Tag: IaaS

Windows Server on Microsoft Azure

Learn about Windows Server on Microsoft Azure

As many of you know, Microsoft Azure is the best cloud to run Windows Server workloads. Last week the team published two new Microsoft Learn Learning paths, where you can learn more about how to run Windows Server on Azure. The first two learning paths available are “implement Windows Server IaaS VM networking” and “implement Windows Server IaaS VM Identity”. These two learning paths offer a couple of modules around the specific topics.

Implement Windows Server IaaS VM networking

In this learning path, you’ll learn about Azure IaaS networking and identity. After completing the learning path, you’ll be able to implement IP addressing, manage DNS, and deploy and manage domain controllers in Azure.

Modules

  • Implement Windows Server IaaS VM IP addressing and routing
    In this module, you’ll learn how to manage Microsoft Azure virtual networks (VNets) and IP address configuration for Windows Server infrastructure as a service (IaaS) virtual machines (VM)s.
  • Implement DNS for Windows Server IaaS VMs
    In this module, you’ll learn to configure DNS for Windows Server IaaS VMs, choose the appropriate DNS solution for your organization’s needs, and run a DNS server in a Windows Server Azure IaaS VM.
  • Implement Windows Server IaaS VM network security
    In this module, you will focus on how to improve the network security for Windows Server infrastructure as a service (IaaS) virtual machines (VMs) and how to diagnose network security issues with those VMs.

You can find the full learning path on Microsoft Learn.

Implement Windows Server IaaS VM Identity

After completing this learning path, you’ll know how to implement identity in Azure. You’ll be able to extend an existing on-premises Active Directory identity service into Azure.

Modules

You can find the full learning path on Microsoft Learn.

Prerequisites for the learning paths

Before you take the learning path, make sure you are familiar with the prerequisites.

  • Experience with managing Windows Server operating system and Windows Server workloads in on-premises scenarios, including AD DS, DNS, DFS, Hyper-V, and File and Storage Services.
  • Experience with common Windows Server management tools (implied by the first prerequisite).
  • Basic knowledge of core Microsoft compute, storage, networking, and virtualization technologies (implied by the first prerequisite).
  • Basic knowledge of on-premises resiliency Windows Server-based compute and storage technologies (Failover Clustering, Storage Spaces).
  • Basic experience with implementing and managing IaaS services in Microsoft Azure.
  • Basic knowledge of Azure Active Directory.
  • Basic understanding security-related technologies (firewalls, encryption, multi-factor authentication, SIEM/SOAR).
  • Basic knowledge of PowerShell scripting.
  • An understanding of the following concepts as related to Windows Server technologies:
    • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
    • Automation
    • Monitoring

Learn more

There are even more learning paths for different technologies available on Microsoft Learn. If you want to learn more about Windows Server on Azure, check out the following resources:

  • Windows Server on Azure (link)
  • Ultimate Guide to Windows Server on Azure (link)
  • Migration Guide for Windows Server (link)
  • Windows virtual machines in Azure (link)

Windows Server on Azure is not just great because of the unmatched security features or the hybrid integration, Microsoft Azure also offers three years of extended security updates for your Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 servers for free, and the option to of bringing your on-premises licenses to the cloud, which provide substantial cost savings.

I hope this blog post was helpful to make you aware of the different options to learn about Windows Server on Azure. If you have additional resources or any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Day Modern Cloud Operations

Join the Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Day: Improving Reliability Through Modern Cloud Operations Practices

You might have seen that I have presented in a couple of Microsoft Azure Training Days around Modern Azure Cloud Operations in the past. Microsoft Switzerland decided to create a new free virtual event where people can join on April 28. The online event is in English and is called Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Day: Improving Reliability Through Modern Operations Practices, and focuses on modern cloud operations in Microsoft Azure.

