Patch and Switch episode “Replication #GoHawks Pancake” is this Friday!

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If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen me talk about a couple of guys called Patch and Switch.  It’s a little thing that Joey Snow and I started up almost 2 years ago as an experiment.

  • Could two guys talkin’ tech pull off an entertaining AND informative show where people can get together and INTERACT with each other, share stories and just blow off some steam / relax and reflect on life in IT.

…based on the fact it’ll be our 43 episode and we’re almost at our two year anniversary – I’d say YES – it has worked.

Need a little break on Friday January 30th at 9 am pacific time? Why don’t you grab a coffee or a pint (based on your timezone) and join us!

#PingShow 233: DropBox WP App, Brain Games and Freakin’ Holograms!

Mark and I are trying to get back into a rhythm. We’re covering the news items MSFTies are Ping’in each other about. We cover your comments from last time and are trying to talk about OTHER new items since the BIG Windows event on January 21st… It’s hard. ;-)

 

Question of the Week!

What kind of experiences would YOU like to see in a Holographic world?

Chat with us throughout the week using  #PingShow on Twitter

Like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/ThePingShow


Understanding when a hybrid cloud really makes sense: 3 real world examples

“How about a couple of real world examples of situations where a Hybrid cloud makes sense?”. Seems like a simple enough question to be asked by a non technical colleague. I have worked with a lot of different groups and customers who have put together a number of such scenarios to give me enough background to come back with a couple of possible options.

Before we go there – some quick review: If you are looking for a good range of background info on Azure and Hybrid Cloud – I strongly suggest you check out some of the MicrosoftVirtualAcademy Hybrid Cloud Training resources.

How about we keep this simple and focused on a couple of quick hit scenarios where this played out.  Remember, as you have read over the last couple of months – you have multiple methods of connectivity back into your Azure v-nets to get a hybrid solution – here is a quick recap:

  • Point to Site: quick and dirty, easy to setup.  Down side – only one box “on premises” will have access to the Azure environment.
  • Site to Site: Software or Hardware gateways supported.  Much better and “production ready” based on your comfort level.  Software based gateways running Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2 can meet your needs OR a supported hardware device like a Pix firewall if you prefer a hardware solution. Advantage over Point to Site – you define the subnets that have connectivity to the Azure V-Net and as many machines as you like can now securely access the Azure environment.
  • ExpressRoute: a service provided by one of our partners who probably already provide you WAN connectivity to your branch offices.  Very fast, reliable and low latency. You are literally patching in an Azure vNet like it’s a branch office.

I went from cheapest to most expensive as well as least scalable to most scalable.  With that in mind – lets get back to those three quick hit scenarios:

1) Keep my data on-site, in my datacenter.

I get this one all the time. People are ready to work with a public cloud offering, but want to ease their way in with regards to maintaining control of their data. If your applications can handle being separated from the data back ends and you have available bandwidth to support whatever latency they can work with – this is a simple case for a hybrid solution.

2) Fire up a quick pilot without capital costs.

Say your virtualization hypervisors are all in production and you want to spin up a couple of app servers or setup a trial workload from some vendor.  When you have spent the time to understand how easy it is to establish a Hybrid connection to Azure, you now have “Subnet(s) on demand” with whatever compute power you need – all being billed only for the time they are ON, broken down to by-the-minute charges.  No licensing to worry about, no delay to get hardware spec’ed, ordered and installed, no additional physical demands on your infrastructure.  You also get to determine which portions of your network have access to this secure subnet (no public access to it from the internet unless you open it up). When the pilot isn’t running (off work hours) you shut down machines to suspend billing and start them up when you need them again.  Once the pilot has been completed – you move machines over to on-premises hardware (they are VHD files) or establish a “production” subnet on demand.

3) Disaster Recovery for certain workloads.

I say certain workloads because some workloads are supported in Azure, while others aren’t supported at this time.  But – for those that are, you can establish a Site to Site VPN connection and use a service like Azure Site Recovery to replicate select on-premises servers up to Azure and keep them synchronized.  If you need to do a DR test (or the real thing) you initiate a Site Recovery and Azure handles ensuring the last replication finishes (where possible) and brings the systems up in the properly defined order.  If you have your hybrid connectivity established to your other sites – they would have connectivity to the DR site and services that had been temporarily re-located there by ASR.  This is by far the most complex of the three scenarios – but it’s just damn awesome in its powerful capabilities.

Those are my quick three scenarios where Hybrid cloud solutions just make sense.  What do you think – have you come across any that didn’t make my top 3 list?

Azure IT Pro News Roundup: January 15th, 2015

I was asked by some folks to aggregate news on Azure front for IT Professionals, so I thought I’d try out a regular roundup post pointing to the sources. Hey, you never know – this might catch on…

That’s about it for this round up. Do you have any cool ones to share that I missed? Include them in the comments section!

