Category Microsoft Products

Azure Stack SQL RP – Need Azure PowerShell with version 1.2.9 Error

I ran into this error when installing the Azure Stack SQL RP on the Azure Stack Development Kit:

Azure Powershell Module with 1.2.10 version found. Need Azure Powershell with version 1.2.9. Please uninstall the “current version and rerun the RP setup

If you look at the SQL RP doc here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/azure-stack-sql-resource-provider-deploy

It says “If you have installed any versions of the AzureRm or AzureStack PowerShell modules other than 1.2.9 or 1.2.10, you will be prompted to remove them or the install will not proceed. This includes versions 1.3 or greater.” on step #6 under Deploy the resource provider.

On my ASDK host I had:

and

The funny part is that in the SQL RP deployment script titled has a line where it installs AzureStack 1.2.10 but this is the version that the SQL RP deployment script is complaining about. Here is the syntax from the SQL deployment script.

# Installs and imports the API Version Profile required by Azure Stack into the current PowerShell session.

Use-AzureRmProfile -Profile 2017-03-09-profile

Install-Module -Name AzureStack -RequiredVersion 1.2.10 -Force

So the next thing I tried to do was run:

Get-Module -ListAvailable | where-Object {$_.Name -like “Azure*”} | Uninstall-Module

It kept throwing these warnings and errors:

WARNING: The version ‘1.0.4.4’ of module ‘Azure.Storage’ is currently in use. Retry the operation after closing the applications.

PackageManagement\Uninstall-Package : Module ‘Azure.Storage’ is in currently in use.

At C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\PowerShellGet\1.0.0.1\PSModule.psm1:2157 char:21

+ …        $null = PackageManagement\Uninstall-Package @PSBoundParameters

+                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (Microsoft.Power…ninstallPackage:UninstallPackage) [Uninstall-Package], Exception

    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : ModuleIsInUse,Uninstall-Package,Microsoft.PowerShell.PackageManagement.Cmdlets.UninstallPackage

So now I was stuck in this endless loop of PowerShell module uninstall and install hell. For a moment I thought I went insane. After recovering from temporary insanity. I ran this:

Get-InstalledModule -Name “AzureStack” -RequiredVersion 1.2.10 | Uninstall-Module

No errors on this. I then ran:

Get-Module  -ListAvailable | where-Object {$_.Name -like “Azure*”}

to see if the module was gone. Boom it was!

I then kicked off the SQL RP deployment script again and this time it worked!

NOTE: If you somehow have AzureRM version 1.2.10 just run Get-InstalledModule -Name “AzureRM” -RequiredVersion 1.2.10 | Uninstall-Module to get rid of that guy.

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Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) Deployment Step by Step

At Microsoft Inspire Microsoft announced the Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) as a replacement to the POC and the general availability of the production Azure Stack named Azure Stack Integrated Systems. The Azure Stack Development Kit is here to stay. This will remain single node and should be used for trying out Azure Stack. You can develop your ARM templates and or applications on it and they will work on a production Azure Stack. The Azure Stack Integrated Systems are the ones that you buy from the OEM partners HP, Lenovo, Dell and soon to be Cisco, Avanade, and Huawei.

The ASDK install has improved 1,000 times over the previous TP’s of Azure Stack. I am going to detail the steps in this blog post. The steps start after you have downloaded the Azure Stack cloudBuilder.vhdx. Here we go:

PREPARE AZURE STACK HOST SERVER:

First off download the Azure Stack tools onto your Azure Stack host server. Just download all the tools as you will need all of them at some point. They can be found here: https://github.com/Azure/AzureStack-Tools

I put these in a folder on the C: drive named ASTools. I extract them and place them in the root.

Open up an elevated PowerShell window, navigate to your Astools folder and run the asdk-installer.ps1 script. Next a GUI wizard will pop-up.

Click on Prepare Environment.

Point it to your cloudBuilder.vhdx and click Next.

Put in the host servers local admin password. Make sure this matches the Azure account you plan to use.

Select the other options as you see fit.

