Azure Stack book (coming soon) & training

It has been a long time coming but I recently have wrapped up a couple projects around Azure Stack. The first is a course on Azure Stack for Opsgility the second is a book on Azure Stack in the Unleashed Series.

For the first project I was fortunate enough to help build some Azure Stack training for the folks at Opsgility. It was great working with Azure MVP’s Michael Washam (@mwashamtx)  and  Dan Patrick (@deltadan) on this.

Here is an overview of the course:

This course is designed for cloud architects, cloud administrators, DevOps engineers, and IT professionals that have experience with Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS) and Platform Services (PaaS). This course focuses on architecting, deploying, and managing Microsoft’s enterprise hybrid cloud solution Azure Stack. This course covers scenarios such as Azure Stack Architecture, deploying and configuring Azure Stack to be enterprise ready, configuring Azure Stack for tenants, region management, monitoring, backup and disaster recovery.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the online training:


Be sure to check out the course here:

https://www.opsgility.com/courses/player/implementing-azure-stack


The second project is a book on Azure Stack in the Pearson Unleashed Series. It is not published yet but all the chapters are in and the book will be published in the near future! This book has a solid team of authors who are all Microsoft MVP’s. I was honored to work with them. The authors are: Kerrie Meyler (@kerriemeyler), Jakob Svendsen (@JakobGSvendsen), Mark Scholman (@markscholman), and Janaka Rangama (@JanakaRangama). Here is a picture of the Azure Stack book author team:

Also thanks to Marc van Eijk (@_marcvaneijk) of the Azure CAT team for doing the technical review and Daniel Savage (@dsavageatms) PM on the Azure Stack team for writting the foreword.

Here is the cover for the book:

Here is the book description:  “Microsoft Hybrid Cloud with Azure Stack and Azure Unleashed cuts through the hype to explain exactly what hybrid cloud is, presents complete CloudOps- & DevOps-based implementation strategies, guides you through deploying the brand-new Microsoft Azure Stack, and helps you maximize the value of your hybrid cloud investment.

Written by an expert team of Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter MVPs, it covers all-new material included in no othe book, and thoroughly illuminates Microsoft Azure Stack, one of Microsoft’s most eagerly awaited cloud technologies.

This book is built on real-world scenarios and the authors’ extraordinary early adopter, hands-on experience. Leading System Center expert Kerrie Meyler and her colleagues guide you through every step and technique you’ll need to build your own secure, high-performance hybrid cloud infrastructure.

You’ll discover how Azure Stack enables you to run your datacenters with the same scalability, redundancy, and reliability for computer, network, and storage as Microsoft’s own Azure datacenters; how to integrate Azure infrastructure and platform services for use in your internal operations; how to manage virtualized instances of Microsoft software; and how to manage key dependencies with other products and technologies that Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solution depends upon.”

Here is the link to the books page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Hybrid-Unleashed-Kerrie-Meyler/dp/0672338505  This is the link you want to watch for the publish date.

Happy Azure Stacking!

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Microsoft MVP for 6th year!

Today was another special July 1st becuase I received an email from Microsoft stating I was awarded as an MVP for the 6th year! Here is the email:

This year the award is VERY special. It is not just special becuase it is the 6th one but becuase there are other MVP’s that did not get renewed. I feel lucky to make it back in. Also it is special becuase Microsoft technology has been changing so much...

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Speaking at OSCON and MMS May 2017

May is a busy month for me with the opportunity to speak at both OSCON – Open Source Convention (https://conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/oscon-tx) and MMS – Midwest Management Summit (https://mmsmoa.com)! OSCON is May 8th through the 11th in Austin Texas. MMS is May 15th through the 18th in Minnesota.

At OSCON I will be presenting on “How to Motivate Technical Employees” with friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Samuel Erskine – @samerskine. This will be on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 4:15pm–4:55pm. This session is for CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, and IT managers and will cover how to retain your top talent and give you five ways to motivate technical employees. Come to this session to learn the secret sauce for keeping employee’s engaged!  Here is a link to the session: https://conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/oscon-tx/public/schedule/detail/57374

At MMS I will be presenting three sessions! These sessions are:

Awesomize your Azure Stack Deployments with Azure Stack Tools” with fellow MVP Mikael Nystrom -@mikael_nystrom.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUae/awesomize-your-azure-stack-deployments-with-azure-stack-tools

Azure Operationalized” with fellow MVP Natascia Heil – @NatasciaHeil.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUbn/azure-operationalized

Backup is Dead! Restore is Born in the Cloud!” with fellow MVP Robert Hedblom -@RobertandDPM.

