Category: Azure Latest News


ScottGu posted new info today on GA and features for the following. For more info on these go to https://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/azure-machine-learning-service-hadoop-storm-cluster-scaling-linux-support-site-recovery-and-more.

  • Machine Learning: General Availability of the Azure Machine Learning Service
  • Hadoop: General Availability of Apache Storm Support, Hadoop 2.6 support, Cluster Scaling, Node Size Selection and preview of next Linux OS support
  • Site Recovery: General Availability of DR capabilities with SAN arrays
  • SQL Database: General Availability of SQL Database (V12)
  • Web Sites: Support for Slot Settings
  • API Management: New Premium Tier
  • DocumentDB: New Asia and US Regions, SQL Parameterization and Increased Account Limits
  • Search: Portal Enhancements, Suggestions & Scoring, New Regions
  • Media: General Availability of Content Protection Service for Azure Media Services
  • Management: General Availability of the Azure Resource Manager

 

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My good buddy and ex co-worker Michael Collier has co-authored a very well-done book on Essentials of Azure. Michael is a great communicator and his passion for community and Azure comes out in his content.  You can download it free at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2015/02/03/free-ebook-microsoft-azure-essentials-fundamentals-of-azure.aspx. It’s like finding a $100 bill in your wallet unexpectedly.  A great read for not only the beginner but those who want a deeper understanding of the constantly changing Azure platform. Great job, Michael (as always)!

Just like my friend Jeff Nuckolls who recently spoke on the Azure Podcast, I got the opportunity to speak with Evan, Cale, and Sajeet on my favorite technical podcast, The Azure Podcast. The four of us discussed options for automating Azure from the lower-level PowerShell scripts you write yourself, the new Azure Automation and Azure Resource Manager, and the Aditi Brewmaster IaaS SaaS deployment offering (100% free to use!). You can listen on your iPhone under Azure Podcasts episode #39 or link directly here
http://azpodcast.azurewebsites.net/post/Episode-39-Brewmaster!

I am organizing and hosting the Azure Partner Boot Camp in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, Sept 6th. Here is the blurb from the site https://cltazurebootcamp.eventday.com/. Feel free to pass onto any in the Southeast who has an interest in Azure. This will be a great day of Azure with star-studded lineup of speakers.

Are you a key business decision maker, Developer, or IT Ops professional and don’t have time to understand Microsoft Azure? Well, can you spare just one day to learn from the top Microsoft Azure experts?

Attend the no-cost one-day Charlotte Azure Boot Camp (Saturday, September 6 at the Microsoft Campus in Charlotte). Quickly learn how Microsoft Azure can help you minimize cost, reduce time to delivery, provide simple global deployment, and support your applications and servers with leading edge technology. Learn the business benefits and gain deep technical direction and tips as you listen to a star-studded lineup of speakers – actual Microsoft Azure Program Managers, Microsoft Azure technical experts, and Azure MVPs share their real-world experiences and technical expertise. Talk 1:1 with Microsoft, RDA, and Aditi Cloud experts about your questions and needs around Microsoft Azure. Network with other Cloud professionals and companies in the Southeast that can help meet your Cloud staffing and project requirements. If you ever considered Microsoft Azure before this is your chance to jump start your knowledge and transform those thought into actions!

The Charlotte Azure Boot Camp will include three exciting and very informative learning tracks with something for everyone.

Understanding Azure – For Business Decision Makers and Architects. Learn just how secure is the Azure Cloud, how to evaluate it the Cloud could benefit your business, how to build a Cloud roadmap, and Cloud architectural concepts and patterns.

Developing Azure – For Developers (PaaS). Learn how to build scalable Azure applications, how to use Azure Cache to make highly responsive Azure applications, and how Azure Mobile and Media Services expand your services and customer base.

Administering Azure – For IT Operations and Administrators (IaaS). Learn how to avoid the common IaaS mistakes, how to optimize and secure virtual networks, automate the lifetime of your Cloud resources, optimize Azure storage, and how the Azure Resource Manager makes management of your resources simpler.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided, as well as sponsor giveaways and raffles for very nice prizes. There is no cost to attend but is limited to the first 100 IT Professionals. All we ask is that you register on the event site (one ticket per person) and follow through and commit to coming so we can plan for proper food headcount. Thank you.

Any other questions or requests contact the Charlotte Azure Boot Camp event coordinator Mike McKeown at cltazurebootcamp@outlook.com. Mike is a Microsoft Azure MVP (Most Valuable Partner) and Principal Cloud Solutions Architect with Aditi Technologies. Mike currently lives in Charlotte, NC after spending nearly two decades as an FTE with Microsoft. In his spare time Mike authors Cloud courses for Pluralsight http://www.pluralsight.com/training/Courses/Find?highlight=true&searchTerm=mckeown. Mike lives the Cloud and blogs about Microsoft Azure at http://www.michaelmckeown.com. You can connect with Mike professionally on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-mckeown/20/b73/389, follow him on Twitter at @NWOEKCM, and find out more about his company, Aditi Technologies, at http://www.aditi.com.