Maintaining peak efficiency in the cloud is a continuous process. Microsoft Azure Training Day: Improving Reliability Through Modern Operations Practices helps you leverage Azure to define and achieve service reliability, cost management, operational simplicity, and business agility. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Azure Reliability: Achieving resilience in the cloud
  • Azure IaaS Operations
  • Azure Governance + “Why Ops”
  • Hybrid Management Technologies (and Azure Arc)

Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Day: Improving Reliability Through Modern Operations Practices

Maintaining peak efficiency in the cloud is a continuous process. Microsoft Azure Training Day: Improving Reliability Through Modern Operations Practices helps you leverage Azure to define and achieve service reliability, cost management, operational simplicity, and business agility

The Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Day event is online and free, you can find more information and register on the Microsoft event page. I hope to see you there!



Visual Studio Code Azure Virtual Machines Extension

Create and Manage Azure VMs from VS Code

With the new Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code), you can now create and manage Azure VMs directly from VS Code. This is a great new extension if you are working with VS Code and Microsoft Azure. The extension is currently in preview and lets you view, create, delete, start and stop Azure Virtual machines, as well as adding SSH keys to existing Azure VMs.

Get started

To get started with the Azure Virtual Machine extension in Visual Studio Code, simply follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Azure Virtual Machines extension for Visual Studio Code
  2. Once complete, you’ll see an Azure icon in the Activity Bar
  3. Sign in to your Azure account by clicking Sign in to Azure. If you don’t have an Azure account yet, you can create a free Azure account here.

Free Azure Account

If you don’t have an Azure account yet, you can sign up today for your free Azure account and receive 12 months of free popular services, $200 free credit, and 25+ always free services.

Create an Azure VM in VS Code

You can now create Azure VMs directly from Visual Studio Code. The wizard will ask you for a VM name, username, Azure region, and passphrase.

VS Code creating Azure Virtual Machines

VS Code creating Azure Virtual Machines

This will create an Azure VM Standard D2s V3 (2 CPU Cores & 8 GB of ram) with the image Ubuntu 18.04-LTS. An SSH key will be created, and your SSH Config file (~/.ssh/config) will be updated so you can immediately connect via SSH ($ ssh vm-name) or using the Remote-SSH extension. You can find more information about how you can connect to Azure VM using Visual Studio Code in my blog post.

Azure VM management in VS Code

Azure VM management in VS Code

Having the possibility to manage Azure VMs and connect with them directly within Visual Studio makes working with these tools and Azure much more convenient.

I hope you can go and try out the Azure VM extension for VS Code. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.



How to Reduce the Costs of your Azure IaaS VMs

How to Reduce the Costs of your Azure IaaS VMs

Azure Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offers significant benefits over traditional virtualization. With benefits like the possibility to quickly spin up a couple of virtual machine in any Azure region around the world whenever you need it, is pretty powerful. There are a lot more benefits to Azure IaaS virtual machines. However, that’s not part of this blog. This blog post is focused on helping you saving money by reducing the costs when you are using Azure IaaS virtual machines (VM). Some of the tips here will help everyone out there, some of the tips

Pick the right Azure VM series and the right Azure VM size

Reduce cost by picking the right Azure VM size

Reduce cost by picking the right Azure VM size

First of all, obviously, you pay more for larger virtual machines. Something I realized by working with a lot of customers is that they take the on-premises VM size and use the equivalent size in Azure. Not realizing that the VM size they had was way to oversized. But since they had the static capacity on-prem, they didn’t’ care. Now when you pay for more capacity in the cloud, the story is different. So make sure you realize that the Azure VM sizes are not oversized. You can still change the size later to a larger virtual machine if needed. And if you are looking at tools like Azure Migrate to migrate your existing VMs to Azure IaaS, you will have some additional advantages. Azure Migrate asses your environment and helps you pick the right Azure VM size depending on performance data history. Azure Migrate works with Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines, if you want to know more about Azure Migrate, check out my blog post. If you are already running the virtual machine in Azure, Azure Advisor can be helpful to figure out that your virtual machine is underutilized. Picking the right size will help you to save money and reduce the cost of Azure IaaS VMs.



