Tag: Manage

Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal - Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM

Manage Arc-enabled Windows Server with Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal

With a new feature called Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal, you can now securely manage your Windows Server machines running as an Azure virtual machine (VM) or running on-premises with Azure Arc, directly from the Azure portal.

Azure provides a lot of different management tools to manage your virtual machines or physical servers at scale. In cases where you need to troubleshoot or directly manage a server interactively, you can now leverage Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal. This works for Azure VMs as well as for servers running on-premises or other cloud providers using Azure Arc-enabled servers.

Windows Admin Center is a browser-based management tool set that lets you manage your Windows Servers. Windows Admin Center gives you full control over all aspects of your server infrastructure and is particularly useful for managing servers on private networks that are not connected to the Internet. Windows Admin Center is the modern evolution of “in-box” management tools, like Server Manager and MMC. Now you can not only install and deploy it locally, but also use it directly from the Azure Portal.

When you want to manage a server running on-premises or at another cloud provider, the only thing you will need to do is install the connect the Azure Arc agent on your Windows Server. After that you can enable Windows Admin Center for this machine. There is no need for a VPN on direct connection to the server.

Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers

Enabling Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal for Azure Arc enabled servers running Windows Server is simple. Navigate to the Azure Arc enabled server and click on Windows Admin Center in the menu. Here you can click on “Set up“, this will install the Windows Admin Center extension which can take a couple of minutes.

Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers
Enable Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers

After this one time set up is done, you also need to provide permissions to the user or group which should be able to use Windows Admin Center for this Azure Arc-enabled server. Under Access control (IAM) can you add a new role assignment called Windows Admin Center Administrator Login, which allows users and groups to connect.

Set permissions
Set permissions

Now when you navigate back to Windows Admin Center, you can see the Connect button.

Azure Arc enabled Server connect Windows Admin Center
Azure Arc enabled Server connect Windows Admin Center

After clicking on connect, you will be prompted for a local account for that specific server. This can also be an Active Directory account.

Sign in to Windows Server
Sign in to Windows Server

Manage Azure Arc-enabled Windows Server using Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal

After the signing in Windows Admin Center will load in the Azure portal and you will be able to directly manage your server from Azure.

Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal - Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM
Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal – Azure Arc enabled Windows Server and Azure VM

Conclusion

Windows Admin Center in the Azure portal for Azure Arc-enabled servers is a fantastic way to securely manage and troubleshoot your Windows Servers running on-premises or at other cloud providers without having direct network access to these servers. If you want to learn more check out the official Microsoft Docs and check out how to SSH access your Linux and Windows Servers running anywhere with Azure Arc!



Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure Enablement Show

An introduction to the Cloud Adoption Framework Manage methodology

I am happy to let you know that I became the new host of the Microsoft Azure Enablement show for the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure part. It is a great honor to be selected as the host for this show to help our customers be successful with their cloud journey. As part of the Azure Enablement Show I am going to meet with different experts to learn about the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, and how it can help our customers and partners with proven guidance for their cloud journey. In the first episode I had the opportunity to meet with Wayne Meyer to talk about the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework Manage methodology.

Do you have questions about how to get your cloud environment ready? Join Wayne Meyer and Thomas Mauer for a discussion of the Manage methodology of the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. You’ll learn about Azure Landing Zones, how the Cloud Adoption and Well-Architected Frameworks align, hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios, and how to organize your business and technical teams.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:26 Quick overview of the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure
  • 01:34 How can companies prepare their cloud environment ready?
  • 02:40 How should companies manage their environments?
  • 04:08 How do the Manage methodology and the Well-Architected Framework align?
  • 05:54 How does the Cloud Adoption Framework help companies with hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios?
  • 07:12 How should companies think about strategy and management?
  • 09:00 What roles and functions are needed to manage cloud environments?
  • 11:42 Where can people go to learn more about the topics we’ve covered?

Resources

📺 Related episodes



Microsoft Learn how to deploy and manage Azure resources with ARM templates

Learn how to deploy and manage Azure resources with ARM templates

Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates are a great way to deploy and manage resources in Azure. With the new Microsoft Learn learning path, you can learn who you can get started with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates.

What is Azure Resource Manager

But first, what exactly is Azure Resource Manager? Azure Resource Manager is the deployment and management service for Azure. It provides a management layer that enables you to create, update, and delete resources in your Azure account. You use management features, like access control, locks, and tags, to secure and organize your resources after deployment. You can learn more about Azure Resource Manager on Microsoft Docs.

