Using Azure Automation to check health of Minecraft server in Azure

As every responsible dad out there I have set up an Minecraft server to my daughter so she can play with her friends!

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I  have deployed a Windows Server on Azure in which I installed the Minecraft server with the right mods, apparently that is important 😉 I have not myself got lost in the Minecraft world, maybe because I grew up in the 80´s and had games that was mega-pixel and now I want that high definition graphics!

To see that it is working and alive I wanted some kind health check so here Azure Automation comes into play! Of course there would have been easier ways but I want try new stuff and also test and see how Azure Automation works and can be utilized.

So I created a runbook that checks the status and try to remediate the issue if it is not working:

I have utilised the YAMS so that the Minecraft Server is handled by a Windows Service. If there is some outage or maintenance on Azure the VM can be restarted and then it is good to know that the Minecraft Server will start even if no user is logged in. If for some reason the YAMS service is stopped or the Minecraft Server has stopped my runbook can remidiate that!

In Azure Automation I can schedule a check every 1 hour:

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And as you can see when checking a job it reports that my Minecraft server is working!

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To connect to the VM´s powershell endpoint I have added SessionOption -SkipCACheck thus letting me connect without getting a cert from a trusted certificate authority or importing the servers cert. Saw this option on Tim´s blog post and borrowed it:-)

In the deployed VM I have also done as explained in the PowerShell Tip from powershell.com to be able to connect to it as it is not part of a domain and when PowerShell remoting is enabled it uses Kerberos by default and the Minecraft server is standalone thus Kerberos not working!

Probably I will do some tweaking and update the script later but you can at least see the possibilities and power of using Azure automation!

MVMC 3.0 released with P2V support

The day has come with a new version of the free conversion tool from Microsoft, MVMC 3.0 have been released.

There where some bashing on the net when the VMM 2012 R2 was released and the P2V functionality was removed from that version and some crazy ideas using a secondary VMM 2012 SP1 to do the P2V migrations and then importing into the VMM 2012 R2 was suggested, well that time is now no more now 🙂

The installation is quite straightforward with the msi and just a simple wizard.

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Once installed You can start exploring the new options including the new P2V.

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When doing a P2V the MVMC will install an agent on the source and when doing a P2V the source have to be online during the migration.

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And then you go through the wizard and start the conversion

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Once it is finished, you find the VM in your Hyper-V host and can start it, but beware that the wizard does not ask if you want to shut down your source after migration so that is something you have to take care of before starting that P2V´d VM

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But wait you say, I have 100 vm´s and will die if I use the wizard for all of them! Then you can use the PowerShell module and automate the conversion:

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The operating systems that is supported migrating with the MVMC are (although only Windows with the P2V):

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard x64
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter x64
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard x64
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter x64
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard x64
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter x64
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard (x86/x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (x86/x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter (x86/x64)
  • Windows 8 Enterprise (x86/x64)
  • Windows 8 Pro (x86/x64)
  • Windows 7 Enterprise (x86/x64)
  • Windows 7 Professional (x86/x64)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (x86/x64)
  • Windows Vista Enterprise x86/x64
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 6 (x86/x64)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (x86/x64)
  • Ubuntu 12.04 (x86/x64)
  • Ubuntu 10.04 (x86/x64)
  • SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server 11 (x86/x64)
  • CentOS 6 (x86/x64)
  • CentOS 5 (x86/x64)
  • Debian GNU/Linux 7 (x86/x64)
  • Oracle Linux 6 (x86/x64)
  • Oracle Linux 5 (x86/x64)

Good luck in your migrations!!

Going to Windows Server 2012 R2 Core in Azure IaaS

Read on Twitter that someone wanted an image in the gallery for a Windows Server Core to get a smaller footprint instead of the full gui VM

As you know there is a way to go to core mode from a full installation so after you have deployed a IaaS VM you can run the following commands to remove the GUI. The roles Server-Gui-Shell and Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra can be removed.

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And then as instructed, you reboot and when you are up and running again there is some configuration that needs to be done so just be patient and wait…

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After that is done you can proceed to the wonderful world of the command prompt and sconfig 🙂

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And the next step is to sysprep and shut down this and capture an Image to be able to provision this one.

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Once the VM is in a Stopped State you can capture it

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Once that job has completed you can find your image in the gallery, observe that as this is saved in your storage account that is bound to the location you cannot deploy Core VM´s to all azure datacenters if you do not copy this storage blob to the other azure datacenters storage accounts that you have set up.

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And when I have deployed a new VM it is in the wonderful world of Server Core!

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Channel 9 videos available from TechEd US 2014

Some Serious new features in Microsoft Azure!

I am at the Microsoft TechEd in Houston and yesterday VP Brad Anderson announced several new features in Azure. I am going to highlight some of the ones that I think is really cool!

  • Multiple Site-to-Site VPN connections
  • VNET-to-VNET connectivity
  • compute-intensive virtual machine instances
  • Azure Files
  • Azure RemoteApp
  • Azure Site Recovery (Hyper-V Replica to Azure!!)
  • Client Developer VM´s for MSDN

The coolest feature I think that was presented is the Azure Site Recovery with the possibility to actually set up Hyper-V replika and that to an Azure Datacenter, how cool isn’t that? Now It became quite easy to migrate those VM´s to Azure with little downtime at no extra third-party license cost..

nice

Another Cool new feature is the networking parts with the multiple Site-to-Site VPN and VNet-to-VNet that have been on a wishlist for some time. Being able to add several different branch offices or datacenters to your Azure Network gives new possibilities to design a good hybrid infrastructure!