Microsoft Ignite The Tour Milan 2020

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2020 Shenzhen

One of our big projects this year is going to be Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020. After our leading Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando in November 2019, we started to bring Microsoft Ignite The Tour to 30 cities around the world. I am happy and honored that my first stop on Microsoft Ignite The Tour will be in Shenzhen.

  • Date: January 13–14, 2020

Microsoft Ignite The Tour Shenzhen

Our industry-leading conference is hitting the road—and coming to a city near you. You don’t want to miss the very latest in cloud technologies and developer tools with guest speakers, industry experts, and more. Get on the list today!

I will be speaking in the Microsoft Ignite The Tour learning paths. I am thrilled to show you some really cool stuff about PowerShell, Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Azure Arc, and much more!

MSI20 - Hybrid management technologies

Tailwind Traders has now migrated the majority of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019. Now, they are interested in the Azure hybrid technologies that are readily available to them. In this session, learn how Tailwind Traders began using Windows Admin Center and Azure Arc to manage its fleet of Windows Server computers and integrated hybrid technologies, such as Azure File Sync, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Update Management, to improve deployment performance and manageability.

MSI30 - Migrating IaaS workloads to Azure

Now that the migration of their server hosts from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2019 is complete, Tailwind Traders wants to begin the process of “lift and shift”: migrating some of their on-premises VMs they’ve been running in their datacenter. In this session, learn about how Tailwind Traders began the process of migrating some of their existing VM workloads to Azure and how this allowed them to retire aging server hardware and close datacenter and server rooms that were costing the organization a substantial amount of money.

I am looking forward to speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour (MITT) 2019-2020 in Shenzhen, China. Let me know in the comments if you are going too; I hope to see you there!



Reset RDP and Admin Password Azure VM

How to Reset RDP and Admin Password of an Azure VM

I think we all had that experience where we suddenly couldn’t use Remote Desktop Services (RDP) to access our Windows Server anymore. Luckily, if this happens to an Azure virtual machine (VM), we can use the VMAccess extension to reset the RDP configuration as well as the password of the Azure VM. You can reset the RDP configuration or the Azure virtual machine password using the Azure portal or Azure PowerShell.

Reset the administrator password of an Azure VM 🔓

To reset the password of an Azure VM, you can use the Azure portal or Azure PowerShell. If you take the portal path, log in to the Azure portal, go to the Azure VM, you want to reset the password. Under Support + Troubleshooting, click on Reset Password, and follow to the Reset Password wizard to update the credentials. Note that this is not supported for Active Directory Domain Controllers.

Reset Administrator Password of an Azure VM

Reset Administrator Password of an Azure VM

If you want to use Azure PowerShell, you can run the following commands:

$SubID = "SUBID" 
$RgName = "RESOURCE GROUP NAME" 
$VmName = "VM NAME" 
$Location = "LOCATION"
 
Connect-AzAccount 
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubID 
Set-AzVMAccessExtension -ResourceGroupName $RgName -Location $Location -VMName $VmName -Credential (get-credential) -typeHandlerVersion "2.0" -Name VMAccessAgent

This should help you to reset the password of an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) if you lost access to it. If you want to know more, read the following troubleshooting article on Microsoft Docs.

Reset RDP configuration 👩‍💻

If you can access your Azure Virtual Machine using RDP, you can reset the configuration, and this will enable Remote Desktop service in the VM and create a firewall rule for the default RDP port 3389. To reset the Remote Desktop Service (RDP) configuration, you again login to the Azure portal, select the virtual machine you want to reset the RDP configuration. Under Support + Troubleshooting, click on Reset Password, on the new blade select Reset configuration only, and click on update.

