System Center Universe 2016 @ APAC

One of the best System Center summit happening around the world. As a Infront employee I’m happy to announce our company did host the event for the third time in APAC region. This time in Malaysia soon after that in Australia. All the well known System Center experts in one room sharing their knowledge. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to be among those experts and carry out two sessions.

Azure becoming key topic for developers and IT Professionals. How we can save time be leveraging templates. This is where we can leverage Azure Resource Manager Templates. Carried out a session to show how ARM really can help for IT Professionals in their journey.

Disaster recovery can be taken to next level by leveraging the Azure cloud. Delviered another session covering how Microsoft extend their love to protect VMWare customers as well Smile In this session we covered about Azure Site Recovery for HYPER-V, VMWare & Physical servers. We also demo what is “Enhanced mode for VMWare” and what that is so cool.

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Security is part of Microsoft bloodline

Two weeks back Microsoft CEO highlighted how they improve security and their over 1 billion annual investments on security solutions. He clearly iterates security is not a separate component but integral part of Microsoft solutions. Looking closely at Microsoft current business model it is very clear this statement stands true due to their expansion on cloud based solutions.

So today we’re talking about another step forward from Microsoft with the introduction of Azure Security Center (Preview version).

Image taken from here.

With Azure security center you can get,

  • Understand the security state of your Azure resources
  • Take control of cloud security with policies that let you recommend and monitor security configurations
  • Easily deploy integrated Microsoft and partner security solutions from Barracuda, F5, and Trend Micro and soon from Fortinet, Check Point, Cisco, Imperva, Incapsula, and CloudFlare
  • Get alerted to threats detected using advanced analytics, including machine learning and behavioral profiling, and Microsoft’s vast global threat intelligence assets

So in a nutshell this is Microsoft solution offering for total security protection for your cloud hosted applications and services. Interesting part is security is never ending story. So keep an eye on latest improvements happening on this section.

More information can be found here

System Center Universe #APAC

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If you’re a organization who is using System Center or planning to user System Center, Cloud and Virtualization technology then this is an event you shouldn’t miss. All the industry gurus and experts will be on one location to share their experience with you. What’s more you’ll get a chance to meet them in-person and share your ideas and get expert advise free of charge.

System Center Universe is a global event carried out in various part of the world. APAC region event will be help on March 5-6. Look forward to see most of you during that time.

Creating a load balanced, highly available IIS web farm on Windows Azure

Without much intro let me get started straight with this article. Today I’m going to show you how you can create highly available IIS web farm in Windows Azure environment. Let me highlight that in a picture for easy understanding,


Source for this picture can be found here

As you can see in the above picture we get all the HTTP (port 80) traffic routed through the Azure Load balance to the VM’s hosted in the Azure Cloud Service. In case of single or multiple IIS VM’s failure on the target cloud service traffic will be routed to a available VM on the Cloud service.

Before starting this let me clearly state there are several ways you can approach to complete these tasks so what I describe here might be changed in future or might not be the best method for you 🙂

Let’s start now. First go to the Azure portal and create a new Cloud Service. Cloud service can be considered as a container for the hosted VM’s. If you need more information about that please refer this link.

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Once you click “Create Cloud Service” it will take few seconds to create the Cloud service container. After that we need to create two VM’s. For this we’ll go ahead and select VM template from the gallery.

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For this demo I’ve selected latest and the greatest OS in the planet “Windows Server 2012 R2” 🙂
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Next screen provide a unique name to the VM and username and password,

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In the next page is important to select the pre-created Cloud service container and also create new availability set. In availability set option Azure will make sure two VM’s will be placed on two different fault domains. In simple English that means two VM’s will be on two different host computers in two different racks. This is to avoid single point of failure.

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In the next page you’ve to select which ports will be open to the outside world to access. In my case I want to host a IIS web site in secure manner so I plan to open port 443 (HTTPS) for that click the “Enter or Select Value” column and select HTTPS

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After that complete the steps to create the first VM. In the second VM’s setup you’ll select the pre created Cloud service name and the Availability Set from the drop down menus.

Ok so far you’ll with me? Cool let’s move to the next step. Remember in the first VM creation part for the endpoints we open port 443 (HTTPs) to the outside world? Well we did that only to the first VM but in case if that VM is down second VM will not be able to respond since we have not open the port 443 in that server. Apart from that we didn’t create  a load balancer for the two VMs. So in order to complete that task we’ll go to the azure portal —> Virtual machine’s —> click the first VM name. After that click Endpoints section,

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Highlight the HTTPS and then select “Edit” on bottom of the screen,

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Notice that HTTPS is not having a Load-Balanceded Set yet i the upper right hand corner? Once you’re in the second page tick “Create a Load Balance Set” Option.

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In the next page you can give a name to the Load Balance Set. I’ve put a name as “LB1”. Rest settings I don’t think you’ll need to change unless you have a good reason to do so. Click the correct sign to complete the task.

