Category: Work

All about my Work


Create Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Host for your Azure VMs

Last week Ziv Rafalovich, Principal Program Manager in the Azure Compute team, announced the Azure Dedicated Host Public Preview. Azure Dedicated Host is a new Azure service which enables customers to run Windows and Linux virtual machines on single dedicated physical servers. Usually, the Azure host is used by multiple tenants, and the virtual machines are isolated using a multi-tenant hypervisor, with Azure Dedicated Host, the physical server only runs workloads from one tenant/customer. This gives customers the visibility and control on what physical hardware their virtual machines are running, and it allows to address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

Azure Dedicated Host Preview provides physical servers that host one or more Azure virtual machines. Your server is dedicated to your organization and workloads—capacity isn’t shared with other customers. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As you provision the host, you gain visibility into (and control over) the server infrastructure, and you determine the host’s maintenance policies.

You can find more information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host scenarios

The Azure Dedicated Host offers a couple of benefits and enables some new scenarios.

  • Host-level isolations for compliance requirements
  • Visibility and control over the server infrastructure to manage host maintenance policies, load on the server, fault domain count.
  • You get control over the full performance and capacity from a single Azure host which is not shared with other customers.
  • You get the advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts using the Azure Hybrid Benefit.

If you need these scenarios, then the Azure Dedicated host is an excellent option for you. However, if you don’t need them, you are more flexible with the shared Azure virtual machine experience.

Licensing and Pricing

Dedicated Hosts are charged at the host level and not on the number of Azure VMs you run on the host. However, software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. There are no upfront costs or termination fees. Currently, the Azure Dedicated Host is a pay-as-you-go service, and you only pay for what you need.

You will have different dedicated host types and VM series/families available. During the preview period, you will be able to choose between Dsv3, Esv3, and Fsv2 VM series.

Dedicated Host Typ 1

Dedicated Host Type 1 is based on the 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) processor and can achieve up to 3.5 gigahertz (GHz). Type 1 host has 64 available vCPUs.

    • Dsv3 Series
    • Esv3 Series

Dedicated Host Type 2

Dedicated Host Type 2 is based on the Intel Xeon® Platinum 8168 (Skylake) processor, which can achieve maximum single-core clock speeds of 3.7 GHz and sustained all core clock speeds as high as 3.4GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. Type 2 host has 72 available vCPUs.

    • Fsv2 Series

Dedicated Host configuration table

This is the Dedicated Host configuration table during the Public Preview. This might change later, and you can find the current pricing information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Additional cost reduction

You can use your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance benefits, or subscriptions with equivalent rights, when you migrate your workloads to Dedicated Host (Azure Hybrid Benefit).  Different the before is that with the dedicated host you get unlimited virtualization rights for Windows Server and SQL Server. For more information on the updated Microsoft licensing terms for dedicated hosted cloud services, check out this blog post. With this running Windows Server 2019 in Azure becomes even more attractive.

We are also expanding Azure Hybrid Benefit so you can take advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts. Customers with Windows Server Datacenter licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights in Azure Dedicated Hosts. In other words, you can deploy as many Windows Server virtual machines as you like on the host, subject only to the physical capacity of the underlying server. Similarly, customers with SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights for SQL Server on their Azure Dedicated Hosts.

You’ll also get free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2.

Azure Reserved VM Instances are not available for purchase during the preview on Azure Dedicated Host.

Deploy VMs to an Azure Dedicated Hosts

To deploy a new Azure Dedicated Host, we first need to create a host group. After that, we can add hosts to this group, which will be used for our Azure virtual machines. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can deploy a new host and after that, how you deploy Azure VMs on that host using the Azure portal. If you want to know more and if you want to see how you do this using Azure PowerShell, an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template or the Azure CLI, check the Microsoft Docs.

Create a host group

Azure Host Groups

Azure Host Groups

You can find a new Azure resource called Host Group. Create a host group and configure the host group with specific settings like availability zones and fault domain count.

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Deploy an Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Hosts

Azure Dedicated Hosts

After you have created your host group, you can start creating new hosts and add them to your host group.