Link: https://mms2017.sched.com/event/AUaR/backup-is-dead-restore-is-born-in-the-cloud

These conferences will be lots of great community fun! Hope to see you there.

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The Evolution of ITSM

 

Again I am honored to be included among 14 other ITSM experts in a new e-book. This new e-book is about Future of IT Service Management. This e-book is free as it was sponsored by Cherwell. The e-book covers these five key areas:

  • Transforming Processes & Technology
  • Eliminating Business Silos
  • Enhancing Agility, Speed & Efficiency
  • Driving Business Objectives & Value
  • Focusing on Customer Experience

The goal of the e-book is to help IT professionals and organizations get a future outlook on the role of ITSM as we see more automation, cloud, and digital transformation. Here is the cover of the e-book:

Here is a shot of all of the thought leaders that contributed to the e-book:

You will find my insight in the Transforming Processes & Technology section on page 4 of the e-book!

Download the e-book here:

https://goo.gl/kH7haF

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IT Unity Community Champ & 25 ITSM Experts Feature

This has been an exciting year so far and an even more exciting week! I want to share that I am humbly honored to be featured twice this week. Once as an IT Community Champ by the highly respected Mary Jo Foley on www.petri.com and added to this years 25 ITSM Experts to watch list by Cherwell. 🙂 Again all of this was an unexpected surprise and I am honored to be included.  For information on both of these check out the links below:

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External Access to Azure Stack

Here is a little community gift for the new year (2017). Azure Stack expert Ruud Borst (@Ruud_Borst) recently published a blog post titled “Expose the Azure Stack Portal through NAT”. Ruud included a PowerShell script in this blog post that simplifies extending external access to Azure Stack.

The PowerShell script runs on your Azure Stack host and will make the IP mappings in NAT on MAS-BGPNAT01 to expose your Azure Stack instance externally to your network.

We no longer have to work through a bunch of tedious steps to give external access to Azure Stack. Thanks Ruud! Great example of community power. With Ruud’s script it can be done even if you already have Azure Stack deployed. The link to his blog post and script is here:

https://azurestack.eu/2016/12/expose-portal-azurestack-through-nat

Running the script is as easy as running something like this:

.\Expose-AzureStackPortal.ps1 -PortalExternalIP YOURFIRSTIPHERE -ACSExternalIP YOURSECONDIPHERE

Add -AppServiceAPIExternalIP if you are using the App Service RP you will need to specify a 3rd IP. SQL and MySQL both use the -PortalExternalIP so no need for an extra IP for these.

A successful run of the script should look like this:

VERBOSE: Created NAT external addresses 192.168.1.40 and 192.168.1.45 for Portal and ACS.

VERBOSE: Created Static NAT port mappings on 192.168.1.40 to 192.168.102.7 for Portal
VERBOSE: Created Static NAT port mappings on 192.168.1.40 to 192.168.102.12 for XRP
VERBOSE: Created Static NAT port mappings on 192.168.1.45 to 192.168.102.3 for ACS
VERBOSE: Created Static NAT port mappings on 192.168.1.40 to 192.168.102.14 for SQLrp
VERBOSE: Created Static NAT port mappings on 192.168.1.40 to 192.168.102.1 for MySQLrp

The last step in this process is to make sure you add the DNS records on your external network or to the host file on external servers or clients. Ruud explains this in his blog. I extended Azure Stack to my Buchatech lab environment so I went the DNS route.

For DNS entries I used a CSV file and PowerShell to import all of the DNS records I needed for Azure Stack. I used a PowerShell script from a fellow MVP. The blog post with that script can be found here:

http://www.lazywinadmin.com/2012/10/create-dns-entries-using-powershell-and.html

Here is what the CSV file should look like:

name ip type zone dnsserver
 portal 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 api 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 xrp.tenantextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 keyvault.tenantextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 health.adminextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 compute.adminextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 network.adminextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
 storage.adminextensions 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
*.blob 192.168.1.45 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
*.queue 192.168.1.45 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
*.table 192.168.1.45 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
sqlrp 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
mysqlrp 192.168.1.40 A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com
A azurestack.local dc.buchatech.com

Here is the CSV file I used so you don’t have to create it.

Azure Stack DNS Entries

Notice something different I did with my DNS is I did not add *.azurestack.local. I did not do this because it caused any of the storage DNS entries to respond with the PortalExternalIP instead of the ACSExternalIP. Here is a screenshot of my Azure Stack DNS zone in my Buchatech domain:

After adding the DNS records and installing the Azure Stack certificate in the trusted root authority store I was able to access the Azure Stack portal and connect via PowerShell or Visual Studio without VPN. 🙂

Here is a screenshot of me connecting to Azure Stack’s portal from my Buchatech.com domain on one of my utility servers.

