Tag: Cloud

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Azure Stack Backup with Azure Backup Server

Protect Azure Stack Tenant Workloads with Azure Backup Server

If you are running Azure Stack in your datacenter, you also want to backup workloads running on Azure Stack. This blog post covers how you can backup Azure Stack tenant workloads with Azure Backup Server. Azure Backup allows you to protect on-premise workloads running on different platforms as well as on Azure Stack and store long-term data in Azure.

Why protecting Azure Stack workloads with Azure Backup Server

Microsoft Azure Backup Server is included as a free download with Azure Backup that enables cloud backups and disk backups for workloads like SQL, SharePoint and Exchange regardless if these workloads are running on Hyper-V, VMware, Physical servers or Azure Stack. It also provides a central console to protect these workloads. If you compare this to the Azure Backup Agent, where you have to configure the agent on every single server. The Azure Backup Server also allows you to not only do file backup, but also backup of applications like SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange and more. This gives you flexibility and centralized management to back up your infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads on Azure Stack.



HPE Azure Stack

HPE OneView for Microsoft Azure Log Analytics

Today, I got some great news, which I missed in the last couple of weeks. HPE announced that their HPE OneView for Microsoft Azure Log Analytics 1.0 Preview, or short OV4ALA, is now available. OV4ALA is a integration that provides a bridge between HPE hardware infrastructure and Azure Log Analytics. This basically allows you to extend your HPE hardware monitoring to the Microsoft Cloud.

The OV4ALA is an Azure Resource Manager solutions which provides you with dashboards for your on-premises HPE hardware infrastructure. This includes systems like:

  • HPE OneView Appliances
  • Server Hardware
  • Server Profiles
  • Logical Interconnects
  • Physical Interconnects
  • Storage Systems
  • Storage Pools
  • Storage Volumes
  • SAS Interconnects
  • Drive Enclosures
  • Alerts

HPE OneView for Microsoft Azure Log Analytics Description

Every item in the dashboard provides a link to the underlying Log Analytics search query, which allows you to create powerful and detailed custom searches for long term event correlation and trend analysis.  Searches can also be combined with data from non-HPE sources, such as OS, VM, and application information. A set of pre-defined saved searches is included to help navigate the HPE log records generated by the solution.

It also includes Azure Automation runbooks that drive the automatic generation of log records from information collected from on-premise instances of HPE OneView and HPE Synergy, leveraging the Azure Hybrid Runbook Worker.

This solution requires an on-premises component (HPE PowerShell Module for Log Analytics) that must be properly installed and configured where HPE OneView and HPE Synergy are located. This module acts as a proxy between the on-premises instances of HPE OneView and HPE Synergy and Azure Log Analytics running in the Azure public cloud.

This solution is being released as a Technical Preview, and HPE does not provide any formal customer support for HPE OneView for Microsoft Azure Log Analytics at this time. This preview is provided “as-is” and is excluded from service level agreements and limited warranty. The customer assumes all risks in using this preview version. Features available in the preview are subject to change, including removal, prior to the general availability release. The fully supported generally available version is planned for later this year.

This is great news, especially when you run an HPE Azure Stack solution, which also comes with OneView. With the Azure Stack OMS Solutions you can send alerts and warnings from the Azure Stack software to Azure Log Analytics. Now with the HPE OneView for Microsoft Azure Log Analytics solution, you can also forward the HPE hardware monitoring of Azure Stack to Azure Log Analytics, which will make it a central place for your Azure Stack monitoring.

Check out more information about OV4ALA on the HPE blog. Thanks for Roland Frehner from HPE for the link.



You can now watch Microsoft’s underwater Datacenter and fish on Live Webcams

A couple of months back Microsoft provided a look at Project Natick, which is basically Microsoft’s project to host datacenter in underwater. This brings obviously some challenges but also some advantages like cooling etc. Today Microsoft also added some public webcam streams to Project Natick, which allows you to watch the Underwater Datacenter and some fish.

Microsoft Project Natick Webcam

About Microsoft Project Natick

Project Natick seeks to understand the benefits and difficulties in deploying subsea datacenters worldwide. Phase two extends the research we accomplished in phase one by deploying a full-scale datacenter module in the North Sea, powered by renewable energy.

