Tag: Storage

AZ-104 Azure Administrator Exam Study Guide

AZ-104 Study Guide: Azure Administrator

I am currently preparing for the new Microsoft exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator, which was announced to replace the AZ-103 exam. There are many great resources out there to prepare for the exam, that’s why I want to share my AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study Guide with you. To learn and prepare for the exam, I usually use a couple of online resources, mainly Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, which I am going to share with you. You can find more information about how I prepare for a Microsoft Certification exam on my blog post: How to prepare and pass Microsoft Certification Exam.

Also, check out other Microsoft Azure Certification Exam Study Guides:

Here is my AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study Guide

It is essential to get familiar with the exam objectives and skills measured first. That is why I recommend reading the description of the exam and the skills measured.

Exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

The Azure Administrator implements, manages, and monitors identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. The Azure Administrator will provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources as appropriate.

Candidates should have a minimum of six months of hands-on experience administering Azure. Candidates should have a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. Candidates for this exam should have experience in using PowerShell, the Command Line Interface, Azure Portal, and ARM templates.

The high-level view of the skills measured in the exam:

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (10-15%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networking (30-35%)
  • Monitor and back up Azure resources (10-15%)

You can find more information on the exam website.

Free Online Microsoft Learn AZ-104 Exam Study Guide resources

Microsoft Learn provides you with free online training and learning paths for different Microsoft technologies. They not just offer reading material, but also control questions and free online labs. Here are some relevant Microsoft Learn modules and learning paths for the AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam. Microsoft Learn is an important part of my AZ-104 Azure Administrator exam study guide.

The team also just made it easier to prepare with the new AZ-104 related learning paths on Microsoft Learn. I highly recommend that you take these for your AZ-104 exam preparation.

Microsoft Docs AZ-104 study guide resources

One thing I always used to prepare for my Microsoft exams is Microsoft Docs. Here are the relevant Microsoft Docs which I used to prepare and study for the AZ-104 exam.

How to Install AzCopy

How to Install AzCopy for Azure Storage

AzCopy is a command-line tool to manage and copy blobs or files to or from a storage account. It also allows you to sync storage accounts and move files from Amazon S3 to Azure storage. In this blog post, I will cover how to install AzCopy on Windows, Linux, macOS, or in update the version in the Azure Cloud Shell.

AzCopy v10 is now generally available to all of our customers and provides higher throughput and more efficient data movement compared to the earlier version of AzCopy (v8). Version 10 also adds additional functionality like sync of blob storage accounts and much more.

Install AzCopy

You can get the latest version of AzCopy from here: Get started with AzCopy

Install AzCopy on Windows

To install AzCopy on Windows, you can run the following PowerShell script, or you can download the zip file and run it from where ever you want. This script will add the AzCopy folder location to your system path so that you can run the AzCopy command from anywhere.

#Download AzCopy
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-windows" -OutFile AzCopy.zip -UseBasicParsing
#Curl.exe option (Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update (or later))
curl.exe -L -o AzCopy.zip https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-windows
#Expand Archive
Expand-Archive ./AzCopy.zip ./AzCopy -Force
#Move AzCopy to the destination you want to store it
Get-ChildItem ./AzCopy/*/azcopy.exe | Move-Item -Destination "C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy\AzCopy.exe"
#Add your AzCopy path to the Windows environment PATH (C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy in this example), e.g., using PowerShell:
$userenv = [System.Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("Path", "User")
[System.Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", $userenv + ";C:\Users\thmaure\AzCopy", "User")

Install AzCopy on Linux

To install AzCopy on Linux, you can run the following shell script, or you can download the tar file and run it from where ever you want. This script will put the AzCopy executable into the /usr/bin folder so that you can run it from anywhere.

#Download AzCopy
wget https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-linux
#Expand Archive
tar -xvf downloadazcopy-v10-linux
#(Optional) Remove existing AzCopy version
sudo rm /usr/bin/azcopy
#Move AzCopy to the destination you want to store it
sudo cp ./azcopy_linux_amd64_*/azcopy /usr/bin/

Authorize with Azure Storage

When you start working with Azure Storage, you have two options to authorize against the Azure Storage. You can provide authorization credentials by using Azure Active Directory (AD), or by using a Shared Access Signature (SAS) token.

