Not really the thing for a home lab on your desk. With some pretty good deals out there, I decided to buy a brand-new Intel NUC. NUC stands for Next Unit of Computing, which is a small, light, cheap and not very noisy computer, which gives you the latest Intel CPUs and ports. Mostly used as desktop or media computers. However, the price and the features, are also making it a great option for a lab running Hyper-V.

If I look at the hardware our customers are using today, there is not really a good way to build a cheap home lab based on datacenter hardware. And with my workloads mostly running in Azure anyway, the Intel NUC seems to be a great option. For most of my demos, a single server running Hyper-V should be enough. For demos on Storage Spaces Direct or Clustering, I can still use Azure with Nested Virtualization.

Intel NUC Windows Server LAB

I decided to get an Intel NUC NUC8i7BEH – Bean Canyon with the following specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8559U
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB M.2 Samsung 970 EVO
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Gigabit LAN
  • USB-A and USB-C ports
  • Thunderbolt 3 port

Unfortunately, the Intel NUC is limited to 32GB of RAM and this version does not have a TPM chip. The good thing, it runs Windows Server 2019 and Windows Admin Center just fine. So far I don’t have any issues, except that there are some missing drivers for Windows Server 2019. We will see how it works out in the next couple of months.

You can download Windows Server 2019 Evaluation version from the Microsoft Evaluation Center.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.



PowerShell Windows Server System Insights

Windows Server 2019 System Insights

Currently, Microsoft is releasing preview versions of Windows Server 2019 to the public. In one of the latest Windows Server, Insider Preview builds, Microsoft released a new feature called Windows Server System Insights. The Windows Server 2019 System Insights capability is a machine learning or statistics model that analyzes system data to give insight into the functioning of your Windows Server deployment. These predictive capabilities locally analyze Windows Server system data, such as performance counters or ETW events. This is helping IT administrators proactively detect and address problematic behavior in their Windows Server environment.

Windows Admin Center System Insights CPU Capacity forecasting

System Insights runs entirely locally on Windows Server. All of your data is collected, persisted, and analyzed directly on your local machine, allowing you to realize predictive analytics capabilities without any cloud-connectivity. However, if you are using, for example, Azure Log Analytics (OMS), you forward the events created by System Insights to Azure Log Analytics, which then can give you a unified view about your environment.