Tag: Workstation

Azure Stack Tools

Setup an Azure Stack Cloud Operator and Developer Workstation Environment

If you are responsable to manage and operate Azure Stack, you will need to enable a couple of tools to manage Azure Stack. This post should give you a summary of what you should do to setup your Azure Stack Operator and Developer workstation environment.

Operating System

Azure Stack Windows Admin Workstation

First of all you should setup a clean base system. I usually use the latest version of Windows 10, right now the latest Windows 10 version is the Fall Creators Update which give you some great features like the OpenSSH client or the Windows Subsystem for Linux build in, or I use Winodws Sevrer 2016 with Desktop Expierence. Make sure you install all the latest updates for Microsoft Update.

Install Visual Studio Code

PowerShell for Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a new, free, lightweight cross-platform code editor for building modern web and cloud applications on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. It is perfect for editing JSON files and even writing some code. And it has a built-in Terminal so you don’t have to switch between different windows.

I recommend you install the following Extensions:

Install SSH Client or Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

OpenSSH Windows 10

To manage Linux Virtual Machines running on Azure Stack or if you need to manage the hardware switches in Azure Stack or your border switches where Azure Stack is connected, SSH is the way to access it. Windows 10 now comes with several builtin options like the OpenSSH Client which you can install as addtional feature or for example the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) which allows you to run several linux tools on Windows directly. If you are using another version of Winodws, the thrid party application PuTTY is your friend.

You can also using PowerShell to install it:

Install Azure Stack PowerShell

Install Azure Stack PowerShell

Azure Stack compatible Azure PowerShell modules are required to work with Azure Stack. PowerShell commands for Azure Stack are installed through the PowerShell gallery, you can run the following commands to install it: (Make sure there are no other Azure PowerShell Modules installed, if there are, the commands will remove them). If you also install Visual Studio, install Visual Studio first before you install the Azure Stack PowerShell.

If you need to install it on a machine which does not have access to the internet. check outthe offical Microsoft page: Install PowerShell for Azure Stack

Install Azure Stack tools

Azure Stack Tools

AzureStack-Tools is a GitHub repository that hosts PowerShell modules that you can use to manage and deploy resources to Azure Stack. This brings you several functionalities for Azure Stack management:

  • Deployment of Azure Stack – Helps prepare for Azure Stack deployment.
  • Resource Manager policy for Azure Stack – Constrains Azure subscription to the capabilities available in the Azure Stack.
  • Connecting to Azure Stack – Connect to an Azure Stack instance from your personal computer/laptop.
  • Setting up Identity for Azure Stack – Create and manage identity related objects and configurations for Azure Stack
  • Azure Stack Service Administration – Manage plans and subscriptions in Azure Stack.
  • Azure Stack Compute Administration – Manage compute (VM) service in Azure Stack.
  • AzureRM Template validator – Validate Azure ARM Template Capabilities
  • Azure Stack Infrastructure Administration – Manage Azure Stack Infrastructure

You can get the Azure Stack tools from GitHub:

You can directly open that folder in Visual Studio Code:

Configure Azure Stack PowerShell environment

As an Azure Stack user, you can configure your Azure Stack PowerShell environment. After you configure, you can use PowerShell to manage Azure Stack resources such as subscribe to offers, create virtual machines, deploy Azure Resource Manager templates, etc.

For an Azure Stack deployment which is using Azure Active Directory (AAD) as an Identity provider, you can use the following commands:

Install and configure CLI for use with Azure Stack

Azure CLI

You can also use the Azure CLI 2.0 to manage Azure Stack.

Install Azure CLI on Windows using MSI

To install the CLI on Windows and use it in the Windows command-line, download and run the Azure CLI Installer (MSI).

Install with apt-get for Bash on Ubuntu on Windows (WSL)

  1. Open the Bash shell.
  2. Modify your sources list.
  3. Run the following sudo commands:
  4. Run the CLI from the command prompt with the az command.

Connect to Azure Stack using the Azure CLI

If you are using Public Certificates for your Azure Stack, this is pretty staight forward, if you are using the Azure Stack Development Kit or an Internal CA, make sure your client trusts the Azure Stack CA root Certificate. You can find more here: Install and configure CLI for use with Azure Stack

Register your Azure Stack environment by running the az cloud register command.

