Tag: services

Azure Unblogged - How to get Azure unblocked with Microsoft Services

Azure Unblogged – How to get Azure unblocked with Microsoft Services

Have you seen last week’s Azure Unblogged video with Carmen Crincoli (Senior Program Manager) about the Azure Stack HCI solution program? This week’s Azure Unblogged video was recorded during Microsoft Ready in Seattle, and I invited Annika Maibom (Agile Project Manager) and Michel Luescher (Solutions Architect) to the Microsoft Channel 9 studios and discussed how to get Azure unblocked with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS).

I had the chance to have a conversation with Annika and Michel about the work Microsoft Services is doing to unblock Azure for our customers. The conversation covered various aspects from agile project delivery, internal offering efforts, and how Microsoft Services is engaging with customers to kick-start Azure projects. Microsoft Consulting Services can help your organization adopt tech solutions across digital strategy, planning, data, sales, and more. MCS helps foster innovation, growth, and a culture of data-driven decisions.

You can watch the video on Microsoft Channel 9.

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is proven guidance that’s designed to help you create and implement the business and technology strategies necessary for your organization to succeed in the cloud. It provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision-makers need to achieve their short- and long-term objectives successfully.

You can find more information here:

You can also watch other episodes of Azure Unblogged on Microsoft Channel 9 and check out my blog at ITOpsTalk.com.

Let me know if you enjoyed the Azure Unblogged – How to get Azure unblocked with Microsoft Services video, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Azure Stack Tenant Portal

Considerations for deploying apps and services on Azure Stack

I work with a couple of customers on different Azure Stack projects. One of the main topics that always comes up, is what are the differences between Azure and Azure Stack when deploying applications and services. Obviously there are the high-level differences, which I have written about it here: Microsoft Azure Stack – Azure Extension in your Datacenter. However, there are also small differences in features and services between Azure and Azure Stack. These differences can block customers form deploying and automating workloads. I tried to summarize the most common differences and considerations you should know, in a single blog post.

High-level differences between Azure and Azure Stack

Some of the high-level differences between the two platforms are:

  • An Azure Stack does not have the same SLA and physical security in place since the Azure Stack does not run in a Microsoft operated location.
  • Azure Stack provides only a subset of the Azure services and features.
  • Azure Stack is not operated by Microsoft. Azure Stack backend is operated by the operators in your company or by a service provider.
  • The Azure Stack operator, which can be your company or a service provider, chooses which services, features and marketplace items he wants to make available on Azure Stack.
  • Azure Stack comes with its own portal. It has the same look and feel, but it will be another URL and endpoints for the portal as well as for the APIs.
  • Azure Stack will have different PowerShell and API versions available. If you are building a hybrid cloud app, which should work on Azure and Azure Stack, make sure you are using the versions supported by Azure Stack.

Considerations and differences between Azure and Azure Stack

Obviously, there is much more to this. I put a list of links together, where you can find the differences between Azure and Azure Stack and more considerations you should think of when deploying on Azure Stack.

Setup an Azure Stack operator and developer environment

Install Azure Stack PowerShell

To connect to Azure Stack using PowerShell, Visual Studio, the Azure CLI or another Azure Stack tooling, you have to set up a few things. I recommend that you read my blog post about how to set up an Azure Stack operator and developer environment. This is not only helpful for operators, but also for people who want to deploy and develop solutions on Azure Stack.

Check API versions available

Azure Stack API Verions PowerShell

If you are an Azure Stack tenant and you want to check which API versions are available on your Azure Stack, you can run the following PowerShell command against Azure Stack. This does not need any administrator rights, you will just need a tenant account on Azure Stack to access it. If your Azure Stack is running at a service provider, it is very likely that you won’t have access to the Administrator portal to check the version.

Get-AzureRmResourceProvider | Select ProviderNamespace -Expand ResourceTypes | Select * -Expand ApiVersions | `
Select ProviderNamespace, ResourceTypeName, @{Name="ApiVersion"; Expression={$_}}

Check version release notes

Azure Stack Version Release Notes

Another good thing to check if you are running in any issues deploying applications or services is to check the Azure Stack version release notes. Theses document very well the new features added, fixed as well as known issues with that release.

You can find the links to the latest Azure Stack release notes here. I also recommend that you read my article about Updating Azure Stack.

I hope this gives you a quick overview and help you to successfully deploy applications and services on Azure Stack. You can find most of this information on the documentation site, but I decided to consolidate this information in one post.

Building Clouds

Windows Azure for your Datacenter

Some years back, when Microsoft launched Windows Azure and I was working for a Hosting company, I remember that we were thinking and talking about this and were hoping that Microsoft would make Windows Azure available for hosters. At the beginning of last year Microsoft made this step by releasing Windows Azure Services for Windows Server and together with Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center you could build your own Windows Azure. With the R2 wave of System Center and Windows Server, Microsoft also renamed Windows Azure Services for Windows Server to Windows Azure Pack (wow what a great idea ;-)) and added some great new functionality to the product it self.

Windows Azure Pack Archtiecture Overview

Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center. It runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies, enables you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud, consistent with the public Windows Azure experience.

The Windows Azure Pack is basically a framework which offers you to build several offerings for customers.

