Category: Windows Server

Windows Server Summit 2022 Speakers

Speaking at the Windows Server Summit 2022

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking at the Windows Server Summit 2022 and show you how you can run the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Hybrid deployment options on Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI, as well as manage it through Azure Arc. But there is more to learn here, and we have some great speakers, such as Roanne Sones, Bernardo Caldas, and many more, showing you all the best about Windows Server.

Join us on: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 9:00 AM–10:30 AM Pacific Time and register right here.

Make sure you check out the latest about the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server customers.

Windows Server Summit 2022 Speakers
Windows Server Summit 2022 Speakers

Learn how to open up new opportunities for your org to innovate and operate more efficiently—while also improving security—at the Windows Server Summit. Join your peers and Microsoft experts for sessions and demos on the latest Windows Server 2022 and Azure capabilities.

You’ll gain practical skills and insights on how to:

  • Fortify your security with improved multilayer protection.
  • Easily manage and integrate your on-premises servers to Azure with Automanage and Windows Admin Center.
  • More efficiently secure and manage hybrid or multi-cloud environments.
  • Run apps seamlessly across on-premises datacenters and the cloud with Azure Arc.
  • Make the most of the management capabilities in System Center 2022.

And you’ll be able to ask the experts about your own use cases during the live Q&A.

I hope to see you live on the Windows Server Summit 2022!



Manage your AKS on Windows Server cluster from the Azure Portal using Azure Arc

New AKS hybrid deployment options enabled by Azure Arc, AKS Lite and Hybrid Benefit

This week at Microsoft Ignite Microsoft announced some new features and improvements to the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) hybrid deployment options enabled by Azure Arc. This allows you to run the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) you know as a managed Kubernetes on Azure, in a hybrid cloud environment on-premises, and edge locations. These include AKS Lite, new lifecycle management for AKS hybrid clusters, and the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

Azure Arc enabled AKS Hybrid at Microsoft Ignite
Azure Arc enabled AKS Hybrid at Microsoft Ignite

AKS Lite

AKS Lite allows you to deploy AKS as a light weight, static Kubernetes platform that enables rapid innovation and application modernization at the edge on Windows devices. AKS lite is designed PC-class devices running Windows 10/11 IoT Enterprise, Windows 10/11 Pro or Windows Server. AKS Lite is Microsoft-managed light-weight Kubernetes distribution, which can run both Linux and Windows containers, and coupled with Azure Arc customers can manage their edge Kubernetes cluster from Azure. You can learn more about AKS Lite here.

Lifecycle management of AKS hybrid clusters using Azure

With the new preview feature you can now directly deploy and manage AKS hybrid clusters running on Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server directly via Azure Portal or Azure CLI. This means you can also use Azure Resource Manager (ARM) or Bicep templates. This will provide a great management experience similar to the one for AKS in Azure. You can learn more about the AKS hybrid lifecycle management here.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Kubernetes Service

Microsoft Azure already offers great Azure Hybrid Benefits if you already own Windows Server and SQL Server licenses. With the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and your existing Windows Server Datacenter and Standard Software Assurance (SA) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) licenses you can run AKS on Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI at no additional cost in your datacenter and edge locations.

In addition to this, Windows Server Datacenter SA customers can now use Azure Stack HCI at no additional cost.

Learn more about these announcements on the official Tech Community blog.

If you are interested to get a sneak of some AKS hybrid deployment options, check out my video here (this doesn’t include the new lifecycle management)



Windows Server management overview

How To Manage Windows Server

In this blog post we are going to have a look at how you can manage Windows Server and what the right management tools are for you. To manage Windows Server, we offer a couple of different management tools depending on your needs, and in this blog post we are going to have a look at what the right solution is for you and how you can combine them.

Windows Server Management

As a Windows Server administrator, you’ve probably used many of the native Windows Server Microsoft Management Consoles (MMC) or PowerShell to keep the infrastructure secure and available. As the foundation of many on-premises, hybrid, and cloud native applications, the Windows Server teams have continued to invest in making the management and administration of your Windows Server instances easier by offering management tools like Azure Arc, Windows Admin Center, and System Center. These tools are designed to work together, and each have capabilities to meet you where you are in your server management needs.

