GitHub has become the central location for open-source projects, samples, and even content – but primarily focused on developers. This new repository will focus on you: The ITPro/Ops person managing the environment in your company, keeping the lights on, supporting end-users or other IT teams.
The Microsoft Modern Infrastructure Cloud Advocates are responsible for the content on this repo, but sharing your handy script samples on this repo would be Awesome to manage Modern Azure Infrastructure, Azure Stack HCI, Windows Servers, Hyper-V, Containers and more. Have a look at the announcement on Microsoft tech community, Sharing together to make IT Better 😉
When you have your Servers Azure Arc enabled, you will work with Azure Arc extensions to work with Azure hybrid features like Defender for Cloud, Azure Monitor, Windows Admin Center and more. For each Azure Arc extension you can get updates, and it’s important to keep them up-to-date for new functionality and security. You have Azure Arc extensions for Windows Servers but also for Linux Servers.
Some of the Azure Arc extensions will automatic upgrade when you have enabled it and some must go manually from the Azure Portal.
More information about Azure Arc extensions you can find them here
In the next steps you will see the Update management of the Azure Arc enabled extensions :
Here I update one extension.
Inside the WindowsOsUpdateExtension
Here you can see that the WindowsOsUpdateExtension is up-to-date
and Status Succeeded
On the right of this screenshot you see Automatic Upgrade and some extensions are enabled, but some are not supported.
That’s why it’s important to check these updates.
Here you can see in the Status that two Azure Arc extensions are updating
And sometimes it failed to update.
But you can see what you can do best with this failed Status.
Here you see the error message and the Tips.
And when you can’t fix it yourself you can make a Support ticket right away.
Here you can see that all the Azure Arc extensions are updated successfully
So I selected all my Azure Arc enabled Servers and updated them all.
To keep your Business running, It’s important to secure and monitor your data. One of the security measures is doing Vulnerability assessments in your datacenter(s) to see the status and results for remediation. With Microsoft Azure Arc Defender for Cloud you can do a SQL Server vulnerability assessment in your on-premises datacenter or anywhere with the Azure Arc agent running. Here you find more information about Azure Arc enabled SQL Server
Microsoft Defender for Cloud on Azure Arc enabled SQL Server
Here I activated Microsoft Defender for Cloud on Azure Arc enabled SQL Server, and Azure Defender for Cloud is doing a SQL vulnerability assessment to get the security status and results for remediation.
On this same Azure portal page you will see the Vulnerability assessment findings.
When you Open a Vulnerability finding, you get more information and the remediation for the issue.
Here you see the complete Resource Health of the Azure Arc enabled SQL Server.
Look at the Status of each severity.
Here you see all the vulnerability findings on these four databases.
When you do the remediation you will see the healthy status.
on the Passed tab.
Here I open only the OperationsManager database.
Now you see only the Vulnerability findings on this database.
Here you see a vulnerability finding on the SCOM database with the Remediation 🙂
You can make your Own Workbooks or use them from the Gallery.
Workbook example of Vulnerability Assessment findings.
With Azure Defender for Cloud vulnerability assessment and management you will learn a lot to set your Security Baseline on a higher level in your datacenter(s). Getting the right remediation of Microsoft to solve security issues is Great! You can do your assessments frequently to show your current status on demand. I Really like these Azure Hybrid Tools to make my work easier and the data more secure for the business.
In earlier MVPLABSerie blogpost I wrote about making your on-premises Servers hybrid with Azure Arc enabled Servers.
In my mvplab.local domain, there is a SQL 2022 Cluster running which also has the Azure Connected Machine Agent version 1.24.
One of the benefits of Azure Arc enabled Servers for SQL is that you can do on-demand SQL Health assessments on your SQL Environment in your On-premises Datacenter. In the following step-by-step guide we will prepare the SQL Cluster nodes.
Here you see that the Azure Connected Machine Agent already is installed.
But it will now add the SQL Extension.
Installation Completed Successfully.
Now we have two Azure Arc enabled SQL Servers connected.
Overview of SQL 2022 Node in Azure Arc.
You can see the Databases running.
Here you can set your Admin from Azure Active Directory.
But we want to do a SQL Assessment, but the Azure Monitoring Agent is still missing.
Here you see that the SQL extension is installed.
Now we will add the Azure Monitor Agent to my existing Log Analytics Workspace.
