Tag: Microsoft

Last updated by at .

Presenting ExpertsLive

Speaking about Azure Stack at Experts Live Switzerland 2018 in Bern

Today, I am proud to announce that I am speaking at the country event of Experts Live in Switzerland. Experts Live Switzerland 2018 will take place at the 3rd of May in the new Workspace Welle 7 in ​Bern Switzerland. Experts Live Switzerland is a one day event with 17 session in three parallel tracks focusing on Microsoft Cloud, Datacenter and Workplace Management topics, with Microsoft MVPs, speakers from Microsoft and other industry experts.

I was already speaking at Experts Live US 2018, Experts Live Australia 2017 and of course Experts Live Europe 2017. As always, I am really looking forward to this country event of the Experts Live conference series. It is always a lot of fun to listen to great sessions and meet friends.

Speaking at Experts Live Switzerland 2018

I am happy to give attendees an overview about Microsoft Azure Stack:

Azure Stack - Your Cloud Your Datacenter

Microsoft released Azure Stack as a 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).

The event is limited to only 180 attendees, so make sure you reserve you ticket right now! There will be a lot of other great sessions and a lot of experts from the Microsoft Cloud community.

Some more information about the conference:

  • 1 day event
  • In the heart of Switzerland (Bern)
  • 17 sessions
  • 3 parallel tracks
  • Top Community speakers
  • limited to 180 attendees
  • Partner booths in the expo hall
  • modern location
  • focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technology



Azure Stack PowerShell Docker Container

Run Azure Stack PowerShell and Azure Stack Tools in a Docker Container

The Azure Stack Tools is a set of scripts and tools to work with Azure Stack and Azure. If you want to run the Azure Stack Tools you will need to install the Azure Stack compatible Azure PowerShell module. To install that that can be some work and it does not allow to run the side by side today with the latest Azure PowerShell Module. For that I have a simple solution. I created two Docker Containers with preinstalled Azure Stack PowerShell and one with Azure Stack PowerShell and the Azure Stack Tools together.

AzureStack-Tools is a GitHub repository that hosts PowerShell modules for managing and deploying resources to Azure Stack. If you are planning to establish VPN connectivity, you can download these PowerShell modules to the Azure Stack Development Kit, or to a Windows-based external client

Azure Stack PowerShell Docker Container

Azure Stack PowerShell Docker Container

This container contains the Azure Stack PowerShell. To run Azure Stack PowerShell in a Docker Container, just run the following command on your server or PC with Docker installed.

Azure Stack Tools Docker Container

Azure Stack Tools Docker Container

This container contains the Azure Stack PowerShell as well as the Azure Stack Tools. To run Azure Stack Tools in a Docker Container, just run the following command on your server or pc with Docker installed.

Both Images are based on Windows Server Core and depending on the microsoft/windowsservercore Docker images.

This should help you to quickly spin up new Azure Stack Operator Workstations. And it should help you to work and interact with Azure Stack.

Azure Stack Capacity Calculator

Azure Stack Capacity Calculator Tool

One of the most common questions I get when a customer decided to buy Azure Stack is, how you can calculate the sizing of your Azure Stack. He also wants to know how larger the server should be for his workloads and which Azure Stack Hardware SKU he should go for. Microsoft just released the Azure Stack Capacity Calculator (Version 1801.01). This tool will assists customers in the pre-purchase capacity planning of the Azure Stack hardware configuration. This helps you decided on how large your Azure Stack solution should be configured. This sizes server configuration and amount of servers you need to run your workloads on a Azure Stack integrated system. This also helps you in your Azure Stack Pricing Calculation.

The Azure Stack capacity planner is intended to assist in pre-purchase planning to determine appropriate capacity and configuration of Azure Stack hardware solutions.

The Azure Stack capacity planner helps you make informed decisions with respect to planning capacity in two ways: either the by selecting a hardware offering and attempting to fit a combination of resources or by defining the workload that Azure Stack is intended to run to view the available hardware SKUs that can support it. Finally, the spreadsheet is intended as a guide to help in making decisions related to Azure Stack planning and configuration.

The spreadsheet is not intended to serve as a substitute for your own investigation and analysis.  Microsoft makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided within the spreadsheet.