It will run for a while creating the unattended file for Windows Server 2016.

Once it is done click Reboot now.

DEPLOY AZURE STACK DEVELOPMENT KIT:

Next lets deploy Azure Stack. After the server has rebooted log onto your AS server. Use the localhost\administrator account and the password you set.

Once again from PowerShell run asdk-installer.ps1. A GUI wizard will come up. Click on Install.

Select Azure Cloud (Azure Active Directory) or ADFS. Put in your directory and password.

Verify and select the correct NIC.

Select DHCP or put in your static IP settings.

It will verify the network settings.

You will see the PowerShell deployment script that will be run. Click on Deploy!

The PowerShell deployment will kick off in a PowerShell window.

After a little bit (1-2 minutes) an Azure login window will ask for your Azure account creds. This is the account ASDK will be deployed under.

NOTE: We still have the log folder and files under CloudDeployment on the C drive.

A few hours later and there it is successfully!

Having been involved with Azure Stack since TP1 and losing about a week to deploying Azure Stack TP1 this is a much….much better deployment experience. Nice work Microsoft Azure Stack team!!!

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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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Sys Admin to Cloud Admin…ITSM to CloudOps…On-Prem to Azure Stack/Azure

A while back I posted a blog titled “Surviving the future of IT as an IT pro”. In that blog post I set out to share my opinion on where IT is headed and what you should focus on as an IT pro going forward. I guess this post could be considered part 2 however in this post I will focus more on where things are heading as a whole.

So what is this blog really about? It is about “the Transition from ITOPS & ITSM to CloudOps via Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud) powering DevOps and becoming core to the Digital Transformation of business” that is happening. Whew…..Ok, a lot was said in that previous sentence. J Let’s break it down.

Transition from ITOPS & ITSM to CloudOps

There has been this transition in IT for a while to increase the density in data centers. This was started with the wide adoption of the hypervisor (VMWare, Hyper-V, Citrix Xen etc…). The goal is to get more out of existing and less physical hardware. Think about 1 physical server hosting hundreds of virtual servers. Things have since accelerated at a fast pace. We now have containers, PaaS, and serverless. With these newer technologies, the density is even greater.

The real power behind cloud is software defined everything. With software, defined environments AKA cloud a new skillet and a different way of thinking about managing operations is needed. This new skillset and new way of thinking for the operationalization of cloud is known as CloudOps. IT Operations and IT Service Management do not go away with CloudOps. The evolution of ITOPS and ITSM become CloudOps. The best parts of ITOPS and ITSM (ITIL) funnel into CloudOps used for operating clouds.

Hybrid Cloud (Azure Stack)

Hybrid Cloud is going to be a huge part of cloud initiatives in many organizations for years to come. You can see this on the Gartner reports(http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3354117), Right Scale reports (http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2017-state-cloud-survey) and based on the investments the major cloud players are making to build the best Hybrid Cloud solutions.

Hybrid Cloud Is the Preferred Enterprise Strategy, but Private Cloud Adoption Fell

From Rightscale “Cloud Computing Trends: 2017 State of the Cloud Survey” Report:

http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2017-state-cloud-survey#hybrid-cloud

Recently IBM and Red Hat announced their launch into the Hybrid Cloud space.

(http://www.networkworld.com/article/3182989/cloud-computing/ibm-red-hat-an-open-source-hybrid-cloud.html)

A while back Amazon and VMWare announced their launch into the Hybrid Cloud space.

(http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161013006574/en/VMware-AWS-Announce-Hybrid-Cloud-Service-%E2%80%9CVMware>)

Microsoft was the first to jump into the Hybrid Cloud space and is the only company that has a 100% true Hybrid Cloud solution. Both VMWare/Amazon and IBM/Red Hat have solutions that run private cloud on public cloud. The private cloud solutions are being retrofitted to run in public cloud as the framework for their Hybrid Cloud solutions. These are not consistent cloud platforms running the same exact bits on bare metal on-premises and in the cloud like Microsoft’s Azure Stack solution. Azure Stack is the same bits in the public cloud and on-premises down to the bare metal.