Reset Remote Desktop Services RDP of an Azure VM

Reset Remote Desktop Services RDP of an Azure VM

There is also an Azure PowerShell command available to do this:

$SubID = "SUBSCRIPTION ID" 
$RgName = "RESOURCE GROUP NAME" 
$VmName = "VM NAME" 
$Location = "LOCATION"
 
Connect-AzAccount 
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubID 
Set-AzVMAccessExtension -ResourceGroupName $RgName" -VMName $VmName" -Name "myVMAccess" -Location $Location -typeHandlerVersion "2.0" -ForceRerun

I hope this gives you an overview of how you can Reset your Remote Desktop Service of an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) if you lost access to it. If you want to know more, read the following troubleshooting article on Microsoft Docs. You can also use Azure PowerShell in Cloud Shell.

If you want to know more about how you migrate your virtual machines to Azure, check out my blog post about Azure Migrate.

 



Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Install Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM

The great thing about Windows Admin Center (WAC) you manage every Windows Server doesn’t matter where it is running. You can manage Windows Servers on-prem, in Azure or running at other cloud providers. Now if you want to use Windows Admin Center to manage your virtual machines running in Azure, you can use either an on-prem WAC installation and connecting it using a public IP address or a VPN connection, or you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in Azure. This blog post will show you how you can deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM).

How to deploy and install Windows Admin Center in an Azure virtual machine (VM)

With this guide, you can directly deploy and install a new Windows Admin Center gateway in an Azure VM. If you have already a VM deployed, you can also follow this guide to install Windows Admin Center manually. For the installation, we will use Azure Cloud Shell do run a PowerShell installation script.

Preparation

As mentioned we will run the installation script from Azure Cloud Shell. Optionally you can also install Azure PowerShell on your location machine and run the same steps for the installation on your local machine.

  1. Set up Azure Cloud Shell if you haven’t done it yet.
  2. Start the PowerShell experience in Cloud Shell.
  3. Optional: If you want to use your own existing certificate, upload the certificate to Azure Key Vault.

Installation

Now you can start with the installation process. First, you will need to download the installation script from the following URL. Navigate to your home directory and download the file using PowerShell.

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

Download Windows Admin Center with PowerShell in Cloud Shell

# Navigate to your home directory
cd ~
 
# Download file
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/deploy-wacazvm -OutFile Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Expand Zip file
Expand-Archive ./Deploy-WACAzVM.zip
 
# Change Directory
cd Deploy-WACAzVM

After successfully downloading and unpacking the Windows Admin Center deployment script, you will need to modify a couple of parameters. I will use the default parameters to deploy a new Windows Server 2019 and generate a self-signed certificate. However, if you want to use other options, check out the script parameter list.

Configure Parameter

Configure Parameter

$ResourceGroupName = "demo-wac-rg"
$VirtualNetworkName = "wac-vnet"
$SecurityGroupName = "wac-nsg"
$SubnetName = "wac-subnet"
$VaultName = "wac-key-vault"
$CertName = "wac-cert"
$Location = "westeurope"
$PublicIpAddressName = "wac-public-ip"
$Size = "Standard_D4s_v3"
$Image = "Win2019Datacenter"
$Credential = Get-Credential
 
$scriptParams = @{
ResourceGroupName = $ResourceGroupName
Name = "wac-vm1"
Credential = $Credential
VirtualNetworkName = $VirtualNetworkName
SubnetName = $SubnetName
Location = $Location
Size = $Size
Image = $Image
GenerateSslCert = $true
}
./Deploy-WACAzVM.ps1 @scriptParams

This will deploy a new Azure virtual machine with Windows Admin Center installed and open the specific port 443 on the public IP address. You can find more install options and parameters to install WAC on an existing virtual machine or with an existing certificate on Microsoft Docs.

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

Deploy and Configure Windows Admin Center in Azure VM

After the deployment has finished, simply click on the URL or IP address and it will open the Windows Admin Center portal.

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

Windows Admin Center Running in Microsoft Azure

I hope this gives you an overview about how you can deploy Windows Admin Center in an Azure VM. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.