Click on Add
Select Log Analytics Agent – Azure Arc.
Add your Workspace ID
Add your Workspace Kay
Click on Review + Create
Azure Monitoring Agent is Installed.
From here you can do the On-Demand SQL Assessments via
Microsoft Azure Arc enabled SQL Servers.
The SQL Server Assessment focuses on several key pillars, including:
SQL Server configuration
Error log analysis
Example of SQL Server Assessment results.
On each assessment result you get a recommendation from Microsoft so you can make your SQL environment Health and Secure!
To get these health results of your SQL environment is Awesome 🙂 You are in control of your Azure Hybrid Arc enabled SQL Servers to keep them Healthy and Secure. The following Azure Arc enabled SQL Server blogpost is about Azure Defender for Cloud for your SQL Servers. With these two Azure Arc for SQL Server features you get the best Insights to keep your data as save as possible.
Microsoft Azure Update Management Center (Preview)
Update management center (preview) is a unified service to help manage and govern updates for all your machines. You can monitor Windows and Linux update compliance across your deployments in Azure, on-premises, and on the other cloud platforms from a single dashboard. Using Update management center (preview), you can make updates in real-time or schedule them within a defined maintenance window. Here you can find more information about Azure Update Management Center
In the following step-by-step guide, we will start with Azure Update Management Center (Preview) and Microsoft Azure Arc enabled Windows Servers running on-premises in my mvplab.local domain.
With getting started you can configure the environment.
I start here with my Azure Arc enabled Storage Server.
Updates installed on the Azure Arc Enabled Windows Server.
In Azure Update Management Center Overview Dashboard
you can see that one machine is completed.
For Monitoring you can make your own workbooks.
I like this History, to see if updates are successful or not.
Microsoft Azure Update Management Center is still in Preview but it’s a new way to manage all of your updates on your Servers on-premises with Azure Arc enabled, or on Azure Cloud, but also in other Clouds if you want. One Update Management Center from the Azure Portal is Awesome to work with and gives you control and overview of your update compliance in your datacenter(s). Important: This Great tool is still in preview and not for production environments yet until it’s made GA by Microsoft and you have the full support on this awesome management tool.
Baseline security is very important to have that in place to keep your Servers more secure in your datacenter. You want Hybrid Servers like Azure Arc enabled servers for example to be secure running in your datacenter. This begins to secure and have up-to-date Server hardware running in your datacenter. Monitor for security updates and install Server hardware based on best practices from the vendor.
Then the Operating System like Windows Server 2022 standard needs the OS Baseline security. This is called:
When your Windows Servers are security compliant by the rules of the company and/or Security Officer, then we can have a look at the Well Architected Framework (WAF) for Azure Arc Enabled Servers. Here you find an
This security baseline applies guidance from the Microsoft cloud security benchmark version 1.0 to Azure Arc-enabled servers. The Microsoft cloud security benchmark provides recommendations on how you can secure your cloud solutions on Azure. The content is grouped by the security controls defined by the Microsoft cloud security benchmark and the related guidance applicable to Azure Arc-enabled servers.
When you have read about Azure Arc Well Architected Framework (WAF) and you have your security in place, we can start with Microsoft Azure Arc.
Before you start implementing Azure Arc, you must have seen this Awesome website of Azure Arc Jumpstart!
The Azure Arc Jumpstart is designed to provide a “zero to hero” experience so you can start working with Azure Arc right away!
The Jumpstart provides step-by-step guides for independent Azure Arc scenarios that incorporate as much automation as possible, detailed screenshots and code samples, and a rich and comprehensive experience while getting started with the Azure Arc platform.
Our goal is for you to have a working Azure Arc environment spun-up in no time so you can focus on the core values of the platform, regardless of where your infrastructure may be, either on-premises or in the cloud.
You can manage your compliance and security policies with Azure Arc enabled Servers, Kubernetes, or SQL Managed instances to make your hybrid solutions with
the Microsoft Azure Cloud in a secure environment. When you work with security by design based on OSI model with 7 security layers and use Microsoft Arc enabled servers, you get also more Azure Hybrid security features like Azure Defender for Cloud, and much more.
Don’t forget the Microsoft Azure Arc Community Monthly Meetup
Windows Admin Center Version 2110.2 Build 1.3.2204.19002
Windows Admin Center is a customer-deployed, browser-based app for managing servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows PCs. It comes at no additional cost beyond Windows and is ready to use in production. Learn more aboutWindows Admin Center.
