Tag: Server

Manage updates of servers using Microsoft Azure using Azure Arc

Manage updates of servers using Microsoft Azure Arc

The Azure Update Management solution is part of Azure Automation. And with Azure Update Management you can manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux computers in Azure, and with Azure Arc enabled servers you can also use the same Update Management solution in on-premises environments or in other cloud providers. That is right, it is not only for your Azure VMs, it also works with all your environment and provides you with a single pane of glass for your Update Management in hybrid and multicloud environments. It allows you to quickly assess the status of available updates on all virtual machines and physical servers, and manage the process of installing required updates for servers.

I created a short video on how you can set up Azure Update Management for your Windows and Linux servers running outside of Azure using Azure Arc.

If you need more information, check out the following links:

I hope this quick video on how you can manage updates of your Windows and Linux servers running in hybrid or mutlicloud environments using Microsoft Azure Arc was helpful. If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment.



azcmagent utility

The Azure Arc Connected Machine Agent (Azcmagent)

Azure Arc enabled servers allows you to add on-premises servers or servers running on another cloud provider. The onboarding is done by installing the Azure connected machine agent or also called Azure Arc agent on the server. The Azure Arc agent can be installed on Windows Server or Linux. After the agent is installed you run a couple of commands to manage the machine. Here is how you can manage and maintain the Azure Connect Machine Agent (Azcmagent tool) for Azure Arc.

The Azure Connected Machine agent package contains several logical components:

  • The Hybrid Instance Metadata service (HIMDS) manages the connection to Azure and the connected machine’s Azure identity.
  • The Guest Configuration agent provides In-Guest Policy and Guest Configuration functionality, such as assessing whether the machine complies with required policies.
  • The Extension agent manages VM extensions, including install, uninstall, and upgrade.
Azure Arc Connected Machine Agent Component details
Azure Arc Connected Machine Agent Component details (Microsoft Docs)

You can find more information about the Azure Arc enabled servers agent on Microsoft Docs.

Installing the Azure Connected Machine Agent

To install the the Azure Connected Machine Agent (also known as Azure Arc agent) you have a couple of different options. Basically you need to follow these three steps:

  1. Download the agent – Windows agent Windows Installer package from the Microsoft Download Center and the Linux agent package is distributed from Microsoft’s package repository using the preferred package format for the distribution (.RPM or .DEB).
  2. Install the agent
  3. Register the Azure Arc enabled server with Microsoft Azure.

The Azure Arc agent currently supports the following operating systems (Keep in mind that the list is subject to change and you can find the official list here.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 and higher (including Server Core)
  • Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS (x64)
  • CentOS Linux 7 (x64)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 (x64)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 (x64)
  • Amazon Linux 2 (x64)
  • Oracle Linux 7

You can find more details about how to connect the Azure Arc enabled servers Connected Machine agent for Windows or Linux on Microsoft Docs.

Managing the Azure Arc Connected Machine agent

To manage the Azure Connected Machine Agent, also know as the Azure Arc Agent, you can use the Azcmagent tool.

azcmagent utility
azcmagent utility

Allows you to connect and disconnect the Azure Arc Connected Machine agent, but also provides you with additional information. You can run the utility with the “show” command, to get additional information such a the installed version, Azure information such as resource group, subscription, tenant, and much more. It also provides you with information for troubleshooting such a path to the log file and an overview of the state of the different agent components.

azcmagent show command
azcmagent show command

If you want to learn more about managing and maintaining the Azure Arc Connected Machine agent, check out the following Microsoft Docs article. You can also find more information on how to troubleshoot Azure Arc enabled servers agent connection issues here.

If you want to check the agent version of the connected machine agent, you can also do this at scale using Azure Resource Graph.

Conclusion

I hope this provides you with a quick overview on how to work with the agent. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Also check out my other blogs and Azure Arc content:



Manage hybrid cloud using Azure Arc

Azure Arc Video – Manage your Hybrid Cloud environment

In this Azure Arc video, I want to share the latest Azure Arc hybrid cloud management capabilities. Hybrid Cloud management becomes more and more important for many customers. We are seeing the customers taking advantage of cloud computing, but at the same time have the need to run applications on-premises or at other cloud providers. These can have multiple reasons like data sovereignty, network latency and connectivity, leveraging your existing investments, and many more. However, by running applications and services in different locations, we can also see that most environments get more complex to manage. This is where Microsoft Azure Arc can help you to connect services outside of Azure, running on-premises, other cloud providers, or at the edge, and use Microsoft Azure as a single control plane to manage your hybrid infrastructure and applications.

Azure Arc Azure Management Control Plane
Azure Arc Azure Management Control Plane

A while ago, I presented an overview of Azure Arc with the latest capabilities at an online conference. Since I get a lot of questions, I thought that I should share a recording of my presentation with all of you. Here is my Azure Arc video, 2021 edition:

In this video, you will see 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 an Azure resource. Azure Arc provides you with the familiar cloud-native Azure management experience, like RBAC, Tags, Azure Policy, Log Analytics, and more.