It also depends on which services you want to use.

Storage typeSupported method
Blob storageAzure AD and SAS
Blob storage (hierarchical namespace)Azure AD
File storageSAS only

Authenticate using Azure AD

To authenticate with AzCopy using Azure AD, you can use the following command

azcopy login

Authenticate using SAS token

To authenticate with AzCopy using a SAS token you can use this command as an example

azcopy cp "C:\local\path" "https://account.blob.core.windows.net/mycontainer1/?sv=2018-03-28&ss=bjqt&srt=sco&sp=rwddgcup&se=2019-05-01T05:01:17Z&st=2019-04-30T21:01:17Z&spr=https&sig=MGCXiyEzbtttkr3ewJIh2AR8KrghSy1DGM9ovN734bQF4%3D" --recursive=true

To make things easier you can use Azure PowerShell to generate the SAS token for you. I wrote a blog post on ITOPSTALK.com about how you can do that. You can get the SAS token using the following Azure PowerShell command. If you are running Linux or macOS, you can find on this blog post, how to install PowerShell 6.

$subscriptionId = "yourSubscriptionId"
$storageAccountRG = "demo-azcopy-rg"
$storageAccountName = "tomsaccount"
$storageContainerName = "images"
$localPath = "C:\temp\images"
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubscriptionId
$storageAccountKey = (Get-AzStorageAccountKey -ResourceGroupName $storageAccountRG -AccountName $storageAccountName).Value[0]
$destinationContext = New-AzStorageContext -StorageAccountName $storageAccountName -StorageAccountKey $storageAccountKey
$containerSASURI = New-AzStorageContainerSASToken -Context $destinationContext -ExpiryTime(get-date).AddSeconds(3600) -FullUri -Name $storageContainerName -Permission rw
azcopy copy $localPath $containerSASURI --recursive

To learn more about SAS tokens, check out Using shared access signatures (SAS).

I hope this helps you to install AzCopy and configure it. 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.

AzCopy Azure and Azure Stack

Sync Azure Blob Storage with Azure Stack Blob Storage

There are some scenarios where you want to sync Blob Storage on Azure with Blob Storage on Azure Stack. This easily be done using the AzCopy tool. AzCopy is a command-line utility designed to copy data to and from Microsoft Azure blob and table storage using simple commands with optimal performance. You can copy data from one object to another within your storage account, or between storage accounts in Azure as well as in Azure Stack.

You can get AzCopy on Windows and AzCopy on Linux. You should get at least AzCopy version 7.1.0. In my example I use the version 8.0.0 preview version, which also works fine. Make also sure that you have deployed a supported version of Azure Stack. Check out my blog about updating Azure Stack to get more information.

After the installation you will find the AzCopy.exe in the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Azure\AzCopy”

How to Sync and copy files from Azure to Azure Stack

You can use AzCopy with Azure Stack as you would do in Microsoft Azure. To copy and Sync files you can use the following command. Be aware that synchronous data transfer between Azure storage and Azure Stack is not supported. There for you will need to specify the the /SyncCopy or –sync-copy parameter.

AzCopy /Source:https://azcopywithazs.blob.core.windows.net/thomasmaurer /Dest:https://azcopywithazs.blob.azurestack.thomasmaurer.ch/thomasmaurer /SourceKey:key1 /DestKey:key2 /S /SyncCopy
azcopy \
--source https://azcopywithazs.blob.core.windows.net/thomasmaurer/ \
--destination https://azcopywithazs.blob.azurestack.thomasmaurer.ch/thomasmaurer/ \
--source-key key1 \
--dest-key key2 \
--include "tm.txt" \

Of course this works in both directions and also between two different Azure Stack storage accounts.