IBM and Amazon jumping into the Hybrid Cloud space is more proof this will be a large area of growth in IT for years to come. I wonder if Google will decide to jump into the Hybrid Cloud space at some point and what their strategy will be.

DevOps powered by Azure Stack and CloudOps

Azure Stack serves as a catalyst to help move DevOps initiatives forward within organizations. With Azure Stack’s comes the native ability to run the environment using Infrastructure as code, continuous integration, continuous delivery, microservices, integration with source control systems, and more. All of the aforementioned are a part of DevOps.

Along with Azure Stack is the need to run the environment using a CloudOps model. Here is a list of concepts that drive CloudOps:

  • Extreme Hardware Standardization
  • Software Defined Everything
  • Extreme Automation
  • Focus on Zero Downtime
  • Self Service
  • Measured Service
  • Multitenancy

CloudOps is overall focused on business applications critical for running the business through the continuous operations of clouds. CloudOps leaves business unit projects to DevOps. CloudOps instead focuses on the delivery of the the cloud infrastructure to support self-service leveraged by DevOps teams.

David Armour of Microsoft often shares great information on CloudOps and what it means. You can follow him on twitter here: https://twitter.com/Darmour_MSFT

CloudOps supports DevOps and DevOps is core to Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is the accelerating transformation of the way businesses do business from traditional ways often brick and mortar to the digital front through the use of digital technologies. Businesses are shifting to meet their customers and employees where they are today on digital platforms. In the business world, today it is well known that you must innovate and grow through the use of technology or become obsolete and left in the wake of disruptive companies that are leveraging technology to meet their customers on the digital front.

Examples of digitally transformed company’s vs non-digitally transformed companies are:

  • Netflix vs Blockbuster
  • Amazon vs Target, Best Buy, Macy’s
  • Airbnb vs Wyndom hotels
  • Uber vs Taxi Companies

Digital Transformation is critical to business and IT departments need to be a core driver to help organizations move forward on the digital transformation front. Digital Transformation is the new Industrial Revolution of business today with CloudOps/DevOps being the Assembly line that will bring innovation to the business.

Through DevOps businesses can bring digital services to the market at very fast rates and can pivot quickly as needed to beat and stay ahead of the competition meeting the customers’ demands in an agile way. CloudOps allows the scale and another point to pivot on at any time to redirect in a new direction as needed by the business in an agile manor.

Through a Hybrid Cloud solution like Azure Stack things IoT, Microservices, extreme automation, hyper-scale, and agility can be realized for the business empowering Digital Transformation from the core.

The transition of the IT Pro to Cloud Pro

Ok. That was a lot of information and background on CloudOps, DevOps, Digital Transformation and Hybrid Cloud. You may be asking yourself at this point where does the IT Pro fit into the picture? Let me answer that for you and take you on a tour of Azure Stack to prove why as an IT Pro you should start working with it today!

The path for an IT Professional when moving from traditional IT into a Hybrid Cloud world consists of:

  A cloud administrator can configure and manage resource providers, tenant offers, plans, services, quotas, and pricing.
A tenant purchases (or acquires) services that the service administrator offers. Tenants can provision, monitor, and manage services that they have subscribed to, such as Web Apps, Storage, and Virtual Machines.

Those cloud roles fit in a new world of CloudOps including Cloud architect, engineer, and administrator. Being a part of CloudOps requires a different mindset. Think about dynamic shifts such as software defined everything and extreme standardization. More concepts and technologies that a cloud role requires an understanding of are:

  • IaaS
  • PaaS
  • Software Defined Data Center technologies
  • Automation
  • Source Control Systems
  • Business Intelligence (Showback/Chargeback)
  • High Availability technologies
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Scaling technologies
  • Containerization
  • Server less technologies
  • Cloud Security
  • Both Linux and Windows
  • Self-Service (Service Catalog)
  • Multitenancy technologies
  • Tenant administration
  • And more

Ok. Now let’s jump into some example of CloudOps tooling in Azure Stack. First off, we as a cloud admin you need to know how to perform management of tenants (customers). Here is an example of a dashboard for doing this in Azure Stack:

In Azure Stack, you will need to know and understand the administration of managing the cloud itself. This includes many things some of them being management of a region/s, resource providers that contain the services you can offer up to tenants, along with monitoring, high availability, and backup of the cloud. Below is an example of administration in Azure Stack at the cloud model layer of CloudOps.