  • Select the location (region) of the host
  • Select the dedicated host VM family and hardware generation. You will only be able to provision VMs on this host in the same VM family. During the preview, we will support the following host SKU values: DSv3_Type1 and ESv3_Type1.
  • Configure the fault domain for the host.
  • Enable or disable of automatically replacing the host on a failure.
  • Configure cost savings like the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
Create Azure Dedicated Host

Create Azure Dedicated Host

Your host will be deployed in a couple of minutes. Important, your Azure subscription will need to have enough resources (CPU/Cores) enabled. Some subscriptions are limited to a specific amount of cores you can deploy in your subscription, in that case, you will need to open a support ticket, to raise the number of cores available in your subscription.

Create a VM

Now you can create a virtual machine on the Azure Dedicated Host. There area few things to consider about that VM. First, make sure the VM is created in the region you have created the host. Secondly, choose a virtual machine size of the VM family you had configured when you created the host.

During the creation process, you will find the section Host in the Advanced tab. Here you can select your host group and your host where the VM will be deployed on.

For more information, check out the Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion

The Azure Dedicated Host service enables new scenarios and addresses, especially customers with host-level isolations for compliance requirements. It makes the Azure IaaS platform even more exciting, and together with Azure Migrate, you can quickly move your virtual machines to Azure. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Thomas Maurer Speaking at Experts Live Europe

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019 in Prague

Today, I am proud to announce that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019 in Prague on November 20 – 22, 2019. This is a great honor, and it will be my 7th Experts Live Europe event I am speaking at, all the way back to the first event, when it still was called System Center Universe Europe. I have presented several sessions at each event previously hosted in Bern, Basel, Berlin, and Prague. This will be the second time Experts Live Europe will be hosted in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic. I am looking forward to speaking at this Microsoft community event again. The conference has a strong focus on Microsoft Cloud, Datacenter, Security, and Modern Workplace topics and brings together the community from all over the world.

This year the conference will be three days again, with a pre-conference day including a couple of different pre-conference deep dives, as well as two main conference days with over 70 breakout sessions in 6 parallel tracks. This year the conference will have not only over 40 top expert speakers but also a vast Microsoft presence. You will not just find Microsoft Cloud Advocates and Program Managers, but people from all across the organization. Guess what, this is a perfect time to connect and network with us, but also with other members of the Microsoft community.

Another big highlight for me this year is the track specifically focusing on Windows Server and System Center, presented by Cloud Advocates, Program Managers, and Microsoft MVPs.

My sessions at Experts Live Europe 2019

I am happy that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019:

Windows Server 2019 - The Next Generation of Software-Defined Datacenter

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server and Windows Admin Center. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage, and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Cloud Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview of the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations in Windows Server 2019 and the Semi-Annual Channel including: ○ Windows Server Containers ○ Azure Integration ○ Hyper-V features ○ Storage ○ Networking ○ Security ○ Windows Admin Center And more!

If you want to know more about the event and register, check out the Experts Live Europe website. I hope to see you in Prague!



PowerShell 7 Installer

How to Install and Update PowerShell 7

Currently, you can install the cross-platform version PowerShell Core 6 on Linux, macOS, and Windows. Early April the PowerShell team announced the next release called PowerShell 7. PowerShell 7 is built on .NET Core 3 and brings back many APIs required by modules built on .NET Framework so that they work with .NET Core runtime. While PowerShell Core 6 was focusing on bringing cross-platform compatibility, PowerShell 7 will focus on making it a viable replacement for Windows PowerShell 5.1 and bringing near parity with Windows PowerShell. Here is how you can install and update PowerShell 7 (preview) on Windows and Linux using a simple one-liner.

If you want to know more about the roadmap, check out Steves blog post.

One great example of how cross-platform PowerShell can work, check out my blog post: How to set up PowerShell SSH Remoting.

Install PowerShell 7 (Preview)

As mentioned PowerShell 7 is currently in preview. You can download and install it manually from GitHub. However, the easiest way to install it is to use the following one-liners created by Steve Lee (Microsoft Principal Software Engineer Manager in the PowerShell Team). You can also use the same one-liners with different parameters to install the current GA version of PowerShell 6.

If you are installing the PowerShell 7 Preview, this will be a side by side installation with PowerShell 6. You can use the pwsh-preview command to run version 7.

One-liner to install or update PowerShell 7 on Windows 10

Install and Update PowerShell 7

You can use this single command in Windows PowerShell to install PowerShell 7. The difference between the installation of version 6 versus version 7 is the -Preview flag.

iex "& { $(irm https://aka.ms/install-powershell.ps1) } -UseMSI -Preview"

There are additional switches to, for example, install daily builds of the latest PowerShell previews.

