mountainss Cloud and Datacenter Management Blog

Microsoft SystemCenter blogsite about virtualization on-premises and Cloud

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Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with Microsoft #Azure #Cloud #AzureStack #HybridCloud

Break down video of the essentials needed to plan and implement your solutions on Microsoft Azure IaaS. This 7-minute intro covers compute, virtual machines, containers, networking, storage and management options in Microsoft Azure.

When you transform your datacenter on-premises to Microsoft Azure Cloud Service, these Architecture references can help you
to make the right chooses for your business needs.聽The Azure Architecture Center contains guidance for building end-to-end solutions on Microsoft Azure. Here you will find reference architectures, best practices, design patterns, scenario guides, and reference implementations.

Start here for your Microsoft Azure Architecture designs

Microsoft Azure Architecture Center

On the left site of this page you can download the complete content of Microsoft Azure Architecture Center into a PDF file 馃槈
Looks like this :

When your transition and your Architecture is done on Paper you can move save to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services.

Accelerate your digital transformation:
Now is the time to move to Azure and reap the rewards of cloud technology, including the ability to scale up or down quickly, pay only for what you use, and save on compute power. Whether you are deploying new virtual machines, moving a few workloads, or migrating your datacenters as part of your hybrid cloud strategy, the Azure Hybrid Benefit provides big savings as you move to the cloud.

Have a look at the Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit

Here you find some handy links to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services :

Microsoft Azure Products Technical docs

Microsoft Azure SDK and Tools

Getting started with Microsoft Azure products

Microsoft Azure Resources

Here you find the Whitepaper of Azure Virtual Datacenter Lift and Shift Guide but also an E-book of Azure Virtual Datacenter from the Azure CAT Guidance Team which can help you to start your transition of your datacenter to the Microsoft Azure Cloud.


Microsoft Mechanics all Azure

When you have workloads in your on-premises Datacenter which may not run in any public Cloud or via Internet, you can run Microsoft Azure in your Datacenter via Microsoft Azure Stack.

Build modern applications across hybrid cloud environments

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, bringing the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments. Only Azure Stack lets you deliver Azure services from your organization鈥檚 datacenter, while balancing the right amount of flexibility and control鈥攆or truly-consistent hybrid cloud deployments.

Microsoft Azure Stack Overview

Hope this blogpost will help you out with your journey to the Microsoft Azure Cloud.


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#Microsoft Azure CloudShell Bash in Visual Studio Code #Azure #VSC #DevOps


When you don’t have Microsoft Visual Studio Code, It’s a Awesome Open Source Free tool for DevOps and ITPro.

When you installed VSC you can add Extensions to your Visual Studio Code and one of them is Called Azure Account.
When you Add this extension you can connect to Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell in Visual Studio Code.
But before we can use this Extension to connect to Azure CloudShell we need NodeJS version 6 or higher installed on your OS.

Go to NodeJS and Download

Click Next.

Accept the Terms and click Next.

Click Next

Click Next

It will also install a Shortcut for the online documentation of this version of NodeJS v9.6.1

Click on Install

Click Finish

With Ctrl+Shift+P聽you will see all the Commands. (1)
Choose for Azure: Open Bash in CloudShell (2)

When you do this it will make a Microsoft Azure Device Login first to Connect to your Azure Subscription like this :

Type the code which is in VSC here

Azure will see that you connect with Visual Studio Code.
Click on Continue.

Login with your Azure Account of your Subscription.

The Connection with VSC and Azure is made.

Now when you choose Azure: Bash in CloudShell again it will show the Azure Cloud Shell in your VSC.

Your are Online with Azure Cloud Shell.

Just Awesome 馃槈
Cheers James

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#Microsoft Secure #DevOps Kit of #Azure to Secure your Cloud #Security