We already mentioned monitoring. There is monitoring of the cloud environment itself but there also is a need to monitor the resources being consumed by the tenants. One of the great things about Azure and Azure Stack is the out of the box monitoring and health diagnostics of IaaS virtual machines. I am a SCOM guy and have done a lot of SCOM projects. SCOM works well and serves a purpose but the out of the box monitoring in Azure and Azure Stack is amazing in the ease of turning it on. Once turned on it just works and has very nice visuals to see and work with as shown in the following screenshot. As a cloud administrator, you need technology to be easy so that you can move away from complex setups and troubleshooting the monitoring solution and move to monitoring the resources.

One of the best benefits about Hybrid Cloud is the consistency between public and on-premises cloud. In the following screenshot news updates on Azure and Azure stack are the same. 🙂 Another huge point of consistency between Azure and Azure Stack is the ability to view, deploy and run items from the Azure marketplace in Azure Stack. This is called marketplace syndication.

 

Azure

 

Azure Stack

Azure Stack is set to release in 2017. I want to highlight some of the services already in Azure Stack and more coming to Azure Stack that can be offered in your Service Catalog to tenants.

Already in Azure Stack as of TP3:

  • SQL PaaS
  • MySQL PaaS
  • Web Apps PaaS
  • Computer IaaS
  • Virtual Machines (Linux or Windows)
  • VM Scale Sets
  • Storage
  • Networking
  • PaaS: Storage
  • Key Vault
  • Management of Azure Pack virtual machines
  • Marketplace Syndication

Coming to Azure Stack at some point:

  • Microservices
  • Service Fabric
  • Cloud Foundry
  • Blockchain
  • Container Service
  • IoT

Another big part of CloudOps is being able to measured services that are being consumed. Measured Service can translate to show back or charge back. Measured Service is the ability to track the usage of resources down to the individual resource level. With Azure and Azure Stack resource management (ARM) model resources are carved out and placed into resource groups. In ARM, each resource has an associated cost that is tracked via the usage. There is full role based access around resources and resource groups. Resources and resource groups can be tagged and each resource or resource group’s usage can be tracked and displayed on business intelligence reporting or a dashboard like shown in the following screenshot.

That concludes this blog post. I hope I was able to shed some light on the transition from IT Pro to cloud pro, from IT Ops/ITSM to CloudOps and showcase the power of Hybrid Cloud via Azure Stack. Stay tuned for more exciting stuff coming from Azure Stack.

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4th book published (Service Manager 2016)

On March 2nd I became a 4 time author. With several talented co-authors we published the Microsoft System Center 2016 Service Manager Cookbook. It was great to work with the co-authors and I would like to thank each of them for their hard work. The co-authors are:

  • Microsoft MVP Anders Asp
  • Microsoft MVP Andreas Baumgarten
  • Microsoft MVP Steve Beaumont
  • Service Manager/System Center expert Dieter Gasser

It was an honor to work with them. Also a shout out to Microsoft MVP Sam Erskine for writing up the foreword and helping with the technical review. Last I want to thank Rafael Delgado who also was a technical review on the book. This book is an update to the Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Manager Cookbook. In this new book you will read the new updated recipes for 2016, how to upgrade from 2012 R2 to 2016 and about the new HTML 5 portal.

Official book description:

System Center Service Manager (SCSM) is an integrated platform that offers a simplified data center management experience by implementing best practices such as Incident Management, Service Request, and Change control to achieve efficient service delivery across your organization.

