Tag: Server

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.

Azure Hybrid

Azure Arc – Cloud-native Management for Hybrid Cloud

Azure Hybrid is not just Azure Stack, it also includes a couple of other Azure Hybrid services like Azure Update Management, Azure File Sync and many more. Today, Microsoft will extend the hybrid cloud solutions in Azure and announced Azure Arc, which is designed to extend Azure Management to any infrastructure. In the new world where organizations run servers, containers, and applications across multi-cloud environments, on-premises locations, and the edge, managing these hybrid resources becomes challenging. Azure Arc enables cloud-native Azure management across any infrastructure and also allows you to run Azure data services to be deployed anywhere. It includes hybrid server management, Kubernetes and Azure data services.

Azure Arc Overview

Azure Arc Overview

As you can see Azure Arc consists of a set of different technologies and components like:

  • Organize and govern all your servers – Azure Arc extends Azure management to physical and virtual servers anywhere. Govern and manage servers from a single scalable management pane. You can learn more about Azure Arc for servers here.
  • Manage Kubernetes apps at scale – Deploy and configure Kubernetes applications consistently across all your environments with modern DevOps techniques.
  • Run data services anywhere – Deploy Azure data services in moments, anywhere you need them. Get simpler compliance, faster response times, and better security for your data. You can learn more here.
  • Adopt cloud technologies on-premises – Bringing cloud-native management to your hybrid environment.

In this blog post, we will have a closer look at hybrid server management. If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out the announcement blog post by Jeremy Winter, Director of Program Management, Microsoft Azure.

Cloud-native Azure management for hybrid environments with Azure Arc

By extending Azure Resource Manager to support hybrid cloud environments, Azure Arc to make it easier to implement cloud security across environments with centralized role-based access control, security policies. Azure Management provides you now with a single control plane for Azure native and Azure Arc resources.

Azure Management Overview

Azure Management Overview

Hybrid Server Management

Today 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.

Hybrid Server Management

Hybrid Server Management

I had the chance to have a very early chat with Jian Yan from the Azure Management team, a couple of weeks ago, about hybrid server management. Check out the video here:

Join the Preview

Azure Arc for Server is currently in public preview, while you can sign up for the preview to manage Kubernetes and data services. To enable hybrid server management, you must register the required Resource Providers.

  • Microsoft.HybridCompute
  • Microsoft.GuestConfiguration

You can register the resource providers with the following Azure PowerShell commands:

Set-AzContext -SubscriptionId [subscription you want to onboard]
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.HybridCompute
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.GuestConfiguration

or with Azure CLI:

az account set --subscription "{Your Subscription Name}"
az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridCompute'
az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.GuestConfiguration'

You can also run them from Azure Cloud Shell. If you want to know more, check out the following Microsoft Docs article.

Onboarding Servers to Azure Arc

As mentioned we will have a closer look here at how you can onboard Linux and Windows Server to Azure Arc. To onboard a server which can run Linux or Windows, physical or virtual, and can run on-premises or at another service provider, you open Azure Arc in the Azure Portal. There you can select manage servers.

Azure Arc Portal

Azure Arc Portal

Here you will see your existing servers which you have on-boarded.

Azure Arc Server in Portal

Azure Arc Server in Portal


You can click on Add, to add another server. You will be able to add a single server or get instructions to onboard servers at scale.

Add server to Azure Arc

Add server to Azure Arc

Here you can go through a wizard that will help you to generate a script, which you can copy or download to run it on your server. You can select the subscription and resource group, as well as the region where you want to join your server.

You will also be able to configure a proxy server if your server is behind a proxy. Since this will use the Azure Resource Manager, you will also be able to use tags. After you are done with the wizard, you are able to download or copy the command to run that on your server.

Generate Script

Generate Script

After you have run that command on your on-premises server, your server will show up as an Azure resource in a couple of minutes.

Use Windows Admin Center to onboard a server to Azure Arc

Windows Admin Center and Azure Stack HCI

Windows Admin Center and Azure Stack HCI

If you are using Windows Admin Center on Windows Server or with Azure Stack HCI, you can also onboard servers directly from there. Go to the settings of the server and click on Azure Arc. Now you can sign in and select the specific subscription and resource group.


If you want to know more about the Azure Hybrid announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2019, check out the blog post of Julia White. If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out the blog post from Jeremy Winter. If you have any questions about it feel free to leave a comment, or if you are at Microsoft Ignite, feel free to talk to me and the Azure team.

I will also host a Microsoft Ignite Live interview with Jian Yan, which you can watch live in Orlando or online.

Microsoft Ignite Live

Azure is built from the ground up to manage at-scale, cross-geography environments with multiple operational models and DevOps patterns. The vision is to keep Azure at the center of the enterprise as the control plane for governance, management, and modern development and bring the Azure management capabilities and services to any customer environment. In this session, we demo one of the extension services to enable you to bring servers from anywhere to Azure, and use Azure to get a compliance view for all your server assets.

