Tag: SQL

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Learn about Azure Stack Migration in this Video Series

Together with Tiberiu Radu from the Azure Stack Product Group, I worked on a series of videos to show how you can migrate workloads to Microsoft Azure Stack. This includes basic workloads like Active Directory Domain Controllers, File Servers, and SQL Servers. We are not only adding videos about Azure Stack Migration, but we also added a couple of tips on how you can take advantage of some of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) features on Azure Stack, like Azure Resource Manager templates and extensions.

The journey to the cloud provides many options, features, functionalities, as well as opportunities to improve existing governance, operations, implement new ones, and even redesign the applications to take advantage of the cloud architectures.
This video series was created in the context of the End of Support (EOS) motion for Windows Server 2008/2008R2 and SQL Server 2008/2008R2, with the target to highlight some of the migration options. The EOS program could be a good opportunity to start this process and it’s not only about the lift-and-shift or move your servers and forget about them, instead it could be the start of a modernization journey. As part of the EOS motion, Azure VMs running Windows 2008/R2 and SQL 2008/R2 on Azure and Azure Stack, offer 3 years of free Extended Support Updates. That means you can enable the same operational processes, use ARM templates, and use the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform on both Azure and Azure Stack, to start this journey.
– Tiberiu Radu

Azure Stack Migration Introduction

Check out my Azure Stack Migration introduction video, which will give you a quick overview of migrating workloads to Azure Stack.

Video Series

You can find the full playlist with the complete Azure Stack Migration video series on YouTube.

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

Azure Stack Migration Series YouTube Playlist

If you want to read more, check out my blog post on ITOpsTalk.com. There we have some detailed blogs on these videos. I also recommend that you check out the IaaS blog series from the Azure Stack team, which includes different features around running virtual machines on Azure Stack.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Windows Azure Pack Archtiecture Overview

What’s new Windows Azure Pack Update Rollup 6

Microsoft just released Update Rollup 6 for Windows Azure Pack on April 28. Microsoft fixes some bugs and added some highly requested features from User Voice as well.

  • Tenants can now create a checkpoint of a Virtual Machine and restore it at will when needed.
  • VMM Users can now deploy and manage Generation 2 VMs through VM Roles using WAP and the corresponding UR6 SPF Resource Provider
  • Added support to maintain Data Consistency between the SQL Resource Provider configured properties for resources with the actual provisioned resources on the SQL Server Hosting machine(s).
  • Added support for Webjobs in Windows Azure Pack Websites. This functionality offers creation of Webjobs to be executed manually or continuously in the background.
  • Tenants can now use deployment slots associated to their websites. Web app content and configurations elements can be swapped between two deployment slots, including the production slot.
  • Administrator can take advantage of DSC to deploy the update across a distributed environment.
  • Windows Azure Pack Websites can now take advantage of the HttpPlatformHandler to host Java and other runtimes.
  • Updates to Management Pack
    • Synthetic Transactions
    • Resource Governor Error Monitors
    • Monitor Certificate Validation Disabled
  • High Priority Bug Fixes


System Center Logo

System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack get supports for SQL Server 2014 in Update Rollup 5

Microsoft just released System Center 2012 R2 Update Rollup 5, which includes a lot of new features and fixes. The update also brings support for SQL Server 2014 as a database server for most of the System Center 2012 R2 components. There will be support for the rest of the System Center components in the Update Rollup 6.

Supports SQL 2014 now:

Operations Manager
System Center Orchestrator
Service Management Automation
Service Provider Foundation
Virtual Machine Manager
Windows Azure Pack

Will support SQL 2014 in UR6:

Service Reporting
Service Manager
Data Protection Manager

For information check out the Microsoft System Center Team Blog.

