So now I am a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP!

Today Microsoft announced a change in the MVP program and they have changed to 10 award categories containing the old ones (although there are a few remaining Power Users that is not IT Pro or Developers and are left unchanged).

This meaning that I (Mr Hyper-V) am now part of the Cloud and Datacenter Management. Together with about 350+ other MVP´s we make quite a large group of community contributors. I have already been contributing in PowerShell, Azure and lots of other areas during the year so based on that it feels good to be recognised for and also be able to be part of a broader contribution community!

And here are the five others:

And here are the unchanged categories:

If you want to read more about this change please follow this link to the MVP Award site

New Azure Backup Server (Disk to Disk to Cloud)

As you might have noticed a “new” backup solution has arrived and that for the Azure Backup, if you check your backup vault in the azure portal you can see that the new option for “Application Workloads” have appeared.

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Downloading and installing it shows that it has traces of the DPM server:

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And it can be installed on a windows 2012 R2, although you need the .Net 3.5 for the SQL 2014 instance (I know it is crazy!). The SQL 2014 license is included in the setup but can only be used for the Azure Backup Server.

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So with some PowerShell and an Internet connection I add the .Net 3.5 and can continue installing…

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 In the installation wizard you add your backup recovery vault from Azure and then when it is installed you will have to install agents on the instances you want to protect. You can install this server in a VM or on a physical box, you will need some storage attached to cope with the backups that will be stored locally before they are lifted to the cloud.

When it comes to licensing I have not found anything else than the documentation on Azure and that says the price for protected instance and that makes this really interesting if you do not have System Center and want to start utilizing a backup solution that can protect Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL etc this becomes a viable solution!

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Also if you are looking at the Microsoft Operational Management Suite where backup is a part of, this new feature makes it even more compelling to start utilizing the suite when not already using System Center.

Using AzurePack with VMware vSphere need third party for VM Clouds

I got a question last week from a customer about if it was possible or supported to use VMware vSphere with Windows Azure Pack. I have got this question a couple of times and wanted to share the info on a quick blogpost :-)

And as you can read on the Technet Site, several of the different roles are supported with WAPack but not VM Clouds:

“Windows Azure Pack supports using VMWare virtual machines for deploying and administering the web sites service, databases, hosting the management portals, and the management API and web services. Third party extensions, however, are required to enable provisioning of virtual machines from a VMWare hypervisor using Windows Azure Pack.”

So here you can use VConnect as a third party extension to be able to utilize that real hybrid view and provisioning VM´s within Azure Pack.

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Customized Dashboards in Microsoft OMS with interesting info

I have been doing some digging in Microsoft Operations Management Suite and the Log analytics part and as you might know there is a “My Dashboards” view where you can save customized log searches as widgets.

Initially I have created two searches that is highly interesting to have for a better control of the environment. The first gives a threshold and highlights the value if there are more than 0 computers missing security updates. The second also have a threshold of 0 but this only for the latest 24 hours and shows how many accounts that have been added to the domain admins security group……

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So here you can see the different log searches and how you can customize depending on how and what data you want to present and highlight.

If you did not know it there is a free tier with up to 500 MB logs/ day and 7 days retention for the Log Analytics so start using it today!


My Community PowerShell Jewels session on PowerShell Summit (links)

Using Azure Automation and Hybrid Worker to automate SCVMM tasks


Azure Automation and Hybrid Runbook workers are fun to play with and today I wanted to try something like automating System Center VMM tasks,

I read Markus Lassfolk´s post about changing VM´s network adapters MAC from dynamic to static which is the prefered setting that you should use for your Hyper-V VM´s. So How could I utilize this with Azure Automation runbooks instead of an script that is run on the VMM server?

In my runbook I have a VMM Automation account declared as a credential and I connect to the VMM server with that to be able to reconfigure the VM´s. If I do not use a -PSCredential for the inlinescript the Runbook worker will try to use the system account of the Worker server and that does not work so well on the connection to the VMM server,

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Either start it from powershell console if you have Azure PowerShell module installed or within the GUI and I used only one input parameter and that can be used for an explicit VM or “All” VM´s.