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ok when that task is complete it’s time to move to the next virtual machine and configure the endpoints section by adding the port 443 🙂

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Once you click add in the next screen you’ve to select the second option and from the drop down menu need to select the Load Balance Set we’ve created previously.

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next screen provide a name to the Load Balance set and avoid any other changes and complete the task. This will take few seconds.

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Once the above task is completed you’ve successfully completed load balancing two VM’s for IIS traffic. Now if you ask me how to test that then steps are as follows (at least this is how I test that)

1. Log into each VM (RDP) and then install IIS service. To make this step much quicker I used the PS command as follows,
Install-WindowsFeature Web-Server -IncludeManagementTools –IncludeAllSubFeature

2. Go to the wwwroot of each VM and open the default IIS graphic file from mspaint and provide each VM unique name. (Eg: VM1 I’ll modify that picture by entering the name VM1…etc)

3. Go to the IIS console on both VM’s and bind 443 to the default web site.

4. Now find the public VIP or the DNS name and type that on your machine’s browser. You should be able to see a default IIS web page. Observe from which VM name appear on that page. Go to Azure portal and shutdown that VM and refresh your web page. After little while you’ll see second VM’s IIS default web page will load. And that is your main proof to identify IIS load balance work perfectly.

Availability of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Beta

For the past few month there has been various updates on the System Center 2012 suite. On September 09th Microsoft released the “Beta” version of the SP1 which is include very important updates and enhancement. Out of that personally I’m happy to see the official support on Windows 2012 and Windows 8 Smile

Moving forward some of the significant enhancement are as follows,

  • Support to run management servers on Windows Server 2012 and support for Windows Server 2012 as a client
  • Support for Windows 8
  • Support for SQL Server 2012 as the database server for System Center 2012 SP1
  • Support for management of Windows Azure IaaS
  • Support for Linux/UNIX and Mac OS X clients with Configuration Manager
  • Full support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V features such as Network Virtualization and SMB shares
  • Integration of Configuration Manager and Windows Intune for mobile device management, which includes Windows RT and Windows Phone 8
  • Windows Intune Licensing Changes
  • Interoperability of Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager Console

You can download the updates from here.

Microsoft Cloud computing offerings

Today I’ve carried out a technical session on Microsoft Cloud offerings. My main focus has been to emphasize the advantage on Microsoft Private Cloud and how companies can adopt the technology.

Main attention has been given on Private Cloud implementation and how company can benefit out of it. Finally we had sneak view into the SCVMM 2012 console and it’s readiness on Cloud Computing.

Thanks again for NetAssist training institute for providing me all the background support to complete the session successfully.

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Microsoft Cloud Computing

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Private Cloud market and Microsoft hyper-v role

At this stage it is very clear Private Cloud will be the next adoption on Enterprise Data centers.  Microsoft and other Virtualization vendors actively promoting the Private Cloud adoption as a starting point for the work automation and meet ever demanding business requirement. Seamless migration to Public Cloud would be initiated through the adoption of Private Cloud to most companies.

Microsoft HYPER-V as a hyper visor itself won’t make the big difference in this picture unless it has strong management capability around it. Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Group’s (ESG) has seen this and work closely with the System Center suite, and now the result is Microsoft HYPER-V has been observer as one of the main virtualization platform for most T shops due to this management capability around it which surpass the other virtualization vendor solutions. Microsoft System Center product suite (SCVMM, SCCM, SCOM and latest add-ons of SCSM and SSP 2.0) has completed the whole picture of the Private Cloud with complete management control in hand.

This is where Microsoft stand out in the battleground by provide unique value to the customer. System Center’s unique ability to provide deep insight into the applications running within the virtual machines (VMs), to manage heterogeneous virtualized environments, and to serve as a strong on-ramp to private cloud computing. Unlike the solutions of all other virtualization vendors, Microsoft’s management solution can manage not only the virtualization infrastructure but the actual applications and services that run inside the virtual machines. This is key to leveraging the capabilities of virtualization and the private cloud – it’s the apps that really matter at the end of the day.

While leveraging these advantages to customers Microsoft went step forward by adding added VMware management to System Center. This allowed for one management infrastructure to manage all of the assets in IT, from physical to virtual, Microsoft to VMware, Windows to Linux. And now with the System Center 2012, we’ll extend that capability by enhancing our support for VMware and adding support for Citrix XenServer.

Virtualization is a major on-ramp to private cloud computing. As companies begin the shift to private cloud, they recognize that applications are the key services that the cloud delivers. Microsoft has overseen and listen to the customer requirements and understood private cloud needs a new level of automation and management, beyond what traditional virtualization management offers. Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2010 (SCVMM 2012) is fully geared towards Private Cloud and Public Cloud adoption with it’s new features. You can have a quick overview of the new feature information over here.