 



Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

A couple of weeks ago I passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, which is focused on implementing and designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure solutions such as Azure Websites or Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS). I think taking this exam and preparing for it was a great idea. Even if I have already done a couple of projects on Azure I still learned a lot during the preparation and you can find some of the best practices. Since Azure is a huge beast and the rapid deployment of new features, you will definitely find some new stuff you didn’t know before during the preparation for the exam. And of course taking new Microsoft Certifications early helps you to stand out in the IT Pro or Developer world. Of course passing exams alone does not make you an expert, but if you have know-how on a topic it’s is always got to have some kind of paper to prove it.

So what are the skills measured for this exam. The exam 70-533 focuses on 6 topics, Azure Websites, Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Storage, Azure Active Directory and Virtual Networks. To my surprise I got a really good score on Azure Websites and of course Virtual Machines, since I used to run several of them on Azure. I also found out that Azure Active Directory is one of the parts I have to invest a little more.

Skills measured

Implement websites (15-20%)

  • Deploy websites
    • Define deployment slots; roll back deployments, configure and deploy packages, deploy web jobs, schedule web jobs
  • Configure websites
    • Configure app settings, connection strings, handlers, and virtual directories; configure certificates, custom domains, and traffic manager; configure SSL bindings and runtime configurations; manage websites by using Windows PowerShell and Xplat-CLI
  • Configure diagnostics, monitoring, and analytics
    • Retrieve diagnostics data; view streaming logs; configure endpoint monitoring, alerts, and diagnostics; monitor website resources
  • Configure scale and resilience
    • Configure auto-scale using built-in and custom schedules; configure by metric; change the size of an instance
  • Manage hosting plans
    • Create hosting plans; migrate websites between hosting plans; create a website within a hosting plan

Implement virtual machines (15-20%)

  • Deploy workloads on Azure virtual machines (VMs)
    • Identify supported Microsoft workloads; deploy and connect to a Linux VM; create VMs
  • Implement images and disks
    • Create specialized and generalized images for Windows and Linux; copy images between storage accounts and subscriptions; upload VHDs
  • Perform configuration management
    • Automate configuration management by using PowerShell Desired State Configuration and custom script extensions; enable puppet and chef extensions
  • Configure VM networking
    • Settings include reserved IP addresses, access control list (ACL), internal name resolution, DNS at the cloud service level, load balancing endpoints, HTTP and TCP health probes, public IPs, firewall rules, direct server return, and Keep Alive
  • Configure VM resiliency
    • Scale up and scale down VM sizes; auto-scale; configure availability sets
  • Design and implement VM storage
    • Configure disk caching; plan storage capacity; configure operating system disk redundancy; configure shared storage using Azure File service; configure geo-replication; encrypt disks
  • Monitor VMs
    • Configure endpoint monitoring, alerts, and diagnostics

Implement cloud services (15-20%)

  • Configure cloud services and roles
    • Configure instance count and size, operating system version and family, upgrade and fault domains, ACLs, reserved IPs, and network access rules; configure local storage; configure dedicated and co-located caching, local and cloud configurations, and local disks; configure multiple websites; configure custom domains
  • Deploy and manage cloud services
    • Upgrade a deployment; VIP swap a deployment; package a deployment; modify configuration files; perform in-place updates; perform runtime configuration changes using the portal; scale a cloud service; create service bus namespaces and choose a tier; apply scalability targets
  • Monitor cloud services
    • Monitor service bus queues, topics, relays, and notification hubs; configure diagnostics

Implement storage (15-20%)

  • Implement blobs and Azure files
    • Read data; change data; set metadata on a container; use encryption (SSL); perform an async blob copy; configure a Content Delivery Network (CDN); implement storage for backup and disaster recovery; configure Azure Backup; define blob hierarchies; configure custom domains; configure the Import and Export Service
  • Manage access
    • Create and manage shared access signatures; use stored access policies; regenerate keys
  • Configure diagnostics, monitoring, and analytics
    • Configure retention policies and logging levels; analyze logs
  • Implement SQL databases
    • Choose the appropriate database tier and performance level; configure point in time recovery and geo-replication; import and export data and schema; design a scaling strategy
  • Implement recovery services
    • Create a backup vault; deploy a backup agent; back up and restore data