Windows Server management overview
Windows Server management overview
  • Azure Arc – Azure Arc-enabled servers enables you to manage your Windows and Linux physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure, on your corporate network, or other cloud provider. This management experience is designed to be consistent with how you manage native Azure virtual machines. This allows you to manage, govern, and secure your Windows Servers with services such as Azure Policy, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Azure Monitor, Azure Update Management, and more.
  • Windows Admin Center – If you are looking into deep Windows Server and cluster administration, Windows Admin Center is an excellent choice. Windows Admin Center is the modern evolution of “in-box” management tools, like Server Manager and MMC, and complements other management solutions. And allows to manage servers remotely using PowerShell remoting. Windows Admin Center (WAC) also offers to connect hybrid Azure management services to your on-premises Windows Server. However, Windows Admin Center allows you to manage your Windows Servers with no Azure or cloud dependency.
  • System Center – System Center allows you to stay in control of your IT infrastructure across your environment and platforms. It allows you to simplify the deployment, configuration, management, and monitoring of your infrastructure and virtualized software-defined datacenter, while increasing agility and performance.
  • Windows Server on Azure – If you are running your Windows Server on Azure, Azure natively has management tools built in to manage your Azure Virtual Machines at cloud-scale.

If you want to learn more about your different Windows Server management tools and capabilities check out the new Microsoft Docs page.

Better together Windows Server and Azure Management

Windows Server together with Microsoft Azure cloud management capabilities allows you to get even more out of your Windows Server investments. These management capabilities are great for Windows Server running on Azure, but also for Windows Server running on-premises, at the edge, or other cloud providers using Azure Arc.

Windows Server Azure Management
Windows Server Azure Management

If you want to learn more about what Azure services are available to manage your Windows Servers, check out Microsoft Docs.

If you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comments below.



Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal - Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM

Manage Arc-enabled Windows Server with Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal

With a new feature called Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal, you can now securely manage your Windows Server machines running as an Azure virtual machine (VM) or running on-premises with Azure Arc, directly from the Azure portal.

Azure provides a lot of different management tools to manage your virtual machines or physical servers at scale. In cases where you need to troubleshoot or directly manage a server interactively, you can now leverage Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal. This works for Azure VMs as well as for servers running on-premises or other cloud providers using Azure Arc-enabled servers.

Windows Admin Center is a browser-based management tool set that lets you manage your Windows Servers. Windows Admin Center gives you full control over all aspects of your server infrastructure and is particularly useful for managing servers on private networks that are not connected to the Internet. Windows Admin Center is the modern evolution of “in-box” management tools, like Server Manager and MMC. Now you can not only install and deploy it locally, but also use it directly from the Azure Portal.

When you want to manage a server running on-premises or at another cloud provider, the only thing you will need to do is install the connect the Azure Arc agent on your Windows Server. After that you can enable Windows Admin Center for this machine. There is no need for a VPN on direct connection to the server.

Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers

Enabling Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal for Azure Arc enabled servers running Windows Server is simple. Navigate to the Azure Arc enabled server and click on Windows Admin Center in the menu. Here you can click on “Set up“, this will install the Windows Admin Center extension which can take a couple of minutes.

Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers
Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers

After this one time set up is done, you also need to provide permissions to the user or group which should be able to use Windows Admin Center for this Azure Arc-enabled server. Under Access control (IAM) can you add a new role assignment called Windows Admin Center Administrator Login, which allows users and groups to connect.

Set permissions
Set permissions

Now when you navigate back to Windows Admin Center, you can see the Connect button.

Azure Arc enabled Server connect Windows Admin Center
Azure Arc enabled Server connect Windows Admin Center

After clicking on connect, you will be prompted for a local account for that specific server. This can also be an Active Directory account.

Sign in to Windows Server
Sign in to Windows Server

Manage Azure Arc-enabled Windows Server using Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal

After the signing in Windows Admin Center will load in the Azure portal and you will be able to directly manage your server from Azure.

Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal - Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM
Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal – Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM

Conclusion

Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers is a fantastic way to securely manage and troubleshoot your Windows Servers running on-premises or at other cloud providers without having direct network access to these servers. If you want to learn more check out the official Microsoft Docs and check out how to SSH access your Linux and Windows Servers running anywhere with Azure Arc!



New-AksHciCluster PowerShell comand

Set up a single-node AKS cluster on Windows Server on-premises

In this blog post we are going to have a look at how you can deploy a single-node Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster on Windows Server running on-premises in your hybrid cloud environment and connect it with Azure Arc.

Many customers want to modernize their application landscape and are using managed Kubernetes services from cloud providers such as the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Microsoft Azure. Many of these organizations also require running Kubernetes on-premises in their hybrid cloud and edge environment. With Microsofts offering you can deploy the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on-premises on Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI or Azure Stack Hub.

If you want to run AKS on-premises in product obviously you will need to deploy a Windows Server Hyper-V, Azure Stack HCI, or Azure Stack Hub cluster, however, if you just want to evaluate AKS or run it in a development environment, you can also run it on a single-node Windows Server with Hyper-V.

Prerequisites

If you want to run a single-node AKS on a Windows Server, there are a couple of prerequisites.