You can find more about AzCopy on Azure Stack on the documentation page. If you have any questions feel free to comment on the blog post. There are other great storage tools which work great with the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud environment like Visual Studio or Azure Storage Explorer. These scenarios show perfectly how Microsoft built their hybrid cloud environment. Basically you can use the same tools, processes and knowhow in the Public Cloud as well as in your datacenter.

Azure Storage Explorer

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0 back in April. There was not a lot of noise about it, but it is great that this tool finally reached version 1.0. Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone app that enables you to easily work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This works with Azure as well as Microsoft Azure Stack.

Azure Storage Explorer is an easy to use tool to manage Azure Storage types:

  • Access multiple accounts and subscriptions across Azure, Azure Stack, and the sovereign Cloud
  • Create, delete, view, and edit storage resources
  • View and edit Blob, Queue, Table, File, Cosmos DB storage and Data Lake Storage
  • Obtain shared access signature (SAS) keys
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Version 1.0.0 brings some new features which were highly requested. Especially the shared account store with Visual Studio 2017 and the improved Azure Stack  integration are very welcome.

  • Enhanced authentication that allows Storage Explorer to use the same account store as Visual Studio 2017. To use this feature, you will need to re-login to your accounts and re-set your filtered subscriptions.
  • For Azure Stack accounts backed by AAD, Storage Explorer will now retrieve Azure Stack subscriptions when ‘Target Azure Stack’ is enabled. You no longer need to create a custom login environment.
  • Several shortcuts were added to enable faster navigation. These include toggling various panels and moving between editors. See the View menu for more details.
  • Storage Explorer feedback now lives on GitHub. You can reach our issues page by clicking the Feedback button in the bottom left or by going to https://github.com/Microsoft/AzureStorageExplorer/issues. Feel free to make suggestions, report issues, ask questions, or leave any other form of feedback.
  • If you are running into SSL Certificate issues and are unable to find the offending certificate, you can now launch Storage Explorer from the command line with the –ignore-certificate-errors flag. When launched with this flag, Storage Explorer will ignore SSL certificate errors.
  • There is now a ‘Download’ option in the context menu for blob and file items.
  • Improved accessibility and screen reader support. If you rely on accessibility features, see our accessibility documentation for more information.
  • Storage Explorer now uses Electron 1.8.3

Windows Server Software-Defined Datacenter Solutions

I am sure you have heard already about the great new improvements of Windows Server 2016 which launched almost a year ago. Especially features like Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica and the Software-Defined Networking part got some great updates and new features. Windows Server delivers a great foundation for your Software-Defined Datacenter. The Windows Server Software-Defined Datacenter (WSSD) program is specifically designed to make even more out of it.

  • Compute – Hyper-V delivers a highly scalable, resilient and secure virtualization platform.
  • Storage – Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), Storage Replica and ReFS file system improvements, deliver a affordable high-performance software-defined storage solution
  • Network – The new Windows Server Software-Defined Networking v2 stack, delivers a high performance and large scale networking solution for your datacenter

However, deploying a Software-Defined Datacenter can be challenging and expensive. The Microsoft Software-Defined Datacenter certification allows you to simplify deployment and operations with a certified partner solutions. I have worked on a couple of deployments and building complex solutions can be expensive and time consuming. The Microsoft Software-Defined Datacenter certification allows you to have a pre-validated solution which result in faster deployment times, accelerated the time to value, a more reliable solution and optimized performance.

Windows Server Software-Defined Solutions WSSD

Microsoft is working with different partners like DataOn, Dell EMC, Fujitsu, HPE, Lenovo, Quanta (QCT) and SuperMicro to deliver these solutions. Partners offer an array of Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) solutions that work with Window Server 2016 to deliver high-performance storage or hyper-converged infrastructure. Hyper-converged solutions bring together compute, storage, and networking on industry-standard servers and components, which means organizations can gain improved datacenter intelligence and control while avoiding the costs of specialized high-end hardware.