Implement an Azure Active Directory (15-20%)

  • Integrate an Azure AD with existing directories
    • Implement DirSync, O365 integration, and single sign-on with on-premises Windows Server 2012 R2; add custom domains; monitor Azure AD
  • Configure the Application Access Panel
    • Configure single sign-on with SaaS applications using federation and password based; add users and groups to applications; revoke access to SaaS applications; configure access; federation with Facebook and Google ID
  • Integrate an app with Azure AD
    • Web apps (WS-federation); desktop apps (OAuth); graph API

Implement virtual networks (15-20%)

  • Configure a virtual network
    • Deploy a VM into a virtual network; deploy a cloud service into a virtual network; configure static IPs; configure internal load balancing; design subnets
  • Modify a network configuration
    • Modify a subnet; import and export a network configuration
  • Design and implement a multi-site or hybrid network
    • Choose the appropriate solution between ExpressRoute, site-to-site, and point-to-site; choose the appropriate gateway; identify supported devices and software VPN solutions; identify networking prerequisites; configure regional virtual networks and multi-site virtual networks

Preparation

To prepare for the exam I used several different resources such as Microsoft Virtual Academy, TechNet, Channel9 and of course Microsoft Azure it self. I also found some great community blogs which have some link summaries:

If you are going to take this exam I wish you good luck.

Update: Microsoft retired some of the Azure exams and replace them by new ones. One of the is the AZ-100 series, which will give you the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator, and is addressing the 70-533.



Windows Azure Pack IaaS

Add Domain User or Group to Azure Pack Administrators

When you install and configure Windows Azure Pack (WAP) you will have set your install user to the administrators list in Azure Pack, so you can login to the Azure Pack Admin Portal. If you want to use other users you can add them via PowerShell. To add a domain user or group to the Windows Azure Pack Admins you can use the following PowerShell commands. Of course it does make a lot of sense to create a security group in your domain, where you add all the WAP administrators, and add this group to the Azure Pack administrators.

With the following command you can check who is in the admin list right now.

 
$connectionstring = 'Server=SQL01.cloud01.thomasmaurer.ch\WAP01;Initial Catalog=Microsoft.MgmtSvc.Store;User ID=sa;Password=Passw0rd'
Get-MgmtSvcAdminUser  -ConnectionString $connectionstring

With the following command you can add an user group to the Azure Pack Admin list

 
$connectionstring = 'Server=SQL01.cloud01.thomasmaurer.ch\WAP01;Initial Catalog=Microsoft.MgmtSvc.Store;User ID=sa;Password=Passw0rd'
Add-MgmtSvcAdminUser -ConnectionString $connectionstring -Principal 'Cloud01\WAPAdminGroup'


Windows Azure Pack IaaS

Windows Azure Pack Architecture

Some days ago I wrote about Windows Azure Pack which basically brings Windows Azure Services to your datacenter on top of Windows Server and System Center. I also showed a little overview how the overall architecture looks like, including the different resource providers such as VM Cloud or SQL Server.

Overall Architecture

Windows Azure Pack Archtiecture Overview

Components

If you a look on the Windows Azure Pack you have 7 different components, which need to be installed.

Service Management APIs

  • Windows Azure Pack Admin API – The Windows Azure Pack Admin API exposes functionality to complete administrative tasks from the management portal for administrators or through the use of Windows PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Windows Azure Pack Tenant API – Windows Azure Pack Tenant API enables users, or tenants, to manage and configure cloud services that are included in the plans that they subscribe to.
  • Windows Azure Pack Tenant Public API – Windows Azure Pack Tenant Public API enables end users to manage and configure cloud services that are included in the plans that they subscribe to. The Tenant Public API is designed to serve all the requirements of end users that subscribe to the various services that a hosting service provider provides.