Simple and modern management experience
Designed for extensibility
Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch (Netherlands), English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish (Sweden), Turkish
In the following step-by-step guide I will deploy Windows Server 2022 Insider Build 25099 Core Edition with Windows Admin Center tool together with some great features for managing Windows Servers in a secure hybrid way with Microsoft Azure Cloud services. Like Azure Defender for Cloud, Azure Backup Vault, Azure Monitor, Security and more.
So I have Windows Admin Center 2110.2 installed and I have a Windows Server 2022 Hyper-V Server for my Virtual Machines in my MVPLAB Domain.
Now we will deploy the new Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Build 25099.
In WAC on my Hypervisor in Virtual Machines
When you explore and open your Hyper-V Host and go to Virtual Machines, you can Click on Add and then on New for Creating your Windows Server Insider VM.
Create a New Windows Server Insider VM called StormTrooper01
Here you can configure your new Windows Server 2022 Insider VM with the following :
What kind of Generation VM (Gen 2 Recommended)
The path of your Virtual Machine and the path of your virtual disk(s)
CPU and you can make nested Virtualization too
Memory and use of Dynamic Memory
Network select the Virtual Switch
Network Isolation by VLAN
Storage, Create the size of the Virtual Disk. Choose an ISO or Select an existing VHD(x)
I Created a New 70GB OS Disk
and I want to Install the New Windows Server Insider OS from ISO.
Click on Browse
Here you Browse Default on your Hyper-V Host and select the ISO.
When the Windows Server ISO is selected you can hit Create
We get the Notification that the virtual machine is successfully created.
Only the Virtual Machine is now made with your specs and visible on the Hyper-V Host.
Select the New Virtual Machine (StormTrooper01) click on Power and hit Start.
After you started the VM, you can double click on it and go to Connect. Click on Connect to the Virtual Machine.
Now you are on the console via VM Connect.
Click on Install Now
We are installing Windows Server 2022 Insider Core edition, because we have WAC 😉
Installing Windows Server 2022 Insider Core Preview Build 25099 via Windows Admin Center
Create New Administrator Password.
And here we have Sconfig of the Windows Server 2022 Core.
via Virtual Machine Connect.
Now we can add and connect the New Virtual Machine with Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Build in Windows Admin Center via IP-Address.
The Next step is to join the Windows Server 2022 Insider to my Domain MVPLAB.
Click on the Top on Edit Computer ID Click on Domain and type your domain name.
Click op Next Add your administrator account for joining the server
Reboot the VM.
Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Core edition is domain joined.
Now we have the New Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Build 25099 running in Windows Admin Center, we can use all the tooling provided by WAC also in a Azure Hybrid way. Think about Azure Defender for Cloud, Azure Monitor. In Microsoft Windows Admin Center we also have a topic Azure Hybrid Center :
Here you see all the Azure Hybrid benefit features for your Windows Server 2022 Insider.
Microsoft Azure Arc
Azure File Sync
Azure Site Recovery
Azure Network Adapter
Azure Update Management
Microsoft Azure and the Windows Admin Center Team made the wizards customer friendly and easy to get those Azure Hybrid services for your Windows Server.
When you have your Server running, you want to make backups and Monitoring your Server for management. And after that you want to be in control of your security of your new Server. In the following steps you see some examples on the same Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Build:
Microsoft Azure Backup via WAC
Click on Azure Backup
Select your Azure Subscription and the Azure Backup Vault.
Select your data and make the schedule.
Enter the Encryption passphrase and Apply.
Here you have Azure Backup Vault working together with WAC.
Azure Defender for Cloud Security
Click op Microsoft Defender for Cloud
Click on Setup
Add the right Azure Subscription and Workspace
Click on Setup.
Configuring Azure Defender for Cloud agent and Subscription.
Azure Defender for Cloud in Windows Admin Center on your Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview Build.
In Windows Admin Center there is also a Security tab for the Windows Server.
Here you can see if your system is supported for this security features 🙂
Enable the supported features and Restart de Virtual Machine.
And here you see my status overview.
Further more you can manage RBAC in Windows Admin Center when you have to work with different kind of users.
You can find RBAC in settings.
