I like to thank you Community for Supporting, Sharing and Reading New Microsoft technologies on my Blog, Twitter, Facebook and
LinkedIn Community Groups 💗 I wish you all happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year 2023 may the Best Wishes comes true ! 🎄🥂
I’m very proud and Honored on the Microsoft Global MVP Awards 2022-2023 !
MVP Award for Cloud and Datacenter Management
MVP Award for Windows Insiders
MVP Award for Azure Hybrid
Thank you Microsoft Product Groups, MVP Award Program, Windows Insider Team, Azure Hybrid Team, Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI Team for all your support, NDA PGI sessions, and for the Awesome software, Features, solutions you are building 🙂
Wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year 2023 may the Best Wishes comes true ! 🎄🥂
Here are some Great links for Reading and Sharing :
JOIN these LinkedIn Community Groups for free and Share New Microsoft Technologies Together:
The Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol is a network file sharing protocol, and as implemented in Microsoft Windows is known as Microsoft SMB Protocol. The set of message packets that defines a particular version of the protocol is called a dialect. The Common Internet File System (CIFS) Protocol is a dialect of SMB. Both SMB and CIFS are also available on VMS, several versions of Unix, and other operating systems. Here you can see the versions of MS-CIFS and download free white papers
Today SMBv1 is a not save protocol and will be used by hackers for man in the middle attacks to compromise your data and systems. SMBv1 is a weak protocol and should not be used in your environment. There are still a lot of Windows Servers 2012 R2 in the world running in datacenters with SMBv1 by Default enabled. To make your Windows Server more secure, you can disable SMBv1 protocol via a Group Policy Object (GPO).
In the following steps we will disable SMBv1 on Windows Servers via GPO.
Open Group Policy Management in your Domain.
Click on Group Policy Object with your right mouse button.
Click on New.
Give your policy a Name.
I made also an temporary Exception policy.
Right click on your new Policy Object.
Click on Edit.
Go to Computer Configuration => Preferences => Windows Settings
Click on Registry.
Click on New and then on Registry Item.
Here you have to add the following Registry Properties:
Set these settings.
Set Path: HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
Click on Apply for these Registry settings.
SMBv1 Disable setting is set in the Policy Object.
This is the path where we push the policy via GPO.
Here we Link the Existing GPO to the OU with the Windows Server 2012 R2
to disable SMBv1 Protocol.
Select your new Policy to disable SMBv1 Protocol.
We have now Linked the new GPO to Disable SMBv1
GPUpdate /force on your Server to disable SMBv1
To get the new GPO active on your Server.
SMB over QUIC introduces an alternative to the TCP network transport, providing secure, reliable connectivity to edge file servers over untrusted networks like the Internet. QUIC is an IETF-standardized protocol with many benefits when compared with TCP:
All packets are always encrypted and handshake is authenticated with TLS 1.3
Parallel streams of reliable and unreliable application data
Exchanges application data in the first round trip (0-RTT)
Improved congestion control and loss recovery
Survives a change in the clients IP address or port
SMB over QUIC offers an “SMB VPN” for telecommuters, mobile device users, and high security organizations. The server certificate creates a TLS 1.3-encrypted tunnel over the internet-friendly UDP port 443 instead of the legacy TCP port 445. All SMB traffic, including authentication and authorization within the tunnel is never exposed to the underlying network. SMB behaves normally within the QUIC tunnel, meaning the user experience doesn’t change. SMB features like multichannel, signing, compression, continuous availability, directory leasing, and so on, work normally.
Client Server Handshake and Data transfer differences.
When you still have Windows Servers running with SMBv1 by default enabled, for security you should disable SMBv1 protocol as soon as possible! Otherwise you make it easy for hackers to compromise your data with man in the middle attacks. In Windows Server 2019 and higher SMBv1 is disabled by default. Have a look at SMB over QUIC in your test environment and learn how secure it is and how it works for your security and data.
With Windows Admin Center you can remotely manage Windows Server running anywhere—physical, virtual, on-premises, in Azure, or in a hosted environment.
The tool, available with your Windows Server license at no additional charge, consolidates and reimagines Windows OS tools in a single, browser-based, graphical user interface.