  • An Azure subscription to register the AKS cluster
  • 32 GB of memory or more depending on the workloads
  • Minimum of 500GB direct attached storage (Data drive)
  • Networking
    • One Network Adapter
    • Verify that you have disabled IPv6 on all network adapters.
    • Must have external internet connectivity.
    • Make sure all subnets you define for the cluster are routable amongst each other and to the internet.
    • Make sure that there’s network connectivity between the Windows Server host and the tenant VMs.
    • DNS name resolution is required for all nodes to be able to communicate with each other.
    • (Recommended) Enable dynamic DNS updates in your DNS environment to allow AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server to register the cloud agent generic cluster name in the DNS system for discovery. If dynamic DNS isn’t an option, use the steps prescribed in ‘Set-AksHciConfig’.

To learn more about the AKS on Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server prerequisites, check out Microsoft Docs.

Set up an Azure Kubernetes Service host Windows Server and deploy a workload cluster using PowerShell

Now before we get started, I want to mention that you can also set up the AKS on Windows Server cluster using Windows Admin Center, you can find more here on Microsoft Docs. However, I prefer the PowerShell way.

Set up Azure Kubernetes Service AKS on Windows Server
Set up Azure Kubernetes Service AKS on Windows Server

Windows Admin Center provides a super straight forward wizard to install AKS on Windows Server or Azure Stack HCI.

Set up Hyper-V

First set up Hyper-V on your Windows Server and create a virtual switch.

# Install the Hyper-V Role
Install-WindowsFeature  "Hyper-V" -IncludeAllSubFeature -IncludeManagementTools -Restart
# After the reboot create the virtual Switch
New-VMSwitch -Name VirtualSwitch -NetAdapterName Ethernet -AllowManagementOS $true
# Set Default Storage Path
Set-VMHost -VirtualHardDiskPath "E:\VMs" -VirtualMachinePath "E:\VMs"
# Disable IPv6 on all network adapters
Disable-NetAdapterBinding -Name "*" -ComponentID ms_tcpip6
Install Hyper-V
Install Hyper-V

Install the AksHci PowerShell module

If you have not installed the AksHci PowerShell module, run the following commands to install the modules. You must close all existing PowerShell windows and open a fresh administrative session to install the pre-requisite PowerShell packages and modules.

# Prepare PowerShell
Install-PackageProvider -Name NuGet -Force 
Install-Module -Name PowershellGet -Force -Confirm:$false -SkipPublisherCheck
# Install PowerShell modules
Install-Module -Name Az.Accounts -Repository PSGallery -RequiredVersion 2.2.4
Install-Module -Name Az.Resources -Repository PSGallery -RequiredVersion 3.2.0
Install-Module -Name AzureAD -Repository PSGallery -RequiredVersion 2.0.2.128
Install-Module -Name AksHci -Repository PSGallery
# Import PowerShell modules
Import-Module Az.Accounts
Import-Module Az.Resources
Import-Module AzureAD
Import-Module AksHci
# Validate your installation
Get-Command -Module AksHci
Install AksHci PowerShell modules
Install AksHci PowerShell modules

Register the resource provider to your Azure subscription and login to Azure

Before the registration process, you need to enable the appropriate resource provider in Azure for AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server registration. To do that, run the following PowerShell commands.

# Login
Connect-AzAccount -Tenant <tenantId> -DeviceCode
Set-AzContext -Subscription "xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx"
# Register Resource Providers
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Kubernetes
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.KubernetesConfiguration

To validate the registration process, run the following PowerShell command:

# Verify
Get-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Kubernetes
Get-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.KubernetesConfiguration

Prepare your machine for deployment

Run checks on every physical node to see if all the requirements are satisfied to install AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server. Open PowerShell as an administrator and run the following Initialize-AksHciNode command.

Initialize-AksHciNode
Initialize-AksHciNode
Initialize-AksHciNode

Create a virtual network using the virtual switch earlier. If you don’t remember the name, use the Get-VMSwitch command to find the virtual switch.

To create a virtual network for the nodes in your deployment to use, create an environment variable with the New-AksHciNetworkSetting PowerShell command. This will be used later to configure a deployment that uses static IP.

#Set up vNet with static IP
$vnet = New-AksHciNetworkSetting -name myvnet -vSwitchName "VirtualSwitch" -k8sNodeIpPoolStart "172.21.21.21" -k8sNodeIpPoolEnd "172.21.21.49" -vipPoolStart "172.21.21.51" -vipPoolEnd "172.21.21.120" -ipAddressPrefix "172.21.21.0/24" -gateway "172.21.21.1" -dnsServers "172.21.21.11"

To create the configuration settings for the AKS host, use the Set-AksHciConfig command. You must specify the imageDirworkingDir, and cloudConfigLocation parameters. If you want to reset your configuration details, run the command again with new parameters.