-Destination
The destination path to install PowerShell Core to.

-Daily
Install PowerShell Core from the daily build.
Note that the ‘PackageManagement’ module is required to install a daily package.

-Preview
Install the latest preview, which is currently version 7. This will

-UseMSI
Use the MSI installer.

-Quiet
The quiet command for the MSI installer.

-DoNotOverwrite
Do not overwrite the destination folder if it already exists.

-AddToPath
On Windows, add the absolute destination path to the ‘User’ scope environment variable ‘Path’;
On Linux, make the symlink ‘/usr/bin/pwsh’ points to “$Destination/pwsh”;
On MacOS, make the symlink ‘/usr/local/bin/pwsh’ points to “$Destination/pwsh”.

One-liner to install or update PowerShell 7 on Linux

Install PowerShell 7 on Linux

You can use this as a single command to install PowerShell 7 on Linux

wget https://aka.ms/install-powershell.sh; sudo bash install-powershell.sh -preview; rm install-powershell.sh

Depending on your distro you are using, this will register Microsoft’s pkg repos and install that package (deb or rpm).

You can also use the following switches:

-includeide
Installs VSCode and VSCode PowerShell extension (only relevant to machines with a desktop environment)

-interactivetesting
Do a quick launch test of VSCode (only applicable when used with -includeide)

-skip-sudo-check
Use sudo without verifying its availability (hard to accurately do on some distros)

-preview
Installs the latest preview release of PowerShell side-by-side with any existing production releases

To currently run the PowerShell Preview, you can run the following command:

pwsh-preview

After Installing

After you have installed PowerShell 7, also make sure to update PowerShellGet and the PackageManagement module.

Remember PowerShell 7 is still currently in preview, if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



IT Career Energizer Episode Thomas Maurer

Part of the IT Career Energizer podcast

I had the chance to be part of Phil Burgess IT Career Energizer podcast. IT Career Energizer podcast helps those who want to start, develop, and grow their IT careers. Guests share their experience and advice, which will help others in their careers. It was great to talk to Phil as discuss some exciting highlights, like becoming a Microsoft MVP in 2012 and being part until 2019 when I joined Microsoft. We also discussed the challenges in my career and where I faced some difficult decisions, as well as some exciting times coming up in the IT industry.

When you listen to the I.T. Career Energizer you’ll hear from individuals from around the world.  Each guest gives their own perspectives on career development and their views on the future of technology. My guests include programmers, business analysts, project managers and testers to name but a few.

Phil did almost 200 episodes until today, and I am proud and happy to be part of it. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on itcareerenergizer.com.



Nigel Frank Migrating and extending with Microsoft Azure

Article about Azure Migration on Nigel Frank International

This week my blog post on Azure Migration and Hybrid Cloud on the Nigel Frank International blog went live. The title of the article is, Migrating and extending your on-premises environment with Microsoft Azure. In that blog post, I what your advantages are by using the cloud and some of the different approaches to use Microsoft Azure. Before I then go deeper on different Azure scenarios and topics.

I cover a lot of different Azure options like:

Nigel Frank International

The public cloud is becoming more and more important for companies that want to stay agile and flexible to meet their business demands. But if a company decides to move to the public cloud, what are the best ways to migrate to Microsoft Azure? In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at what services Microsoft offers to make your cloud migration easier.

It was fun to work with the team at Nigel Frank International and I hope you like the article.



Download the new Windows Terminal Preview

Install the new Windows Terminal (Preview)

At Microsoft Build 2019, the team announced a new Windows Terminal which will be open-source. There are a couple of improvements which are coming to the new Windows Terminal like; multiple tabs support, GPU accelerated DirectWrite/DirectX-based text rendering engine, advanced configuration settings, and much more. It allows you to run different shells like Windows PowerShell, PowerShell Core, Command Prompt, WSL, and also WSL 2. Today you can download the Windows Terminal Preview from the Microsoft Store. It is still a very early preview and the team, as well as the community, are still working on it. The team’s goal is to work with the community and launch version 1.0 end of 2019. Here is how you can install the new Windows Terminal.