If you want to learn more on Azure Arc, we also have a Microsoft Learn learning path, which will provide you with some guided learning modules.

To learn more check out the following links:

I hope this Azure Arc video provides you with a short overview of how you can use Azure Arc as a single control plane to manage resources outside of Azure. For more Hybrid Cloud architectures, check out my blog on how to create Azure Hybrid Cloud Architectures. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.



GET-IT Azure and DevOps 1-Day Virtual Conference

Speaking at GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day Virtual Conference

Today, I am honored to let you know that I will be speaking at Petri’s GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day virtual conference on December 16, 2020. This is a full day of free learning dedicated to deep technical content aimed at IT Pros and Developers who are looking to enhance their knowledge and skills for developing, deploying, managing, and scaling their operations. This free virtual conference has a fantastic lineup with speakers like Brad Sams, Aidan Finn, Ryan Irujo, Sarah Lean, and Peter Zerger. I will be speaking about how you can manage and govern your hybrid cloud servers using Azure Arc.

My Session at GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day Virtual Conference

Manage and Govern your Hybrid Servers Using Azure Arc 

12:00 pm EST / 9:00 am PDT 📅

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.

Agenda:

  • Kicking off Petri’s GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day virtual conference by Brad Sams
    9:25 am EST / 6:25 am PDT
    Kicking off Petri’s GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day virtual conference and how to download all the session material.
  • Azure Networking – The First Technical Challenge by Aidan Finn
    9:30 am EST / 6:30 am PDT
    When you get done with the business requirements, assessments, and governance stuff, it’s time to start designing your Azure architecture. And that means it’s networking time because you will need to connect to your services, secure your business, and integration features. Don’t be scared if you’re not a networking person – you probably have an advantage over the network admins. In this session, I will explain how Azure networking works, explain many of the technologies and discuss some architectural concepts.
  • YAML Pipelines – Up and Running in an Hour by Ryan Irujo
    11:00 am EST / 8:00 am PDT
    YAML can be intimidating your first time out, and many never find it all that simple. In this session, you’ll learn 3 secrets for building effective and reusable YAML pipelines for Azure DevOps. Whether you’re a beginner or pro you’re sure to pick up a couple of useful tips.
  • Manage and Govern your Hybrid Servers Using Azure Arc by Thomas Maurer
    12:00 pm EST / 9:00 am PDT
    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, similarly to how you manage native Azure virtual machines.
  • How to Tackle Your Datacenter Transformation to the Cloud by Sarah Lean
    1:00 pm EST / 10:00 am PDT
    Have you been tasked with moving your datacentre from on-prem to the cloud? Where do you begin with such a project, where are the important milestones? In this session, I’ll walk you through a migration project from start to things you need to think about once the migration is complete and your workloads reside in the cloud.
  • Kubernetes – Up and Running in an Hour by Peter Zerger
    2:00 pm EST / 11:00 am PDT
    In this session, you’ll learn the 3 keys to deploying a production-ready Kubernetes cluster, along with a usable demo app to validate that your deployment is functional. From development environment and code management to app publishing, you’ll get the time-saving that will help you get your cluster and container app up and running quickly, even if you’re new to Kubernetes.

I am really looking forward to this event and hopefully meet you virtually at the GET-IT: Azure and DevOps 1-Day Virtual Conference! If you want to join the event for free, check out the Petri website.



How to monitor an Azure virtual machine with Azure Monitor

How to Monitor an Azure virtual machine with Azure Monitor

This week in the Azure tip video, we are going to have a look at how to monitor an Azure virtual machine (VM) with Azure Monitor. You can use Azure Monitor to collect and analyze monitoring data from Azure virtual machines to maintain their health. Virtual machines can be monitored for availability and performance with Azure Monitor like any other Azure resource, but they’re unique from other resources since you also need to monitor the guest operating and system and the workloads that run in it.

To learn more about how to monitor Azure virtual machines (VMs) with Azure Monitor, you can check out the following links:

  • Microsoft Docs: Monitoring Azure virtual machines with Azure Monitor
  • Quickstart: Monitor an Azure virtual machine with Azure Monitor

You can also check out how you can connect Windows Server machines in hybrid environments to Azure Monitor using Windows Admin Center here. If you have any questions, comments, or another great idea for an Azure tip video, feel free to leave a comment below.



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.



Connect a hybrid server to Azure using Azure Arc

Connect a Hybrid Server to Azure using Azure Arc

New week, new Azure tip video!. This week we are going to have a look at how you can connect a hybrid server to Azure using Azure Arc. Azure Arc enabled servers enables you to manage and govern your Windows and Linux machines hosted across on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud environments. You’ll learn how to deploy and configure the Connected Machine agent on your Windows or Linux machine hosted outside of Azure for management by Arc enabled servers.