Set-AksHciConfig -imageDir E:\Images -workingDir E:\ImageStore -cloudConfigLocation E:\Config -vnet $vnet -cloudservicecidr "172.21.21.121/24"

Run the following Set-AksHciRegistration PowerShell command with your subscription and resource group name to log into Azure. You must have an Azure subscription, and an existing Azure resource group in the Australia East, East US, Southeast Asia, or West Europe Azure regions to proceed.

Set-AksHciRegistration -subscriptionId "<subscriptionId>" -resourceGroupName "<resourceGroupName>" -TenantId "<tenantId>" -UseDeviceAuthentication
Create AKS Configuration and Registration in Azure
Create AKS Configuration and Registration in Azure

After you’ve configured your deployment, you must start it to install the AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server agents/services and the AKS host. To begin deployment, run the following commands:

# More detail
$VerbosePreference = "Continue"
# Install AKS on Windows Server
Install-AksHci
Installation Azure Kubernetes Service AKS on Windows Server with PowerShell
Installation Azure Kubernetes Service AKS on Windows Server with PowerShell

This will also download the necessary images for the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster.

Downloading images
Downloading images

Manage your AKS on Windows Server deployment

You can now manage your AKS on Windows Server deployment using PowerShell or Windows Admin Center.

Azure Kubernetes Service Runtime on Windows Server​​ with Windows Admin Center
Azure Kubernetes Service Runtime on Windows Server​​ with Windows Admin Center

You can also see the deploy virtual machines for the AKS services and the future Kubernetes clusters you create in Hyper-V Manager

Hyper-V Manager
Hyper-V Manager

If you need to update your Azure Kubernetes Cluster (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server, you can simply open the host settings.

Update AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server
Update AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server

Create a Kubernetes Cluster

After installing your AKS host, you are ready to deploy a Kubernetes cluster. To create a new Kubernetes cluster on AKS on Windows Server, you can use PowerShell or Windows Admin Center.

PowerShell

Open PowerShell as an administrator and run the following New-AksHciCluster command. This command will create a new Kubernetes cluster with one Linux node pool named linuxnodepool with a node count of 2. To read more information about node pools, visit Use node pools in AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server.

New-AksHciCluster -name mycluster -nodePoolName linuxnodepool -nodeCount 2 -osType Linux
New-AksHciCluster PowerShell comand
New-AksHciCluster PowerShell comand

Windows Admin Center

Or use the web-based UI from Windows Admin Center following the wizard.

Create Kubernetes Cluster AKS on Windows Server using Windows Admin Center
Create Kubernetes Cluster AKS on Windows Server using Windows Admin Center

Connect your cluster to Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes

Connect your cluster to Arc enabled Kubernetes by running the Enable-AksHciArcConnection command. The command below connects your AKS on Windows Server cluster to Azure Arc.

Connect-AzAccount -Tenant <tenantId> -DeviceCode
Enable-AksHciArcConnection -name mycluster

Now you can view and manage your AKS on Windows Server running on-premises directly from the Azure portal using Azure Arc. This allows you to enable monitoring, use Microsoft Defender for Kubernetes, Azure Policy, configure GitOps, leverage role-based access control (RBAC), and much more.

Manage your AKS on Windows Server cluster from the Azure Portal using Azure Arc
Manage your AKS on Windows Server cluster from the Azure Portal using Azure Arc

Manage your Hybrid AKS Kubernetes Cluster on Windows Server

Access your cluster using kubectl

To access your Kubernetes clusters using kubectl, run the Get-AksHciCredential PowerShell command. This will use the specified cluster’s kubeconfig file as the default kubeconfig file for kubectl. You can also use kubectl to deploy applications using Helm.

If you haven’t installed kubectl on your Windows machine, you can simply do that using the following commands:

mkdir C:\kube
Start-BitsTransfer -Source "https://dl.k8s.io/release/v1.24.0/bin/windows/amd64/kubectl.exe" -Destination "C:\kube"
$Env:PATH += ";C:\kube"
Get-AksHciCredential -name mycluster
Access your AKS on Windows Server Kubernetes cluster using kubectl
Access your AKS on Windows Server Kubernetes cluster using kubectl

Monitoring with Azure Monitor using Azure Arc

Once your AKS cluster running on-premises is connected to Azure Arc you can enable Azure Monitor for containers. This is straight forwarded, just click on Insights, and enable Azure Monitor.

Enable Monitoring for Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes cluster
Enable Monitoring for Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes cluster

After enabling monitoring, you can review information about the AKS cluster on Windows Server directly in Azure Monitor, and you can also set up alerting.

