Category: Windows Server

Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

As you know Windows Admin Center enables you to not just manage Windows Server machines with a web-based user interface, but also to easily connect Azure Hybrid services to your on-premises Windows Server environment. Windows Admin Center allows you to connect services like Azure File Sync, Azure Update Management, Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery and many more to your Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment. With the latest release of Windows Admin Center (WAC) which was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019, we get another hybrid cloud feature. We get a new Azure Cloud Shell extension in Windows Admin Center. Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, authenticated, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. It provides the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work, either Bash or PowerShell. We are able to use Cloud Shell directly from the Azure portal, shell.azure.com, in Visual Studio Code, in the new Windows Terminal or even in the Azure mobile app. Now with the new solution/extension, administrators can also run Cloud Shell directly within WAC.

How to run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

First, you will need to enable and install the new Azure Cloud Shell solution. For that open Windows Admin Center, go to Settings and in the menu click on Extensions.

Extensions

Extensions

Under available extensions, you will find the new Azure Cloud Shell (Preview) extension. Click on Install, the WAC portal will refresh automatically.

After the page has refreshed, the Cloud Shell option will show up in the top menu.

Start Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Start Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

If you start Azure Cloud Shell for the first time, you will need to login to Azure.

After that, you can run the PowerShell or Bash experience, depending on what you prefer. You also have access to the clouddrive which comes with Cloud Shell.

Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center

In that, you can run tools like the Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell and much more. If you want to learn more about Azure Cloud Shell, check out my blog post, Mastering Azure with Cloud Shell. Windows Admin Center is a free download to use with your Windows Servers, you can download Windows Admin Center here. If you want to know more about the Hybrid capabilities, check out my blog post on ITOpsTalk.com.

I hope this gives you an overview of how you can run Azure Cloud Shell in Windows Admin Center. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.



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 Orlando

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019

After speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017, and at Microsoft Ignite the Tour 2019, I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, FL. As part of our Cloud Advocates team, I will be speaking in the “Migrating server infrastructure” learning path.

This learning path is designed for Microsoft Ignite and gives attendees an overview of how to update your on-premises server infrastructure so that your organization is ready to start its cloud journey through the adoption of hybrid technologies and migration of appropriate workloads. Learn through the story of Tailwind Traders, which has a substantive physical and virtual deployment of Windows Server 2008 R2 hosting domain and network infrastructure services, file servers, and workloads, including SQL Server.

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 to manage its fleet of Windows Server computers and integrated hybrid technologies, such as Azure File Sync, Azure Update Management, and Azure Site Recovery, to improve deployment performance and manageability.

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017 Theater

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2017 Theater

I will also be giving two lightning talks at the Developer and Architecture. These will not show up in the session scheduler, but they will be on Thursday 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

Connect your Windows Server to Azure Hybrid services

Learn how you can connect your Windows Server environment to Azure and enhance it with Hybrid services like Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Monitor and many more!

Keep your servers up to date across Azure and on-premises using Azure Update Management

Learn how you can manage updates of your servers across Azure, on-premises and even other cloud providers using Azure Update Management

I am also happy to talk with you in the expo hall about the latest and greatest features in Azure, Azure Stack, and Windows Server, as well as learning from your experience. So join the Cloud Advocates team and me at Microsoft Ignite the Tour. Let me know if you are there and want to meet.

If you want to join, check out the Microsoft Ignite 2019 website. Orlando is already sold out. However, you can join the waitlist, and there are a lot of great community conferences like Experts Live Europe and others.



Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Install Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM

The great thing about Windows Admin Center (WAC) you manage every Windows Server doesn’t matter where it is running. You can manage Windows Servers on-prem, in Azure or running at other cloud providers. Now if you want to use Windows Admin Center to manage your virtual machines running in Azure, you can use either an on-prem WAC installation and connecting it using a public IP address or a VPN connection, or you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in Azure. This blog post will show you how you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM).

How to deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM)

With this guide, you can directly deploy and install a new Windows Admin Center gateway in an Azure VM. If you have already a VM deployed, you can also follow this guide to install Windows Admin Center manually. For the installation, we will use Azure Cloud Shell do run a PowerShell installation script.

Preparation

As mentioned we will run the installation script from Azure Cloud Shell. Optionally you can also install Azure PowerShell on your location machine and run the same steps for the installation on your local machine.

  1. Set up Azure Cloud Shell if you haven’t done it yet.
  2. Start the PowerShell experience in Cloud Shell.
  3. Optional: If you want to use your own existing certificate, upload the certificate to Azure Key Vault.

Installation

Now you can start with the installation process. First, you will need to download the installation script from the following URL. Navigate to your home directory and download the file using PowerShell.

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

# Navigate to your home directory
cd ~
 
# Download file
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/deploy-wacazvm -OutFile Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Expand Zip file
Expand-Archive ./Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Change Directory
cd Deploy-WACAzVM

After successfully downloading and unpacking the Windows Admin Center deployment script, you will need to modify a couple of parameters. I will use the default parameters to deploy a new Windows Server 2019 and generate a self-signed certificate. However, if you want to use other options, check out the script parameter list.

Configure Parameter

Configure Parameter

$ResourceGroupName = "demo-wac-rg"
$VirtualNetworkName = "wac-vnet"
$SecurityGroupName = "wac-nsg"
$SubnetName = "wac-subnet"
$VaultName = "wac-key-vault"
$CertName = "wac-cert"
$Location = "westeurope"
$PublicIpAddressName = "wac-public-ip"
$Size = "Standard_D4s_v3"
$Image = "Win2019Datacenter"
$Credential = Get-Credential
 
$scriptParams = @{
ResourceGroupName = $ResourceGroupName
Name = "wac-vm1"
Credential = $Credential
VirtualNetworkName = $VirtualNetworkName
SubnetName = $SubnetName
Location = $Location
Size = $Size
Image = $Image
GenerateSslCert = $true
}
./Deploy-WACAzVM.ps1 @scriptParams

This will deploy a new Azure virtual machine with Windows Admin Center installed and open the specific port 443 on the public IP address. You can find more install options and parameters to install WAC on an existing virtual machine or with an existing certificate on Microsoft Docs.

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

After the deployment has finished, simply click on the URL or IP address and it will open the Windows Admin Center portal.

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

I hope this gives you an overview about how you can deploy Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.