Cloud and Datacenter Management Blog

Microsoft Hybrid Cloud blogsite about Management


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Creating Azure Virtual Machine via the Portal #Winserv #Linux #Azure

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services is evolving really fast with New solutions and features every day for your business. In the following step-by-step guide we will see all the options and features when you create a virtual machine in the Azure Cloud. For this you need a Microsoft Azure subscription to start. When you are in the Azure Portal you begin with + Create a Resource and from there you see all the create items. Click on Compute and you will see the picture above what you can create. I’m going to create a Windows Server 2019 datacenter edition Virtual Machine in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. In the Azure Portal is a step by step wizard to help you with your choices.

Basic tab

We start by selecting the right Azure subscription ( if you have Multiple) like a Hub-Spoke model design
you can choose for your deployment. Then select a Resource Group or Create New. I made a new Resource Group called RSG-Winserv.

 

When you go further down, you must give your Virtual Machine a name and select the Microsoft Azure region where your VM will run. I Choose West Europe because I life in the Netherlands. For availability options of the Virtual Machine you can choose out of three options :

  1. No infrastructure redundancy required
  2. Availability zone
  3. Availability set

Availability Zones is a high-availability offering that protects your applications and data from datacenter failures. Availability Zones are unique physical locations within an Azure region. Each zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking

An Availability Set is a logical grouping capability that you can use in Azure to ensure that the VM resources you place within it are isolated from each other when they are deployed within an Azure datacenter. Azure ensures that the VMs you place within an Availability Set run across multiple physical servers, compute racks, storage units, and network switches

Microsoft Azure got a lot of software operating images, I installed Windows Server 2019 Datacenter but have a look at Browse all Public and Private images :

Small Disk Images

More images like Kali and Red Hat

The next step is the VM Size, the “hardware” requirements of the Virtual Machine. When you choose your VM size you have to know the possibilities and feature set of the Virtual Machine. This article describes the available sizes and options for the Azure virtual machines you can use to run your Windows apps and workloads. It also provides deployment considerations to be aware of when you’re planning to use these resources.

Here is Microsoft Azure showing 250 different VM sizes

In this window you see the following items of the Virtual Machine specs :

  • VM Size
  • Offering
  • Family
  • vCPUs
  • Memory RAM
  • Data Disks
  • Max IOPS
  • Temporary Storage
  •  Premium Disks (Yes or No)
  • Cost / Month Estimated

So pick the right VM Size for your solution to do the job.

Allow Public Internet Inbound Port Rules

If you need this for example a website, then you can set it right away, but you can set it on None and change the Network Security Group (NSG) or Azure App Gateway or Azure Firewall later and keep it Closed for now. I will show this in the NSG later to get RDP access.

Hybrid Benefit

You can enable great savings in Azure with Windows Server Software Assurance by using Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server. Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server allows you to use your on-premises Windows Server licenses and run Windows virtual machines in Microsoft Azure at a reduced cost (i.e. at Linux rates). You can use your licenses for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016. The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server is applicable to Windows Server Standard and Datacenter editions as well as other versions obtained via custom images. With Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server, you can save 40 percent or more1 on Windows Server virtual machines by paying only the base compute2 rates—adding value to your Software Assurance investments. The benefit is available across all Azure regions. Read more here

Disks tab

Disk storage is important for performance, that’s why you can choose for Standard HDD,  Standard SSD or
Premium SSD for your OS Disk. When your server need a Data disk, you can add it here or later on.
Here you can read more on Managed disks
What disk types are available in Azure?

Networking tab

Here you create your Virtual Network / subnet with a public IP. You can see here when you choose for a specific Virtual machine, you can not use accelerated networking because It’s not supported by the VM size selection.

Here you can choose for a Load Balancer or a Application Gateway

Azure Application Gateway is a web traffic load balancer that enables you to manage traffic to your web applications. Traditional load balancers operate at the transport layer (OSI layer 4 – TCP and UDP) and route traffic based on source IP address and port, to a destination IP address and port.

Azure Application Gateway

With Azure Load Balancer, you can scale your applications and create high availability for your services. Load Balancer supports inbound and outbound scenarios, provides low latency and high throughput, and scales up to millions of flows for all TCP and UDP applications.
Load Balancer distributes new inbound flows that arrive on the Load Balancer’s frontend to backend pool instances, according to rules and health probes.
Additionally, a public Load Balancer can provide outbound connections for virtual machines (VMs) inside your virtual network by translating their private IP addresses to public IP addresses.
Azure Load Balancer is available in two SKUs: Basic and Standard. There are differences in scale, features, and pricing. Any scenario that’s possible with Basic Load Balancer can also be created with Standard Load Balancer, although the approaches might differ slightly. As you learn about Load Balancer, it is important to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals and SKU-specific differences.