 

  • Project Natick is a research project to build an underwater datacenter. Microsoft is investigating the numerous potential benefits that a standard, manufacturable, deployable undersea datacenter could provide to cloud users all over the world.
  • The Natick Phase 1 vessel was operated on the seafloor approximately one kilometer off the Pacific coast of the United States from August to November of 2015.
  • Phase 2 of Natick aims to demonstrate that we can economically manufacture full scale undersea datacenter modules and deploy them in under 90 days from decision to power on. The Phase 2 vessel was deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre located in the Orkney Islands, UK in June of 2018.
  • Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud datacenter solutions that offer less resource intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs, and high agility in meeting customer needs.

If you want to know more about Microsoft Project Natick, check out the website:

Microsoft Project Natick Website

 



Thomas Maurer Speaking at Experts Live

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2018 in Prague

You must have heard about the awesome conference in the heart of Europe, called Experts Live Europe. Today, I am honored and proud to announce that I will be speaking at Experts Live Europe 2018 in Prague at October 24.-26. Since the first European edition back in 2013, I have presented several sessions at each event previously hosted in Bern, Basel and Berlin. I will speak about my favorite topic Azure Stack and will also present another session about Windows Server. The timing of Experts Live Europe is great this year (October), which allows me and other speakers to present the latest updates learned and shared at Microsoft Ignite (September).

I am also excited about the new location. After Bern and Basel in Switzerland, and two years in Berlin, Germany, Experts Live Europe comes to the beautiful city of Prague.

My Sessions at Experts Live Europe 2018

I am proud to present two sessions to cover topics like Azure, Azure Stack, Windows Server and Hyper-V.

Azure Stack - Your Cloud Your Datacenter

Microsoft released Azure Stack as an 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).

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. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview about 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 Server Containers And more!

Besides 2 days of break out sessions, you will also have one extra day with three great technical workshops about Cloud Security, Workplace and Automation.

About Experts Live Europe

Experts Live Europe is one of Europe’s largest community conferences with a focus on Microsoft cloud, datacenter and workplace management. Top experts from around the world present discussion panels, ask-the-experts sessions and breakout sessions and cover the latest products, technologies and solutions. It’s the time of the year to learn, network, share and make valuable connections.

 

Experts Live VIP Party in the Cloud

The famous Speakers & Sponsors VIP Party of Experts Live Europe will take place on Wednesday, October 24th. This is a great opportunity to network with our speakers and sponsors in a fun and easy-going setting. Tickets for the VIP Party are limited due to location capacity, so if you don’t want to miss out, make sure you register fast!
The VIP Party will take place in Cloud9 Sky Bar & Lounge, at the rooftop of the Hilton hotel in Prague. The Sky Bar is famous for its stunning panorama views of the city, the signature cocktails, the rooftop terrace and the vibrant atmosphere.

It still takes a couple of months until October, but I am already very excited for another Experts Live Conference. I really hope to see you there, so make sure you get a ticket as soon as possible!



Inked Azure Security Center Just in time VM access_LI

Azure – Just in Time VM access

If you run virtual machines with public IP address connected to the internet, attackers immediately try to run attacks against it. Brute force attacks commonly target management ports, like RDP or SSH, to gain access to a VM. If the attacker is successful, he can take control over the VM and access other resources in the environment. To address that issue it is highly recommended to reduce the ports open, especially for the management ports. However, sometimes you will need to open to ports for some of the virtual machines for management tasks. Microsoft Azure has a simple way to address this issue, called Just in time virtual machine (VM) access. Just in time VM access can be used to lock down inbound traffic to your Azure VMs, reducing exposure to attacks while providing easy access to connect to VMs when needed.

How does Azure Just in Time VM Access work

In the Azure Security Center you can enable just in time VM access, this will create a Network Security Rule (NSG) to lock down inbound traffic to the Azure VM. During the initial JIT VM access configuration, you will be configuring the ports specified, which will be managed by Azure Security Center, these ports will be locked down by the Azure Security Center using an NSGs.

Configure Azure just in time VM access

Inked Configure Just in time VM access_LI

Azure JIT VM access is configured in the Azure Security Center. To configure and enable JIT on a virtual machine open up the Azure Security Center and click on Just in time VM access.

Here you will find three states, Configured, Recommended and No recommendation.