Azure Monitor AKS on Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI using Azure Arc
Azure Monitor AKS on Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI using Azure Arc
Monitoring Containers
Monitoring Containers

By enabling Azure Monitor you can also access the logs.

Get Kubernetes Logs using Azure Arc and Log Analytics
Get Kubernetes Logs using Azure Arc and Log Analytics

Scale a Kubernetes Cluster

If you need to scale your cluster up or down, you can change the number of control plane nodes using the Set-AksHciCluster command, and you can change the number of Linux or Windows worker nodes in your node pool using the Set-AksHciNodePool command.

To scale control plane nodes, run the following command.

Set-AksHciCluster -name mycluster -controlPlaneNodeCount 3

To scale the AKS worker nodes in your node pool, run the following command.

Set-AksHciNodePool -clusterName mycluster -name linuxnodepool -count 3

You can also use vertical node scaling in AKS on Windows Server & Azure Stack HCI to change the size of the virtual machines in each node pool to increase the resources available to your node pool.

# Show available VM sizes
Get-AksHciVmSize
# Set new VM size for the nodepool
Set-AksHciNodePool -ClusterName mycluster -name mycluster-linux -vmsize Standard_A4_v2

Security and GitOps for your Kubernetes cluster using Azure Arc

By connecting your Kubernetes cluster to Azure using Azure Arc, you can enable Microsoft Defender for Containers and Azure Policy to make sure your cluster is secure and compliant.

GitOps on Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes or Azure Kubernetes Service uses Flux, a popular open-source tool set. Flux provides support for common file sources (Git and Helm repositories, Buckets) and template types (YAML, Helm, and Kustomize). Flux also supports multi-tenancy and deployment dependency management, among other features.

Run Azure services on-premises using Azure Arc

By deploying the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on-premises and Azure Arc enabling it, you can also start running Azure services such as Azure Arc-enabled data services with SQL MI or Azure Arc-enabled application services on top of your Kubernetes cluster.

End to End Azure Hybrid withAzure Stack HCI AKS and Azure Arc
End to End Azure Hybrid with Azure Stack HCI AKS and Azure Arc

Conclusion

Setting up the Azure Kubernetes Service on Windows Server or Azure Stack HCI is super straightforward. You can easily set it up using the wizard in Windows Admin Center or PowerShell. And with the additional management capabilities with PowerShell, CLI, Windows Admin Center, Azure Arc, administration, and deployment of apps is super easy.



AZ-801 Exam Study Guide Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

AZ-801 Exam Study Guide Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

Microsoft just released two new exams for Windows Server Hybrid Administrators. With the exams AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure and AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services you can gain the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification. In this blog post I want to share my AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services Certification Exam Study Guide with you. To learn and prepare for the exam, I usually use a couple of online resources, mainly Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, which I am going to share with you. You can find more information about how I prepare for a Microsoft Certification exam on my blog post: How to prepare and pass Microsoft Certification Exam.

AZ-800 and AZ-801 Exams Microsoft Certified Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Study Guide
AZ-800 and AZ-801 Exams Microsoft Certified Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Study Guide

Also, check out other Microsoft Azure Certification Exam Study Guides:

Here is my AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services Certification Exam Study Guide

It is essential to get familiar with the exam objectives and skills measured first. That is why I recommend reading the description of the exam and the skills measured.

Exam AZ-801: Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services
Candidates for this exam configure advanced Windows Server services using on-premises, hybrid, and cloud technologies. These professionals should have expertise in implementing and managing on-premises and hybrid solutions, including performing tasks related to security, migration, monitoring, high availability, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery. They use administrative tools and technologies, such as Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, Azure Arc, Azure Automation Update Management, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Azure Security Center, Azure Migrate, and Azure Monitor.
A candidate for this exam should have extensive experience working with Windows Server operating systems.

Microsoft Docs

The high-level view of the skills measured in the exam:

  • Secure Windows Server on-premises and hybrid infrastructures (25-30%)
  • Implement and manage Windows Server high availability (10-15%)
  • Implement disaster recovery (10-15%)
  • Migrate servers and workloads (20-25%)
  • Monitor and troubleshoot Windows Server environments (20-25%)

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification

By passing the AZ-800 and AZ-801 exam, you will gain the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification.