Management tab

When you have deployed your virtual machine, you want to manage it like monitoring and backup for example.
You can do these options also after the Virtual Machine deployment.
Backup of the Virtual Machine can be added when you deploy the VM.

I have a existing Backup Vault called WACvault1

From here you can create your own backup recovery Vault with your Own backup policy and retention times.

The feature provides Azure services with an automatically managed identity in Azure AD. You can use the identity to authenticate to any service that supports Azure AD authentication, including Key Vault, without any credentials in your code. What is managed identities for Azure resources?

Advanced tab

In the advanced tab you can select extensions for your Virtual Machine. These are add-ons and will installed during the deployment. You can now also select Gen 2 VM in Preview. Microsoft Azure has a lot of extensions for your Virtual machine :

List of extensions for your VM

Click on Create for adding Microsoft Antimalware on your VM

Select the options and exclusions

Tags tab

Here you can Tag your deployment

After you apply tags, you can retrieve all the resources in your subscription with that tag name and value. Tags enable you to retrieve related resources from different resource groups. This approach is helpful when you need to organize resources for billing or management. Read more on Tags here

At this moment the validation has passed for deployment with all your settings, but don’t forget to have a look at “Download a template for Automation”  before you hit Create.

Here you can download or save the JSON ARM Template

When you you go Back and click on Create the Virtual Machine, this will deploy the VM in Minutes.

The following Azure items are deployed in RSG-Winserv

Now your Virtual Machine is deployed in Microsoft Azure Cloud and is running, you can have a look at all the features of the Virtual Machine in the Portal.
To connect to the Virtual Machine you have to Manage access for your RDP session via the NSG in my case:

Double click on the NSG

I added a new rule to give my IP-address access to the VM

From here you can access the Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Management of your Virtual Machine

When your Azure Virtual Machine with Windows Server 2019 is running, you want to monitor the VM and see what is happening inside the Virtual Machine. Azure Monitor Insights can help you with this.

Health State of the VM

Connections

When Microsoft Azure Monitoring is on and running you want have important alerts on your Mobile by sms or
via E-mail notification to take action.

Alerts on Winserv2019 VM

High CPU Alert

Here we make an Alert about the CPU which is going higher then 80% average.

Making an Action group for email notification of the Alert

Action Group made

Alert made for the VM

Alert details

Alert rule is set and running for this Virtual Machine.

Conclusion

  1. You can create every virtual machine you want for your business, Windows Server or Linux..
  2. You can mange your own performance for the VM on demand by selecting the right VM Size.
  3. You can set Networking and High Availability
  4. You can set Disk Performance for your IOPS
  5. You can configure your management settings and dashboard for Monitoring.
  6. Security can be set on different levels.
  7. Backup of the Virtual Machine can be set with the right policy before deployment.
  8. and more…….

And keep watching your Azure Advisor for better changes :

New Advise will come !

and of course there are more features and options on this Virtual Machine, Have a look :

Settings of the VM

Operations and Management of the VM

Support and Troubleshooting of the VM


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How to make the Most out of #Azure Advisor

What is Advisor?

Advisor is a personalized cloud consultant that helps you follow best practices to optimize your Azure deployments. It analyzes your resource configuration and usage telemetry and then recommends solutions that can help you improve the cost effectiveness, performance, high availability, and security of your Azure resources.

With Advisor, you can:

  • Get proactive, actionable, and personalized best practices recommendations.
  • Improve the performance, security, and high availability of your resources, as you identify opportunities to reduce your overall Azure spend.
  • Get recommendations with proposed actions inline.

You can access Advisor through the Azure portal. Sign in to the portal, locate Advisor in the navigation menu, or search for it in the All services menu.

The Advisor dashboard displays personalized recommendations for all your subscriptions. You can apply filters to display recommendations for specific subscriptions and resource types. The recommendations are divided into four categories:

Azure Advisor Overview

High Availability Advise

Azure Advisor on Security

Here you find the Microsoft Azure Advisor Website with all the information

Conclusion:

The Microsoft Azure Cloud is always on the move with better features, Security, and Cost efficiency.
Azure Advisor will help you with all the changes and great features to keep you secure and up-to-date and lower your Cloud solution cost if possible.
Have a look at Azure Advisor and get your new Advise in your Microsoft Azure Subscription!