  • Configured – VMs that have been configured to support just in time VM access. The data presented is for the last week and includes for each VM the number of approved requests, last access date and time, and last user.
  • Recommended – VMs that can support just in time VM access but have not been configured to. We recommend that you enable just in time VM access control for these VMs. See Configuring a just in time access policy.
  • No recommendation – Reasons that can cause a VM not to be recommended are:
    • Missing NSG – The just in time solution requires an NSG to be in place.
    • Classic VM – Security Center just in time VM access currently supports only VMs deployed through Azure Resource Manager. A classic deployment is not supported by the just in time solution.
    • Other – A VM is in this category if the just in time solution is turned off in the security policy of the subscription or the resource group, or that the VM is missing a public IP and doesn’t have an NSG in place.

To configure you click on Recommended and select the Virtual Machine, for which you want to enable JIT.

Click on Enable JIT on VMs and configure the ports which should be managed by Just in time VM Access. Just in time VM access will recommend some default ports like RDP, SSH and PowerShell Remoting. You can also add other ports to the virtual machine if you want or need to.

Requesting Just in time VM Access for Azure Virtual Machine

Request Just in time VM access

On the Configured section, you can select the VM you want to request access to and click on Request access. You can now select the ports you want to be open for a specific time and a specific IP address. This will open up the ports and after 2-3 minutes you will be able to access the virtual machine.

To send such a request, the user which requests access to the Virtual Machine needs to have write access to the virtual machines in the Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Auditing Azure just in time VM access activity

Of course all the request get logged and can be reviewed in the Activity Log.

Licensing of Azure just in time VM access

Azure just in time VM access is licensed over Azure Security Center and needs the Standard Tier to be enabled for the specific virtual machine.

I hope this gives you an idea how you can leverage Just in time VM access in Azure for your workloads.



Microsoft MVP Award 2018

Microsoft MVP 2018-2019 Cloud and Datacenter Management

I am proud to announce that I was awarded today by Microsoft, with the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for 2018-2019 in two major categories Cloud and Datacenter Management and Microsoft Azure. This is my 7th Microsoft MVP award since 2012, and I couldn’t be more excited about this one.

Dear

Thomas Maurer,

We’re once again pleased to present you with the 2018-2019 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in recognition of your exceptional technical community leadership. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in the following technical communities during the past year:

 

·   Cloud and Datacenter Management

The Microsoft MVP award title is a huge honor and it stand for the contributions I have been doing in the IT community as an Microsoft expert for the past years. The Microsoft MVP award also comes with some benefits, like a NDA and access to the Microsoft Product Groups, as well as the yearly Microsoft MVP Global Summit on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. But one of the biggest benefit overall is that it gives you the opportunity to speak at different conferences all over the world. This and having the chance to speak with people from all over the world, which share the same passion is priceless.

Who are MVPs?

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

 

Source https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/Overview

I need to thank many people which are helping me to achieve this and making the most out of it. I would like to thank my employer itnetX which is supporting me in the best possible way all these years, my current and former colleagues from which I can learn a lot, the Microsoft MVP community and of course Microsoft employees in Redmond and all over the world, to work with us and collect feedback. Last but definitely not least, I have to thank my girlfriend, which not only helps me out with many things, but also needs to be patient, with my extra work so many times. She is also one of my biggest and also most critical supporters. She helps me to understand things better, promote my activities better, fixing my blog post 😉 and makes all the traveling more joyful.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.



Thomas Maurer Azure Stack Webinar

Azure Stack Webinar by Microsoft MVP Thomas Maurer

Together with itnetX we are starting a couple of webinars on Microsoft Azure Stack. I am happy to announce that I will be speaking in the first webinar about Azure Stack, what it is, what are the use cases for it and how you can leverage it to build a true hybrid cloud. The free webinar will take place at June 21, 4pm-5pm CEST and will be held in English.

Make sure you register to reserve you seat:

Azure Stack Webinar

In this session, Thomas Maurer will talk about Microsoft Azure Stack. Learn what it is, what it is meant for, and discover the real Microsoft Hybrid Cloud benefits, delivered by Azure Stack!

Watch the Azure Stack Webinar Recording

You can watch the recording of my Azure Stack Webinar here:

In the second Azure Stack webinar, my colleague and friend, Charbel Nemnom (Microsoft MVP) will talk about how Microsoft Azure Stack is integrated into your datacenter, how it’s operated and how it can be used to offer services to consumers. Besides that, he will also dive into the Azure Stack Development Kit, a free single-server deployment option that lets you test Azure Stack and prototype your applications and services before you commit to purchase Azure Stack.