One-click replication for Azure Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft have announced that Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is now built into the virtual machine experience so that you can setup replication in one click for your Azure virtual machines. Combined with ASR’s one-click failover capabilities, its simpler than ever before to setup replication and test a disaster recovery scenario.

Using the one-click replication feature, now in public preview, is very simple. Just browse to your VM, select Disaster recovery, select the target region of your choice, review the settings and click Enable replication. That’s it – disaster recovery for your VM is configured. The target resource group, availability set, virtual network and storage accounts are auto-created based on your source VM configuration. You also have the flexibility to pick custom target settings. You can refer to the animation below for the flow.

vm-dr

If you have applications running on Azure IaaS virtual machines, your applications still have to meet compliance requirements. While the Azure platform already has built-in protection for localized hardware failures, you still need to safeguard your applications from major incidents. This includes catastrophic events such as hurricanes and earthquakes, or software glitches causing application downtime. Using Azure Site Recovery, you can have peace of mind knowing your business-critical applications running on Azure VMs are covered and without the expense of secondary infrastructure. Disaster recovery between Azure regions is available in all Azure regions where ASR is available.

Understanding Office 365 identity and Azure Active Directory

Office 365 uses the cloud-based user authentication service Azure Active Directory to manage users. You can choose from three main identity models in Office 365 when you set up and manage user accounts:

Cloud identity. Manage your user accounts in Office 365 only. No on-premises servers are required to manage users; it’s all done in the cloud.

Synchronized identity. Synchronize on-premises directory objects with Office 365 and manage your users on-premises. You can also synchronize passwords so that the users have the same password on-premises and in the cloud, but they will have to sign in again to use Office 365.

Federated identity. Synchronize on-premises directory objects with Office 365 and manage your users on-premises. The users have the same password on-premises and in the cloud, and they do not have to sign in again to use Office 365. This is often referred to as single sign-on.

It’s important to carefully consider which identity model to use to get up and running. Think about time, existing complexity, and cost. These factors are different for every organization; this topic reviews these key concepts for every identity model to help you choose the identity you want to use for your deployment.

Continue reading → Understanding Office 365 identity and Azure Active Directory

Deploy Templates in Azure Stack using PowerShell

In this example, you run a script to deploy a virtual machine to Azure Stack Development Kit using a Resource Manager template. Before proceeding, ensure you have configured PowerShell

The VHD used in this example template is WindowsServer-2012-R2-Datacenter.

  1. Go to http://aka.ms/AzureStackGitHub, search for the 101-simple-windows-vm template, and save it to the following location: c:\templates\azuredeploy-101-simple-windows-vm.json.
  2. In PowerShell, run the following deployment script. Replace username and password with your username and password. On subsequent uses, increment the value for the $myNum parameter to prevent overwriting your deployment.
    PowerShellCopy
        # Set Deployment Variables
        $myNum = "001" #Modify this per deployment
        $RGName = "myRG$myNum"
        $myLocation = "local"
    
        # Create Resource Group for Template Deployment
        New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name $RGName -Location $myLocation
    
        # Deploy Simple IaaS Template
        New-AzureRmResourceGroupDeployment `
            -Name myDeployment$myNum `
            -ResourceGroupName $RGName `
            -TemplateFile c:\templates\azuredeploy-101-simple-windows-vm.json `
            -NewStorageAccountName mystorage$myNum `
            -DnsNameForPublicIP mydns$myNum `
            -AdminUsername <username> `
            -AdminPassword ("<password>" | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force) `
            -VmName myVM$myNum `
            -WindowsOSVersion 2012-R2-Datacenter
    
  3. Open the Azure Stack portal, click Browse, click Virtual machines, and look for your new virtual machine (myDeployment001).

Working with Azure Storage Tables from PowerShell

Azure Storage Tables is one of the four Microsoft Azure Storage abstractions available (Blobs, Queues and Azure Files are the other ones) at the time that this blog was written. It is basically a way to store data in a structured way on a non relational database system (meaning, not an RDBMS system).

Since up to today there are no official cmdlets to support entity/row management inside the tables from Azure PowerShell module, I decided to create this simple module to help IT Pros to leverage this service without having knowledge of .NET framework through some simple cmdlets as follows:

 

Cmdlet Description
Add-StorageTableRow Adds a row/entity to a specified table
Get-AzureStorageTableTable Gets an Azure Storage or Azure Cosmos DB table
Get-AzureStorageTableRowAll Returns all rows/entities from a storage table – no filtering
Get-AzureStorageTableRowByPartitionKey Returns one or more rows/entities based on Partition Key
Get-AzureStorageTableRowByColumnName Returns one or more rows/entities based on a specified column and its value (equal comparison operation)
Get-AzureStorageTableRowByCustomFilter Returns rows/entities from a table based on customer filtering
Update-AzureStorageTableRow Updates a specified table row/entity
Remove-AzureStorageTableRow Removes a specified table row

Continue reading → Working with Azure Storage Tables from PowerShell