This book provides you with real-world recipes that can be used immediately and will show you how to configure and administer SCSM 2016. You’ll also find out how to solve particular problems and scenarios to take this tool further. You’ll start with recipes on implementing ITSM frameworks and processes and configuring Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Then, you’ll work through deploying and configuring the HTML5 Self-Service Portal, configuring Incident and Problem Management, and designing and configuring change and release management. You’ll also learn about security roles and overall Microsoft SCSM 2016 administration.

Toward the end of the book, we’ll look at advanced topics, such as presenting the wealth of information stored within the Service Manager Data Warehouse, standardizing SCSM deployments, and implementing automation.

What you will learn:

  • See a practical implementation of the ITSM framework and processes based on ITIL
  • Deploy and configure the new Service Manager HTML5 Self-Service Portal along with Service Catalog design and configuration
  • Get to know about Incident, Problem, and Change Management processes and configuration
  • Get to grips with performing advanced personalization in Service Manager
  • Discover how to set up and use automation with and within Service Manager 2016
  • Work with Service Manager Data Warehouse
  • Find out what Security Roles are and how to implement them
  • Learn how to upgrade from SCSM 2012 R2 to SCSM 2016

The book can be ordered here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5FL2SK

I also want to call out this is the 4th book that I have authored or co-authored. Here is a shot of all 4.

I have also been fortunate to be a technical reviewer on 5 other books. Here is a shot of them.

These books have all been on System Center products. I am stepping into a new era. Be on the lookout for more of a focus on cloud based solutions and know there is exciting stuff coming in the near future!

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SCOM 2016 EXECUTE permission was denied on the object ‘sp_help_jobactivity’, database…

Short blog post here. After deploying SCOM 2016 if you see this error after clicking on the new Maintenance Schedules:

An exception was thrown while processing GetMaintenanceScheduleInfoList for session ID uuid:33c42f9a-9967-4f94-b7cd-800007beb49b;id=17.
Exception message: The creator of this fault did not specify a Reason.
Full Exception: System.ServiceModel.FaultException`1[Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Common.UnknownDatabaseException]: The creator of this fault did not specify a Reason. (Fault Detail is equal to The EXECUTE permission was denied on the object ‘sp_help_jobactivity’, database ‘msdb’, schema ‘dbo’.
The data access service account might not have the required permissions).

Go change the System Center Data Access Service from running under local system account to run under your SCOM domain account that has the proper access to the SQL instance that the Operations Manager database is running on. That should fix this error. And don’t forget to apply UR2!

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Azure Stack POC Hardware

I have been asked several times what I use for my Azure Stack rig and where I got the hardware from. I am going to share in this post what I use to run my single node Azure Stack POC. I bought all parts from newegg.com. Here is a list of the parts:

  • Motherboard: MSI X99A SLI KRAIT EDITION LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce 210 DirectX 10.1 512-P3-1310-LR 512MB 32-Bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile
  • Power Supply: EVGA 750 BQ 110-BQ-0750-V1 80+ BRONZE 750W Semi Modular Includes Power On Self Tester
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.3 GHz LGA 2011-v3 140W BX80648I75820K Desktop
    NOTE: I was not paying attention when I bought this. Azure Stack needs 12 cores. I am able to work around this and have not run into problems yet. When I get a chance and $$$ I will upgrade this.
  • 3 SSD Hard Drives: PNY CS1311 2.5″ 960GB SATA-III (6 Gb/s) TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSD7CS1311-960-RB
    NOTE: I bought a couple of more Kingston brand SSD’s. I use these for the OS and general storage.
  • Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 Series 128GB (8 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2800 (PC4 22400) Intel X99 Platform Extreme Performance Memory Model F4-2800C15Q2-128GRKD
  • Case: Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 CC-9011034-WLED Silver Steel ATX Cube Computer Case

As you can see this is generic hardware. The cost of this hardware was just over $2k USD. I have been running Azure Stack since TP1 on this hardware and I am currently running TP3. This is a personal lab for just me and Azure Stack runs well on my hardware. Don’t let a lack of hardware stop you from diving into Azure Stack. As you can see from this post it does not take much to pick up some parts and get going.