A huge thanks to Ruud for building that PowerShell script. I am excited about bringing access to Azure Stack on my other lab network because this opens up all sorts of possibilities and will net some cool blog posts very soon!

Happy Stacking!

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Fun @ the MVP Summit 2016

This year at the MVP Summit was a great one.

I learned a lot of stuff mostly about OMS, System Center, and Azure Stack.

I cannot talk about any of it. 🙂

I can however talk about some of the fun times we had and share some pictures.

 

First picture….a warm welcome to MVP’s from around the world.

image001

Here is a picture of the US MVPs at the summit!

all-us-mvps

Me at the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center in Redmond.

image003

image005

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Breakout of the Cold & into MN tech

Minnesota has been a hotbed of tech for a long time. In 2015 Minnesota was named one of The Fastest-Growing States For Tech Jobs In 2015 by Forbes. Link here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2015/08/18/the-fastest-growing-states-for-tech-jobs-in-2015

Also in 2015 Minnesota landed #1 on Dice.com’s Fastest-Growing States for Tech Jobs. Link here:

http://media.dice.com/report/august-2015-fastest-growing-states-for-tech-jobs

Most recently within the past few Months Amazon has opened an office in Downtown Minneapolis with 100 full time tech positions giving the local tech community another boost on the national scale. Here is an article that covers the topic of companies such as Amazon expanding into this market to tap into the rich technical talent pool. Article: High-tech talent grab Link: http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2016/09/30/high-tech-talent-grab.html

Back in the 1960’s Control Data Corporation one of the nine original major computer companies in the US was headquartered in Minnesota and later in the 1970’s Cray super computer also came out of Minnesota. In recent years it’s been heating up even more and the word has been getting out.  Minnesota’s tech scene is stronger than ever with a number of high profile startups as well as many well established tech based organizations. Some of the hot tech startups include:

Code42

JAMF Software

The Nerdery

Leadpages

Upsie

Vidku

Field Nation

And other notable tech organizations are:

SPS Commerce

Stratasys

Optum

Lawson Software

Compellent (Acquired by Dell some years back)

Digital River

The list of startups and other large tech organizations could fill up an entire blog post itself so I had to limit the list.

I am from Minnesota and proud to be a part of this thriving tech community. Recently a documentary about the tech scene in Minnesota was released named DocuMNtary.

documntary

This film was produced by a techie named Nick Roseth, music done by the MN super hip hop collective Doomtree, and narrated by legendary MN hip hop emcee Dessa also of Doomtree. I was impressed that Nick pulled in Doomtree and Dessa to help with the film. A great move in my opinion. They help bring an artistic and authentic MN feel to the film’s creative side.

They kick off the film by getting the obvious out of the way….Minnesota’s cold weather. Once we break out from the cold it is time to focus on the culture and tech. Next they examine what makes Minnesota great, why people stay when they come to MN and the great things about the culture. They also touch on why MN tends to be a collaborative culture. The film then moves into the history of tech in MN and establishes the roots.

They continue through the film showcasing several startups, how the tech ecosystem is supportive, tech training, associations/government agencies that help facilitate tech in MN, events such as MN Cup, Startup week, and more. The film calls out a Minnesota focused website named Tech{dot}MN http://tech.mn. Tech{dot}MN is the go to for all things MN tech such as events, user groups, startup and other tech news. They even address the issue of diversity in tech and what is happening in MN to help bridge this gap.

In the film they interviewed 50 players in the tech scene from a variety of companies and organizations. Here is a screenshot of all the featured people.

50people

Towards the end of the film it was admitted that Minnesotans are not the best at telling our story due to our Midwestern and humble nature. There was a call to action for viewers that are in tech and from Minnesota to do some bragging and get the word out about the magic happening in tech. This prompted me to write this blog post! I hope you enjoyed this breakdown about the DocuMNtary film. The film website is: http://www.documntary.com

You can watch it here:

I also want to call out some things that were not covered in this film that are happening in Minnesota tech. We have a thriving community in the Microsoft space. In fact Minnesota is 1 of 20 locations in North America that Microsoft has chosen to place one of their Microsoft Technology Centers (MTC). You can learn more about the MTC here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mtc/locations/minneapolis.aspx

Minnesota is home to 24 Microsoft MVP’s including myself. Here are some of the names of our local Microsoft MVP’s.