Azure Stack Capacity Planner

Azure Stack Resource Calculator

You can download the Azure Stack Capacity Planner from the TechNet Gallery. It is a simple to use Microsoft Excel file, where you enter your workload data. I will out put some information about the configuration you need and even allows you to compare different hardware SKUs. It will also indicate which one will be the best solution for you.

Download Azure Stack Capacity Calculator: TechNet Gallery Azure Stack Capacity Planner (Version 1801.01)


What is in my bag for the Microsoft MVP Summit 2018

What is in my bag for the Microsoft MVP Summit 2018

Soon again I am on my way to the Microsoft MVP Summit 2018 in Redmond. The Microsoft MVP Summit is the yearly, multi-day event, which is hosted at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and in Bellevue. The event brings a large catalog of technical sessions and variety of networking opportunities. The Microsoft MVP Global Summit enables MVPs from around the world to connect with each other, build relationships with Microsoft product managers, learn about upcoming technology and products, and provide feedback on Microsoft products and services.

If I remember correctly this I my 7th MVP Summit, which I can attend. I am really looking forward as always and I am sure it is going to be great fun.

Obviously you need to pack some stuff, to make the best out of the week. Especially since you need to take a lot of notes, and also work on some projects remotely. Besides my clothes and my running shoes, I also pack my latest tech stuff.

What is in my bag for the Microsoft MVP Summit 2018

What is in my bag for the Microsoft MVP Summit 2018

  • Surface Pro – As my daily driver I will bring my Microsoft Surface Pro, which is a perfect travel companion, since it is a small and light devices. As you may know, I also love to take notes in OneNote using the Surface Pen. The battery life should bring me more less through a day of work at the event.
  • The Surface Pen  – The Surface Pen is one of my favorite Surface peripherals to take handwritten notes during sessions.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – After Microsoft really holds back on the Windows 10 Mobile investments. I decided to Switch to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The Note 8 looks beautiful, has a great camera, a Pen for OneNote. It also has enough battery life to bring me trough a long day.
  • Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse – The Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse is my absolut favorite travel mouse. I am using a Microsoft Arc mouse since the first version and I am happy with the integrations Microsoft made.
  • Bose Quiet Comfort 35 – The best travel Headphones I have ever owned. I like the new wireless capabilities and the noise canceling is perfect when you are stuck on a long flight.
  • Samsung Gear S3 Frontier – Around my wrist I am currently wearing a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch, which helps me track my runs on Samsung health
  • Microsoft Surface Adapters – Of course I bring a bunch of Surface Pro adapters, since you never know if you need to connect your Surface to a big screen.
  • Microsoft Surface Power Adapter – This is a thing I really started to like. The Surface Power Adapter not only allows you to charge your Surface, but the extra USB port also allows you to charger your phone or another USB device at the same time.
  • Next to that, I will bring some cables, sunglasses, even I might not really need them in the Seattle area this time of the year, and a bunch of other stuff you need during an event.

Old Times

By the way it is funny to see, how the inside of my bag change over the years. I wrote a similar blog post for the Microsoft MVP Summit in 2013. When I was carrying a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 and a Lumia 920.

Bag for Microsoft MVP Summit

My Favorite Visual Studio Code Themes

While I am doing presentations, I often do demos, and since a lot of my demos are PowerShell based, I use a lot of Visual Studio Code. With that I often get the question which is the Visual Studio Code Theme I use. Even I change my Visual Studio Code Themes pretty often, I have a couple of favorites I want to share.


Visual Studio Code Theme Cobalt2

My current favorite Visual Studio Code Theme is Cobalt2. Cobalt2 is a dark but colorful theme for Visual Studio. I like it because it is a dark theme, but it not uses the classic dark grey background, instead I like the mix of dark blue and yellow.

Atom One Dark

Visual Studio Code Theme Atom One Dark

Atom One Dark is another Dark theme I started to like very much. I like the popping colors on the dark background.

Ayu Mirage – Visual Studio Code Theme

Visual Studio Code Theme Ayu Mirage

The Ayu Themes for Visual Studio are simple, bright and elegant themes. I prefer the Ayu Mirage theme which as I said looks very elegant. The Ayu themes also have other options like the Ayu light which is also one of my favorites.


Visual Studio Code Theme Dracula

Dracula is one of the famous Visual Studio Code themes, which is also available on other platforms. When I am not using the Cobalt2 theme, I most often switch to Dracula.