What are ARM templates?

As infrastructure has become part of the iterative process, the division between operations and development has disappeared. Teams need to manage infrastructure and application code through a unified process.

To meet these challenges, you can automate deployments and use the practice of infrastructure as code. In code, you define the infrastructure that needs to be deployed. The infrastructure code becomes part of your project. Just like application code, you store the infrastructure code in a source repository and version it. Anyone on your team can run the code and deploy similar environments.

Azure Resource Manager Templates
Azure Resource Manager Templates

To implement infrastructure as code for your Azure solutions, use Azure Resource Manager templates (ARM templates). The template is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file that defines the infrastructure and configuration for your project. The template uses declarative syntax, which lets you state what you intend to deploy without having to write the sequence of programming commands to create it. In the template, you specify the resources to deploy and the properties for those resources. You can learn more about ARM templates on Microsoft Docs.

Learn how to write, deploy and manage ARM templates with Microsoft Learn

Learning new concepts can be difficult. Luckily, we have a new Microsoft Learn learning path that helps you to learn how to write, deploy, and manage ARM templates.

in this learning path you will learn:

  • Declaratively define the Azure resources you need within the structure of an ARM template.
  • Create and validate your templates by using Visual Studio Code.
  • Deploy your templates by using the Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, and through GitHub Actions.
  • Break down complex deployments into smaller and more reusable components by using nested templates and linked templates.
  • Validate and preview your infrastructure changes by using what-if and the ARM template test toolkit.
  • Add custom steps to your ARM templates by using deployment scripts.
  • Use advanced constructs such as deployment order, conditional deployments, and secrets to manage complex deployments.

The Learning Path includes the following modules:

Conclusion

I hope this helps you getting started with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

By the way, if you need an instance of Azure Resource Manager in your on-premises environment, check out Azure Stack Hub.



Azure Management - Single control plane for resources everywhere using Azure Arc

Organize Azure Arc enabled Servers

In this blog post, we are going to have a look at how you can organize and manage Azure Arc enabled Servers running on-premises or at other cloud providers, using Azure as a single control plane. But before we start with that let’s first have a look at how customers are using Azure Resource Manager to manage their Azure resources today. To organize and manage Azure resources and services like virtual machines, web apps, databases, storage, and much more in Microsoft Azure, we are using Azure Resource Manager. Azure Resource Manager (ARM) is the deployment and management service for Microsoft Azure. ARM provides a management layer that enables you to create, update, and delete resources in Azure, and you can use management features, like access control, locks, and tags, to secure and organize your resources after deployment. So when we are using tools like the Azure portal, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, SDKs, and APIs, to manage our Azure resource we are basically interacting with Azure Resource Manager.

Azure Resource Manager Management Overview

Azure Resource Manager Management Overview (Source: Microsoft)

Azure Resource Manager provides us with the logic and scope to manage and organize Azure resources like management groups, subscriptions, resource groups, and resources.

Azure Management - Single control plane for Azure resources

Azure Management – Single control plane for Azure resources

Now many of our customers said, that ARM is a great way to manage Azure resources, but how about resources that are deployed outside of Azure, in on-premises datacenters, branch offices, factories, or even at other cloud providers? With Azure Arc, they can now onboard services like servers, Kubernetes clusters, databases, and more, and use Azure as a single control plane to manage and organize these resources. Azure Arc extends the Azure Resource Manager and Azure Management capabilities for resources outside of Azure.

Azure Management - Single control plane for resources everywhere using Azure Arc

Azure Management – Single control plane for resources everywhere using Azure Arc

You can onboard Linux and Windows Servers using the Azure Arc Center in the Azure portal. Here you can also get an overview of all your Azure Arc resources.

Azure Arc Center - Azure Portal

Azure Arc Center – Azure Portal

You can also find the Azure Arc enabled servers like any other Azure resources on the all resources page. This allows you to get an inventory of all your servers in your environment.

Inventory for Azure Arc enabled Servers and Azure VMs

Inventory for Azure Arc enabled Servers and Azure VMs

You can see that your Azure Arc enabled servers to show up as Azure resources. You can use the filter to limit the view to only Azure virtual machines (VMs), and Azure Arc enabled servers.