I do also run another Azure Stack POC on much better hardware at work. I can’t wait to get a multi-node environment on one of the hardware providers (Cisco, Dell, Lenovo, or HP) platform.

Here is what my rig looks like complete with Azure Stack and other stickers :-).

Before it was built:

After it was built and running:

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Backup Strategy should include Security

Planning for protection as a part of an IT Service Continuity plan often takes into consideration backup of applications and data as well as restore. But what about security?

When planning for protection of applications and data in your environment security should right up there in the forefront. “Backup Security” should be a key part of the plan.

Security in the context of backup can be thought of #1 as securing the backups, and #2 backups being used as an added measure for security breach mitigation. Let me break this down further.

In regards to securing backups you want to do things like encrypt backup data as it travels offsite, encrypting backup data at rest, being able to protect encrypted data, requiring security pins or further authentication of admins and more.

In regards to backup as an added measure for security backup becomes a direct part of Security planning in organizations. Sometimes when security measures fail backups are the only thing that can save you as a last resort. Backups are commonly becoming a way to recover from ransomware attacks as an alternative to paying the hackers. Here is a real world example.

Recently an unnamed hosting providers entire data center became hostage to a ransomware attack. This hacker got in due to a mistake of one of the system admins (more on how to protect at this level later) and basically had full domain admin rights to everything. Keep in mind majority of the servers in this scenario are for customers.

In this case the hosting provider had two choices. Option #1 go to the dark web via a tor network and pay a ton of money in bitcoin for the decryption key. Option #2 Restore everything from offsite backups and pray.

This hosting provider went for option #2 and thank goodness it worked. In this case if it weren’t for a solid offsite backup solution this hosting provider would have been up a creek without a paddle.

It is becoming more common that ransomeware will actually target backups because these are a high target and hackers understand this is a last resort for companies to save themselves. If the backups are deleted there is no other choice but to pay the ransom. This raises the security level of the backups. Administrative actions on backups need an extra layer of security.

Microsoft Business Continuity products help with not only protection but also security. These products consist of System Centers Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Operations Management Suites Azure Backup (AB) and Azure Site Recovery (ASR). In this post I am only going to touch on DPM and AB.

Some exciting things have been happening with Azure Backup and Data Protection Manager to ensure security is front and center as a part of your enterprise backup solution. Microsoft’s goal with the backup security is to provide prevention, alerting, and recovery.

More about this including a video can be found here:
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-backup-security-feature

Just yesterday DPM update rollup 12 for 2012 and update rollup 2 for 2016 was announced. Along with UR2 comes some enhanced security features for DPM. These will be called out later in this blog post. Microsoft has rolled out some great security features to both across hybrid clouds. I will go ahead and break these down.

– Azure Backup –

Encrypted backup data at rest
Described in DPM section.

Security PIN
With Azure Backup you can require a security pin for sensitive operations such as removing protection, deleting data, or changing other settings in Azure Backup itself such as changing a Passphrase.

Azure Backup also has some other security measures in place like a minimum retention range to ensure a certain amount of backup data is always available and notifications upon critical operations to subscription admins or others as specified.

NOTE: These security features are now also available in DPM with the UR’s (UR 12 for 2012 and UR2 for 2016) announced yesterday. When an administrator changes the passphrase, or delete backup data, you need to enter the PIN if you have Enhanced Security Enabled. Also, there is a minimum retention range of 14 days for cloud protected data that is deleted.

MFA
MFA is Multi-Factor Authentication. Microsoft has MFA available as a part of Azure Active Directory. Within Azure Backup you can configure it to require MFA of admins when performing critical operations. By enabling MFA you would then ensure via authentication from a second device usually physical to the user that they are who they say they are.

NOTE: When you enable security settings they cannot be disabled.

Ransomware attacks
Described in DPM section.

– Data Protection Manager –

Backup data encrypted during offsite transfer
When data is sent from DPM to Azure Backup it is encrypted before it even leaves your four walls. Data is encrypted on the on-premises server/client/SCDPM machine using AES256 and the data is sent over a secure HTTPS link.