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

How to manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center is a browser-based management tool to manage your servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows 10 PCs. You can deploy it anywhere you want. If you run on-prem, you can install it on a Windows Server running in your infrastructure, or you can also install Windows Admin Center on an Azure virtual machine (VM). In this post, we want to address scenarios where you have deployed Windows Admin Center on-premises, and you want to manage some Azure VMs. In this post, I am going to show you how you can manage Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center (WAC).

If you want to know more about Windows Admin Center in general, check out my blog post.

How to manage Azure IaaS VMs with your on-premises Windows Admin Center gateway

As mentioned before, you can also install a Windows Admin Center server running on Azure IaaS virtual machine, but more on that in another post. In this post, I will cover how you can connect to an Azure VM from your on-prem Windows Admin Center (WAC) installation. There are two ways you can connect from WAC to Azure VMs.

The first one would be using the public IP address of a virtual machine running in Azure. This would mean that you need to open the PowerShell remoting port in the network security group (NSG), to be able to connect. I wouldn’t recommend this scenario since this exposes your virtual machines to the public internet. However, if you want to know more about that solution, check out the Microsoft Docs.

What I wound recommend is that you use a VPN connection to connect to your Azure virtual network where your VM is running. However, I know that in a lot of cases, you might not have a Site-2-Site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network. To still be able to connect form Windows Admin Center to an Azure VM, you can use the Azure Network Adapter feature. The Azure Network Adapter will create a Point-2-Site VPN connection from your Windows Server to Azure. And we are going to use this feature on our WAC gateway, so the WAC gateway is able to reach the virtual machine in Azure.

Add Azure Network Adapter

Add Azure Network Adapter

First, you will need to add a new Azure Network Adapter. This can be done in the Network extension in Windows Admin Center. This will open up a wizard that will guide you through the setup and if needed also helps you to register WAC in Microsoft Azure.

Create Azure Network Adapter

Create Azure Network Adapter

The setup can take a while, depending on if you already have a VPN gateway in Azure or not. WAC will create all the necessary resources in Azure, and create the Point-to-Site VPN connection for you. Also, keep in mind that the VPN gateway is an additional resource and will have an additional cost.

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Connect to an Azure Virtual network

Now you can add and connect to your virtual machine running in Azure, using the private IP address of the machine.

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

Connect Azure VMs with Windows Admin Center

You add a server by directly entering the IP address or you can use the Add Azure Virtual Machine wizard, to discover the VM in your Azure subscription.

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

Add Azure VM in Windows Admin Center

I hope this helps you to connect your Azure virtual machines security without exposing ports to the public internet. If you have a site-to-site VPN connection to your Azure virtual network, you can use this as well without the need of setting up Azure Network Adapter.

If you are interested in other Azure Hybrid services in Windows Admin Center, check out the following blog post including the video series: Configure Azure Hybrid Services in Windows Admin Center

Besides, you can also have a look at my other blog post about how to set up Azure hybrid cloud services.

If you want to download Windows Admin Center, check out the download page. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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.

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)



How to create a Nano Server Image using PowerShell

Last week Microsoft released Windows Server 2016 with the first GA release of Nano Server. A couple of months back I already wrote a blog post how you can create a new Nano Server Image in Technical Preview 4. This post is an updated version of that this post using Windows Server 2016 GA. In this post I will quickly show you how you can create a new VHD, VHDX or WIM file with your Nano Server configuration.

This is the PowerShell option, you can also use the Nano Server Image Builder.

First you have to download the latest Windows Server 2016 ISO file.

NanoServer Folder

If you open the Windows Server 2016 ISO file you can see a folder called “NanoServer” on the medium. This folder includes:

  • NanoServer.wim – This is the Nano Server Image file
  • Packages – The Package folder includes the Nano Server Packages, Windows Roles and Features and some basic drivers
  • NanoServerImageGenerator – In this folder you can find the Nano Server Image Generator PowerShell Module

I usually create a folder on my C:\NanoServer to store all the things I need, which makes things a little simpler.

Create Nano Server Image Folder

  • Base – This is a temporary folder where the images get mounted while updating or creating new images
  • Drivers – This is the folder where I copy all the drivers for a physical image
  • Files – This is the unpacked Windows Server 2016 ISO image (including, the sources folder, NanoServer folder, support, boot and efi folder as well as the setup.exe file)
  • Images – In this folder I store all the new created images
  • Updates – In this folder I store the Windows Server 2016 Update cumulative updates (.cab files)
  • XMLs – In this folder I store unattend.xml files if I need to do a extended configuration.

Of course you don’t have to use this folder structure, but it makes things easier.

If you have a look at the Packages folder you can find all the available packages for Nano Server:

Nano Server Packages

A new Nano Server Image can be created using the New-NanoServerImage PowerShell cmdlet. This will create a new Nano Server Image in a VHDX including the VM Guest drivers and nothing more.