Succeed in a hybrid world – without losing control of your data

Most of us who work in IT generally feel pretty good about the physical and logical security of our data and systems when it resides on-premises.  If you can see and touch the systems, it gives you an added sense of security – especially when you have keycards, biometrics or sometimes just a lock on the door. Augmenting this on premises is easy enough, most times with built in tools like BitLocker or certificate services for a variety of solutions that you can employ to data wherever it lies.

But then we add in a Hybrid connection – to someplace else where you don’t have physical access to the host systems, only remote access to your Guest VMs?  Public Clouds like Azure need some extra assistance if you want the warm-and-fuzzy feeling of your VHDs encrypted while at rest. Now what do you do in order to get the warm fuzzy feelings of keeping control of your data?

Full Volume Encryption with Bitlocker requires a TPM or physical access to the system while booting. At TechEd Europe, my friend Bryon Surace had a session talking about a new partner that was onboarded for the Azure called CloudLink.  They make a two part solution that allows you to centrally manage encryption keys used for boot time decryption on Windows and Linux images as well as data volumes you attach to your machines.

It’s really quite cool – and simple.  Once you have established an relationship with CloudLink, you download their “Cloudlink Center” virtual appliance (a pre-configured VHD), deploy it to an Azure VM (create new VM from image) and login to the Management portal. You then install an agent on Windows based servers that interfaces between Bitlocker and their CloudLink server.  Once the machine boots – it shows up in the management console and you authorize it for operation. Apparently, this can also be integrated into native Linux data encryption mechanisms as well.

Check out their quick demo video on how this logically works – a video is worth a couple thousand words. ;-)

Note: it also works with your Hoster c0-location options as well as in your on-premises Hyper-V and VMware private clouds as well.

Very cool solution.  I know a number of customers I’ve spoken to that could use this to bolster their comfort and security levels – potentially unblocking their plans to integrate Azure and Public Cloud into their environments.

High Level Docker Overview – for IT Pros

A while back I shot a quick video with Madhan Arumugam and Ross Gardler talking about what this containerization technology is all about. Looking for information to understand the concepts and options yourself? Have a look at this High Level explanation / whiteboarding of container technologies and their advantages over individual processes and traditional IaaS Virtual Machines.

Madhan Arumugam, Principal Program Manager with the Azure compute team

Ross Gardler, Sr. Technical Evangelist with Microsoft OpenTech

Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 4 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post brokenhh down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day FOUR – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 4:  Optimize Windows Workload Architecture and Administration Capabilities Within Azure

Identity which of your applications and services are critical in your on-premises environment. Leverage your investment in Active Directory (and other directories) and setup a synchronization with Azure Active Directory to simplify authentication in this Cloud world. You will learn what capabilities each offering has as well as how to configure them to be used for single sign on with over 2000+ Software-As-A-Service offerings like Office365, Salesforce, DropBox enterprise and more.

As an IT Professional managing applications that are currently on premises, you understand what is involved in maintaining all the underpinnings to the IIS Application. What if you could take those applications and move them to a Platform as a Service offering like Azure Websites, where you no longer need to worry about the underlying infrastructure hosting platform, allowing you to focus on what is important to you – your applications. The first step is understanding Azure Websites. Learn how to work with your development team to target a PaaS offering like Azure Websites in order to get ease of scale, load balancing, rapid deployment, staging sites and more

Need a complementary database technology to go along with those PaaS solutions? Want to get some geo-diversified protection that isn’t going to break the bank? With the recent announcements around SQL Azure, more and more organizations are looking at how to leverage these capabilities.

Now that SharePoint is a supported workload on Azure IaaS, the next step is determining the design considerations and limitations that you need to be aware of before deploying your next SharePoint solution. This session has you covered. Learn from the team who has created the detailed spec on how to deploy SharePoint in Azure IaaS and also see how MSIT is doing it for our internal customers.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 3 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day THREE – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 3:  Embrace Open Source Technologies (Chef and Puppet Configurations, Containerization with Docker, and Linux) to Accelerate and Scale Solutions

Most people do not believe that Linux and OSS tools / application layers are first class citizens in our Azure services. We have come a long way in a short period of time to reverse that line of thought. Learn from experts in the Linux and OSS world how to design and deploy Linux and supporting technologies in your Azure environment. You can deploy machines from our Gallery or pull images from our VMDepot to get started quickly without having to re-invent the wheel.

If you are a SysAdmin who already supports solutions on the Linux platform at scale, you are probably familiar with Chef and Puppet. Did you know they are also available in Azure for both Linux and Windows Machines? You can take your existing instructions and configurations and configure agents on your IaaS instances to point to your servers for deployment. Learn how to implement these amazing technologies for your Linux and Windows Azure hosted solutions.