Encrypted backup data at rest
Once backup data is on Azure it is encrypted at rest. Microsoft does not decrypt the backup data at any point. The customer is the only one with the encryption key that can decrypt the backup data. If this key is lost not even Microsoft can decrypt your backup data. This is very secure.

Protection and recovery of encrypted computers
The release of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016 included a new feature known as Shielded virtual machines (VM’s). This feature essentially utilizes Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM) technology and BitLocker to encrypt a VM to encrypt virtual machines at the virtual layer. This means if a VM is physically copied off a Hyper-V host whoever has the VM will not be able to get to the data on the virtual hard drive.

With the release of DPM 2016 it supports protecting Shielded VM’s. DPM can protect Shielded VM’s regardless if they are VHD or VHDX. This is great news because as a secure organization you should want to encrypt your virtual machines and DPM can protect them. This gives you an added layer of security on top of having backups.

Ransomware attacks
In today’s world ransomware attacks are a common thing. These type of attacks are targeted at small, medium, and large enterprise businesses. No company is too small or too big to be put in the crosshairs of ransomware attacks. A well-known attack is Cryptolocker.

As mentioned before in this blog post backups are an alternative to paying the ransom of a ransomware attack. They key here is to ensure you have a solid offsite backup in place such as Azure Backup. Having that offsite backup will ensure you can get your data back even if the ransomware attack get ahold of your onsite backup data.

I even go as far as to recommend sticking to the 3-2-1 rule (3 copies of backup data 2 offsite and 1 onsite). This way if something happens to one of your offsite copies of data you have another one. It may seem overkill to have 2 offsite copies but you would be surprised how often offsite backup data is accidently destroyed.

So there you have it. Security is a critical part of any backup solution. It is clear that Microsoft realizes this based on the security enhancements they have made to both Azure Backup and Data Protection Manager 2016. Their goal is to ensure both backup solutions are enterprise ready. I have been working with DPM for years and Azure Backup as soon as it came out. I know the team behind these products have a lot of new features and functionality planned for the future of these products and I am looking forward to it.

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Monitor Azure Stack Fabric with OMS

I wanted to monitor my Azure Stack environment with OMS. This would include only the Azure Stack fabric servers and the host. I did not want to manually install the OMS agent on all of these servers especially since the Azure Stack fabric is a set of known servers. So I decided to put together a quick PowerShell script to handle the install of the OMS agents including the workspace ID and key. Here are details for the script:

<#

.SYNOPSIS
This script can be used to install OMS agents on all of the Azure Stack Fabric servers. This has been tested with TP2.

.DESCRIPTION
This script can be used to install OMS agents on all of the Azure Stack Fabric servers. This has been tested with TP2. This script can be run from PowerShell ISE or a PowerShell console. It is recommended to run this from an elevated window. This script should be run from the Azure Stack host. Ensure you are logged onto the Azure Stack host as azurestack\azurestackadmin. This script allows you to input your OMS workspace ID and key. The Azure Stack Fabric servers that this script will attempt to install on is:

“MAS-Con01”,

“MAS-WAS01”,

“MAS-Xrp01”,

“MAS-SUS01”,

“MAS-ACS01”,

“MAS-CA01”,

“MAS-ADFS01”,

“MAS-ASql01”,

“MAS-Gwy01”,

“MAS-SLB01”,

“MAS-NC01”,

“MAS-BGPNAT01”

Fabric servers can be added or removed from the array list if desired. The script will look for the OMS agent (MMASetup-AMD64.exe) in C:\OMS\ on the Azure Stack host. Ensure you create an OMS folder on your Azure Stack host and download the OMS agent to it. This script also copies the OMS agent to C:\Windows\Temp on each Fabric server. Ensure there is enough free space on the C drive on all of your fabric servers.