Windows Server Insider Core edition and Windows Admin Center are working better together! You have all the tools you need to startup your Windows Server and
manage it with WAC. Windows Admin Center is getting better and better to manage your Hybrid Datacenter and keep you as an Administrator in Control!
So is how I manage my MVPLAB but also for Production workloads I use Windows Admin Center and the Azure Portal together. With Microsoft Azure Arc Services
Azure Hybrid becomes your solution where Windows Admin Center can Support you with making Azure Stack HCI Clusters with Azure Kubernetes for your DevOps environment.
Microsoft Azure Arc allows you to manage the following resource types hosted outside of Azure:
Servers: Manage Windows and Linux physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure.
Kubernetes clusters: Attach and configure Kubernetes clusters running anywhere, with multiple supported distributions.
Azure data services: Run Azure data services on-premises, at the edge, and in public clouds using Kubernetes and the infrastructure of your choice. SQL Managed Instance and PostgreSQL Hyperscale (preview) services are currently available.
SQL Server: Extend Azure services to SQL Server instances hosted outside of Azure.
I have a Kubernetes Cluster enabled with Azure Arc Services in my MVP LAB:
It’s Called Dockkube.
The Kubernetes Cluster is running on-premises and is enabled with Microsoft Azure Arc Services. With that said we get Azure Services available for management in the Cloud in a hybrid way. In the following step by step guide we activate Azure Monitor Insights for Containers on the Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes Cluster.
Container Insights Alerts / Actions on Azure Arc Enabled Kubernetes
When you open Dockkube Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes, you will see on the left Monitoring Insights.
Then you have the options :
Click on Containers, and you will see all the containers on the Azure Arc enabled kubernetes.
Then you have recommended Alerts (Preview) at the top, when you Click on it you will see all the predefined recommended alerts in preview. I have selected Node CPU % and Enabled the alert. With that you see on the above screenshot there is no action group assigned. That is the next step, click on No Action Group Assigned.
Click on Create a new action group.
Select the Azure Subscription, Resource group and give the
Action Group a name.
Click on Next: Notifications
Here you can select your type of Alert communication.
I have selected the option Email.
Setting the Name : Dock Kube Notify.
The next step you can select an action type :
In my MVP LAB, I don’t need an action but just a notification by email.
You can set a TAG here
Before you create the Alert rule with the action group, you get the option
to test the action group.
Click on Test Action Group.
Select a sample type.
I did Resource health alert
Click on Test.
The test is running.
I’m getting the Alert email in my box from Microsoft Azure.
Test is successful and click on Done.
Click on Create
Select the Action group for me is that DockKube CPU.
Click on Apply to Rule.
Now this Alert is active on my Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes 😉
When you go to Alert Rules, you will see the new Alert rule.
Here you can modify it if necessary.
For example, I want the severity from 3 Information to 2 Warning.
I made a severity 2 Warning.
Don’t forget to click on Save at the left top.
More Container Insights information on Microsoft docs :
Microsoft Azure Arc enabled kubernetes is Awesome for management in a hybrid way. I just showed you the power of Alert rules with action groups from the Azure Cloud to get Container Insights. Of course there are more Azure features for your Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes like Security (Preview) Kubernetes Resources, Policies, Gitops and more. Making your own dashboard with Container Insight information. Go for hybrid IT Management with Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes!
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.
I’m working with Windows Admin Center every day to manage our datacenter and to mange my MVP LAB. When you have to install Windows Server Core
or Microsoft Azure Stack HCI Operating system, then Windows Admin Center is the right tool for you as an Administrator. You can use all the Server Manager tools via WAC
and you don’t have to work with Command-line tools only like CMD and PowerShell.
In my MVP LAB I have a Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Datacenter Edition Hyper-V Host, and I like to make a Docker Host Server for my Containers.
With Windows Admin Center it’s easy to roll out a Docker host Server for your Containers.
In the following steps I will Install a Docker Host Server on Windows Server 2022.
Open Windows Admin Center and connect to your Server.
I Have Container Extension installed version 1.150.0
Click on Containers and Click on Install Windows Admin Center will Restart your Server for the Docker Installation!
Hang on while Docker Host will be Installed on Windows Server 2022.
Docker Host Installed Successfully.
Docker Host Container Overview Screen on Windows Server 2022.
From here you can Pull containers images to the Docker Host.
This is what I did but…..
Instead of pulling a Container Image you can also Create your Own Container Image.