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification
Responsibilities for this role include integrating Windows Server environments with Azure services and managing Windows Server in on-premises networks. This role manages and maintains Windows Server IaaS workloads in Azure, in addition to migrating and deploying workloads to Azure.
Candidates for this certification administer core and advanced Windows Server workloads and services using on-premises, hybrid, and cloud technologies. These professionals should have expertise in implementing and managing on-premises and hybrid solutions, such as identity, management, compute, networking, and storage. They are also experts at performing tasks related to security, migration, monitoring, high availability, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery. These professionals use administrative tools and technologies, including Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, Azure Arc, and IaaS virtual machine administration. They also work with Azure Automation Update Management, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Azure Security Center, Azure Migrate, and Azure Monitor.
A candidate for this certification should have extensive experience working with Windows Server operating systems.

Microsoft Docs

You can learn more on the certification website.

Free Online Microsoft Learn AZ-801 Exam Study Guide resources

Microsoft Learn provides you with free online training and learning paths for different Microsoft technologies. They not just offer reading material, but also control questions and free online labs. Here are some relevant Microsoft Learn modules and learning paths for the AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services Certification Exam. Microsoft Learn is an important part of my AZ-801 exam study guide.

Microsoft Docs AZ-801 Study Guide resources

One thing I always used to prepare for my Microsoft exams is Microsoft Docs. Here are the relevant Microsoft Docs which I used to prepare and study for the AZ-801 exam. If you want to get some hands-on experience, I also recommend checking out my Windows Server and Azure Arc Lab Kit.

Secure Windows Server On-premises and Hybrid Infrastructures (25-30%)

Secure Windows Server operating system

Secure a hybrid Active Directory (AD) infrastructure

Identify and remediate Windows Server security issues by using Azure services

Secure Windows Server networking

Secure Windows Server storage

Implement and Manage Windows Server High Availability (10-15%)

Implement a Windows Server failover cluster

Manage failover clustering

Implement and manage Storage Spaces Direct

Implement Disaster Recovery (10-15%)

Manage backup and recovery for Windows Server

Implement disaster recovery by using Azure Site Recovery

Protect virtual machines by using Hyper-V replicas

Migrate Servers and Workloads (20-25%)

Migrate on-premises storage to on-premises servers or Azure

Migrate on-premises servers to Azure

Migrate workloads from previous versions to Windows Server 2022

Migrate IIS workloads to Azure

Migrate an AD DS infrastructure to Windows Server 2022 AD DS

Monitor and Troubleshoot Windows Server Environments (20-25%)

Monitor Windows Server by using Windows Server tools and Azure services

Troubleshoot Windows Server on-premises and hybrid networking

Troubleshoot Windows Server virtual machines in Azure

Troubleshoot Active Directory

Tips and Resources

I hope this AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services for the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Exam Study Guide helps you pass the exam and get the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator certification. I also recommend that you open a free Azure account if you don’t have one yet. You can create your free Azure account here. Also, check out my blog posts about Microsoft Azure Certification:

I hope you enjoyed my AZ-801 Study Guide, and it helps you with exam prep. Did I miss any link, or do you have any recommended AZ-801 Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Certification Exam Study resources? Let me know in the comments.



AZ-800 Exam Study Guide Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure Windows Server Hybrid Administrator

AZ-800 Exam Study Guide Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure

Microsoft just released two new exams for Windows Server Hybrid Administrators. With the exams AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure and AZ-801 Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services you can gain the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification. In this blog post I want to share my AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure Certification Exam Study Guide with you. To learn and prepare for the exam, I usually use a couple of online resources, mainly Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, which I am going to share with you. You can find more information about how I prepare for a Microsoft Certification exam on my blog post: How to prepare and pass Microsoft Certification Exam.

AZ-800 and AZ-801 Exams Microsoft Certified Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Study Guide
AZ-800 and AZ-801 Exams Microsoft Certified Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Study Guide

Also, check out other Microsoft Azure Certification Exam Study Guides:

My AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure Certification Exam Study Guide

It is essential to get familiar with the exam objectives and skills measured first. That is why I recommend reading the description of the exam and the skills measured.

Exam AZ-800: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure
Candidates for this exam administer core Windows Server workloads using on-premises, hybrid, and cloud technologies. These professionals should have expertise in implementing and managing on-premises and hybrid solutions, such as identity, management, compute, networking, and storage. They use administrative tools and technologies, such as Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, Azure Arc, and IaaS virtual machine administration.
A candidate for this exam should have extensive experience working with Windows Server operating systems.

Microsoft Docs

The high-level view of the skills measured in the exam:

  • Deploy and manage Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in on-premises and cloud environments (30-35%)
  • Manage Windows Servers and workloads in a hybrid environment (10-15%)
  • Manage virtual machines and containers (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage an on-premises and hybrid networking infrastructure (15-20%)
  • Manage storage and file services (15-20%)

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification

By passing the AZ-800 and AZ-801 exam, you will gain the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification.

Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification
Responsibilities for this role include integrating Windows Server environments with Azure services and managing Windows Server in on-premises networks. This role manages and maintains Windows Server IaaS workloads in Azure, in addition to migrating and deploying workloads to Azure.
Candidates for this certification administer core and advanced Windows Server workloads and services using on-premises, hybrid, and cloud technologies. These professionals should have expertise in implementing and managing on-premises and hybrid solutions, such as identity, management, compute, networking, and storage. They are also experts at performing tasks related to security, migration, monitoring, high availability, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery. These professionals use administrative tools and technologies, including Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, Azure Arc, and IaaS virtual machine administration. They also work with Azure Automation Update Management, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Azure Security Center, Azure Migrate, and Azure Monitor.
A candidate for this certification should have extensive experience working with Windows Server operating systems.

Microsoft Docs

You can learn more on the certification website.

Free Online Microsoft Learn AZ-800 Exam Study Guide resources

Microsoft Learn provides you with free online training and learning paths for different Microsoft technologies. They not just offer reading material, but also control questions and free online labs. Here are some relevant Microsoft Learn modules and learning paths for the AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure Certification Exam. Microsoft Learn is an important part of my AZ-800 exam study guide.

Microsoft Docs AZ-800 Study Guide resources

One thing I always used to prepare for my Microsoft exams is Microsoft Docs. Here are the relevant Microsoft Docs which I used to prepare and study for the AZ-800 exam. If you want to get some hands-on experience, I also recommend checking out my Windows Server and Azure Arc Lab Kit.

Deploy and manage Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in on-premises and cloud environments (30–35%)

Manage Windows Servers and workloads in a hybrid environment (10–15%)

Manage virtual machines and containers (15–20%)

Implement and manage an on-premises and hybrid networking infrastructure (15–20%)

Manage storage and file services (15–20%)

Tips and Resources

I hope this AZ-800 Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure for the Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate Certification Exam Study Guide helps you pass the exam and get the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator certification. I also recommend that you open a free Azure account if you don’t have one yet. You can create your free Azure account here. Also, check out my blog posts about Microsoft Azure Certification:

I hope you enjoyed my AZ-800 Study Guide, and it helps you with exam prep. Did I miss any link, or do you have any recommended AZ-800 Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Certification Exam Study resources? Let me know in the comments.



Azure webinar series Windows Server Management Security and Monitoring

Webinar: Windows Server Management, Security and Monitoring

I am happy to let you know that we are planning a Microsoft free online webinar for Windows Server Management, Security and Monitoring on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 10:00 AM–11:00 AM Pacific Time.

Customers are choosing a hybrid and multi-cloud approach to digitally transform their businesses. If you have on-premises Windows Server workloads, you can now take advantage of cloud services with Windows Server 2022 by connecting with Azure Arc.

Join this webinar and learn how:

  • Hybrid services and Azure Arc can extend your datacenter for IT efficiency.
  • You can connect your on-premises servers to Azure through Windows Admin Center or the Azure Portal.
  • To secure your on-premises estate with Microsoft Defender for servers.
  • Azure Arc can help meet the governance, compliance, and organizational standards through policies for apps, infrastructure, and data.

Feel free to register for this webinar around Windows Server Management here, and see you there!



Windows Server 2022 Management

Windows Server 2022 Hybrid Management with Azure Arc, Automanage, Windows Admin Center, and more!

A lot of people are deploying WIndows Server on-premises, in Azure, and at the edge. I often get asked how you can implement modern Windows Server 2022 Management in a Hybrid Cloud environment. So, in this video you can learn how you can manage your Windows Server 2022 with Microsoft Azure using tools such as Azure Arc, Windows Admin Center, and Azure Automanage! This is a session recording from the Windows Server Summit 2021!

Check out the video recording to learn more about Windows Server 2022 Hybrid Management with Azure Arc, Automanage, Windows Admin Center, and more! ☁️

YouTube: Windows Server 2022 Hybrid Management with Azure Arc, Automanage, Windows Admin Center, and more! ☁️

📺 Agenda

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:30 Windows Server 2022
  • 3:30 Hybrid Cloud Capabilities
  • 5:18 Windows Admin Center
  • 8:33 Azure Arc
  • 30:05 Azure Automanage
  • 34:18 Recap and Get started

Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center is a locally deployed, browser-based app for managing Windows servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, as well as Windows 10 PCs. It is a free product and is ready to use in production.

Link: Windows Admin Center

You can now use Windows Admin Center (preview) in the Azure portal to manage the Windows Server operating system inside an Azure VM. Manage operating system functions from the Azure portal as well as work with files in the VM without using Remote Desktop or PowerShell.

