Category: Work

All about my Work


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Windows Server 2019 Add Remote Access Role

How to install VPN on Windows Server 2019

This blog post is a step by step guide how to install and configure VPN on Windows Server 2019. The blog post shows you how you can easily setup a VPN server for a small environment, branch office or for a hosted server scenario. This VPN (Virtual Private Network) server allows you to connect from remote clients or firewalls to the Windows Server.

I already did a similar post for other versions of Windows

To install VPN access to a Windows Server 2019, simply follow this step by step guide:



IT Camp 2018 Overview

Speaking about Azure Stack at IT Camp 2018 in Cluj-Napoca

I am happy to announce that I will be speaking for another year at IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca Romania. This will be my third time I will be part of this amazing IT conference in Transylvania, this time for IT Camp 2018. In my session I will speak about Azure Stack and provide you with information how you can leverage Azure Stack in your datacenter.

IT Camp 2018 Speaker Thomas Maurer

Azure Stack - Everything you need to know!

Microsoft released Azure Stack as a Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate a Azure Stack in your datacenter. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experience during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP).

It will be again an amazing event with a lot of top speakers, a lot of fun and a lot of knowledge for networking. I hope I see you there!



Azure Storage Explorer

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0 back in April. There was not a lot of noise about it, but it is great that this tool finally reached version 1.0. Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone app that enables you to easily work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This works with Azure as well as Microsoft Azure Stack.

Azure Storage Explorer is an easy to use tool to manage Azure Storage types:

  • Access multiple accounts and subscriptions across Azure, Azure Stack, and the sovereign Cloud
  • Create, delete, view, and edit storage resources
  • View and edit Blob, Queue, Table, File, Cosmos DB storage and Data Lake Storage
  • Obtain shared access signature (SAS) keys
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Version 1.0.0 brings some new features which were highly requested. Especially the shared account store with Visual Studio 2017 and the improved Azure Stack  integration are very welcome.

  • Enhanced authentication that allows Storage Explorer to use the same account store as Visual Studio 2017. To use this feature, you will need to re-login to your accounts and re-set your filtered subscriptions.
  • For Azure Stack accounts backed by AAD, Storage Explorer will now retrieve Azure Stack subscriptions when ‘Target Azure Stack’ is enabled. You no longer need to create a custom login environment.
  • Several shortcuts were added to enable faster navigation. These include toggling various panels and moving between editors. See the View menu for more details.
  • Storage Explorer feedback now lives on GitHub. You can reach our issues page by clicking the Feedback button in the bottom left or by going to https://github.com/Microsoft/AzureStorageExplorer/issues. Feel free to make suggestions, report issues, ask questions, or leave any other form of feedback.
  • If you are running into SSL Certificate issues and are unable to find the offending certificate, you can now launch Storage Explorer from the command line with the –ignore-certificate-errors flag. When launched with this flag, Storage Explorer will ignore SSL certificate errors.
  • There is now a ‘Download’ option in the context menu for blob and file items.
  • Improved accessibility and screen reader support. If you rely on accessibility features, see our accessibility documentation for more information.
  • Storage Explorer now uses Electron 1.8.3


Thomas Maurer Supercharging Hyper-V with quantum computing

Speaking at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day in Germany

I already announced that I will be speaking at the Cloud & Datacenter Conference 2018 in Germany again this year. One day before the conferences starts there is a Pre-Day with the Hyper-V Community and Hybrid Cloud Community, where I will have another session. This session will purely focus on the latest and greats in Hyper-V.

Supercharging Hyper-V with quantum computing

Okay, I am not really talking about quantum computing, but hey there are some cool features in Hyper-V you should definitely know about! In this session Thomas Maurer will talk about 10 hidden Hyper-V features everyone should know about. This covers different features for Hyper-V on Windows Server as well as on Windows 10. Be prepared for a lot of Demos!

The Speaking at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day will take place on 14th May in Hanau Germany (Close to Frankfurt). I hope to see you there!



Techorama 2018

Speaking about Azure Stack and Hyper-V at Techorama 2018 in Antwerp Belgium

Today I am happy to announce that I am one of the speakers at the Techorama 2018 conference in Antwerp Belgium. Techorama is a yearly international technology conference which takes place at Metropolis Antwerp. Techorama welcomes about 1500 attendees, a healthy mix between developers, IT Professionals, Data Professionals and SharePoint professionals. Their commitment is to create a unique conference experience with quality content and the best speaker line-up. Techorama will take place from the 22nd -24th of May 2018.

I will be speaking in two sessions about Microsoft Azure Stack and Hyper-V

Azure Stack - Your Cloud Your Datacenter

Microsoft released Azure Stack as a Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate a Azure Stack in your datacenter. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experience during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP).

10 hidden Hyper-V features you should know about!

In this session Thomas Maurer will talk about 10 hidden Hyper-V features everyone should know about. This covers different features for Hyper-V on Windows Server as well as on Windows 10. Be prepared for a lot of Demos!

Hopefully see you there!



Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center – The Next Generation Windows Server Management Experience

Back in September Microsoft released Project Honolulu, which is the codename for a new Windows Server management experience. Today Microsoft announced the Windows Admin Center. Windows Admin Center is a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools to manage Windows Server locally and remote. Windows Admin Center (WAC) gives IT Admins full control over all aspects of their Server infrastructure, and is particularly useful for management on private networks that are not connected to the Internet.

I had the chance to test and work with Windows Admin Center for a while in a private preview program. This give me the chance to test and work with WAC for quiet some time.