# Change Working Directory
cd C:\NanoServer
# Import Module
Import-Module .\NanoServerImageGenerator.psm1
# Create Nano Server Image VHDX
New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath .\Files -BasePath .\Base -TargetPath .\Images\NanoVMGA.vhdx -MaxSize 20GB -DeploymentType Guest -Edition Datacenter -ComputerName "Nano01"
  • MediaPath – The location with the Windows Server 2016 files
  • BasePath – Temporary folder to mount the WIM file
  • TargetPath – Where the new Image file gets stored. You can create a .wim, .vhd or .vhdx file
    • .vhd creates a Image for a Generation 1 VM (BIOS boot)
    • .vhdx create a Image for a Generation 2 VM (UEFI boot)
  • DeploymentType allows you to choose between Guest and Host
    • Guest creates a Virtual Machine
    • Host creates a Physical Image
  • Edition can be Standard or Datacenter
  • ComputerName adds the server name of the Nano Server
  • MaxSize changes the Partition size, if you are not using this parameter it will create a default partition of 4GB

Hyper-V NanoServer VHDX

You can now copy the VHDX file from the Images folder, attach this to a new Hyper-V virtual machine and boot.

This will show the Nano Server recovery console:

Hyper-V Nano Server Console

There are more parameters to add roles and features, updates, drivers and additional configuration like IP addresses and more

For example if you want to add some updates to the Nano Server Image you can use the following cmdlet:

# Create Nano Server Image VHD with updates
New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath .\Files -BasePath .\Base -TargetPath .\Images\NanoVM.vhd -MaxSize 20GB -DeploymentType Guest -Edition Datacenter -ComputerName "Nano01" -ServicingPackagePath ".\Updates\Windows10.0-KB3176936-x64.cab", ".\Updates\Windows10.0-KB3176936-x64.cab"

To add a fixed IP address you can for example use the following cmdlet:

# Create Nano Server with IP address
New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath .\Files -BasePath .\Base -TargetPath .\Images\NanoVMSetupUI.vhdx -MaxSize 20GB -DeploymentType Guest -Edition Datacenter -ComputerName "Nano01" -Ipv4Address "" -Ipv4SubnetMask "" -Ipv4Gateway "" -Ipv4Dns ""

If you have some advanced deployment you can use for example the following thing, which helps you to set different configuration options. This example here is designed for a physical Hyper-V host

# Nano Server Packages for Image
$NanoPackages = "Microsoft-NanoServer-Compute-Package",
$ServicingPackagePath = ".\Updates\Windows10.0-KB3176936-x64.cab", ".\Updates\Windows10.0-KB3176936-x64.cab"
$UnattanedXML = ".\XMLs\unattend.xml"
$MaxSize = 20GB
$Edition = "Datacenter"
$VHDXName = ".\Images\NanoHost01.vhdx"
$DeploymentType = "Host"
$DriverPath = ".\Drivers"
$MediaPath = ".\Files"
$BasePath = ".\Base"
$ComputerName = "Nano01"
$DomainName = "thomasmaurer.ch"
#IP Configuration if not DHCP
#$Ipv4Address = ""
#$Ipv4SubnetMask = ""
#$Ipv4Gateway = ""
#$Ipv4Dns = ""
# Nano Image
New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath $MediaPath -BasePath $BasePath -TargetPath $VHDXName -DriversPath $DriverPath -DeploymentType $DeploymentType -Edition $Edition -Packages $NanoPackages -MaxSize $MaxSize -ServicingPackagePath $ServicingPackagePath -UnattendPath $UnattanedXML -ComputerName $ComputerName -DomainName $DomainName

You can for example use this VHDX file now to create a boot from VHDX scenario:

# Boot from VHDX
Mount-VHD C:\VHDX\NanoHost01.vhdx -Passthru | get-disk | Get-Partition | where Size -GE 3GB | Set-Partition -NewDriveLetter V
# Set Boot Partition
cd v:\windows\system32
bcdboot v:\windows
# Unmounted
Get-VHD C:\VHDX\NanoHost01.vhdx | Dismount-VHD

I hope this helps you to get started with Nano Server in Windows Server 2016. I also prepared a blog post how you can create a Nano Server Image using the Nano Server Image Builder tool.


Microsoft a leader in Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2016 Magic Quadrant

Year over year Microsoft is named as a leader in the Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure Magic Quadrant and it gets closer and closer to VMware. Microsoft now is named again as a leader in Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2016 Magic Quadrant. Especially the integration with System Center and Microsoft Azure as well as the new security features in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, makes Hyper-V a strong player in the hypervisor space. Check out the Microsoft Blog post for more information or my blog post about What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V.

Gartner published the Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure MQ with Microsoft landing in the Leader Quadrant for the sixth year in a row. Microsoft moved up in the ‘ability to execute’ and to the right in the ‘completeness of vision’ assessment compared with 2015. Gartner defines leaders as having a clear strategy and roadmap for offerings, understanding virtualization’s role in infrastructure and operations transformation, and having a clear vision with respect to private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud computing.


Microsoft offers you to have a look at the Gartner Document here:

Download the Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2016 Magic Quadrant