You can also check out the following links to learn more about Azure Arc enabled servers and how you can connect a hybrid server to Azure using Azure Arc.

Connect a Hybrid Server to Azure using Azure Arc

To connect a server running on-premises or at another cloud provider to Azure using Azure Arc, you can simply go to the Azure Portal to the Azure Arc Center and select Azure Arc enabled servers. Here you can click on the “Add” button.

Add Azure Arc Enabled Server

Add Azure Arc Enabled Server

There are currently two different ways to onboard a server. You can use an interactive script or an adding servers at scale method. With the interactive script method, you will need to provide credentials when running the script on a machine. With the onboarding at scale method, you will need to create a Service Principal Name with the minimum set of Azure permissions to onboard your servers. I highly recommend that in production environments, you o for the service principal method.

Select a method

Select a method

For demonstration purposes, we will go on with the interactive script method because this provides you with more details when you do it the first time. You will be provided with some of the prerequisites for Azure Arc enabled servers.

Add a server with Azure Arc

Add a server with Azure Arc.

You will need to provide some resources details, such as the Azure subscription, resource group, region for the metadata. You will also need to select the operating system type since the script you will get at the end will be a PowerShell script for your Windows machines and a shell script for your Linux servers.

Resource Details

Resource Details

You can now configure tags for your Azure Arc enabled server, or you can skip that step and do that later. In the end, you will be provided with a script, which you can run on the server you want to onboard to Azure Arc. This script will download the Azure Connected Machine agent, install the agent and register the server to Microsoft Azure.

Azure Arc Onboarding Script

Azure Arc Onboarding Script

This should provide you with a quick overview of how you can add a hybrid server to Azure using Azure Arc. Now the Azure Arc enabled server will show up as an Azure resource, and you can start using Azure management services for your on-premises server, like monitoring. If you want to learn more about Azure Arc, check out the recording of my session at Experts Live – Azure Hybrid Cloud Management.

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



Monitoring and Insights for Azure Arc enabled Servers and Azure Monitor

Monitoring and Insights for Azure Arc enabled Servers

As many customers are moving to a hybrid cloud environment, where they run servers and applications not just in Microsoft Azure, but also on-premises, at the edge, or even in a multi-cloud environment, Azure Arc can provide them with a single control plane to manage all of these servers. One of the management capabilities you can enable for servers running outside of Azure Arc is monitoring and insights. With monitoring and insights for your, Azure Arc enabled servers, you can use Azure Monitor to keep control of your hybrid environment directly from Azure. In this blog post, we are going to have a quick look at how you can leverage Azure Monitor for monitoring and insights for your Azure Arc enabled servers.

Before you can get started to use the monitoring and insights feature for your servers, you will need to add the server to Azure Arc and deploy the Azure Monitoring Agent. You can also learn more about the new extensions in my video. You can connect your hybrid servers running Linux or Windows Server, running on-premises, at the edge, or even another cloud provider.

Monitoring and Insights for Azure Arc enabled Servers using Azure Monitor

After you have connected the server, which can be a Windows Server or a Linux server, you can enable Insights within the Azure portal. Just navigate to the Azure Arc enabled servers and on the menu, you can find insights. Here you can now find Azure Monitor tools like the dependency map to view a map directly from a VM or view a map from Azure Monitor to see the components across groups of VMs.

Azure Arc Enabled Server Monitoring and Insights Dependency Map

Azure Arc Enabled Server Monitoring and Insights Dependency Map

You can learn more about dependency maps in Azure Monitor on Microsoft Docs.

Another part of insights for your Azure Arc enabled servers is performance monitoring. Azure Monitor includes a set of performance charts that target several key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you determine how well a virtual machine is performing. The charts show resource utilization over a period of time so you can identify bottlenecks, anomalies, or switch to a perspective listing each machine to view resource utilization based on the metric selected.

Azure Arc Enabled Server Performance Monitoring

Azure Arc Enabled Server Performance Monitoring

The following capacity utilization charts are provided:

  • CPU Utilization % – defaults showing the average and top 95th percentile
  • Available Memory – defaults showing the average, top 5th, and 10th percentile
  • Logical Disk Space Used % – defaults showing the average and 95th percentile
  • Logical Disk IOPS – defaults showing the average and 95th percentile
  • Logical Disk MB/s – defaults showing the average and 95th percentile
  • Max Logical Disk Used % – defaults showing the average and 95th percentile
  • Bytes Sent Rate – defaults showing average bytes sent
  • Bytes Receive Rate – defaults showing average bytes received

You can learn more about performance monitoring in Azure Monitor on Microsoft Docs.

If you want to learn more about Azure Arc enabled servers monitoring, I recommend that you follow the Tutorial: Monitor a hybrid machine with Azure Monitor for VMs.

I hope that quick blog post provide you with an overview about monitoring and insights for Azure Arc enabled servers in a hybrid cloud environment. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



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.