Register as a cloud administrative environement:

  1. To register the cloud administrative environment, use:
  2. Set the active environment by using the following commands.
  3. Update your environment configuration to use the Azure Stack specific API version profile. To update the configuration, run the following command:
  4. Sign in to your Azure Stack environment by using the az login command. You can sign in to the Azure Stack environment either as a user or as a service principal.

Register the user environment, use:

  1. To register the user environment, use:
  2. Set the active environment by using the following commands.
  3. Update your environment configuration to use the Azure Stack specific API version profile. To update the configuration, run the following command:
  4. Sign in to your Azure Stack environment by using the az login command. You can sign in to the Azure Stack environment either as a user or as a service principal.

Install the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer

Azure Stack Azure Storage Explorer

To access and manage Azure Stack Storage Accounts you can also use the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool. Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer (Preview) is a standalone app from Microsoft that allows you to easily work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS and Linux.

If you are running the Azure Stack Development Kit, you should again have a look how you get the certificates implace, you can find that here: Connect Storage Explorer to an Azure Stack subscription

  1. Install the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer
  2. After Storage Explorer  restarts, select the Edit menu, and then ensure that Target Azure Stack is selected. If it is not selected, select it, and then restart Storage Explorer for the change to take effect. This configuration is required for compatibility with your Azure Stack environment.
  3. To connect to the Azure Stack account, select Add an account.
  4. In the Connect to Azure Storage dialog box, under Azure environment, select Use Azure Stack Environment, and then click Next.
  5. To sign in with the Azure Stack account that’s associated with at least one active Azure Stack subscription, fill in the Sign in to Azure Stack Environment dialog box.
    The details for each field are as follows:Environment name: The field can be customized by user.
    ARM resource endpoint: The samples of Azure Resource Manager resource endpoints:For cloud operator:
    For tenant:
    Tenant Id: Optional. The value is given only when the directory must be specified.

This should help you quickly setup an Azure Stack Cloud Operator Workstation. What other tools do you need to manage and operator your Azure Stack? leave a comment.

If you want to know more about the responsibilities and toolset of a Azure Stack Operator, check out my blog post at the Microsoft IT OpsTalk blog.

HP Elitebook comparison


I thinking about buying a new notebook and since HP, Dell and other vendors released new notebooks based on Intel Sandy Bridge this would be the perfect time to replace my current MacBook Pro with a new Windows Laptop.

So basically I made this HP Elitebook comparison for all Important things for me based on the Swiss data. (In Switzerland not every model is available.) I also took always the best available option for me.

Probook 6460bProbook 6560bElitebook 8460pElitebook 8560pElitebook 8460wElitebook
GraphicsAMD HD 6470M 512MBAMD HD 6470M 512MBAMD HD 6470M 1GBAMD HD 6470M 1GBAMD FirePro M3900 1GBAMD FirePro M5950 1GB
Display14.0 1600×90015.6 1600×90014.0 1600×90015.6 1920×108014.0 1600×90015.6 1920×1080
3G yesyesyesyesyesyes
Glass Trackpadnonoyesyesyesyes
USB 3.0nonoyesyesyesyes
Designgoodgoodokayokayawesome good
Battery lifeokayokayvery goodgoodgoodbad
Battery life+nonoyesyesyesyes
Docking stationyesyesyesyesyesyes
incl. warranty1 year1 year3 years3 years3 years3 years

Maybe there are some mistakes in this chart but the most things should be right. And I don’t say one is better than the other one, clearly they are made for different tasks and workloads.

Other things:

  • I will add a Intel SSD
  • I will use 8GB RAM
  • I will not use an optical drive

What’s important for me:

  • I need long battery life up 6-8h (more would be better)
  • I need fast disk speed. Since I used a SSD I will never use a HDD again.
  • I don’t need a lot of graphic power
  • Resolution should be 1600×900 or higher
  • the notebook should be light and not to think
  • CPU power, should be enough to run Hyper-V for demos (boot from VHD)