  • VM Cloud – This is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering which allows customer to deploy and manage Windows and Linux Virtual Machines including VM Template, scaling and Virtual Networking options.
  • Web Sites – a service that helps provide a high-density, scalable shared web hosting platform for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js web applications. The Web Sites service includes a customizable web application gallery of open source web applications and integration with source control systems for custom-developed web sites and applications.
  • Service Bus – a service that provides reliable messaging services between distributed applications. The Service Bus service includes queued and topic-based publish/subscribe capabilities.
  • SQL and MySQL – services that provide database instances. These databases can be used in conjunction with the Web Sites service.
  • Automation and Extensibility – the capability to automate and integrate additional custom services into the services framework, including a runbook editor and execution environment.

Source: TechNet

On top of this Windows Azure Pack offers two management portals, one for tenants and one for administrators which are build on top of the Service Management API. The Service Management API is a RESTful API which allows you build some custom scenarios such as custom portals or billing integrations on top of the Azure Pack framework.

Windows Azure Pack IaaS

In the last months I had time to work within several different project with the integration of Windows Azure Pack, mainly with the VM Cloud and automation integration and also some work with the Service Management API and some customization together with Stefan Johner and Fulvio Ferrarini from itnetx. I will write some blog post about Windows Azure Pack, the stuff we have done and we are doing right now.

If you are looking for some good blogs around Windows Azure Pack you should definitely checkout the blogs from Marc van Eijk, Hans Vredevoort and Kristian Nese or the Windows Azure Pack Wiki on TechNet. And btw. Windows Azure Pack is not just made for hoster and service providers, it is also a great solution for enterprises, check out why by reading Michael Rueeflis blog.


Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: VM Monitoring

Windows Server 2012 RC Logo

In Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering Microsoft offers a new feature called Hyper-V VM Monitoring. This feature allows you to monitor the health of applications running inside the guest operating system of a Hyper-V Virtual Machine. Now how does this exactly work and what is happening in case a service is failing.

When a monitored service fails the Recovery features of the service will take action.

Service RecoveryIn this case for the first failure the service will be restarted by the Service Control Manager inside the guest operating system, if the service fails for a second time the service will again be restarted via guest operating system. In case of a third failure the Service Control Manager will take no action and the Cluster service running on the Hyper-V host will takeover recovery actions.

VM Monitoring - Application Monitoring

The Cluster Service monitors the service thought periodic health checks, when the Cluster Service recognizes a failed service he will change the status of the Virtual Machine to unhealthy. This will trigger some recovery actions.

  • A Event log entry with Event ID 1250 will be created on the host Event log. This event can be monitored by Monitoring software like System Center Operations Manager or other tools. This will also allow to run other action or trigger System Center Orchestrator Runbooks.
  • The Virtual Machine State will be changed to “Application in VM Critical”
  • And the Virtual Machine will be restarted on the same node if the service fails again the Virtual Machine will be restarted and failed over to another node in the cluster.

Of course you can configure the Recovery Settings in the Cluster.

VM Monitoring - Application Monitoring Recovery

How to setup Hyper-V VM Monitoring in the Failover Cluster Manager

Before you can setup VM Monitoring on the Failover Cluster Manager you have to check for some pre-requisites.

  • The Hyper-V Host operating system must be Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
  • The guest operating system inside the Virtual Machine must be Windows Server 2012 (for Application Monitoring) for VM heartbeat the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V integration services need to be installed on the guest operating system.
  • The VM Guest operating system needs to be in the same or a trusted domain as the Hyper-V host
  • The administrator of the Hyper-V Cluster needs to have local administrator rights on the VM guest.
  • The VM guest firewall needs to allow Virtual Machine Monitoring.

You can configure the Firewall inside the guest via GUI

Virtual Machine Monitoring Firewall

or via Windows PowerShell

  Set-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Virtual Machine Monitoring" -Enabled True

The configuration of VM Monitoring is very simple. Open the Failover Cluster Manager and right click on the Virtual Machine you want to configure monitoring, select “More Actions” and click on “Configure Monitoring…”.

Virtual Machine Monitoring Configure Monitoring


After that you will see a list of the services running inside of the Virtual Machine and you can now select the service which should be monitored by the Cluster service.

Virtual Machine Monitoring Select Service

The Virtual Machine Monitoring can also be enabled via Windows PowerShell.

 Add-ClusterVMMonitoredItem –VirtualMachine TestVM01 -Service spooler 

Important: Another great thing about VM Monitoring in Windows Server 2012 it the possibility that this feature can be extended by third party vendors.


You can find more information about VM Monitoring in Windows Server 2012 on the following sites:


Enable SSH on ESXi 5 via vSphere Client

In the first post I wrote how you can enable SSH on the ESXi 5.0 host. In this post I show you how you can enable or activate SSH on the ESXi 5.0 hosts via the vSphere Client.

  1. First start the vSphere Client
  2. Select the ESXi host in the configurations tab
  3. Select Security Profile
    Enable SSH on ESXi 5.0 vis vSphere Client
  4. Click on Properties in the upper right corner and you will get the a popup with all the services on this ESXi 5.0 hosts. Select the SSH service and press the Options button.
    Enable SSH on ESXi 5.0 vis vSphere Client
  5. Now you can start the services and set the startup options
    Enable SSH on ESXi 5.0 vis vSphere Client
  6. press okay and you are done..

If you are running Windows, you should also check out my blog post about how to install SSH on Windows 10 or SSH on Windows Server. I also blogged about how you can use SSH with PowerShell.