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#Microsoft Windows Insiders and Windows Terminal Preview #WindowsInsiders #Winserv #MVPBuzz

Microsoft Windows Insiders Program

To be the first with the Microsoft Windows Insiders Community testing all the New features is awesome to do!
I’m a Windows Insider since October 1st, 2014 and I like to see every week what’s new? In the Feedback HUB Preview you can Follow other Windows Insiders and see the Challenges and features requests. From there you can give them feedback or vote for the new features.

Windows Insiders Feed Back HUB

To become a Microsoft Windows Insider, you have to register your self here : BECOME AN INSIDER

In the Windows Insiders HUB you find also the New announcements of the Preview Build versions. Microsoft Windows Insiders also have a blogsite here to follow:

Windows Insiders Blogpost site

When you are active in the Microsoft Windows Insiders Community you can Earn badges and Learn a lot of the New Features Microsoft releases every week. This gives you always a step a head and It’s fun 🚀😎👍

Earning Badges

It’s not only the Windows 10 Insiders program but also Windows Server Insiders or Microsoft Edge Insiders
Here you find more information :

Windows Server Insider Program

Microsoft Edge Insider Program

And of course keep up-to-date via Social Media here:

@windowsinsider

@donasarkar

@JenMsft

@MSEdgeDev

@windowsserver

Which recent Features do I like in Microsoft Windows Insiders Preview Build?

Well Let start Right a way with the Dark Side Theme in Windows Insiders 😎👍🚀

Much better for my eyes 😍

One of the latest new Features in Windows Insider Preview Build 18922 is Windows Terminal Preview from the Marketplace.

Click on Get

Just Click on Launch

It’s in really early Preview with version 0.2.1715.0

Windows Terminal Preview

Here begins the cool 😎 part with Settings opening profiles.json file to edit :

JSON Settings of Windows Terminal Preview

Here I Changed the JSON file for my Ubuntu Linux Terminal with a Great New Background.

You Have to add these lines in the JSON file here:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe\RoamingState

Under “Icon” :

“backgroundImage” : “ms-appdata:///roaming/yourimage.jpg”,
“backgroundImageOpacity” : 0.75,
“backgroundImageStrechMode” : “fill”,

Save Profiles.json and you will see that the background will be Awesome in Ubuntu Terminal :

How Awesome is this !! 😎🚀👍

Conclusion:

I Love my Hobby and my Hobby is my Work !
The Microsoft Windows Insiders Program is Awesome together with the Community to make Windows a Great product for everyone.


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What is Microsoft Azure Sentinel? #SIEM #AI #Analytics #Azure #Security #ContainerInsights

Building on the full range of existing Azure services, Azure Sentinel natively incorporates proven foundations, like Log Analytics, and Logic Apps. Azure Sentinel enriches your investigation and detection with AI, and provides Microsoft’s threat intelligence stream and enables you to bring your own threat intelligence.

Microsoft Azure Sentinel is a scalable, cloud-native, security information event management (SIEM) and security orchestration automated response (SOAR) solution. Azure Sentinel delivers intelligent security analytics and threat intelligence across the enterprise, providing a single solution for alert detection, threat visibility, proactive hunting, and threat response. Read more about Azure Sentinel Preview here

Run a Log Analytics query from Azure Sentinel and use Bookmarks to Hunt

Configure your own Data-Connector to Azure Sentinel Workspace

Read here more about Connecting data sources

Happy Hunting


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#Microsoft Azure Central Monitoring for your Team #Dashboards #Azure #ContainerInsights #Apps

Full Screen Monitoring

When you install Azure Virtual Machines or Kubernetes Clusters in the Microsoft Cloud, It’s important to monitor your workload and keep your IT department in Control for the Business. Metric alerts in Azure Monitor work on top of multi-dimensional metrics. These metrics could be platform metrics, custom metrics, popular logs from Azure Monitor converted to metrics and Application Insights metrics.

When you have important alerts, you want to take action based on your rules.

Take action on Alerts

Make your Own rules based on Alerts.

IT Department of a company has most of the time different teams with each having it’s own responsibility of workloads in the Microsoft Cloud. For example, the Servicedesk is supporting the Business and they like to see if all the Services are up and running for the Business. The Infrastructure Team wants the same, but on deep level components of the Services like Memory, Network, Storage, CPU, Performance, Availability and more. The Technical Application Team is interested if the application is running and working with all the Interfaces, Databases, and/or Azure Pipelines.

Each Team can build there own Azure Dashboard(s) in the Microsoft Cloud.

Here I Have made an easy example of my Windows Server 2019 Virtual Machines and my Azure Kubernetes Cluster in One Microsoft Azure Dashboard :

You can Start from Azure Monitor Metrics

Or you can Start from the Virtual Machine Blade here.