Here I’m Pulling a ASP.NET Container Image from Microsoft.
Pulled Container Image Successfully.
The ASP.NET Container Image is now Available on the Docker Host.
Select the Container Image and Click on Run.
Give the Docker Container a name.
You can Manage the ports,
And add addition Docker Run options,
Click on Run.
The ASP.NET Docker Container is running on Windows Server 2022.
When you Click on the running Container you will get options like :
Stats, Details, Logs, Console and Events.
When you Click on Console you will go remote by PowerShell to the Docker Host.
Here you got all the Docker commands 😉
And of course when you want to develop Containers as a developer you can use Microsoft Visual Studio Code as well.
(I’m using Visual Studio Code Insiders version in my MVP LAB)
Microsoft Azure Container Instances
Containers are becoming the preferred way to package, deploy, and manage cloud applications. Azure Container Instances offers the fastest and simplest way to run a container in Azure, without having to manage any virtual machines and without having to adopt a higher-level service.
Azure Container Instances is a great solution for any scenario that can operate in isolated containers, including simple applications, task automation, and build jobs. For scenarios where you need full container orchestration, including service discovery across multiple containers, automatic scaling, and coordinated application upgrades, we recommend Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
For my MVP LAB Azure Container Instances (ACI) is a great way to run Containers fast in the Cloud and have a overview with Windows Admin Center for :
Here you have a overview of your Azure Container Instances in Windows Admin Center.
In the following steps I will create an Azure Container Instance via the Microsoft Azure Portal and show it in Windows Admin Center. For this you need to integrate Windows Admin Center with your Microsoft Azure Subscription. This you can do in settings of WAC:
When you have your Azure Account active in Windows Admin Center, go to the Microsoft Azure Portal and search for Container instances.
Click on Create Container Instances
Here you set the basics of your Azure Container Instance
Here you set the following items for your Azure Container Instance (ACI) :
Select your Azure Subscription which is integrated with your Microsoft Windows Admin Center.
Select or Create the Resource Group for your Azure Container Instance.
Give your Container a name.
Select the Region in Microsoft Azure where you want your Azure Container Instance to run.
Availability zones to select.
Select your Image Source, I selected Quickstart images of Microsoft, but you can also select your own Container image.
Then select the size for vcpu, memory, gpus for your Azure Container Instance application.
Click on Next for Networking.
I Selected Public for testing but here you can select private too
with your own DNS name Label with the
right ports and protocols.
At Advanced settings you can configure additional container properties and variables
here you can TAG the Owner of the Azure Container Instance.
Click on Review + Create.
Now you can Click Create or Download the template for Automation.
Have a look at the Options here what you can do with the Template from here.
Microsoft Azure Container Instance is Deployed and running.
Nginx Container Instance is running on Azure.
Now we have the Microsoft Azure Container Instance with Nginx running in the Cloud, we can see that in Windows Admin Center.
Azure Container Instance in Windows Admin Center in running state.
When you don’t need it anymore you can end it here or in the Azure Portal.
Azure Container Instance is stopped by Windows Admin Center.
Run your Own Azure Container Instances from the ACR via
Windows Admin Center.
Manage Kubernetes Clusters and Containers with Windows Admin Center
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI is an on-premises implementation of Azure Kubernetes Service, which automates running containerized applications at scale. Azure Kubernetes Service is available on Azure Stack HCI, Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2022 Datacenter, making it quicker to get started hosting Linux and Windows containers in your datacenter. This is the High Available Container Solution on-premises from Microsoft, where you can run Containers and microservices in a isolated way in your datacenter with your DevOps Team. But you can also make your Azure Stack HCI Cluster hybrid with Azure integration and Azure Arc Services to benefit of Azure Hybrid Services.
Create your Own locally Azure Stack HCI Cluster with Azure Kubernetes Services
Microsoft product team of Windows Admin Center | Windows Server | Azure Stack HCI are working hard to make the Windows Admin Center Tool better and better to install and manage Container / microservices solutions. With Microsoft Azure extensions in Windows Admin Center and Azure Arc Services, Microsoft features from the Azure Cloud becomes available for your Containers like Azure Defender for Cloud with Container Insights, Azure Monitor, Azure App Services and much more.
Windows Admin Center is a Great Server Manager tool for your Windows Servers in your Datacenter. Especially when you use Windows Server Core or Azure Stack HCI.