Authentication sites

  • Admin Authentication Site – This is the authentication site where Administrators authenticate against. By default, Windows Azure Pack uses Windows authentication for the administration portal. You also have the option to use Windows Azure Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) to authenticate users.
  • Tenant Authentication Site – This is the authentication site where Tenants (Customers) authenticate against. Windows Azure Pack uses an ASP.NET Membership provider to provide authentication for the management portal for tenants.

Service Management portals

  • Management portal for administrators – A portal for administrators to configure and manage resource clouds, user accounts, tenant plans, quotas, and pricing. In this portal, administrators create Web Site clouds, virtual machine private clouds, create plans, and manage user subscriptions.
  • Management portal for tenants – A customizable self-service portal to provision, monitor, and manage services. In this portal, users sign up for services and create services, virtual machines, and databases.

Source: TechNet

In addition to the Windows Azure Pack components you also have the Resource providers such as VM Cloud (IaaS), Websites, SQL and more, which integrate in WAP.

Design

You can install all of the Windows Azure Pack components on different servers and also make them highly available and scalable. First you have to understand that there are multiple types of components, you have the Tenant Portal, Tenant authentication site and the tenant public API which are public and should be accessible for the customers, Tenant API, Admin API, Admin Portal, Admin Authentication site as well as the SQL database behind are so called privileged services which should be protected.

Windows Azure Pack ditributed deployment architecture

 

Microsoft describes several different scenarios which you can mix. The minimal installation shows you two “servers” or tiers, one for the public facing services and one for the privileged services. To make them highly available you would have two servers for each tiers behind a load balancer.

Windows Azure Pack minimal deployment architecture

The make the deployment more scalable you can split up the different components on different tiers.

Windows Azure Pack scaled deployment architecture

Well and Microsoft also offers you an express installation which should only be used for lab or proof of concept installations. This installs all the needed components on to a single server.

Windows Azure Pack Express Deployment

At the end you and the customer have to decide how you deploy your environment based on scale, availability and security. You can get more information about the Windows Azure Pack Architecture on TechNet.



Slipstream SQL Server 2008 SP2 for SCCM 2012

The Release Candidate version of System Center Configuration Manager 2012 requires MS SQL Server 2008 SP2 with Cumulative update package 6. Now this can be a little annoying and will hopefully change to SQL Server 2008 R2 in the RTM version.

Now if you want to install MS SQL Server 2008 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 you need at least a install media with SP1. Now this post shows you how you can integrate Service Pack 2 into the install media of SQL Server 2008.

  1. Copy the SQL Server 2008 install media to C:\SQLServer2008withSP2
  2. Download and copy the SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2 files to C:\temp
  3. Now you can run the following commands:
    SQLServer2008SP2-KB2285068-IA64-ENU.exe /x:c:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU
    SQLServer2008SP2-KB2285068-x64-ENU.exe /x:c:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU
    SQLServer2008SP2-KB2285068-x86-ENU.exe /x:c:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCUrobocopy C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU c:\SQLServer2008withSP2 Setup.exe
    robocopy C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU c:\SQLServer2008withSP2 Setup.rll
    robocopy C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\pcu\x86 C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\x86 /XF Microsoft.SQL.Chainer.PackageData.dll
    robocopy C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\pcu\x64 C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\x64 /XF Microsoft.SQL.Chainer.PackageData.dll
    robocopy C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\pcu\ia64 C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\ia64 /XF Microsoft.SQL.Chainer.PackageData.dllecho PCUSOURCE="C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU" >> C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\x86\DefaultSetup.ini
    echo PCUSOURCE="C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU" >> C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\x64\DefaultSetup.ini
    echo PCUSOURCE="C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\PCU" >> C:\SQLServer2008withSP2\ia64\DefaultSetup.ini
  4. After you have done this you can install the MS SQL Server
  5. After you have installed it, you still need to download and install the Cumulative update package 6 for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2

More about SQL Slipstreaming on Peter Saddow’s MSDN blog post.