Brian Mason

Nash Pherson

Tim Curwick

Ryan Ephgrave

Tim Star

Paul Timmerman

ASP.NET MVP: Robert Boedigheimer – Blog: http://weblogs.asp.net/boedie

Data Platform MVP: Dan English

Will Smith

Scott Hamilton

Wes Preston

Cloud and Data Center Management MVP: Greg Shulz – Blog: http://storageioblog.com

Each of these Microsoft MVP’s are highly talented in their respective areas of technological expertise and Microsoft has selected them for this. I am proud to have such a high concentration of MVP’s in Minnesota. Learn more about the MVP program here: https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/overview

Minnesota can boasts about some of the highest turnouts for our user groups and events.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities is the biggest one in the US with attendance often reaching 800+. More about this event here: www.spstc.com

MN SQL Saturday is an annual event that has been around for some time. This event typically attracts 450+ attendee’s with many MVP’s coming out to present. http://www.sqlsaturday.com/557/EventHome.aspx

Midwest Management Summit (MMS) has been around for 4 years. It is held at the Radisson Blue Mall of America and has sold out every year.  Experts and attendee’s come from all of the US and the world to be a part of this magical event around Microsoft management technologies on premises and cloud. MMS has experts come in from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada and more. Here is an old Microsoft blog post from Microsoft on MMS https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/mvpawardprogram/2015/11/16/mvps-from-around-the-world-come-together-again-for-mms-2015-in-minnesota and the offical website here: https://mmsmoa.com.

Some of the MMS folks also are involved in the MN System Center User Group (MNSCUG) https://mnscug.org and Minnesota Azure User Group http://www.mnazureusergroup.com. It is not uncommon for MNSCUG to host full day events with 100+ attendee’s and the MN Azure UG to get 50+ attendee’s.

DevOps Days Minneapolis is another event held in Minnesota that attracts a large crowd and speakers from all over! More about this event here: https://www.devopsdays.org/events/2016-minneapolis

On top of that Minnesota has SQL Pass, IoT UG’s, Twin Cities MAC Admins Meetup, Amazon AWS UG’s and more. A full list of user groups and events can be found on Tech{dot}MN.

Beyond the just the tech community eco-system If you want to launch a startup, work in corporate tech, work for a partner company to one of the big tech companies (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM), work in open source, work as a developer, or even freelance Minnesota has a place for you.

So to wrap up this post the next time you think of MN go beyond the perception of the cold, our numerous sports teams, and the 10k lakes remember this is a tech hot bed and its only getting hotter all the time!

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5th Year Microsoft MVP!

Today was a special day as I received an email from Microsoft stating I was awarded as an MVP for the 5th year! Here is the email:

5th Year Microsoft MVP

This marks a special year. Microsoft awards you the special 5 year chip to add to your award. Here is a picture of the chip:

5th Year Microsoft MVP Chip

I am humbled to make it this long in the MVP program. A huge thanks goes out to everyone in the community and Microsoft. And as always I am honored to still be a part of such a great group of people. I have made many friends all over the world with other MVP’s, community, and Microsoft. I am looking forward to another exciting year of contributing to the community.

I will continue to do all that I can in the System Center community this year. Something new you will see from me this year is I will be contributing as much as I can also in the OMS and Azure Stack space. I am very excited about the new opportunities that are coming out of the growth of cloud.

My Microsoft MVP Profile: http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Steve%20Buchanan-4039736

Congrats to all the other new and renewed MVP’s!

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Tool for Logging outgoing SCSM email issues

Recently I was working on a Service Manager project and outgoing email was not working properly.

The SMTP channel was setup properly. I ran a telnet session and attempted to send an email via telnet. Well the telnet session would connect just fine to the Exchange server but then would disconnect as soon as I tried to run some telnet commands.

I knew this was odd as I have never seen this before. There must have been an issue on the Exchange  server or a policy to disconnect telnet sessions.

I needed a better way to troubleshoot this issue before I went back to the Exchange admin.

I ran across a freeware tool called SendSMTP that was a huge help.

The tool can run somewhere and send emails via a GUI or even via command line.

This tool also does not install the .exe just runs right from a folder on the server so it is portable and can be removed easily after you are done testing/troubleshooting.

It also lets you specify many settings such as host, authentication, timeout and more.

The reason this tool is super helpful is because it has some built in logging.

As you can see in the following screenshots you can set the logging levels you want.

SendSMTP1
After you test sending an email you can either view either of the two log files
by clicking on View Log or by clicking on the Log tab.

SendSMTP2

I loaded this tool on the SCSM server and then tested sending an email both anonymously and using authentication. Both failed.

Because of the logging I was able to determine that the connection keeps being reset by the Exchange server as there are some access denied issues.

You can see the log as shown on the tools Log tab in the following screenshot.

SendSMTP3

I was able to give this directly to the Exchange admin for further troubleshooting. 🙂

I wanted to share this on my blog as this tool might come in useful for someone else as well.

You can download SendSMTP here:

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