This is a Microsoft MVP Azure Community event. Sponsors include RDA Corporation, Aditi Technologies, and Microsoft Corporation.

Azure MVP…. Finally!

Just wanted to share the excitement of being named one of only 100 or so Azure MVPs in the world yesterday. What an honor! A special thanks to my teammates, friends, and fellow MVPs Michael Collier and Nuno Godhino, along with my manager “The” David Aiken for supporting me and encouraging me in this award!

Here is a post on the award that I found pretty cool….
http://blog.aditi.com/cloud/michael-mckeown-azure-mvp/

No cost! Meet Azure experts, attend instructional sessions, and participate in hands-on labs. I am speaking on Azure Virtual Machines and Networks first session of the day 8:30-9:30. Register here http://sadodn.azurewebsites.net/Register

On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT, join Michael McKeown, Sr. Solutions Architect at Aditi and Tommy Patterson, Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft as they share insights into “Top 5 Implementation Benefits” of Windows Azure.

Learn All About:
• Implementing enterprise workloads that are best suited for WAIS migration
• Scalability, achieving linear scale, scale up vs. scale out, choosing VM sizes, etc.
• Real-live case studies, emerging best practices you can leverage, as well as bad practices to avoid

Sign up and be a part of this lively discussion on how implementing key workloads, Windows Azure can help organizations stay agile and what Azure technology environment looks like and what it means to your organization in terms of cost savings.
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8082666463150103042?source=twt6602

Tomorrow (2/13) join Microsoft Technical Evangelist Tommy Patterson and myself for an introductory level, one-hour Webinar on Windows Azure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) fundamentals.  Primary topics include a brief tour around the Azure portal, the use of affinity groups, provisioning storage accounts and Azure Virtual Machines (VMs), endpoints/connectivity, and configuring a Virtual Network with the VMs as a part of it.

If you’d like to attend (and I hope you would!) go to this link to register at no cost.  Look forward to seeing you there!

 

Looks like the Azure Traffic Manager (ATM) received a promotion today to the current Azure portal.  That leaves very little left in the old portal which will be retired sometime this summer (soon)!

You can create a new profile with a Quick Create option. You specific the prefix ‘x’ in your global URL (ex. miketesturl.trafficmanager.net), select a method of routing (failover, round robin, or performance) and the services to be a part of the profile.  Once you create the profile you can then add and edit service endpoints to it.

You can also change the Time To Live (TTL) value which is how often the Traffic Manager will be queried by the client’s local caching name server for updated DNS entries.  A monitoring endpoint can be configured for ATM to try to access to check on the health of your service.  You can use the default process which just checks to see if a 200 is returned and takes that as okay. However it does not take into account other factors that you might want to have included in the health of your system. You can write a custom health monitor to do more advanced and personalized health checking for a service if needed.

The model of elastic self-service deployment of VMs and applications that come with the Azure public cloud are changing the way IT departments allocate servers. Rather than tying servers to a specific application, IT departments now look to provide a pool of shared and dynamically self-allocated resources. There are compelling needs to run on premise a private version of the Azure Cloud that provides a lot of the multi-tenant services and benefits of the public Cloud. There are a lot of hosting partners that want to offer these Azure Cloud OS services to their customers. MS wants to give a consistent platform across hosting providers, private DCs, and Azure Cloud. The newly released Windows Azure Pack (WAP) decouples and brings a few of Azure OS features and a modified portal with common code base into the private Cloud. It allows an enterprises to assume the role of service providers. It removes limitations to allow service providers to try and garner enterprise workloads.

Using WAP, your IT department can install these new features. (This was previously Windows Azure Services for Windows Server released at start of 2013 with System Center). The Azure Pack is built on top of Windows Server 2012 and System Center R2/ with Service Provider Foundation. An IT Dept. that builds on w2012 and Sys Center can move to WAP anytime. One of WAP’s goals is to drive a consistent IT ops and developer experience. These technologies will evolve over time. Some features for Azure will be released first in WAP and rolled into Azure Cloud, and vice versa. WAP comes at no cost for datacenters running System Center and Windows Server 2012.