At Microsoft Ignite 2021 Global Virtual Event they launched Windows Admin Center version 2103. Here you find the download.
Set Proxy Server in Windows Admin Center Settings.
Open in a Separate Window
This is a Separate Window on my Second Screen, this works Awesome!
Windows Admin Center Virtual Tool improvements 🙂
Microsoft is working hard to make Hybrid IT Management better for Administrators to manage Hybrid Cloud datacenters. Windows Admin Center is a must have for managing
Windows Server Core, AzureStack HCI, and Cluster Services. I can say: I love to work with Windows Admin Center 🙂
It’s a year full of misery with the Covid-19 virus around the world. People who lose their loved one, It’s a very sad time for all of us! Microsoft technologies are still going on strong with new features in Azure Cloud Services but also supporting the people who are working in the healthcare, data analytics, Microsoft Teams for Collaboration and much more. But what I want to say to all HealthCare people over the world : THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DO 👍
I have deep respect for you all !
Community, Microsoft Product Teams, MVP Lead, WIndows Insiders, I wish you and your family happy holidays and a Healthy 2021 with lot of Success! 🎄😍
As an Administrator, I like to work with Microsoft Windows Admin Center, It’s a locally deployed, browser-based app for managing Windows servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, as well as Windows 10 PCs. You can download Windows Admin Center hereand use it for Free in your Production environment. What is Windows Admin Center? What are my benefits? Here you see Windows Admin Center Architecture how it works.
Windows Admin Center Architecture.
So you can use Windows Admin Center everywhere, you can Install it on a Server on-premises without any internet connections, or in a hybrid way with a internet connection for Cloud
services integrations like Azure Backup, Azure Security Center, Azure Monitor or Azure File Sync and to manage your Virtual Machines in the Cloud.
Microsoft is now busy with Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal in Preview to manage your Hybrid Datacenter. Here you find a blogpost about it in the Microsoft Tech Community.
Manage Internet Access in Windows Admin Center.
Datacenter Administrators want to manage Windows Servers in an Easy way but it must be secure. Microsoft has some user access options for using Windows Admin Center.
The one I like most is Microsoft Azure MFA (Two-Factor-Authentication) on your Windows Admin Center environment. Here you find more information about User Access WAC.
Choose the right Windows Admin Center installation for your environment:
Windows Admin Center Installation types.
These are Production Ready.
But don’t forget the Microsoft Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal Preview :
Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal Preview.
Windows Admin Center | Management | Azure Security Center Integration.
The Power of a Modern Management tool like Windows Admin Center is the Extensions feature to integrate with external Services like Azure Cloud Services, or third party vendors like Dell EMC or HP, Fujitsu, Data-On with great management solutions. An other example of a Windows Admin Center Extension are Containers.
In the following steps you will see how easy it is to manage and integrate Azure Security Center into Windows Admin Center for your Servers.
When you have installed Windows Admin Center, you have to add your Microsoft Azure Subscription into WAC.
Azure Registration in Windows Admin Center.
In the upper right you have the settings icon of Windows Admin Center, from there you can select Azure and do the registration. What it will do is making a API with your Microsoft Azure subscription:
Here you see the Registration in Microsoft Azure.
When that is completed successfully, you can add the Microsoft Azure Services via Extensions in Settings. We are going to Select Azure Security Center.
Install the Microsoft Azure Security Center Extension.
From here you have installed the basics for your Servers, now the Microsoft Azure Security Center feature is added in the left management bar at each Server in Windows Admin Center.
Now we only have to register the Servers into Azure Security Center with Windows Admin Center.
Here you see my MVPLAB Machines.
I have two Azure Stack HCI virtual Machines and I like to know if they are secure. ( Skywalker01 and Skywalker02) I start with the Azure Security Center Installation on Skywalker01 VM.
Azure Stack HCI VM called Skywalker01.mvplab.cloud
Sign into Azure.
Select your Azure Subscription, Create or Use existing workspace.
Select Region, and Create or use existing Resource Group.
Click on Setup.
The Virtual Machine will be added to Azure Security Center.