Filter for Azure VMs and Azure Arc Machines

Filter for Azure VMs and Azure Arc Machines

You can also use tagslocks, and RBAC (role-based access control) to organize and manage these resources. This makes it easy to for example list all your servers from a spesific department, project, or cost center.

Using Tags

Using Tags

Azure Arc is not only limited to the Azure portal, but you can also use the Azure APIs, CLI, PowerShell, and the Azure Resource Graph to manage your Azure Arc machines.

I hope this gives you a very quick overview of how you can use Azure Arc enabled Servers to get a glimpse of all your hybrid servers running on-premises, at the edge, and even at other cloud providers. If you want to learn more about Azure Arc and the management capabilities, check out my blogs about Azure Arc, like Azure Arc Enabled Servers Extension Management and many more. Also, make sure you check out the official Azure Arc enabled servers documentation on Microsoft Docs.

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



Manage updates and patches for your Azure VMs

Manage updates and patches for your Azure VMs

In this week’s Azure tip video we are going to have a look at how to manage updates and patches for your Azure virtual machines (VMs). After watching this video, you’ll be able to enable Azure Update Management, deploy updates, review an update assessment, and manage updates for your Azure VMs.

You can use Update Management in Azure Automation to manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux machines in Azure, in on-premises environments, and in other cloud environments. You can quickly assess the status of available updates on all agent machines and manage the process of installing required updates for servers. If you want to learn more, check out my blog post on how to manage updates on Azure VMs. Also, make sure you check out a new feature called Azure Automatic VM Guest OS patching. To learn more about that feature, check out my blog post: How to configure Azure Automatic VM guest OS patching

To learn more about Azure Update management for your Azure virtual machines, check out the following links:

I hope this video was help full when it comes to managing updates and patches for your Azure VMs. If you have any questions, comments, or another great idea for an Azure tip video, feel free to leave a comment below.



Azure Arc enabled SQL Server

How to add an Azure Arc enabled SQL Server

A couple of months ago Microsoft announced a new Hybrid Cloud feature called Azure Arc enabled SQL Server. Azure Arc enabled SQL Server allows you to manage your global inventory of SQL servers, protect SQL Server instances with Azure Security Center or periodically assess and tune the health of your SQL Server configurations. In this blog post, we will cover how you can add SQL Server to Azure Management using Azure Arc.

Azure Arc enabled SQL Server Architecture

Azure Arc enabled SQL Server Architecture

Prerequisites

Before you add an Azure Arc enabled SQL Server, you need to prepare the following prerequisites:

  • A virtual or physical machine running SQL Server. The machine hosting SQL Server must be connected to the internet directly or via a proxy server. Running one of the following operating systems:
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 and higher
    • Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 (x64)
    • CentOS Linux 7 (x64)
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 (x64)
  • The Connected Machine agent communicates outbound securely to Azure Arc over TCP port 443. If the machine connects through a firewall or a HTTP proxy server to communicate over the Internet, review the network configuration requirements for the Connected Machine agent.
  • A user account with permissions (An user account with local admin rights.
  • Azure PowerShell installed on the computer executing the onboarding script.
  • You need to have the “Microsoft.AzureData” provider namespace registered. You can run the following Azure PowerShell command to do that: “Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.AzureData”. You can run that command in Azure Cloud Shell.

To learn more about the prerequisites, check out the following Microsoft Docs page.



How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

In this blog post we are going to have a look at how you can create, manage, apply, and remove VM Checkpoints in Hyper-V using PowerShell. Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) checkpoints are one of the great benefits of virtualization. Before Windows Server 2012 R2, they were known as virtual machine snapshots. VM Checkpoints in Hyper-V allow you to save the system state of a VM to a specific time and then revert back to that state if you need to. This is great if you are testing software and configuration changes, or if you have a demo environment, which you want to reset.

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

Before we got on how you can manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell, let me first explain the two different types. Since Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10, Hyper-V includes two types of checkpoints, Standard Checkpoints, and Production Checkpoints.

  • Standard Checkpoints: takes a snapshot of the virtual machine and virtual machine memory state at the time the checkpoint is initiated. A snapshot is not a full backup and can cause data consistency issues with systems that replicate data between different nodes such as Active Directory. Hyper-V only offered standard checkpoints (formerly called snapshots) prior to Windows 10.
  • Production Checkpoints: uses Volume Shadow Copy Service or File System Freeze on a Linux virtual machine to create a data-consistent backup of the virtual machine. No snapshot of the virtual machine memory state is taken.