Windows Terminal is a new, modern, fast, efficient, powerful, and productive terminal application for users of command-line tools and shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL.

You can find more information about it here on the Microsoft announcement blog.

Download and Install the Windows Terminal

You were able to download the sources for the terminal from GitHub and build it yourself. However, the preview release in the Windows Store makes it much easier to try it out and stay more up to date.

Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal will be delivered via the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 and will be updated regularly, ensuring you are always up to date and able to enjoy the newest features and latest improvements with minimum effort.

Provide Feedback and get involved

Windows Terminal is a new, modern, feature-rich, productive terminal application for command-line users. It includes many of the features most frequently requested by the Windows command-line community including support for tabs, rich text, globalization, configurability, theming & styling, and more.

The Terminal will also need to meet our goals and measures to ensure it remains fast, and efficient, and doesn’t consume vast amounts of memory or power.

You can file bugs and share feedback with the community and us, as well as fix issues and make improvements on GitHub. If you come across any bugs or want to share feedback, you can do that on GitHub issues for detailed issues/discussions or with the Microsoft Store release in the Feedback Hub. You join the development on GitHub.

Azure Cloud Shell

Windows Terminal Azure Cloud Shell

Windows Terminal Azure Cloud Shell

I also want to mention that you can run the Azure Cloud Shell directly from the terminal.

Try out the new terminal today, and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Azure Bastion Windows VM

Azure Bastion – Private RDP and SSH access to Azure VMs

Azure Bastion is a new service which enables you to have private and fully managed RDP and SSH access to your Azure virtual machines. If you wanted to access your Azure virtual machines using RDP or SSH today, and you were not using a VPN connection, you had to assign a public IP address to the virtual machine. You were able to secure the connection using Azure Just in Time VM access in Azure Security Center. However, this had still some drawbacks. With Azure Bastion you get a private and fully managed service, which you deploy to your Virtual Network, which then allows you to access your VMs directly from the Azure portal using your browser over SSL.

Azure Bastion Architecture

Source: Microsoft Docs

Azure Bastion brings a couple of advantages

  • Removes requirement for a Remote Desktop (RDP) client on your local machine
  • Removes element for a local SSH client
  • No need for local RDP or SSH ports (handy when your company blocks it)
  • Uses secure SSL/TLS encryption
  • No need to assign public IP addresses to your Azure Virtual Machine
  • Works in basically any modern browser on any device (Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.)
  • Better hardening and more straightforward Network Security Group (NSG) management
  • Can remove the need for a Jumpbox

If you want to know more directly here is the link to the Azure Bastion announcement blog and the Microsoft Docs.

Public Preview

Azure Bastion is currently in public preview. The public preview is limited to the following Azure public regions:

  • West US
  • East US
  • West Europe
  • South Central US
  • Australia East
  • Japan East

To participate in this preview, you need to register. Use these steps to register for the preview:

Register-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName AllowBastionHost -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Network
 
Register-AzureRmResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Network
 
Get-AzureRmProviderFeature -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Network

To use the Azure Bastion service, you will also need to use the Azure Portal – Preview.

How to set up an Azure Bastion host for a private RDP and SSH access to Azure VMs

Create Azure Bastion Host

First, you will need to deploy Bastion Host in your virtual network (VNet). The Azure Bastion Host will need at least a /27 subnet.

AzureBastionSubnet

Access Azure virtual machines using Azure Bastion

Azure Bastion integrates natively in the Azure portal. The platform will automatically be detected if Bastion is deployed to the virtual network your virtual machine is in. To connect to a virtual machine, click on the connect button for the virtual machine. Now you can enter your username and password for the virtual machine.

Azure Portal connect to Linux VM SSH

This will now open up a web-based SSL RDP session in the Azure portal to the virtual machine. Again, there is no need to have a public IP address assigned to your virtual machine.

Private access to Azure Linux VM

 

Roadmap – more to come

As Yousef Khalidi (CVP Azure Networking) mentions in his preview announcement blog, the team will add more great capabilities, like Azure Active Directory and MFA support, as well as support for native RDP and SSH clients.

The Azure networking and compute team are doing more great work on creating a great Azure IaaS experience. I hope this gives you an overview of how you can get a private RDP or SSH access to your Azure VM. If you want to know more about the Azure Bastion service, check out the Microsoft Docs for more information. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.