Here are the services/workloads in the first release of Windows Azure Pack.
1. Web sites
• IIS currently is a server-centric platform but needs to evolve to be Cloud-first. IIS team rebuilt a new hosting PaaS with LB and scaling on-demand, dev0ps optimized. High-density supports 1000s of users on less of a cost than IIS with new capabilities. This is a good motivation to move into the on premise Cloud instead of running original IIS.
• Multi-machine PaaS container with data and app tier and Load balancing. The platform can talk to many source code providers. As an IT Ops person you just deploy the Web PaaS and don’t have to mess with configuration issues.

2. Service Bus
• Been on premise awhile but had restrictions. Now is same messaging architecture as Azure Cloud service bus with no limitations.
• Reliable messaging to build a cloud app that scales and communicates with other apps or across other boundaries. Messaging allows a way to pass and receive messages cross platform.
• Supports publish and subscribe messaging patterns across a variety of access points on multiple platforms using standard protocols.

3. Virtual Machines (IaaS)
• Allows you to provision and manage VMs as a consumer and define your networking. Gallery of apps and fully self-service experience for provisioning VMs.
• Consistent Azure VM API on premise and in Cloud so you can access VMs the same way regardless of where DC is that you are using.
• Adds a new Azure feature called Virtual Machine Roles (like AMIs in AWS which are Amazon EC2 Virtual Machine Templates). A VM Role provides a way to scale VMs elastically and define metadata for its container and its parameters. They are VM templates the IT Department can define to make available for self-provisioning and can scale. Templates can be versioned and take initial container info such as instance count, VM size, and hard disk. Provide admin credentials and OS version, IP address type and allocation method for IP address. You can specify app specific settings as well.
• Virtual Networks allows you to define VMs. Site to Site connectivity allows customers to connect their Cloud networks to their private networks. Good for hosters as well as the enterprise.

4. Service Management Portal and API
• Federate identities, Active Directory, and standards based.
• Take same portal as in Azure, decouple it, and run it in the on premise DC and talks to the consistent Service Management API.

Service Consumers
Service consumers are those who consume apps (developers) and infrastructure (IT Ops) from Service Providers. They need self-service admin and want to acquire capacity upon demand within limits defined by IT Dept. or hosting provider (have an internal approval process to increase beyond limits). Need predictable costs and get up and running quickly.

IT Depts. are now moving internally using a charge-back model (internal dollars vs. credit card) where IT Ops are charging back to different departments, almost like internal hosters. Today some internal IT requests lead internal folks to go out of band to get their job done via external hosting providers or acquire HW/SW without IT approval. WAP helps with simple and quick self-provisioning so no longer need to acquire hosting hardware outside IT budget.

Additional Consumer Services
• Integration with AD for the enterprise. ADFS and co-admins that are critical for the enterprise (Not for service providers).
• Integration with SQL Server and MySQL. Support for SQL Server always on to make DBs highly available across cluster.
• Co-Admins in WAP allows you now to associate an IT group with a co-admin account. This does not exists in Azure Cloud yet.
• Console Connect – Today Remote desktop in Azure Cloud IaaS will only work on a public network (RDP for Windows VM or SSH for Linux). If you can’t get to it publicly you can’t remote into VM. Now, with WAP, you have a new feature called “Console Connect” through a secure channel that allows you to connect into a machine that is not running on a public network but in an enterprise on premise network.

Service Providers
Service Providers want to provide the most service at lowest cost to service consumers. Providers want to use hardware efficiency by automating everything. Also may desire to provide differentiate on SLAs and profiles for different environments – thus different SLAs per workload that is not present in public cloud.
As the enterprise looks to move from capital to operational expenditures service providers see a window of opportunity to acquire enterprise business in the leased model of a private Cloud. WAP allows service providers to easily shift their offerings in this direction to attract this business from the enterprise.

Provider Portal
WAP supplies a Provider Portal for the cloud services that Service providers can offer their tenants (for enterprises or hosters). Can provides different SLAs to customers through portal and tailor how you offer those services. The Provider portal runs inside the enterprise firewall. It manages a different set of objects than the normal portal. You can manage a high-level PaaS Web hosting container that hosts multiple Web sites. You can connect to VM clouds and service bus deployments along with their health. There is an automation tab that integrates with run books in System Center and you can edit workbook jobs and schedule them, and tie them to events coming from System Center.

Additional Provider Services
In the Provider portal there is a Plans service that allows providers to decide what types of plans a customer can access. Providers pick services to make available and then define a set of constraints and quotas for each subscription for subscribers. Providers can pick the VM template and Gallery items available. Maps capabilities to backend infrastructure.
• Public plan allows subscribers to try out a plan
• Private plan allows you to manually permit a subscription.

Additionally in the Provider Portal there is a User Accounts service allowing providers to manage users and add co-admins or suspend/delete a subscription.

For additional information on the Windows Azure Pack go to  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-azure-pack.aspx.