From here it need some time to do the job with doing assessments, getting the metadata of the server with log analytics. Microsoft Azure Security Center will come with security recommendations like:
Here you can do a Quick Fix and do Remediation.
After a view minutes the Security issues are also coming into Windows Admin Center.
Here I get some Security advice in Windows Admin Center for Skywalker01 VM
Here you see the Power of the Azure Cloud with Log Analytics and the
Azure Security Center baselines for Skywalker01 Azure Stack HCI VM.
I forgot Skywalker02 VM to do the monthly security updates and that is a Security Risk too of course :
Skywalker02 Azure Stack HCI VM at High Security Risk.
Of course we have Windows Updates in Windows Admin Center, Just have to select and approve the updates for Skywalker02 to solve this high Risk issue.
Skywalker02 Azure Stack HCI VM Security Risk Solved 😉
In a Hybrid IT world today is Better Together my motto with Windows Admin Center and Microsoft Azure Security Center you have a Great solution. You can make your own Azure Security Center Baseline policy to deploy on your Windows Servers to make them more Secure. Get a High Security Score ! And don’t worry you can add all your Windows Servers into Windows Admin Center if they are on-premises or in the Cloud.
With Azure MFA Two-Factor access authentication, you make your Management tool Windows Admin Center more Secure for your environment. If you don’t use Windows Admin Center yet, start Today !
This blogpost is about the Microsoft Azure Migrate tool in the Cloud doing Azure Migrate assessments to see if your on-premises Datacenter is ready for Azure Cloud Services. Before you migrate your workloads with Azure Migrate to the Microsoft Azure Cloud, you want to know the costs before the migration and what your options are in the transition. For example when you have hardware in your on-premises Datacenter which is too high qua hardware specs like Memory, CPU and storage and you can do with less Compute power, then the performance assessments are really interesting. From here you see a step-by-step guide for VMWare workload assessment(s) to Azure Cloud.
Azure Migrate preparation for VMware workload
When you search for ‘Azure Migrate’in your Azure Subscription and click on the services you will see the Azure Migrate Overview screen. When you don’t have a Microsoft Azure subscription yet, you can get one here
Click on Assess and Migrate Servers.
Before we go further with the server migration assessments for VMware, there are more Azure Migration tools available to do assessments and migrations like the following goals :
For Databases Microsoft Azure Migrate uses the Data Migration Assistant for the Assessment and the Data migration to Azure SQL Cloud.
The Data Migration Assistant (DMA) helps you upgrade to a modern data platform by detecting compatibility issues that can impact database functionality in your new version of SQL Server or Azure SQL Database. DMA recommends performance and reliability improvements for your target environment and allows you to move your schema, data, and uncontained objects from your source server to your target server.
To identify the right Azure SQL Database / Managed Instance SKU for your on-premises Database you can use the CLI with a Script :
At last when you have to move a big enterprise On-premises Datacenter to the Azure Cloud with a lot of Servers for example 10.000, you can use Azure Data Box Migration The Microsoft Azure Data Box cloud solution lets you send terabytes of data into Azure in a quick, inexpensive, and reliable way. The secure data transfer is accelerated by shipping you a proprietary Data Box storage device. Each storage device has a maximum usable storage capacity of 80 TB and is transported to your datacenter through a regional carrier. The device has a rugged casing to protect and secure data during the transit.
When you have installed the Microsoft Azure Migrate Virtual Appliance for VMware successfully in your environment and has access to all the Virtual Machines then you can run the setup in the Appliance to make connectivity with your Azure subscription.
This will check all the prerequisites and get the updates.
Getting access to vCenter Server with the right permissions.
Now when your Azure Migrate Virtual Appliance for VMware is ready and collecting metadata, we see in the Microsoft Azure Portal the discovery running :
Discovery is in Progress.
After a view minutes we have discovered the Servers running on VMware platform On-premises.
Now we have the Servers in our metadata, we can do the Assessment(s) to get all the information we want for preparing to migrate to Azure Cloud Services. Click on Assess.
From here you give the Assessment a name and then you go to the properties of the assessment by clicking on View All
Here you can set the parameters for the assessment for example based on :
Sizing criterion like Performance-Based
Azure VM series to use
Offer pricing like Enterprise Agreement Support or Pay-As-You-Go
Hybrid Benefit offer.