Three types of Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) solutions

These partners offer three types of Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) solutions:

  • Software Defined Storage (SDS) – Enterprise-grade shared storage solution built on server node clusters replaces traditional SAN/NAS at a much lower cost. Organizations can quickly add storage capacity as needs grow over time. Support for all-flash NVMe drives delivers unrivaled performance.
  • Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Standard – Highly virtualized compute and storage are combined in the same server node cluster, making them easier to deploy, manage, and scale. By eliminating traditional IT compute, storage, and networking silos, you can simplify your infrastructure.
  • Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Premium – Comprehensive “software-defined datacenter in a box” adds Software-Defined Networking and Security Assurance features to HCI Standard. This makes it easy to scale compute, storage, and networking up and down to meet demand just like public cloud services.

Windows Server Software-Defined datacenter solution features comparison

These three types offer different features depending on your needs.

Windows Server Software-Defined Solution

If you are thinking do build your next software-defined datacenter or private cloud, I recommend that you have a look at these solutions. Find a partner at www.microsoft.com/wssd

Download a white paper about Microsoft hyper-converged technologies

Read a datasheet about the Windows Server Software Defined partner program

(Image Credits: www.microsoft.com/wssd)

Update: If you are interested in a Windows Server based HCI solution, check out the new Azure Stack HCI.

Performance Tuing Guidelines for Windows Server 2016

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Performance Tuning Guide

Yesterday Microsoft released the official Windows Server 2016 Performance Tuning Guide. The guide provides a collection of technical articles with guidance for IT professionals responsible for deploying, operating and tuning Windows Server 2016 across the most common server workloads. The guide is especially helpful if you deploy roles like Active Directory, Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct, Remote Desktop Servers, Web Servers, Windows Server Containers, and Networking features.

It is important that your tuning changes consider the hardware, the workload, the power budgets, and the performance goals of your server. This guide describes each setting and its potential effect to help you make an informed decision about its relevance to your system, workload, performance, and energy usage goals.

You can find the documentation on the new docs./osoft.com platform, where now all the Windows Server 2016 documentation is available. Here you can find the: Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2016

If you are looking for hardware recommendations check out my blog post: My Hardware Recommendations for Windows Server 2016 and you can also check my blog post about Getting started with Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016

Speaking at Microsoft TechDays 2017 Switzerland

I hope everyone had or is still having a great holiday. Today I am proud to announce that I have the opportunity to speak again at the Microsoft TechDays in Switzerland. From 30th – 31st January the Microsoft TechDays will take place in Baden. The conference will cover the latest trends and news from the industry and is a great opportunity for IT professionals and software developers to learn all about the newest developments in Microsoft technologies, products and services.

Microsoft TechDays Featured Speaker

My session will be placed under the IT Pro track and I will cover some of the new stuff coming with Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V 2016, including:

  • Hyper-V 2016 features
  • Nano Server
  • Storage Spaces Direct
  • Storage Replica
  • Windows Server Containers
  • And more!

So if you want to learn the latest and greatest about Microsoft technology, make sure you attend this event.

TechDays 2017

From 30th – 31st January the Microsoft TechDays will take place in Baden. The conference will cover the latest trends and news from the industry and is a great opportunity for IT professionals and software developers to learn all about the newest developments in Microsoft technologies, products and services.




Speaking at E2EVC 2016 Rome

I just came back from the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond and this week I will travel to Rome for the Experts 2 Experts Virtualization Conference. On Friday I will talk about Windows Server 2016 and what is new in the RTM versions.

The best of Windows Server 2016

The best of Windows Server 2016 – RTM. Join this session for the Best of Windows Server 2016 — The New Foundation of your Datacenter. You’ll be one of the first to know about new, exciting improvements that are coming in Windows Server 2016 and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job.

E2EVC Virtualization Conference is a non-commercial, virtualization community event. The main goal of the E2EVC is to bring the best virtualization experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. E2EVC is a weekend crammed with presentations, Master Classes and discussions delivered by both virtualization vendors product teams and independent experts. I am happy to be part of the community and listen to other industry leading experts.

I am looking forward to the E2EVC and hopefully see you in Rome.