You can set up these settings in Hyper-V Manager or in PowerShell.

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

If you are using PowerShell to configure Checkpoints for virtual machines these commands may help you.

Configure and set VM for Standard Checkpoints

Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Standard

Set VM to Production Checkpoints, if the production checkpoint fails a Standard Checkpoint is created

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Production

Set VM to only use Production Checkpoints

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType ProductionOnly

Disable VM Checkpoints for the Hyper-V virtual machine

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Disabled

Managing Hyper-V VM Checkpoints using PowerShell

Create VM Checkpoints

You can create a new VM Checkpoint with PowerShell, you can round the following command:

Checkpoint-VM -Name "Windows10"

You can find more on the cmdlet on Microsoft Docs.

You can list the VM Checkpoints of a Hyper-V VM:

Get-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10"

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

Applying Hyper-V VM checkpoints using PowerShell

If you want to revert your virtual machine state to a previous point-in-time, you can apply an existing checkpoint, using the following PowerShell command.

Restore-VMCheckpoint -Name "checkpoint name" -VMName "Windows10" -Confirm:$false

You can find more information about the cmdlet here.

Renaming checkpoints

To rename a checkpoint you can use the following command

Rename-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10" -Name "Checkpointname" -NewName "MyNewCheckpointName"

Deleting checkpoints

You can also delete or remove a Hyper-V VM checkpoint with the following PowerShell command. This will merge the .avhdx files in the background.

Remove-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10" -Name "Checkpointname"

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives you a great overview on how you can manage, apply, restore, and remove Hyper-V VM Checkpoints using PowerShell. You can learn more about Hyper-V virtual machine checkpoints on Microsoft Docs. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Livestream Hybrid Cloud Server Management with Azure Arc

Livestream on Hybrid Cloud Server Management with Azure Arc

On Wednesday, May 27, I plan to do a Livestream on how to govern and manage servers in a hybrid cloud environment with Azure Arc. In the live stream, we will set up my Azure environment and add on-premises Windows and Linux servers to Azure Arc, so I can start managing them using the Azure Resource Manager.

Azure Arc allows you to onboard physical and virtual servers in your hybrid environment (on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud). By joining serves to Azure Arc, you get the benefits you are used from native Azure resources, like tags, RBAC, and many more. In the preview, you can now use Azure Management services like Azure Log Analytics and Azure Policy to make sure your servers are compliant across your hybrid environment.

Livestream Azure Arc for Servers – Hybrid Cloud Server Management

YouTube Livestream will be starting on Wednesday, May 27 at 16:00 (CEST): Make sure you set a reminder!

 ▶ Download the calendar ICS file here. 📅✔

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to get a notification.

Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Thomas Maurer shows you how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, similar to how you manage native Azure virtual machines. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. Azure Arc provides you with the familiar cloud-native Azure management experience, like RBAC, Tags, Azure Policy, Log Analytics, and more.

If you are interested in these topics, join me and check out the following links:

Join us on the YouTube Livestream

If you are interested, join us on May 27 online. I am really looking forward to chatting with you in the Livestream about hybrid cloud server management with Azure Arc. You can find the live stream here on YouTube.

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



How I Manage and Plan Tasks as a Remote Worker

How I Manage and Plan Tasks as a Remote Worker

I know being a remote worker and working from home can be a challenge, especially when it comes to managing and planning your tasks and to-dos. Since I started at Microsoft, I became a remote worker working from my home office, and I needed to figure out what the best way for me is to get things done. In this blog, I want to share my experience on how to manage and plan tasks as a remote worker working from home and be more productive. That said, this is specifically for my job and my personal preferences, this might not work in the exact same way for you. But I hope you get some tips and tricks out of it, which can help you to be more productive when you are working from home.

Getting an Overview of my Tasks and the Things I need to work on 🤓

To get your tasks and your work items planned, you first need to know what these are. Not just for you but also for your team and the people you are working with. So for me, there are two types of to-do items. First of all, the more significant things I am working on, alone but also together with my team. This helps you to collaborate in a team and also gives a good overview of who is doing what. The other things to-dos and tasks I want to track are all my personal ones (but still work-related), small tasks, ideas, emails I need to reply, and so on. For me separating this made a lot of sense since I also want to be very efficient and not spend time more time on a task writing it down than actually completing it (If it is not something the team should know about). With that, I quickly want to share how we collaborate and plan and track our work as a team, as well as how I work with my own personal work tasks.