The “Secure DevOps Kit for Azure” (will be referred to as ‘AzSDK’ henceforth) is a collection of scripts, tools, extensions, automations, etc. that caters to the end to end Azure subscription and resource security needs for dev ops teams using extensive automation and smoothly integrating security into native dev ops workflows helping accomplish secure dev ops with these 6 focus areas:
1. Secure the subscription: A secure cloud subscription provides a core foundation upon which subsequent development and deployment activities can be conducted. An engineering team should have the capabilities to deploy and configure security in the subscription including elements such as alerts, ARM policies, RBAC, Security Center policies, JEA, Resource Locks, etc. Likewise, it should be possible to check that all settings are in conformance to a secure baseline.
2. Enable secure development: During the coding and early development stages, developers should have the ability to write secure code and to test the secure configuration of their cloud applications. Just like build verification tests (BVTs), we introduce the concept of security verification tests (SVTs) which can check for security of various resource types in Azure.
3. Integrate security into CICD: Test automation is a core tenet of devops. We emphasize this by providing the ability to run SVTs as part of the VSTS CICD pipeline. These SVTs can be used to ensure that the target subscription used to deploy a cloud application and the Azure resources the application is built upon are all setup in a secure manner.
4. Continuous Assurance: In the constantly changing dev ops environment, it is important to move away from the mindset of security being a milestone. We have to treat security as a continuously varying state of a system. This is made possible through capabilities that enable continuous assurance using a combination of automation runbooks, schedules, etc.
5. Alerting & Monitoring: Visibility of security status is important for individual application teams and also for central enterprise teams. We provide solutions that cater to the needs of both. Moreover, the solution spans across all stages of dev ops in effect bridging the gap between the dev team and the ops team from a security standpoint through the single, integrated views it generates.
6. Cloud Risk Governance: Lastly, underlying all activities in the kit is a telemetry framework that generates events capturing usage, adoption, evaluation results, etc. This allows us to make measured improvements to security targeting areas of high risk and maximum usage before others.

The Secure DevOps kit for Azure is here on Github

Provision Security in Subscription

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subscription Health Scan

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subscription Security Provisioning

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subscription AccessControl Provisioning

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subscription Activity Alerts

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Azure Security Center (ASC) configuration

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subscription Security – ARM Policy

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Update subscription security baseline configuration

More information on each item can be found here on Github

Develop Security, Spot Check security via Scripts

鈥 Security Verification Tests (SVT)

Express Route-connected Virtual Networks (ER-vNet)

More information on these items on Github

Deploy securely from VSO Build/Release Pipeline

  • Security Verification Tests (SVTs) in VSTS pipeline
  • Security Verification Tests (SVTs) in Jenkins pipeline (Preview)

The AzSDK contains Security Verification Tests (SVTs) for multiple PaaS and IaaS services of the Azure platform. As we have seen so far, these SVTs can be manually run against one or more target resources held in resource groups or tagged via a {tagName, tagValue} pair. While it is invaluable to run these SVTs periodically from a PS console (to ensure that the subscription and the different resources that comprise your application are in a secure state), a key aspect of dev ops is to be able to automate such tests and integrate them as part of the dev ops workflows and release pipelines. In other words, while checking that SVTs pass in an ad hoc manner is a good practice, it is important to be able to also ensure that security control configuration remains intact in higher environments.
The CICD extensions feature of AzSDK makes automated security configuration enforcement possible by making SVTs available as a Visual Studio Extension in the Marketplace so that engineering teams can run them within build/release pipeline. Once the build/release task is configured, SVTs run against a target deployment in an Azure subscription. Upon completion, SVTs will report the pass/fail status for controls along with aggregate control results. Hereafter, all the different ‘out-of-box’ build/release workflow options from the CICD engine (e.g., VSTS) can be used as ‘next steps’ based on the outcomes of SVTs. (For instance, one can decide whether to fail the release outright or to continue despite failures while sending an email to the build/release owners or to hold progress until someone manually approves, etc. Furthermore, if all SVTs pass in the pre-prod environment, then a release can be ‘promoted’ to prod.)
Outcomes of the SVT execution can also be routed to an OMS workspace configured to receive various events generated by the AzSDK.

More information on Build / Release Pipeline

Periodically scan in production to watch for Drift

Baseline Continuous Assurance

鈥 Overview
鈥 Setting up Continuous Assurance – Step by Step
鈥 Continuous Assurance – how it works (under the covers)
鈥 Update existing Continuous Assurance Automation Account
鈥 Remove Continuous Assurance Automation Account
鈥 Fetch details of an existing Continuous Assurance Automation Account
鈥 Continuous Assurance through central scanning mode (Preview) – Step by Step

More information on Baseline Continuous Assurance here on Github

Single Security Dashboard across DevOps Stages

OMS Solution for AzSDK

  • Overview
  • Components of the AzSDK OMS Solution
  • Setting up the AzSDK OMS Solution (Step by Step)
  • Next Steps
  • Appendix
  • Creating an OMS workspace
  • Testing OMS connectivity
  • Routing AzSDK events to OMS
  • Leveraging other OMS Solutions from the Solutions Gallery

The Alerting & Monitoring features of AzSDK empower dev ops teams with the following capabilities:
a single pane of glass view of cloud security across dev ops stages
visibility to control status for their Azure subscription and critical enterprise/application resources
pre-configured search queries for creating alerts to facilitate action on security drift
Out of the box, these capabilities can be leveraged via the Operations Management Suite (OMS) solution in AzSDK.
However, a dev ops team can equally easily leverage a different system for log analytics (e.g., Splunk) and view the AzSDK control evaluation events in the alternate system. This can be accomplished by using via connectors for Event Hubs or Webhooks in the AzSDK.

