Tag: Cloud

RunAsRadio Podcast Thomas Maurer

RunAsRadio Managing Your Hybrid Cloud using Azure Arc with Thomas Maurer

This week I was on Richard Campbell RunAsRadio podcast to talk about Hybrid Cloud management using Azure Arc. RunAs Radio is a weekly podcast for IT Professionals working with Microsoft products. Each 30-minute episode covers a specific topic in the field of IT from a Microsoft-centric viewpoint.

We all have a hybrid cloud solution – how do you manage it? Richard chats with Thomas Maurer about Azure Arc, a tool in the Azure suite for managing virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, and data services in Azure, your on-premises servers, even other cloud providers! Thomas talks about how IT folks end up with an array of tools for managing servers depending on the location and how Azure Arc ends that. Arc provides location-independent access to all your resources, and it’s in preview now, so free to use (although you may have to pay for additional Log Analytics data)… check it out!

If you want to listen to the podcast episode, check out RunAsRadio.com.



Microsoft Azure Stack HCI version 20H2

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – everything you need to know!

Microsoft just announced the new Azure Stack HCI, delivered as an Azure hybrid service, at Microsoft Inspire 2020. Azure Stack HCI, as a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution, is expanding the Azure Stack portfolio to offer a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure and hybrid cloud environments. In this blog post, I want you to provide you with an overview of the new Azure Stack HCI, version 20H2.

You can also find the full announcement blog on Azure.com.

What’s Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged cluster solution that runs virtualized Windows and Linux workloads in a hybrid on-premises environment. Some of the most popular use cases are datacenter modernization, Remote/Branch office scenarios, SQL Server based virtual applications, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and running Kubernetes clusters.

  • Hyperconverged infrastructure stack – The Azure Stack HCI operating system is based on core components from Windows Server, and it is designed and optimized on being the best virtualization host and hyper-converged platform. It is enhanced with software from Azure that includes our latest hypervisor with built-in software-defined storage and networking, that you install on servers you control, on your premises. This provides additional functionally, features and performance.
  • Delivered as an Azure hybrid service – Azure Stack HCI is now delivered as an Azure service with a subscription-based licensing model and hybrid capabilities built-in. You can enhance the cluster with Azure hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based monitoring, site recovery, and backup, as well as a central view of all of your Azure Stack HCI deployments in the Azure portal.
  • Familiar for IT to manage and operate – Runs on your choice of hardware, from your preferred vendor, and continue using the tools and processes your team already knows to manage virtual machines, including Windows Admin Center, System Center, and PowerShell.

This new Azure Stack HCI product takes its name from a program that Microsoft has run for several years with recent versions of Windows Server. That program was very popular, and it’s what inspired this new product.

Azure Stack HCI - Inspired by its popular predecessor

Azure Stack HCI – Inspired by its popular predecessor

Part of the Azure Stack Portfolio

Azure Stack HCI joins the growing family of Azure Stack solutions, which offers a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure. The Azure Stack portfolio ranges from Azure Stack Hub, which is an extension of Azure, bringing the agility and innovation of cloud computing to your on-premises environment, to Azure Stack Edge, which brings Azure compute for AI and machine learning at the edge.

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 - Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

You can learn more about the Azure Stack portfolio on Azure.com.



Create Custom Script Extension for Windows - Azure Arc

How to Run Custom Scripts on Azure Arc Enabled Servers

With the latest update for Azure Arc for Servers, you are now able to deploy and use extensions with your Azure Arc enabled servers. With the Custom Script extension, you can run scripts on Azure Arc enabled servers and works similar to the custom script extension for Azure virtual machines (VMs). There is an extension for Windows and Linux servers, which is a tool that can be used to launch and execute machine customization tasks post configuration automatically.

When this Extension is added to an Azure Arc machine, it can download PowerShell and shell scripts and files from Azure storage and launch a script on the machine, which in turn can download additional software components. Custom Script Extension for Linux and Windows – Azure Arc tasks can also be automated using the Azure PowerShell cmdlets and Azure Cross-Platform Command-Line Interface (Azure CLI).

Introducing Azure Arc
For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.
Learn more about Azure Arc here.

How to run Custom Scripts on Azure Arc enabled servers

To run a custom script on an Azure Arc enabled server, you can simply deploy the Custom Script Extension. You open the server you want to run the custom script in the Azure Arc server overview. Navigate to Extensions and click on Add, and select the Custom Script Extension for Windows – Azure Arc or on Linux the Custom Script Extension for Linux – Azure Arc.

Add Custom Script Extension

Add Custom Script Extension

Now you can select the PowerShell or shell script you want to run on that machine, as well as adding some optional arguments for that script.

Create Custom Script Extension for Windows - Azure Arc

Create Custom Script Extension for Windows – Azure Arc

After that, it will take a couple of minutes to run the script on the machine.

Conclusion

The Custom Script Extensions for Linux and Windows can be used to launch and execute machine customization tasks post configuration automatically.

You can learn more about how Azure Arc provides you with cloud-native management technologies for your hybrid cloud environment here, and you can find the documentation for Azure Arc enabled servers on Microsoft Docs.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.



Azure Arc Servers Log Analytics

Azure Log Analytics for Azure Arc Enabled Servers

In this blog post, we are going to have a quick look at how you can access Azure Log Analytics data using Azure Arc for Servers. The Azure Log Analytics agent was developed for management across virtual machines in any cloud, on-premises machines, and those monitored by System Center Operations Manager. The Windows and Linux agents send collected data from different sources to your Log Analytics workspace in Azure Monitor, as well as any unique logs or metrics as defined in a monitoring solution. When you want to access these logs and run queries against these logs, you will need to have access to the Azure Log Analytics workspace. However, in many cases, you don’t want everyone having access to the full workspace. Azure Arc for Servers provides RBAC access to log data collected by the Log Analytics agent, stored in the Log Analytics workspace the machine is registered.