Working and Collaborating in a Team 🙌

As a team, we are using Azure DevOps Boards to track and plan our work items. We can create new work items and then move them into the “in progress”-column. When the task is completed, we then move it in to closed. You can also see that we are tracking and planning our content we are publishing, offline and online events we are presenting at, and much more. You can see that we also use that board to plan and schedule posts on our ITOpsTalk.com blog. With that, we can easily plan and see who is releasing a blog on what topic on which specific day.

Work Items in Azure DevOps Boards

Work Items in Azure DevOps Boards

Azure DevOps also allows us to integrate into other systems and automate specific tasks and update databases. I know that Azure DevOps is might not be for everyone, but if you want to use a similar but simpler tool to collaborate and organize your teamwork, you should have a look at Microsoft Planner.

Managing my Personal Tasks ✔

For all the rest of my tasks, I use the Microsoft To Do app. The app helps me to organize different tasks in different lists. This is also how I write down ideas or to-dos I get out of a meeting or a conversation.

Microsoft To Do Management

Microsoft To Do Management

I don’t use the planning feature in the To Do app since I use my calendar for doing the planning. However, I still use it to give my tasks a time where they pop up, so I don’t forget to include them. Again using the Microsoft To Do app has a couple of advantages. First of all, you basically get this app on almost all devices I own, and it automatically syncs tasks, and there is also a web version. What I also highly appreciate is the fact that it connects to many other services and places and can show you tasks from different places like Outlook. For example, I can easily list all the emails I flagged and the Microsoft Planner tasks which are assigned to me.

One personal thing I can recommend is to create some quick notes lists. I, for example, created one for feedback, I often get feedback from customers during events or calls. To quickly write these items down, I use a list called Feedback in my Microsoft To Do app, and later on go through it and forward it to the right people and systems we have in place. The other quick lists I created are for recurring meetings. From time to time, something pops in my head, which I want to discuss during my next team meeting or my 1:1 with my manager. I quickly write that item down, and when the meeting starts, I can quickly open the list and make sure I don’t forget anything I wanted to discuss.

Planning my Tasks and my Week using Calendar Blocking 📅

Okay, now I have all of my tasks and to-dos listed, the next step is to plan them. One of the main challenges I found myself in was to figure out what I should work next. I have enough tasks, but it took me a lot of time to go through them and decided on which one I should work. Of course, you can prioritize your tasks, but since you also have meetings scheduled, one that is sometimes too big to start with. To make that process a little bit easier, I used the concept of calendar blocking.

There are many great articles and videos out there, which describe the concept of calendar blocking. For me it is straightforward, at the beginning of the week, I open up my Outlook calendar and a list of the tasks and items I need to do. I then start to put blocks in my calendar to plan when I am working on which item or task. So now, when I finish a task, I just have a look at my calendar, and I can see what I should work on next.

I also set myself some rules, and I had certain learnings over time. First, calendar items or blocks are not necessarily fixed, and they can be moved around as long as the deadline allows it. Sometimes you can’t finish something in time, so you might just want to keep working on it and move the other block or item for later. Secondly, I try to create as many recurring blocks as I can; this makes planning much more comfortable and faster and gives you some sort of consistency. Third, usually, my work items and blocks are larger then they need to be, I still want to have some time to interact with others on Microsoft Teams or just get a coffee, without stressing myself out.

All that said, I want to give you a quick example of how a week can look like. I want to highlight again, that this is based on my personal preferences and aligned with the teams I work with, it can be entirely different for you.

How I Manage and Plan Tasks as a Remote Worker

How I manage and plan tasks as a remote worker

Usually, I start planning my week on Sunday evening or Monday morning. A lot of blocks are already in my calendar because I created these recurring tasks and entries. Then I go into my Microsoft To Do App and my Azure Board, to check what the open tasks are I should be working at, and start blocking time for these items.

Outlook Calendar Blocking

Outlook Calendar Blocking

In this example, I want to quickly highlight a couple of things.