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For those of you that have an MSDN subscription and also activated the included Azure benefit, there was an addition of several gallery items for development and testing, VM´s with Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 has been published

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The Azure RemoteApp gives companies the possibility to set up your applications in Azure and having them available for all different devices and not having to manage and setup an RDS on premise anymore.

Read more about the new features on Azure blog and also look at the sessions on Channel 9 when they become available

Wooohoo Delete button in Azure Active Directory

So when I was exploring the Azure Active directory some months ago I created some AD´s and then when I had done the labs I could not find the delete button, I read on a blog post that it was not possible at that time.

But now as of yesterdays releases of the new features on Azure the “Delete” button has appeared!

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Sweet stuff isn’t it? So what happens when I press that precious button?

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Thats kind of good that you actively have to go in and remove all users before being able to delete so that would make an extra safety barrier for accidentally removing a AAD

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When that is done I can go ahead and delete the actual AAD 🙂

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I will add more posts during the week about my findings so stay tuned 🙂

 

After MVMC 2.0 VM time for license activation in Azure IaaS

Maybe you read my post about migrating a VM to Azure with the MVMC 2.0 and after successfully migrated my VHD to Azure IaaS I wanted to set my VM to the right key and in Azure that is Microsoft KMS..

I do not know if it is supported to do this but here is how it is done,

The VM I used MVMC to move was a EVAL version,

 

MigratedEval

So the first step was to use Dism to set the version and a KMS license Key

dismlicensestuff

And then after reboot I first got this message

timebeforeactivation

 but after that I checked slmgr and it reported correctly KMS and activation

slmgrdli

Good luck in your migration to the Cloud

 

Using MVMC 2.0 to migrate a VMware VM to Azure IaaS

This evening (in my timezone) Microsoft released the new version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0 that has the functionality to also migrate VM´s to Azure in the wizard. I wanted to take that path for a spinn to test and see how that worked.

There are still some things to think about when using the tool,

  • it still uses ovf export
  • the VM in VMware is offline during the copy of the vmdk data (it creates a VHD for Azure, but if you choose a Hyper-V host you can set it to create a VHDX instead), this can with large amounts of data take some time and will consume space on the converter server.
  • The VM´s Windows OS has to be joined in a Active Directory domain, and the account being used has administrative rights in the VM to successfully uninstall VMware tools during conversion.
  • No EFI support, meaning that the VM´s in your vSphere has to be setup with BIOS to be able to convert (Windows 2012 and later is from a best practice in VMware configured with EFI), but UEFI support is only on VM´s i generation 2 and Azure does not have that, at least not yet..
  • Notice also that now with version 2.0 there is no support for migrating those Win 2003 VM´s

So how does it work in a migration from a VMware VM to Azure, well first of all in the wizard I select to migrate to Azure

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Then I will add some information for the connection to my Azure subscription (yes I have done some editing in the image so not the whole world reading my blog would se my cert thumbprint and sub id)

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After that I select what storage account I want the VHD to be transferred to (smart to think twice to select the storage account in the region where you have the network configured if you are using site 2 site vpn and such 😛 ).

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Then I connect to either vCenter or an ESXi and select what VM I want to convert

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After that I either use the already entered credentials or other and the state of the source VM for a successful VMware tools uninstall and as it is being migrated to Azure I do not get the option to select state of the destination VM (that can of course if used with the Azure PowerShell module and MVMC module be automated)

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For the MVMC to succeed in its task to move the VM to Azure it has to store the VHD somewhere before moving it up to the cloud, the little caveat here is that it will create a fixed size vhd so bare that in mind when selecting the drive so you have space!

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Then it´s time to kickoff the conversion

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And as you can see in my vCenter the conversion is under its way

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And then after some waiting the conversion and the upload to azure has completed,

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Now I can enter the Azure management portal and create a VM and from the gallery select this disk disk_testmigrate_00_os.vhd , as the MVMC creates a disk pointer from the storage blob (the VHD) I do not need to do that part.

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And then I can connect to the VM

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Apparently I had some issues creating the VM as a Basic but using standard it worked nicely and as you can see I managed to get an RDP session to it.. So it was not lost in the cloud as in this Dilbert cartoon 😛

lostdatacenter

New version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0 and MAT

Today Microsoft released the long awaited new version of the Virtual Machine Converter (the 1.0 version could be integrated with MAT but had limits in both VMware and Hyper-V latest releases). Microsoft has also released a new version of the MAT (migration automation toolkit) that supports the MVMC 2.0 to automate the migration!

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New Features in MVMC 2.0

MVMC 2.0 release of MVMC includes the following new features:

    • Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Windows Azure.
    • Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows.
      Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.
    • Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts.
    • Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
    • Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server® 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
    • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
    • Supports Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server® 2012, and Windows® 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion

in the link you can read more about the MVMC functionality

As you can see in the wizard the option to upload the converted VM to Azure directly has been added

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And now in this version we have native PowerShell with the MVMC PS module as described above:

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I will show more in a later post how it can be used and how it works with both migrations to Hyper-V and also directly to Azure 🙂

both MVMC and MAT can be read about and downloaded here

testing the new Microsoft Azure Portal

Well as I am a techy nerd I have been checking out and following the Build keynote on Channel 9 and found that they now release the Microsoft Azure Portal, it is in Preview but it looks good! Just hope that this also soon comes to the Windows Azure Pack to the hosters

I have signed in at the Portal.Azure.com and as you can see I get a good overview regarding my subscriptions and how the Azure current status is right now

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right now in the preview I cannot handle my IaaS VM´s and networks yet 🙁  but that will probably be updated soon I can think …