You might have heard about containerization technologies like Docker that allow you to achieve greater density and better performance than traditional full-fledged IaaS Virtual Machines. We recently announced support for Docker on Azure and all the goodness that it brings to your solutions. How should an IT Implementer / SysAdmin deploy and leverage this new technology? This session will tell you everything you need to know.

Attend this session to learn how to leverage the scale and infrastructure of Azure to deploy large sets of Linux VMs in the cloud. If you are running a large Linux server farm and are wondering what steps it takes to move it to Azure, this session will provide you with guidance and best practices. You will see how to script and simplify this effort as well as learn key considerations and principles. We will also walk through best practices for configuring and deploying the data tier of your workload.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 2 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day TWO- a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 2:  Dive Deep into Networking, Storage and Disaster Recovery Scenarios

. YushWang

Yu-Shun Wang is a Program Manager in Azure Networking team working on Hybrid Connectivity and Network Virtual Appliances in Azure. In his free time, he likes camping, skiing, and swimming.

Your infrastructure in Azure can be isolated and purpose built for public consumption. How do you design your virtual networks and access controls to ensure everything is as desired? Now that you understand the fundamentals of Virtual Networks in Azure, let’s dive deeper into hybrid connectivity options using Site to Site VPNs, allowing your datacenter to extend to your Azure environment.  Concerned about speed and latency for your applications? Don’t want your internal data being routed over the public internet? Explore what ExpressRoute can offer as the ultimate connectivity option

Unlike other cloud providers, our story on storage is consistent across all of our Azure offerings. This means as new technologies are introduced to our storage platform, they become available to all of our services in a timely manner. Learn how to get the maximum IOps for your workloads and what new technologies are coming soon.

Disaster Recovery and OffSite replicas of critical workloads used to be a very costly and complex thing to orchestrate. With System Center and Microsoft Azure, you can leverage Azure Site Recovery to coordinate a site failover from one datacenter to another. We recently announced that Microsoft datacenters could be a possible failover target, provided you are aware of the dependencies. Lean how to set up Azure Site Recovery to use your Azure environment as your replica destination to coordinate a failover before disaster strikes. If you’re not ready for a full solution, but looking to migrate specific machines from On-Premises to Azure, we have you covered in this session as well. See how InMage can migrate your workloads from VMware, AWS and Hyper-V to your Azure IaaS environment.

When transitioning your skillset from on-premises to a more hybrid cloud environment, you have to also transition your management techniques from GUI and One-Off solutions to a more reproducible Automated environment.  Learn the ins and outs of Azure Automation Services and the new Automation Script Gallery. Leverage existing scripts or publish your own for others to use in their environments. Looking to take this to the next level – bring in some new DesiredStateConfiguration skills to standardize, configure and maintain your deployments at scale in the cloud.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.

Azure IaaS Week for IT Pros: Day 1 Speaker Lineup

I talked about this event I’ve been wrangling speakers for a while back, so I thought I’d put together a quick little post broken down by DAY with all the details about speakers and their sessions in one spot. I’ve been capturing these quick intros for each speaker with details about their session and also some fun tidbits about them outside of work. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for day ONE – a comprehensive list of topics and Speaker Bios you can review before the big event on December 1st through the 4th at http://channel9.msdn.com.

There are four 1 hour sessions per day, each wrapped around a theme. Todays theme is:

Day 1:  Establish the Foundation: Core IaaS Infrastructure Technical Fundamentals

Mark Russinovich will share his vision on what Azure is today and where Microsoft is taking it in the future. As one of the most trusted Technical Fellows at Microsoft and with his new role as CTO for Azure, Mark has a unique perspective of how Azure is architected and what individuals can do to get the most out of this platform.

Who better than Corey Sanders to take us through the nuts and bolts of what Azure IaaS is and how it works for IT professionals. Corey leads the team that designed and created Azure IaaS and is very passionate about all that it can do. He will move rapidly from the fundamentals to advanced configurations and how to use and interact with your environment.

AND

Drew picks up where Corey left off, going even deeper. He’ll focus on the specifics of how to get the most from your Windows workloads with Azure IaaS.

How do you design your IaaS implementations for optimal performance, maximum redundancy and geo-diversity? How do new machine series gain you better performance and leverage new hardware capabilities in our datacenters? Learn how to design your systems to minimize reboots and downtime due to user error or planned maintenance. This session has it all the answers and more.

It is going to be an action packed day!

Don’t forget to register!!!!

Register Now Button

Register through Microsoft Virtual Academy to receive reminder mails for this event and to obtain details for receiving a voucher for 50 percent off the exam price if taken by January 31st. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LevelUpAzure.