Rodney Buike - Founder and original lazy admin.

Daniel Nerenberg - Lazy admin 2.0

Disclaimer

These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. You assume all risk for your use.

Windows 10 Soft Restart

Sometimes it is the little things that make you smile.  Restarting a server can be a time consuming affair.  How often have you wanted to reboot a server but the time required for the BIOS to verify memory, for RAID controllers to start, OOB management interfaces to come online, and so on and so on.  What might be a quick restart of the OS turns into a chore due to the hardware and firmware resets.  I just saw this in WS10 and got a little excited :)

Soft Restart

Load Balancing Cloud Services

The last post I wrote covered auto scaling of Azure VMs which was a solution to one problem but didn’t provide high availability if there was an issue in a particular region or if you were looking to improve performance for a globally diverse user base.  Enter Azure Traffic Manager…

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control the distribution of user traffic to your specified endpoints, which can include Azure cloud services, websites, and other endpoints. Traffic Manager works by applying an intelligent policy engine to Domain Name System (DNS) queries for the domain names of your Internet resources. Your Azure cloud services or websites can be running in different datacenters across the world.

With ATM you can deploy cloud services in a variety of regions and then load balance them across those regions based on a couple of options:

AutoScale Azure Virtual Machines

Well this was interesting.  Autoscaling Azure Websites is pretty easy, simply upgrade to the Standard Tier and configure your auto scale rules.  But what if that website is actually SharePoint and instead of Azure Websites you are using Azure VMs?  That takes a little more effort and a few options, namely Availability Sets and Load Balanced Endpoints.

For the sake of this post I just used the standard Public Virtual IP (VIP) which will work as long as I don’t shut down all the VMs running in the Cloud Service, plus I am just using the cloudapp.net domain name.  If you are going to do this in production you should use a Reserved Virtual IP for your cloud service as this will stay the same or use a CNAME to point to your cloudapp.net domain name.  To create a reserved VIP for your cloud service you’ll need PowerShell and the

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Azure Subscription Migration

As you might have read TheLazyadmin is now running on Microsoft Azure Websites.  It’s been here for a few months now.  I was initially doing some testing to see how it would go and was using my MSDN subscription.  Recently I’ve gained access to an Enterprise Agreement subscription at work and was encouraged to migrate my site to the company EA.  As my MSDN expired and I was not renewing it I looked into migrating subscriptions.

azurewebent

To migrate a service from one subscription to another you currently have to open a billing support case.  Then, depending on the service(s) being migrated there are a few things you need to take care of.  This is the email you’ll get when you open the request with some information I’ve added.

Here I am providing the process for Data Migration for your reference below. I kindly

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Azure Remote App

Microsoft Azure is coming fast and furious with new and enhanced features and functionality on what seems like a daily basis.  One that caught my eye, as a former TS Admin in what seems like a previous lifetime, is Remote App.

“Azure RemoteApp can be used by IT to enable employees to securely access their corporate applications from a variety of devices (including mobile devices like iPads and Phones).  Applications can be scaled up or down quickly without expensive infrastructure costs and management complexity.”

As more and more users go mobile we are still tasked with providing them the applications they require to get the job done.  Email, IM, file services are easy to provide and even Office apps are available to all thanks to the release of Office for iPad, iPhone, Android and of course Windows Phone.  Where the challenge lies is with the custom applications or applications that can’t

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Scaling Azure Web Sites

One of the benefits, outside of cost and lower admin responsibilities, of an Azure Web Site over a VM running web services is scalability.  With an Azure Web Site you can easily scale your web site up or down as required.  There are three options when it comes to scaling your website depending on the level of service you have for your website.

  • Shared – Manual configuration of up to six (6) instances
  • Basic – Manual configuration of up to three (3) VM sizes and up to three (3) instances
  • Standard – Automatic scaling of up to three (3) VM sizes and up to ten (10) instances based on schedules and/or CPU

To configure scaling for a Shared Azure Web Site simply log in to the Azure Management Portal, select the web instance and click on Scale then drag the slider to show the number of instances and click Save.

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Monitoring Azure Websites

With your website running in Azure you can take advantage of some of the basic monitoring and alerting capabilities that Azure provides to keep track of usage, performance and any HTTP related errors.  You may want to monitor the web site for basic information such as Data Out and CPU time as those are two metrics that will affect billing.  Another reason you’ll want to monitor these is to ensure your websites aren’t stopped when you exceed your resource usage.  I’m running Thelazyadmin.com via my MSDN account which has $110/month in free credits and a $0 spending limit.  Now I have no worries as this account runs the website and a few demos here and there but it could be a concern for larger production websites.

When you open up the Azure Management Portal and browse to your Azure Web Site instance you will see a Monitor tab, click that and

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Custom Domains and Azure Websites

As I stated earlier I migrated Thelazyadmin.com to Azure Web Sites.  The WordPress install and migration went smooth and the last thing I had to do was update DNS.  You will need your website to be running in Shared, Basic or Standard modes and you can edit this under Scale for your web site instance.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 10.00.54 AM

The first thing you need to do is add the domain you want to use to your Azure Web Site instance.  Before you can add the domain you’ll need to add a verification record to your DNS Zone File for the domain.  I host my DNS at GoDaddy so I logged in and created a CNAME record to point awverify.thelazyadmin.com to awverify.thelazyadmin.azurewebsites.net.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.46.19 PM

Next, in the Azure Management Portal go

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Installing Wordpress on Azure

So the otherday I had a few hours to spare and took it upon myself to finally migrate Thelazyadmin.com from a Windows Server 2008 VM to Azure Web Sites.  Why?  Well for one I was getting tired of having to apply updates and patches to the Windows OS and SQL database on the server and it never really worked 100%.  Sure the front end was fine but there were some nagging backend issues that I was too lazy to fix.  In the end it was a good hour of effort.  To start I simply created a blank WordPress install on Azure.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.00.11 PM

Selected WordPress (the English one)

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.00.56 PM

Next you’ll have to provide some basic information including a globally unique subdomain name under the azurewebsites.net domain.  You’ll

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Backup Windows to Azure

One of the easiest access points to Azure is storage. It is ridiculously cheap, easy to leverage and a great way to get your feet wet with Azure. Azure Recovery Services allows you to backup Windows Server Backup or System Center DPM to Azure for roughly (at the time of this writing) $0.30/GB per month with the first 5GB free.  This also includes network traffic inbound as well as outbound (aka data restores).  To get started you’ll need the following:

  • Microsoft Azure Subscription
  • Management Certificates
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Azure Backup Agent

Setting up an Azure subscription is easy and once you have that the first step is to create a certificate.  You can create a self signed certificate easily using the MAKECERT tool.

makecert.exe -r -pe -n CN=AzureBackupCert -ss my -sr localmachine -eku 1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.2 -len 2048 -e 01/01/2018 AzureBackup.cer

With the CER file created the next step is to create the Backup Vault.  Log in to the

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