When you have your Azure Monitor metrics ready with the right information then you can create it in your Azure Dashboard for your Team.

 

Select another Dashboard.

Create your Own Dashboard.

Now we have the first VM with CPU percentage in the Azure Dashboard.

Here I have added More Virtual Machines to the Same Metric Chart.

When you have Azure Kubernetes Cluster to monitor :

From here you can Add Container Insights information into your Azure Dashboard :

Adding Azure Monitor Container Insights of KubeCluster01

The Azure Monitor Container Insights logs for your Dashboard information, with Pin to Dashboard.

 

When you right click with your mouse on the dashboard, you can edit your dashboard with more Azure Resources
from the tile Gallery. Here you can read more about creating your Own Azure Dashboard with Action Rules.

Azure Monitor for containers is a feature designed to monitor the performance of container workloads deployed to either Azure Container Instances or managed Kubernetes clusters hosted on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Monitoring your containers is critical, especially when you’re running a production cluster, at scale, with multiple applications.
Azure Monitor for containers gives you performance visibility by collecting memory and processor metrics from controllers, nodes, and containers that are available in Kubernetes through the Metrics API. Container logs are also collected. After you enable monitoring from Kubernetes clusters, these metrics and logs are automatically collected for you through a containerized version of the Log Analytics agent for Linux and stored in your Log Analytics workspace.

 

Read here more about Azure Container Insights with Live Logs.

Follow and Join the community on LinkedIn

JOIN Azure DevOps Community 

JOIN Containers in the Cloud Community 

JOIN Azure Monitor and #Security Community 


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Microsoft #Azure CloudShell for Management tasks #Bash #Powershell #CLI #KubeCtl #Terraform

https://shell.azure.com

Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. It provides the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work. Linux users can opt for a Bash experience, while Windows users can opt for PowerShell.

In this quick overview you will see the possibilities of Microsoft Azure Cloudshell functionalities and tools.

Azure Cloudshell Editor

Azure Cloud Shell includes an integrated file editor built from the open-source Monaco Editor. The Cloud Shell editor supports features such as language highlighting, the command palette, and a file explorer.
This can be handy with JSON and YAML files.

 

When you have your App YAML file for your Azure Kubernetes Cluster on your Cloud drive, you can edit the file online with your browser and save it in the Azure Cloud. I like this editor in the Cloudshell, especially when you are not behind your own laptop or pc and you have to make a quick change.

I have a Kubernetes Cluster installed on Azure and with this editor I can explore my Azure logs, Cache, and config files for the information I need to work with in Bash, Powershell to do my CLI commands for example 😉

For the Powershell Gurus 

Azure PowerShell provides a set of cmdlets that use the Azure Resource Manager model for managing your Azure resources. Learn here more about Azure Powershell

Azure Kubernetes CLI Kubectl

Kubectl is a command line interface for running commands against Kubernetes clusters. kubectl looks for a file named config in the $HOME/.kube directory. You can specify other kubeconfig files by setting the KUBECONFIG environment variable or by setting the –kubeconfig flag.
Read here more about Kubectl

Terraform CLI is Available

What is Terraform?
Terraform is a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently. Terraform can manage existing and popular service providers as well as custom in-house solutions.
Configuration files describe to Terraform the components needed to run a single application or your entire datacenter. Terraform generates an execution plan describing what it will do to reach the desired state, and then executes it to build the described infrastructure. As the configuration changes, Terraform is able to determine what changed and create incremental execution plans which can be applied.
The infrastructure Terraform can manage includes low-level components such as compute instances, storage, and networking, as well as high-level components such as DNS entries, SaaS features, etc.

The key features of Terraform are:

Infrastructure as Code
Infrastructure is described using a high-level configuration syntax. This allows a blueprint of your datacenter to be versioned and treated as you would any other code. Additionally, infrastructure can be shared and re-used.

Execution Plans
Terraform has a “planning” step where it generates an execution plan. The execution plan shows what Terraform will do when you call apply. This lets you avoid any surprises when Terraform manipulates infrastructure.

Resource Graph
Terraform builds a graph of all your resources, and parallelizes the creation and modification of any non-dependent resources. Because of this, Terraform builds infrastructure as efficiently as possible, and operators get insight into dependencies in their infrastructure.

Change Automation
Complex changesets can be applied to your infrastructure with minimal human interaction. With the previously mentioned execution plan and resource graph, you know exactly what Terraform will change and in what order, avoiding many possible human errors.

More information on Terraform

It’s really easy to Upload or Download your Files.

AzCopy is a command-line utility designed for copying data to/from Microsoft Azure Blob, File, and Table storage, using simple commands designed for optimal performance. You can copy data between a file system and a storage account, or between storage accounts.