.PARAMETER OMSWorkSpaceID
This is Guid ID for your OMS workspace, it can be found in the OMS portal at: https://mms.microsoft.com >> Overview >> Settings >> Connected Sources >> Windows Servers

.PARAMETER OMSKey
This is the OMS API key for your OMS workspace. You can use the primary or secondary key. These keys can be found in the OMS portal at:
https://mms.microsoft.com >> Overview >> Settings >> Connected Sources >> Windows Servers

.INPUTS
None

.OUTPUTS
None

.NOTES
Script Name: AzureStackFabrickOMSAgentInstall.ps1
Version: 1.0
Author: Cloud and Data Center Management MVP – Steve Buchanan
Website: www.buchatech.com
Creation Date: 1-1-2017
Purpose/Change: Install OMS agents on Azure Stack Fabric servers.
Updates: None

.EXAMPLE
.\AzureStackFabricOMSAgentInstall.ps1 -OMSWorkSpaceID “20d4dd92-53cf-41ff-99b0-7acb6c84beedsr” -OMSKey “aazedscsjwh52834u510350423tjjwgogh9w34thg2ui==”
#>

The script can be downloaded here:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Azure-Stack-Fabric-OMS-3dac666c

To kick off the script run from PowerShell ISE or a PowerShell console. If you run from ISE you will be prompted for the workspace ID and the key. If you run from a PowerShell console run this syntax to kick it off:

.\AzureStackFabricOMSAgentInstall.ps1 -OMSWorkSpaceID “YOURWORKSPACEID” -OMSKey “YOUROMSKEY”

The script will kick off, building an array of the Azure Stack VM’s, looping through each of them to copy over the OMS agent, and then install the OMS agent setting the OMS workspace ID and key.

The script will detect if an OMS agent is already installed and will skip that server as shown in the following screenshot.

Otherwise the script will install the OMS agent as shown in the following screenshot.

The following screenshot shows the script running in a PowerShell console vs ISE.

You will be prompted when running the script for credentials. Use Azurestack\azurestackadmin as shown in the following screenshot.

After the OMS agent is installed you should be able to log onto any of the Azure Stack VM’s and see the OMS agent in control panel as shown in the following screenshots.


You can also log onto OMS and see your Azure Stack servers listed under connected computers.

Azure Stack fabric servers wire data:

My Azure Stack host in OMS Service Map:

Happy Stacking and OMS’ing!

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Azure or Azure Stack “Write Once, Deploy Anywhere” Update

A while back I wrote a blog post about being able to take one IaaS VM Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template and deploy it to both Azure or Azure Stack. This blog post included a JSON file and the PowerShell to do this. The idea for that came from needing to set up a cool and working demo for MMS 2016 and the need to showcase the power of Microsoft’s HybridCloud. Here is a link to that original blog post:

Write once, deploy anywhere (Azure or Azure Stack)

Today I have finished updating the PowerShell and ARM template/JSON file to be more streamlined and to work with TP2. Here is the link to download these:Here are the updates:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Create-VM-on-Azure-or-3c6d0420

Here are the updates:

  • The JSON and PowerShell script have been modified to work with Azure Stack TP2.
  • This script now utilizes the connection PowerShell module AzureStack.Connect.psm1 from Azure Stack tools.
  • This is included with the download of this script and JSON file on TechNet Gallery.
  • The script is hard coded to look locally to import the AzureStack.Connect.psm1 module.
  • Streamlined the JSON file and PowerShell script.
  • The script no longer prompts for the publicDNS name. It is now automatically set to the same as the vmname.
  • The script no longer prompts for the storage account name. It is automatically set to vmnamestorage.
  • The script no longer prompts for the resourcegroup name. This is now automatically set to vmname-RG.
  • By default this script now uses a JSON file hosted on Github. This is set in the $templateFilePath variable as shown on the next line.
  • To keep it to the local directory just use the JSON file name.

GITHUB: $templateFilePath = “https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Buchatech/Azure-AzureStackVM/master/AzureandAzureStack.json”
LOCAL: $templateFilePath = “AzureandAzureStack.json

This will be my last blog post of 2016. See you next year folks…..

Happy Stacking!

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