Windows Admin Center is the modern evolution of the “in-box” management tools of Windows Server, like Server Manager, MMC, and many others. It is complementary to other Microsoft Management solutions such as System Center and Operations Management Suite. And as Microsoft clearly states, WAC is not designed to replace these products and services. WAC is a replacement for the local only tools and is especially handy if you run Windows Server Core.

Windows Admin Center Deployment Overview

(Picture for Microsoft)

You might remember the Azure Server Management Tools (SMT). SMT were management tools hosted in Azure and allowed you to manage your servers in the cloud and on-primes. Basically a hosted services of Windows Admin Center. The feedback however was, that a lot of customer preferred a on-premise solution for their management experience. Microsoft took that feedback and created Windows Admin Center formally known as Project Honolulu.

Windows Admin Center Functionality

Windows Admin Center PowerShell

  • Simplified server management – WAC consolidates many distinct tools into one clean and simple web interface. Rather switching between different tools, you can final everything in one place.
  • Illuminate your datacenter infrastructure – With WAC you can manage Windows Server 2016, 2012/2012 R2, Hyper-V Server 2012 and higher. WAC not only allows you to manage standalone servers, but also complete solutions such a failover clusters, hyper-converged clusters based on Storage Spaces Direct and much more. And I am sure you can bet it will also support Windows Server 2019 when it arrives.
  • The tools you know, reimagined – Windows Admin Center provides the core familiar tools you have used in the past.
  • Manage Hyper-Converged Infrastructure –  WAC brings solutions to manage your Hyper-Converged systems. You get a single pane of glass to manage and operate your Storage Spaces Direct Clusters. You can easily get an overview about resources, performance, health and alerts.

Windows Admin Center Management Experience

Windows Admin Center Solutions

WAC has different solutions which give you different functionality. In the technical preview there are three solutions available, Server Manager, Failover Cluster Manager and Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager.

Server Manager

The server manager lets you is kind of like the Server Manager you know from Windows Server, but it also replaces some local only tools like Network Management, Process, Device Manger, Certificate and User Management, Windows Update and so on. The Server Manager Solution also adds management of Virtual Machines, Virtual Switches and Storage Replica.

Failover Cluster Manager

As you might think, this allows you to manage Failover Clusters.

Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager

The Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager is very interesting if you are running Storage Spaces Direct clusters in a Hyper-Converged design, where Hyper-V Virtual Machines run on the same hosts. This allows you to do management of the S2D cluster as well as some performance metrics.

WAC Deployment Options

Windows Admin Center Deployment

(Picture from Microsoft)

WAC can be deployed in several different ways, depending on your needs.

WAC Topology

Windows Admin Center On-Premise Architecture

Windows Admin Center leverages a three-tier architecture, a web server displaying web UI using HTML, a gateway service and the managed nodes. The web interface talks to the gateway service using REST APIs and the gateway connected to the managed nodes using WinRM and PowerShell remoting (Similar like the Azure Management Tools).

Windows Admin Center On-Premise and Public Cloud Architecture

You can basically access the Web UI from every machine running modern browsers like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. If you publish the webserver to the internet, you can also manage it remotely from everywhere. The installation and configuration of Windows Admin Center is straight forward and very simple.

The WAC Gateway Service can be installed on:

  • Windows Server 2016 (LTSC)
  • Windows Server, version 1709 (SAC)
  • and higher

You can manage the following operating systems

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 and higher

Identity Provider and RBAC

Windows Admin Center Azure Active Directroy

In Project Honolulu during the preview time, one of the missing pieces was the missing RBAC (Role-Based Access Control). Windows Admin Center now comes with RBAC so you can configure it for your needs. Also new is the possibility to use Azure Active Directory as a Identity Provider. In this case you can use your Azure AD users and groups to access the Windows Admin Center.

Conclusion

In my opinion Windows Admin Center provides us with the Windows Server management tools we were looking for. It helps us to manage our systems form a centralized, modern HTML5 web application and makes managing GUI-less servers easy.

I still think the Server Management Tools hosted in Azure were a better overall solution. Since we only needed to deploy a gateway in our datacenter and we could access and manage our systems from the Azure portal. However a lot of customers didn’t like the dependency on the cloud, so the Windows Admin Center makes perfect sense as a on-premise solutions. Of course WAC brings right now much more functionality then SMT. And the possibility to extend it with solutions and extensions form third parties makes it even better.

You can download Windows Admin Center here: http://aka.ms/WindowsAdminCenter 



Ubuntu on Windows Server using WSL

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server

In 2017 Microsoft made it possible to run different Linux distribution on Windows 10, using a feature called the “Windows Subsystem for Linux“. With the latest official Semi-Annual Channel Windows Server release called Windows Server, version 1709 Microsoft also allowed to run the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows Server. With the next release of Windows Server called Windows Server, version 1803, Microsoft will also add some improvements to the Windows Subsystem on Linux, which also apply to Windows 10 as well as Windows Server. This blog post shows you how you can do this.

First you have a Windows Server, version 1709 running. After that enable the Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux feature, running the following command (This will need a reboot)

You can download the appx packages for you favorite Linux distribution, this can be today:

  • Ubuntu
  • OpenSUSE
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server

If you are running on Windows Server Core (which is highly likely), you can use the following command to download the Linux distributions.

You can then unpack the file:

Now you can open that folder and run the installer for example ubuntu.exe. The first time this will do the setup where you also define the UNIX username and password as well as the root password.

WSL on Windows Server

After that you can run updates for your distro and you can start using Linux.

If you want to know more about the WSL, check out the Microsoft Documentation: Windows Subsystem for Linux Documentation and have a look at my WSL post in for Windows 10: Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store