More information about Features & tools for Azure Cloud Shell here

Conclusion :

Microsoft Azure Cloudshell is very powerful to work with, creating your infrastructure from the Command Line Interface (CLI) or with JSON / YAML scripts. Some features or commands are not available in the Azure portal and that’s where Azure Cloudshell can help you out. Try the different Azure Cloudshell Tools and look what you like most to use for your work. From here you can work on any device with a browser and do your work. #MVPBuzz


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#Microsoft SQL Always-On Cluster vs #SQL Managed Instance in #Azure

SQL Always-On Cluster in Azure

Before we start with building this SQL Always-On Cluster we already have some Azure SDK Components Active in the Azure Subscription to work with:

  • Virtual Network VNET-001 is already installed
  • Subnet-SQL and Subnet-Domaincontrollers
  • Network Security Groups (NSG) with the right rules active
  • Two domain controllers
  • Azure Keyvault ( for disk Encryption)

We deployed three Virtual Machines in an Availability Set :

  • Primary SQL Node VM01
  • Secondary SQL Node VM02
  • Witness Server

The deployment was with ARM Template :

VM Deployment

Copy and paste the JSON in your template editor like Visual Studio Code for Example or in the Azure Portal Template builder.

Visual Studio Code

Azure Portal Template

Read more how to deploy ARM Templates via Microsoft Azure Portal here

You also can create a Private or Public Repository on GitHub and store your ARM Templates there in a Library.

GitHub Learning Lab
Learn new skills by completing fun, realistic projects in your very own GitHub repository. Get advice and helpful feedback from our friendly Learning Lab bot.

Create a SQL Server 2014 Always On Availability Group in an existing Azure VNET and an existing Active Directory instance via GitHub :

https://github.com/Azure/azure-quickstart-templates/tree/master/sql-server-2014-alwayson-existing-vnet-and-ad

Configure Always On Availability Group in Azure VM manually :

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/sql/virtual-machines-windows-portal-sql-availability-group-tutorial

Important Tip :

Don’t forget to get the right connectivity between Azure Load Balancer and the SQL Always-On Listener :

## Get the Cluster Resource Information:
Clear-Host
Get-ClusterResource `
| Where-Object {$_.ResourceType.Name -like “IP Address”} `
| Get-ClusterParameter `
| Where-Object {($_.Name -like “Network”) -or ($_.Name -like “Address”) -or ($_.Name -like “ProbePort”) -or ($_.Name -like “SubnetMask”)}

#############################################################

## Set Cluster Parameters:
$ClusterNetworkName = “Cluster Network 1” # the cluster network name (Use Get-ClusterNetwork on Windows Server 2012 of higher to find the name)
$IPResourceName = “IPlistener” # the IP Address resource name
$ListenerILBIP = “10.x.x.x” # the IP Address of the Internal Load Balancer (ILB). This is the static IP address for the load balancer you configured in the Azure portal.
[int]$ListenerProbePort = 80

Import-Module FailoverClusters

Get-ClusterResource $IPResourceName | Set-ClusterParameter -Multiple @{“Address”=”$ListenerILBIP”;”ProbePort”=$ListenerProbePort;”SubnetMask”=”255.255.255.255″;”Network”=”$ClusterNetworkName”;”EnableDhcp”=0}

############################################################

Before you start with your SQL workloads from On-premises Datacenter on Microsoft Azure, have a look if PaaS Azure SQL Managed Instances is something for your Organization with all the benefits.

What is Microsoft Azure SQL Managed Instance?

Managed instance is a new deployment option of Azure SQL Database, providing near 100% compatibility with the latest SQL Server on-premises (Enterprise Edition) Database Engine, providing a native virtual network (VNet) implementation that addresses common security concerns, and a business model favorable for on-premises SQL Server customers. The managed instance deployment model allows existing SQL Server customers to lift and shift their on-premises applications to the cloud with minimal application and database changes. At the same time, the managed instance deployment option preserves all PaaS capabilities (automatic patching and version updates, automated backups, high-availability ), that drastically reduces management overhead and TCO.

Read here more on Microsoft Docs about Azure SQL Services

Conclusion :

When you have a lot of SQL workloads and want to go to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, analyze your existing workloads well and have a look first at Microsoft Azure SQL Managed Instances. With this Azure PaaS Service, you don’t have to manage the Complete Infrastructure like in a SQL Always-On Cluster (IaaS).

Have a good look at the requirements and Microsoft Data Migration Services can help you out.

SQL Server instance migration to Azure SQL Database managed instance