More information on Security Monitoring with a Single Dashboard here on Github

Make Data-driven Improvements to Security

Overview Security Telemetry

  • Control Telemetry
  • Organization Level Setup
  • Local Control Telemetry
  • Understanding Data in App Insights
  • App Insights Visualization
  • Usage Telemetry
  • Enable/Disable Usage Telemetry
  • FAQs

The Secure DevOps Kit generates telemetry events from all stages of dev ops. That is, events are generated when an engineer runs a scan ad hoc or when SVTs are run in CICD or subscriptions are scanned via Continuous Assurance (CA). The telemetry can be collected and aggregated across an organization. When combined with other organization metadata (e.g., a mapping of subscriptions to applications or service lines or business groups), this can yield a powerful platform for supporting a data-driven approach cloud risk governance and allow organizations to drive measured and targeted security improvement initiatives in a continuous and incremental fashion (just like the rest of dev ops). The telemetry data from AzSDK can be leveraged in two key ways:
Application Insights based 鈥 called Control Telemetry (will be renamed to Org Telemetry soon). There are two ways possible. One, configure it centrally, two, configure it specifically in end-user’s machine
API based 鈥 this is a custom solution using WebAPI and SQL to collect events and enrich it with organizational metadata. This lets an organization track and drive adoption and usage of the AzSDK and provides a window into the org’s DevSecOps Maturity. API based telemetry will be release in coming months when we release documents for how organization can customize AzSDK for their needs

More on Security Telemetry you find here on GitHub

Fetch information about various AzSDK components

  • Overview
  • Subscription information
  • Control information
  • Attestation information
  • Host information

This command provides overall information about the AzSDK which includes subscription information (alert/policies/ASC/CA version etc.), security controls information (severity, description, rationale etc.), attestation information (statistics, attestation justification, expiry etc.), host information (AzSDK settings/configuration, AzureRM Context etc.). ‘Get-AzSDKInfo’ command can be used with ‘InfoType’ parameter to fetch information.

More information about Get-AzSDKInfo on Github

Start with Microsoft Azure ARM Templates

Use Microsoft Visual Studio Code to work with JSON ARM Templates and Azure subscription


Hope these Microsoft DevOps Azure Security SDK resources are helpful for your organization.



Cheers James.


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Free E-book Introduction to Windows #Containers #Winserv #Docker #DevOps

With the introduction of container support in Windows Server 2016, we open a world of opportunities
that takes traditional monolithic applications on a journey to modernize them for better agility.
Containers are a stepping stone that can help IT organizations understand what key items in modern
IT environments, such as DevOps, Agile, Scrum, Infrastructure as Code, Continuous Integration, and
Continuous Deployment, to name just a few, can do and how these organizations can adopt all of
these elements and more to their enterprises.
As a result of Microsoft鈥檚 strong strategic partnership with Docker鈥攖he de facto standard in container
management software鈥攅nterprises can minimize the time required to onboard and run Windows聽Containers.
Docker presents a single API surface and standardizes tooling for working across public
and private container solutions as well as Linux and Windows Container deployments.

Download this awesome Introduction to Windows Containers E-book here

Microsoft Azure Containers in the Cloud

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Docker CE for Windows10 Edge and #Kubernetes Feature Overview #Docker #Containers #DevOps

Docker CE for Windows is Docker designed to run on Windows 10. It is a native Windows application that provides an easy-to-use development environment for building, shipping, and running dockerized apps. Docker CE for Windows uses Windows-native Hyper-V virtualization and networking and is the fastest and most reliable way to develop Docker apps on Windows. Docker CE for Windows supports running both Linux and Windows Docker containers.

You can download Docker CE for Windows (Edge) here

After you installed Docker for Windows CE (Edge) on Windows 10, go to docker Settings for activating the New Feature Kubernetes..

Select Enable Kubernetes.
(I selected also Show system containers (Advanced ) to see more information.)

Click on Install

You can run the installation in the Background if you want.