  1. As said before, you can see that many of my blocks are recurring tasks; this helps me to save time.
  2. I usually start the week with something easy I just can do, and I don’t need much brainpower, like reporting tasks. By just quickly getting these things done, I also get motivated to get more tasks done.
  3. I plan breaks to make sure that I don’t mess up my whole schedule. They are usually recurring tasks in my calendar.
  4. Even recurring tasks and blocks and easily moved around, depending on if I have meetings or different appointments going on.
  5. Since we are a remote team with people all over the globe, I can’t attend all of our meetings, and that is fine. We record our meetings, and I usually schedule some time to watch the recording.
  6. Working from home prevents you from having your usual chats with your colleagues while getting coffee or other breaks. That’s why our organization has some scheduled and recurring watercooler events for everyone to join.
  7. You can see here that I blocked some time to do some focus work on a specific topic. However, at the beginning of the week, I have no idea what and how many meetings I will have. Since a lot of people I usually collaborate are in another timezone and start working in my afternoon, I enter a blocker in my calendar but marked it as free. So people can still find some free time to schedule meetings with me using the Outlook availability feature.
  8. Here you can see I booked some focus time to work on a specific task. However, later in the week, I scheduled some meetings instead.
  9. I use the category feature in Outlook to color code my blocks depending on different tasks. Red, for example, means focus work, dark red means collaboration work and meetings, and orange are important meetings.
  10. One thing I like to do as a remote worker is to schedule some virtual coffee breaks with my co-workers over teams, outside of the regular meetings.
  11. I also highlight important tasks where I am presenting or speaking on a specific topic. Having that color-coding for these also reminds me to be prepared with the necessary content.

Note Taking

Another big part, to stay organized and get things done, is the way I am taking notes. I need a place to write down my meeting notes, or my planning for new projects and content, as well as my travel planning. For that I am using Microsoft OneNote, it is great because it syncs across all my devices, lets me do typing as well as handwritten notes, and has many more awesome features.

Taking Notes in OneNote

Taking Notes in OneNote

I can also easily collaborate and share notes with others as well as super easy automate processes using Power Automate. We are also using it a lot in our team to brainstorm ideas and work together.

There is also some stuff I always need ready, or I just quickly want to write down, or maybe quickly want to copy past later or something I need all the time. For that, I am using the Windows 10 Stick Notes app.

Stick Notes

Stick Notes

These also sync across my devices and really help me to get these quick notes done.

Automate processes between these tools

As you can see there are many tools which can help you to stay organized. However, too many tools can also have the opposite effect and can use a lot of time. I start using Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow) which is part of the Microsoft Power Apps. Power Automate helps me to easily connect different tools and services together. For example, I can automatically create a new Outlook task or Microsoft To Do task when an Azure DevOps workitem is assigned. Power Automate can also do things like sending emails or notifications, send an article to OneNote, integration with Microsoft Teams. and integrates in many other third-party services.

Automate tasks using Power Automate

Automate tasks using Power Automate

Conclusion

I hope this gives you a little bit of an overview of how I manage and plan my tasks as a remote worker. I know that this might not work for you in the same way as it does for me; however, I hope you get the one or other idea out of it. It is also important to mention that I highlighted a couple of different tools like Azure Boards, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft To Do and Outlook, I know that there are much more out there and maybe work better for your specific scenario. Again, I would never say I am an expert on that. I just wanted to share how I handle and manage my tasks when working from home, and I am super interested in learning from you, and how you organize yourself to become more productive. If you have any tips and tricks to share, feel free to leave a comment.



Azure Friday - Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Azure Friday: Manage hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Last Friday, I had the chance to join Donovan Brown on Azure Friday to talk about how you can manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc. I showed how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, similar to how you manage native Azure virtual machines. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. You can watch the full episode here on Microsoft Channel 9.

Azure Friday - Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

Azure Friday – Manage and govern your hybrid servers using Azure Arc

If you want to know more about the Azure Arc and Azure Hybrid services, check out the following blog post and Microsoft Docs articles:

If you want to check out my other Azure Friday episode, in which I was joining Scott Hanselman to talk about how you can connect Windows Server to Azure Hybrid Cloud services using Windows Admin Center. And how you can use other Azure Hybrid services to improve your on-premises environment, check out my blog here.

I hope you liked this Azure Friday episode about how you can manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted outside of Azure on your corporate network or other cloud providers, using Azure Arc for servers. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. And yes, this is a Surface Pro X.