Link: Use Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal to manage a Windows Server VM

Azure Arc enabled Server

zure Arc-enabled servers enables you to manage your Windows and Linux physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure, on your corporate network, or other cloud provider. This management experience is designed to be consistent with 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. Each connected machine has a Resource ID enabling the machine to be included in a resource group. Now you can benefit from standard Azure constructs, such as Azure Policy and applying tags. Service providers managing a customer’s on-premises infrastructure can manage their hybrid machines, just like they do today with native Azure resources, across multiple customer environments using Azure Lighthouse.

Link: What is Azure Arc-enabled servers?

Azure Automanage

Azure Automanage machine best practices is a service that eliminates the need to discover, know how to onboard, and how to configure certain services in Azure that would benefit your virtual machine. These services are considered to be Azure best practices services, and help enhance reliability, security, and management for virtual machines. Example services include Azure Update Management and Azure Backup.

Link: Azure Automanage for machine best practices

These Azure services are automatically onboarded for you when you use Automanage Machine Best Practices on an Azure Arc-enabled server VM. They are essential to our best practices white paper, which you can find in our Cloud Adoption Framework.

For all of these services, we will auto-onboard, auto-configure, monitor for drift, and remediate if drift is detected. To learn more, go to Azure Automanage for virtual machines.

Link: Azure Automanage for Machines Best Practices – Azure Arc-enabled servers

📄 Links

Conclusion Windows Server 2022 Hybrid Management

I hope this video was helpful to learn more about Windows Server 2022 Hybrid Cloud Management using Azure Arc, Automanage, Windows Admin Center, and more! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



End of Support Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack

Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack

Windows Server is an essential workload platform for almost every organization, and is one of the most popular operating systems in Azure. Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack HCI offer additional benefits to Windows Server such as the Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition which includes features like hotpatch as part of Azure Automanage and many other things. An additional capacity of running Windows Server in Azure or on Azure Stack HCI, Hub, and Edge, is that you get extended security updates (ESU) included for free for Windows Server and SQL Server which are out of mainstream support. This applies to Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and will soon apply to Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 when it reaches end of support, plus the corresponding versions of SQL Server.

Let’s have a quick look at your options with End of Support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012. In this blog I tried to provide you with a brief overview as well as links to the necessary resources.

Disclaimer: This post is only to help customer to find the right resources and evaluate their options. Only information from official Microsoft resources are valide.

End of Support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012, and 2012 R2 End of Extended support is coming:

  • SQL Server 2012 Extended Support will end on July 12, 2022.
  • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 Extended Support will end on October 10, 2023.
End of Support Windows Server and SQL Server 2012
End of Support Windows Server and SQL Server 2012

Options for SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 End of Support

The best way to address this is of course to upgrade and modernize the latest versions of SQL Server 2022 and Windows Server 2022 or modernize to Azure PaaS services. However, some organizations need some additional time to modernize their platform and environment. For these customer Microsoft offers Extended Security Updates (ESU).

  • In Azure and on-premises (hybrid): Customers running SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 in Azure will get Extended Security Updates for free. Free Extended Security Updates are available for Azure Virtual Machines including Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMWare Solution, Azure Nutanix Solution, and Azure Stack (Hub, Edge, and HCI).
  • On-premises (no Azure): Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server for the first year, 100 percent of the license cost for the second year, and 125 percent of the license cost for the third year. Customers pay for only the servers they need to cover, so they can reduce costs each year as they upgrade parts of their environment.

You can learn more on the blog from Debbi Lyons (Director, Product Marketing, Azure SQL and Database Migration) and Vijay Kumar (Director, Product Marketing, Windows Server and Azure Arc) here.

End of Support Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack
End of Support Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack

If you are looking at a migration to Microsoft Azure, check out my YouTube video on how to migrate servers to Azure using Azure Migrate.

Obtain Windows Server and SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates (ESU)

  • In Azure, you can obtain Windows Server Extended Security Updates automatically to your Azure virtual machine through Windows Server Update Service. 
  • Get your SQL Server Extended Security Updates in Azure by registering your subscription with the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension. Learn more about registering your SQL Server virtual machine with the IaaS Agent extension.
  • On-premises, your Windows Server Extended Security Updates will be delivered as any regular Windows Server Update.  
  • On-premises SQL Server Extended Security Updates can be obtained by connecting your SQL Server to Azure Arc.

Additional Resources

  • Support for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates (ESU) on Azure Stack HCI was announced during Microsoft Ignite 2021.
  • You can learn more about Extended Security Updates (ESU) and end-of-support for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012 on microsoft.com.
  • If you want to learn how to use Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows Server, check out Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion

I hope this blog provides you with an overview of you option for the end-of-support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012, and how you can leverage Azure and Azure Stack to get free Extended Security Updates (ESU). If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below.