Here you see the Status of the Kubernetes Cluster.

kubectl config get-context
Docker-for-desktop Kubernetes Cluster is active

You can see the Status in Docker Settings too.

kubectl get services

kubectl get nodes

Kubectl cluster-info

When you run docker images
You will see the Kubernetes images for the Cluster.

When you selected the Advanced feature in Docker settings earlier you can
see the running containers with Docker ps command

With Kitematic you get a GUI console to manage Docker Container Images, from here you can pull Container images from Docker HUB

Download Kitematic here and install.


When you installed Kitematic you can see on your left all the Kubernetes Containers and when you select a running Container you can see the active logs.

More settings to Explore.

When you start Powershell in Administrator modus, you can use the kubectl command line interface and with –help you get the information on the Kubernetes commands. Here you find more information with examples at Kubernetes site

With Microsoft Visual Studio Code you can use the Docker for Windows CE Edge Kubernetes Cluster to Develop your Apps.

Intstall the Visual Studio Code Kubernetes Tools extension.

Install Kubernetes-Snippets is handy for Developing

When your Kubernetes local project is successful, you can deploy an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) or a Microsoft Azure Container Service to run your project in the Cloud for production.

Azure Container Service (AKS)
Azure Container Service (AKS) manages your hosted Kubernetes environment, making it quick and easy to deploy and manage containerized applications without container orchestration expertise. It also eliminates the burden of ongoing operations and maintenance by provisioning, upgrading, and scaling resources on demand, without taking your applications offline.

Here you find more information on Microsoft Azure Container Services for Kubernetes

Hope this overview helps you with developing apps in Containers with Docker, Kubernetes and Azure.

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#Microsoft Azure Security Center Overview #Cloud #Security #HybridCloud #Azure

Microsoft Azure Security Center provides unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid cloud workloads. With Security Center, you can apply security policies across your workloads, limit your exposure to threats, and detect and respond to attacks.

You can select an existing Log Analytics workspace to store data collected by Security Center. To use your existing Log Analytics workspace:
鈥 The workspace must be associated with your selected Azure subscription.
鈥 At a minimum, you must have read permissions to access the workspace.

You can edit the default security policy for each of your Azure subscriptions in Security Center. To modify a security policy, you must be an owner, contributor, or security administrator of the subscription. To configure security policies in Security Center, do the following:
1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
2. On the Security Center dashboard, under General, select Security policy.
3. Select the subscription that you want to enable a security policy for.
4. In the Policy Components section, select Security policy.
This is the default policy that’s assigned by Security Center. You can turn on or off the available security recommendations.
5. When you finish editing, select Save.

Here you find more on聽Set security policies in Azure Security Center

Some policies need the upgrade Enhanced Security

Contact information for Notifications

Azure Security Center provides unified security management and advanced threat protection for workloads running in Azure, on-premises, and in other clouds. It delivers visibility and control over hybrid cloud workloads, active defenses that reduce your exposure to threats, and intelligent detection to help you keep pace with rapidly evolving cyber attacks.
Pricing tiers
Security Center is offered in two tiers:
The Free tier is automatically enabled on all Azure subscriptions, and provides security policy, continuous security assessment, and actionable security recommendations to help you protect your Azure resources.
The Standard tier extends the capabilities of the Free tier to workloads running in private and other public clouds, providing unified security management and threat protection across your hybrid cloud workloads. The Standard tier also adds advanced threat detection capabilities, which uses built-in behavioral analytics and machine learning to identify attacks and zero-day exploits, access and application controls to reduce exposure to network attacks and malware, and more. The Standard tier is free for the first 60 days. Read here more…….

What are OS Security Configurations?
Azure Security Center monitors security configurations using a set of over 150 recommended rules for hardening the OS, including rules related to firewalls, auditing, password policies, and more. If a machine is found to have a vulnerable configuration, a security recommendation is generated.
Customization of the rules can help organizations to control which configuration options are more appropriate for their environment. This feature enables users to set a customized assessment policy and apply it on all applicable machines in the subscription.

鈥 Currently OS Security Configuration customization is available for Windows Server 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 operating systems only.
鈥 The configuration applies to all VMs and computers connected to all workspaces under the selected subscription.
鈥 OS Security Configuration customization is available only on Security Center’s Standard tier.

