Preview of Azure Site Recovery in the new Azure Portal

Finally the Azure Site Recovery service can be reached from the new Azure Portal and the ARM way of doing things! It has been possible to use ASR with PowerShell and the new ARM way for some months but only for a subset of the site recovery services (VMM/Hyper-V).

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Not a day to soon! I have a customer that we have engaged in the CSP program and as that is based on the new, the old ASR was not possible to use with that subscription and use another subscription just for ASR sucks..

As you can see on the following screendump I go into the “Getting Started” to select scenario and then follow the guide to complete and in the case with physical and VMware I need to install a process/configuration server on-premise.

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Once installed on a Windows 2012 R2 server I connect it to the ASR with the registration file,

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One thing to think about using this service is that the process server will if you do not go in and configure the bandwidth settings eat all available internet capacity as my customer so nicely explained…

Configure this to something that works for both you and the company, and with the enhanced ASR where you do not need additional servers in Azure you find this setting in the backup properties.

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It is quite easy to start and protecting your workloads and remember that the first 30 days are free 🙂

 

Finally the AzureStack TP1 bits have arrived!

Yesterday the AzureStack TP1 PoC files was released and now you can play around and create your own Azure. Now I just need a decent hardware to run this!

If you have some issues with the requirements my friend Daniel have made a blog about how you can try to install it with less memory!

Shown below is the diagram of the PoC setup and here you can see all the different roles included for your Azure on premises 🙂

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On this page you can read more about it and learn how to deploy it to your environment!

Managing Azure workloads with Chef and PowerShell DSC at TechDays

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Last week at TechDays me self and Fredrik Nilsson had a session about managing your workloads in Azure with Chef and PowerShell DSC. Despite the fact that we had the same timeslot as Arwidmark, Nystrom and Ben Armstrong our room was quite full of kung fu interested geeks 😉

Here is the presentation so you can find the links and info:

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For you guys that did not have the opportunity to be there, a recording will be available although it is in Swedish…

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.

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!

 

Updating Slack channels with Azure Automation

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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..

 

Windows Server 2016 TP3 alive on Azure

So the day we all have been waiting for is here, Microsoft releases the Technical Preview 3 of Windows Server 2016

This is really exciting news as for example in this build containers is here for us to play with!

Azure have been updated with the image and I immediately went in and created myself a VM with the new bits…

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And as you can see when I have the VM provisioned and log in it is actually the real stuff 🙂

 

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As you can read on the technet site there is more news besides containers!

I will do a follow up post with more details later!

Azure Site Recovery for VMware VM´s now GA

Today was not only the day when Office 2016 for Mac was released but also the day when ASR for VMware and Physical was released as GA.

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This is some awesome news for companies that want an easy way to create a DR plan and site for their most important systems and not only for those lucky guys that already run Hyper-V and can utilize Hyper-V replica.

I did some evaluations for a presentation about ASR for VMware VM´s when it was in preview and it requires some additional VM´s for management of the replication such as the process server and on the Azure side, Master target and config server. If you like me evaluate this with an MSDN Azure subscription, be sure to shut down the servers on the Azure side when not using it as it otherwise will drain your money 🙂 , that of course should not be done when in production. It uses when protecting Windows workloads the built in VSS to create consistent replicas.

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And the supported OS´s are the ones supported in Azure:

  • Windows 2008 R2 SP1
  • Windows 2012
  • Windows 2012 R2

So if you still use Windows 2003 and earlier OS then you need upgrade before utilizing this.