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And as you can see in the VMM log I have changed the VM´s NICS, and also if a VM have two or more NICS all of them get a static MAC configured :

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Hope that you see the potential in Azure Automation and Happy automating!


Updating Slack channels with Azure Automation


I have been playing a bit with Azure Automation again, and my company and also several customers run Slack, ever heard of it? It is gaining grounds in IT as a collaboration tool and email-killer.

With slack you can connect with a web browser or an app that is available for almost all platforms today! this making it really easy to get everyone onboard using it in your projects or teams to keep up to date.

Once you have got a token for your slack account you can update with a new message, in this case PowerShell:

So how can this be utilized with automation?! Assume that you have some deployment or automated build process that either runs in azure or on premise and your devs want to get information if it was successful or if it failed.. So in that deployment runbook in Azure Automation you can call the Update-Slack runbook with parameters to give the user information on what have happened if it failed or if it was successful.

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In the Slack window it shows the user sending and that it is by they Slackbot

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Another way is if you have a system that can send a web request, then you can use the new Azure Automation webhooks to kick of the runbook to update Slack. My runbook example contains parameters for both ways so I do not have to create two different runbooks depending on what way the req comes to start the Update-Slack runbook.

So how do I handle this in the runbook? In the following runbook I have the user and the token saved as variables and three input variables depending on where the request comes from.

As you can see there are numerous ways of updating and of course it can be done for facebook or twitter or some other social platform if that’s prefered :-)



New Operations Management feature – Near real-time Performance mon

Today Microsoft OMS team announced a new feature with Performance monitor logs that can be made available within the Operations Management Suite web.

To enable you go into your OMS dashboard and into the settings tile.

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in the settings you go into the Logs subpage and add the prefered counters.. there are some default that you can add for getting started quickly and you can search for specific.

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You can set from 10 seconds and up for the sampling intervals,

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And then you go into the logs and set a query Type = Perf to start getting the view of how your servers are feeling.

Once activated you will have to wait for at least one hour before you can start the log search and evaluate

Read more at Microsoft OMS team blog post.



Azure Automation and Using Hybrid workers runbook on vSphere

During the day I have been digging into the Microsoft Operations Management Suite which is a collection of cloud services that you can get for a quite reasonable price.

The different services included is Log Analytics, Security, Automation, Availability.

I have registered my on premise Windows Servers in the log analyzer and started uploading logs getting a nice overview with several out of the box solutions that will give you a heads up on areas in your environment that needs attention…

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So how about the automation? I have already been using the automaton for different services within Azure but in this case I wanted to see how I could utilize the Hybrid worker and the VMware environment residing there.

With the release of VMware PowerCLI 6 some of the stack are remade as PowerShell Modules.

So if I configure a hybrid worker on premise with the PowerCLI installed I can then utilize that in a runbook that as an example takes an input variable VMName and restarts the VM (in this case I do it without being nice and asking for a shutdown but just pulling the plug)

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And here is the runbook:

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And here I start the runbook with the variable,

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And as you can see in the vSphere Client my VM winrecover restarts

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This can of course be made a bit more complex and also as you can see in the Azure automation view, scheduled. So if you have something that needs to be automated at 11 PM every night within your VMware vSphere environment it can be done by Azure Automation and Hybrid workers..


Download SysCtr TP3 evaluation VHD´s with PowerShell

Earlier this week Microsoft released Windows Server Technical Preview 3 and System Center Technical Preview 3 to the masses.

There is also a way to easily test the System Center bits instead of installing everything with prereqs and stuff and that is to use the preinstalled VHD´s that Microsoft and the System Center team provides.

You can find the eval VHD´s here on the download site:

Or you can use my powershell script to download them and import into your Hyper-V server and start playing once downloaded :-D. If there are issues during download you can just start the script again as I check if the file already been downloaded so you will only download each file once and as I use the BITS engine the file appears in the download folder when it is completely downloaded….

Happy playing!!