Download the Baseline configuration JSON file

You can make a Custom Baseline with Visual Studio Code and Upload to Azure

Microsoft Azure Security Center QuickStart :

Configure Security Policy

Managing security recommendations in Azure Security Center

Security health monitoring in Azure Security Center

Managing and responding to security alerts in Azure Security Center

Documentation :

Microsoft聽Azure Security Center Documentation聽

Microsoft Azure Security Center Forum

Planning guide
This guide covers a set of steps and tasks that you can follow to optimize your use of Security Center based on your organization鈥檚 security requirements and cloud management model. To take full advantage of Security Center, it is important to understand how different individuals or teams in your organization use the service to meet secure development and operations, monitoring, governance, and incident response needs. The key areas to consider when planning to use Security Center are:

Security Roles and Access Controls
Security Policies and Recommendations
Data Collection and Storage
Ongoing non-Azure resources
Ongoing Security Monitoring
Incident Response

Here you will learn how to plan for each one of those areas and apply those recommendations based on your requirements.

All Events view in Azure Security Center

Upgrade to standard Tier for Hybrid Security

Search with analytics

Queries can be used to search terms, identify trends, analyze patterns, and provide many other insights based on your data.

Have a look and play with Azure Log Analytics.

Getting Started with the Analytics Portal

in this tutorial you will learn to write Azure Log Analytics queries. When completing this tutorial you will know how to:

  • Understand queries’ structure
  • Sort query results
  • Filter query results
  • Specify a time range
  • Select which fields to include in the results
  • Define and use custom fields
  • Aggregate and group results

Getting Started with Queries

Azure Security Center gives you Recommendations

For example to Encrypt your Virtual Machines in Azure with a Link

Integrated Azure security solutions
Security Center makes it easy to enable integrated security solutions in Azure. Benefits include:

Simplified deployment: Security Center offers streamlined provisioning of integrated partner solutions. For solutions like antimalware and vulnerability assessment, Security Center can provision the needed agent on your virtual machines, and for firewall appliances, Security Center can take care of much of the network configuration required.
Integrated detections: Security events from partner solutions are automatically collected, aggregated, and displayed as part of Security Center alerts and incidents. These events also are fused with detections from other sources to provide advanced threat-detection capabilities.
Unified health monitoring and management: Customers can use integrated health events to monitor all partner solutions at a glance. Basic management is available, with easy access to advanced setup by using the partner solution.

More on Integrated Azure Security Solutions

Compute Security Overview

Compute Security and Components view

Networking Security Overview

Storage & Data Security Overview

Identity and Access Overview in Azure Security Center

Application Whitelisting

Just in time virtual machine (VM) access can be used to lock down inbound traffic to your Azure VMs, reducing exposure to attacks while providing easy access to connect to VMs when needed.

Attack scenario
Brute force attacks commonly target management ports as a means to gain access to a VM. If successful, an attacker can take control over the VM and establish a foothold into your environment.

One way to reduce exposure to a brute force attack is to limit the amount of time that a port is open. Management ports do not need to be open at all times. They only need to be open while you are connected to the VM, for example to perform management or maintenance tasks. When just in time is enabled, Security Center uses Network Security Group (NSG) rules, which restrict access to management ports so they cannot be targeted by attackers.

More on Just in Time Virtual Machine

Security Alerts

Azure Security Center鈥檚 advanced detection capabilities, helps you identify active threats targeting your Microsoft Azure resources and provides you with the insights needed to respond quickly

More on聽Azure Security Center detection capabilities

Custom Alert Rules

What are custom alert rules in Security Center?

Security Center has a set of predefined security alerts, which are triggered when a threat, or suspicious activity takes place. In some scenarios, you may want to create a custom alert to address specific needs of your environment.

Custom alert rules in Security Center allow you to define new security alerts based on data that is already collected from your environment. You can create queries, and the result of these queries can be used as criteria for the custom rule, and once this criteria is matched, the rule is executed. You can use computers security events, partner’s security solution logs or data ingested using APIs to create your custom queries.

More information about Custom Alert Rules in Azure Security Center

Threat Intelligence

Azure Security Center Playbooks

What is security playbook in Security Center?
Security playbook is a collection of procedures that can be executed from Security Center once a certain playbook is triggered from selected alert. Security playbook can help to automate and orchestrate your response to a specific security alert detected by Security Center. Security Playbooks in Security Center are based on Azure Logic Apps, which means you can use the templates that are provided under the security category in Logic Apps templates, you can modify them based on your needs, or you can create new playbooks using Azure Logic Apps workflow, and using Security Center as your trigger.

More on Azure Security Center Playbook

Hope this Microsoft Azure Security Center Overview will help to make your Hybrid IT more Secure !