Here I made different Azure Migrate Assessment groups with different parameters to see the difference in Costs.
Here you see for example Migrate As Is On-Premises and Performance-Based, but also an Azure Migrate Assessment without SQL Cluster Nodes. In this way you can make your own Azure Migrate Assessment with all your Servers or just a view Servers of your On-premises solution which you want to Migrate to Azure Cloud Services.
Overview of your Azure Migrate Assessment
Server is ready for migration
Server Ready but with conditions
Microsoft Azure Migrate gives you all the information to make the right decisions to migrate you workload from VMware to Microsoft Azure Cloud. When the Azure Migrate Assessment(s) are ready you can make a CSV export file to check the information before you migrate.
Overview of the Azure Migrate Assessment
Azure Migrate Assessment based on Performance for the VM
and there is a separated tab for Storage.
When your assessment is done, you can do the migration by replicating them to Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Azure Migrate gives you insight information about your own On-Premises Datacenter by doing assessments to get the right migration information to move to Microsoft Azure Cloud. It gives you Azure Cloud costs before you do any migration at all, based on Total Cost of Owner (TCO) ship you can calculate if your solution in the Microsoft Azure Cloud is cheaper or not. Realize that’s it is not always about the money but also :
Time to market
Not owning hardware anymore
Less management (Hardware)
Hope this blog post helps you by your transition journey to Microsoft Azure Cloud
The world of data is moving and changing a lot with new IT technologies coming up like leaves on a tree.
Data is everywhere, on Servers, workstations, BYOD Devices in the Cloud but how do you keep your data save and protected for your business today and in the future? There are a lot of reasons why you should Backup your data :
One of your employees accidentally deleted important files for example.
Your data got compromised by a virus.
Your Server crashed
You have to save your data for a period of time by Law
And there will be more reasons why you should do backup…………….
A lot of Enterprise organizations are moving to the Cloud with workloads for the Business, but how is your Backup and Disaster Recovery managed today? A lot of data transitions are made but what if your Backup and Disaster Recovery solution is out dated or reaching end of Life? You can have a lot of Questions like :
What data should I backup?
Should I just upgrade the Backup Solution?
How can I make my Data Management Backup -DR Solution Cheaper and ready for the future?
How can I make my new Backup-DR Solution independent? ( Vendor Lockin)
And there will be more questions when you are in this scenario where you have to renew your Backup – DR Solution.
Here we have the following Great Backup Solution from 2014 :
Offsite Microsoft DPM Backup Solution since 2014
Here we have 3 System Center Data Protection Manager Backup Pods with a Tape library and One DPM pod connected with a Microsoft Azure Backup Vault in the Cloud. You do the Security updates and the Rollups for Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center Data Protection Manager 2012 to keep the Solution save and running.
Long Time Protection to Tape
DPM 2012 Server with direct attached Storage for Short time protection
The four DPM Backup Pods have the same Storage configuration for short time protection with a retention time of 15 days. After that Longtime protection is needed with Backup to tape and Backup to Microsoft Azure Backup Vault.
Since 2014 the Backup data is depending on these solution configurations.
Tape Management cost a lot of time and money
The fourth DPM Backup pod got a Azure Backup Vault in the Cloud to save Tape Management time.
DPM Backup to Microsoft Azure Cloud Backup Vault.
So this is the Start of the Journey to a New Data Management Backup – DR Solution transformation. The next Couple of weeks I will search for the different scenarios and solutions on the Internet and talk with the Community looking for Best Practices. I will do Polls on Social Media and a Serie of blogposts for the Data Management Backup – DR Solution to keep the business continuity.
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 datacollected by Security Center. To use your existing Log Analytics workspace:
• The workspace must be associated with your selected Azure subscription.
• 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.
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.
Note • Currently OS Security Configuration customization is available for Windows Server 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 operating systems only. • The configuration applies to all VMs and computers connected to all workspaces under the selected subscription. • 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
This guide covers a set of steps and tasks that you can follow to optimize your use of Security Center based on your organization’s 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
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.
Identity and Access Overview in Azure Security Center
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.
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.
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.
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.