Ayu Light

Visual Studio Code Theme Ayu Light

I mentioned the Ayu Themes before, and this is the light version of it. I am mostly using dark themes, but when I switch to a light theme, I mostly use Ayu Light.

PowerShell ISE

Visual Studio Code Theme PowerShell ISE

If you are coming form PowerShell scripting, you are already familiar with the PowerShell ISE. The PowerShell ISE theme bring you back in to the old school world and even gives you the PowerShell blue background terminal.

There are a lot of other great Visual Studio Code Themes out there. What is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Microsoft Modern Keyboard

Mini Review of the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID

As you may know I am a big fan of the Microsoft peripherals like the Microsoft Arc Mouse, Surface Pen, Surface Precision Mouse, Surface Dial and the Surface Keyboard. The last one I have just upgraded to the Microsoft Modern Keyboard. The Microsoft Modern Keyboard almost looks the same when you compare it to the Surface Keyboard, except for some minor changes, like the on/off button, the USB charging port or the integrated Fingerprint reader.

As like the Surface Keyboard, the Microsoft Modern Keyboard feels extremely comfortable to type on, and in my opinion also looks perfect on your desk. It is thin and light and matches the style of the other Surface products. Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID’s aluminum frame makes it not only of the highest quality, but heavy and virtually indestructible. The keyboard not only supports Bluetooth Low Energy  4.0 / 4.1 / 4.2, it also supports USB as a wired connection, which allows it to be a great choice even at work.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard Fingerprint Reader

One of the main new advantages of the Microsoft Modern Keyboard is the new integrated Fingerprint reader. This allows you to use it together with Windows Hello, to easily login to your computer, without the need of a password.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard On Off Button

You also get a on off switch for they keyboard, which is really handy, especially when you are traveling and storing the keyboard in your bag.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard USB Charger

The Surface Keyboard came with batteries which you needed to replaces after a while. The Microsoft Modern Keyboard brings a rechargeable battery, which can be easily recharged using the included USB cable, which also lets you connect the keyboard not only using Bluetooth, but also using the wired USB connection. Microsoft promises up to 4 months battery life on full charge.

After using the Surface Keyboard and before the Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Desktop since 2015, the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID is a great successor.

Azure Stack

Azure Stack Roadmap – Update 12 February 2018

I often get ask about the Azure Stack roadmap and when new services, features and improvements will be integrated into Microsoft Azure Stack. Microsoft just released some new official update on the Azure roadmap page.

Azure Stack Roadmap

Microsoft listed some new features and improvements like:

  • Azure Stack integrated systems with 16 node scale units
    We are working on increasing the maximum number of nodes in a scale unit to 16 so that Azure Stack operators can configure a larger Azure Stack deployment. This entry applies primarily to an Azure Stack operator.
  • Azure Stack support for Azure Backup
    We’re developing the ability for Azure Stack operators to backup and recover guest OS, data disks, and volumes using Azure Backup. When complete, this new ability will give operators more options when developing a backup strategy for Azure Stack.
  • Azure Stack security—drift detection
    New and updated features are being developed to help Azure Stack operators determine if their Azure Stack integrated system has been tampered with, enhancing the Azure Stack security posture. Additionally, they will be able to remediate if configuration has drifted.
  • Azure Stack security—updated audit collection
    Azure Stack operators will be happy to hear that new and updated features are being developed to ensure Azure Stack integrated systems are “hardened by default,” meaning that since the infrastructure runs on well-defined hardware and software, we enable, configure, and validate security features that are usually left to customers to implement. This work will also include updates to the audit collection logs to better integrate with SIEM systems.
  • Azure Container Service (AKS) on Azure Stack
    Managed Kubernetes with Azure Container Service (AKS) on Azure Stack will make it even easier for Azure Stack users to manage and operate Kubernetes environments in the same ways as they do in Azure, without sacrificing portability. This new service features an Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators. With Container Service, customers get the benefit of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead. This update applies primarily to Azure Stack users.
  • Templated Kubernetes deployments
    This work in development will bring support for templated Kubernetes clusters. This will simplify deployment and operations for Azure Stack users by allowing them to deploy the template to Azure or Azure Stack, thereby providing a consistent environment in each cloud. This update applies primarily to Azure Stack users.
  • Templated Service Fabric cluster deployments
    This work in development will bring templated Service Fabric clusters that will simplify deployment and operations for Azure Stack users. Once deployed, Azure Stack users will be able to manage Service Fabric clusters, applications, and services through PowerShell, the Service Fabric CLI, or the open source Service Fabric Explorer just as you can in Azure. This update applies primarily to Azure Stack users.
  • Azure Stack support for Azure Site Recovery
    With this work in development, Azure Stack operators will have more site recovery options by be able to take advantage of Azure Site Recovery to replicate and failover guest OS and data disks to Azure. This entry applies primarily to an Azure Stack operator.
  • Azure Stack infrastructure backup and cloud recovery
    We’re developing enhancements for Azure Stack that will simplify infrastructure backup by eliminating the need for manual operator intervention. These enhancements will include the enablement of operator-driven validation of cloud recovery. This post applies primarily to Azure Stack operators.
  • Managed Disks in Azure Stack
    Azure Managed Disks simplifies disk management for Azure VMs by managing the storage accounts associated with the VM disks. You only have to specify the type (Premium or Standard) and the size of disk you need, and Azure creates and manages the disk for you. This work will bring more options and simplicity to Azure Stack users when working with VMs. This update applies primarily to Azure Stack users.
  • Av2-series and F-series virtual machines in Azure Stack
    We’re working on bringing Av2-series and F-series virtual machines (VM) to Azure Stack so that users can create them when building and deploying applications. Av2 is popular for development and test scenarios, while the F-series provides more cores with lesser memory requirement than the D-series. Learn more about Azure VM sizes and Azure Stack Virtual Machines.
  • Expanded VPN Gateway interoperability
    We’re expanding support for the VPN Gateway to allow Azure Stack users greater flexibility with their settings. Once available, this will allow users to configure their own settings so that they can establish a VPN tunnel with the older devices they have in their datacenter, without requiring them to upgrade these devices.
  • Azure Storage API version 2017-04-17 updated in Azure Stack
    We’re working on bringing the 2017-04-17 version of the Azure Storage API to use in Azure Stack. When ready, this will enable Azure Stack users to perform URL-to-URL copies, simplifying the movement of data between Azure and Azure Stack. This update applies primarily to Azure Stack users, but will be beneficial to any user looking to create hybrid applications that span Azure and Azure Stack.
  • Ability to incrementally add capacity to Azure Stack
    We’re now working on adding the ability for Azure Stack operators to add a node to an existing Azure Stack scale unit within the supported scale unit limits. This will enable Azure Stack operators to increase the capacity of a single Azure Stack, and specifics should be discussed with hardware partners.
  • Azure Stack integrated systems support for multiple scale units
    For customers who want larger Azure Stack integrated systems, we’re working on adding support to have multiple scale units in an Azure Stack integrated system. This applies primarily to Azure Stack operators, and will enable them to increase the capacity of a single Azure Stack.
  • Azure Stack operator experience feature updates
    Azure Stack operators can configure Azure Stack and manage offers, plans, services, quotas, and pricing to provide resources for their users. Azure Stack operators also manage capacity and can respond to alerts. We’re developing new and updated features for the monitoring, diagnostics, and servicing experiences to ensure Azure Stack operators can keep the Azure Stack integrated system running and healthy. These include:Investments in infrastructure servicing to minimize tenant downtime.
    Improved alerting and remediations to allow the operator to maintain system health.
    Updated diagnostics for better troubleshooting.
    Continued investments in the Operator UX and Operator PowerShell.
  • Azure Stack Infrastructure—compliance certification guidance
    We’re creating documentation to describe how Azure Stack infrastructure satisfies regulatory technical controls for PCI-DSS and CSA-CCM. Azure Stack operators will be able to use this documentation to simplify the processes that companies go through when working with governing bodies. Check back for more information as the documentation is developed.
  • Display virtual machines prices in Azure Stack portal
    Work is currently in development to allow Azure Stack operators the ability to configure the virtual machine pricing and display it in the Azure Stack portal. This will provide additional flexibility when creating plans, offers, and managing subscriptions. Check back with this blog to see developments as work progresses, and get more information.

You can see Microsoft is going to work on a lot of great improvements for Azure Stack. If you want to know more about Azure Stack, check out my blog post:

Microsoft Azure Stack – Azure Extension in your Datacenter