Introducing Azure Arc
For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.
Learn more about Azure Arc here.

How to enable Log Analytics for Azure Arc Enabled Servers

To enable log collection, you will need to install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) on your Azure Arc enabled server. You can do this manually for Windows and Linux machines, or you can use the new extension for Azure Arc enabled servers. If you already have the MMA agent installed, you can start using logs in Azure Arc immediately.

Create Microsoft Monitoring Agent - Azure Arc

Create Microsoft Monitoring Agent – Azure Arc

After you have installed the agent, it can take a couple of minutes until the log data shows up in the Azure Log Analytics workspace. After the logs are collected in the workspace, you can access them with Azure Arc.

Azure Arc Servers Log Analytics

Azure Arc Servers Log Analytics

Now you can run queries using the Keyword Query Language (KQL) as you would in the Azure Log Analytics workspace, but limited to the logs for that specific server.

Conclusion

With Azure Arc for Servers, we can use role-based access controls to logs from a specific server running on-prem or at another cloud provider, without having access to all the logs in the log analytics workspace.

You can learn more about how Azure Arc provides you with cloud-native management technologies for your hybrid cloud environment here, and you can find the documentation for Azure Arc enabled servers on Microsoft Docs.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.



Add Microsoft Monitoring Agent Extension

How to Add the Microsoft Monitoring Agent to Azure Arc Servers

To use some of the functionality with Azure Arc enabled servers, like Azure Update Management, Inventory, Change Tracking, Logs, and more, you will need to install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA). In this blog post, we are going to have a look at how you can install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) on an Azure Arc enabled server using extensions.

Introducing Azure Arc
For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.
Learn more about Azure Arc here.

You can learn more about the manual MMA setup on Microsoft Docs.

How to install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent on Azure Arc enabled servers

To install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) you can use the new extension in Azure Arc. You open the server you want to install the MMA agent in the Azure Arc server overview. Navigate to Extensions and click on Add, and select the Microsoft Monitoring Agent – Azure Arc. This works for Windows and Linux servers.

Add Microsoft Monitoring Agent Extension

Add Microsoft Monitoring Agent Extension

Now you can enter the Azure Log Analytics workspace ID and the key. This will create a job and install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent on the server.

Create Microsoft Monitoring Agent - Azure Arc

Workspace ID and Key

After that, you can start using features like Azure Log Analytics, Inventory, Change Tracking, Update Management, and more. You can also do this manually for Windows and Linux machines.

Conclusion

Azure Arc for servers makes it super simple to deploy the Microsoft Monitoring Agent to servers running on-premises or at other cloud providers.

You can learn more about how Azure Arc provides you with cloud-native management technologies for your hybrid cloud environment here, and you can find the documentation for Azure Arc enabled servers on Microsoft Docs.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.



Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Earlier Docker announced the partnership with Microsoft to bring support to run Azure Container Instances (ACI) from the Docker CLI. Yesterday, Docker announced and released the first Docker Desktop Edge version (2.3.2), which allows you to try out that new feature. Azure Container Instances (ACI) allow you to run Docker containers on-demand in a managed, serverless Azure environment. Azure Container Instances is a solution for any scenario that can operate in isolated containers, without orchestration.

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

To be able to run ACI containers using the Docker CLI, Docker expanded the existing docker context command to support ACI as a new backend. To start using this new feature you will need to run Docker Desktop Edge version 2.3.2 and an Azure subscription. You can create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Now you can start your Docker CLI and login to Azure:

docker login azure

After you are logged in, you will need to create a new ACI context. You can simply use “docker context create aci” command and add your Azure subscription and Resource Group, or the CLI will provide you with an Interactive experience.

docker context create aci myazure

With “docker context ls” you can see the added ACI context.

docker context ls

Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Now you can switch to the newly added ACI context.

docker context use myazure

Now you can start running containers directly on Azure Container Instance using the Docker CLI.

docker run -d -p 80:80 mycontainer

You can also see the running containers using docker ps.

docker ps

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This will also show you the public IP address of your running container to access it. In my example I used a demo container, however, you can also use your own container which you pushed to a container registry like Docker Hub.

You can also run multi-container applications using Docker Compose. You can find an example for that here.

Try Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This new experience is now available as part of Docker Desktop Edge 2.3.2 . To get started, simply download the latest Edge release or update if you are already on Desktop Edge and create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Conclusion

I hope this gives you a short overview of how you can use the Docker CLI to directly run Docker containers in Azure Container Instances (ACI). If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

There are also many other great examples like running Docker Linux containers on Windows, using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2).



Add Custom Script Extension Azure Arc Server

Extensions for Azure Arc enabled Servers

With the latest update for Azure Arc for Servers, you are now able to deploy and use extensions with your Azure Arc enabled servers. Currently, you have six different Azure Arc extensions you can deploy to your servers.

  • Custom Script Extension for Linux – Azure Arc
  • DSCForLinux extension on a Ubuntu
  • OMS Agent for Linux – Azure Arc
  • Custom Script Extension for Windows – Azure Arc
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration – Azure Arc
  • Microsoft Monitoring Agent – Azure Arc

These extensions are similar and consistent with the virtual machine extensions for Azure VMs. These are small applications that provide post-deployment configuration and automation tasks on Azure Arc enabled servers. For example, if a server requires software installation, anti-virus protection, or to run a script inside of it, an Azure Arc extension can be used. Extensions can be run with the Azure CLI, PowerShell, and the Azure portal.

Introducing Azure Arc
For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.
Learn more about Azure Arc here.

You can find more information about Virtual machine extension management with Azure Arc for servers on Microsoft Docs.