Every year, Microsoft holds its annual BUILD conference where they “announce new tools and solutions to empower developers to solve real world problems”, it’s also a great time to pick up some new skills and connect with the wider developer communities. If you’ve attended any of the Microsoft conferences in the last few years, you would’ve seen a steady increase in hybrid content and solutions, as the world starts to realise that ‘Cloud-native’ doesn’t need to mean ‘Cloud-only’.
One of the awesome features of Azure VMs has been that they have their own identity in Azure AD, much like traditional servers on-prem have had computer accounts in Active Directory, and these identities can be used to authenticate against other Azure services such as Azure KeyVault. Thanks to this native ability, it’s been possible to securely store objects such as secrets for User accounts, API Keys and things like Certificates in KeyVault and access them from other Azure Resources without having to create and store credentials those services.
As some of you might have seen earlier this month, I tweeted my excitement at the fact that the Azure Stack HCI 20H2 preview included a newly rebuilt SConfig utility, written in PowerShell! Incase you missed it, #AzureStackHCI includes a completely re-written version of SConfig! The best part? It's written in #PowerShell, so why not start extending it? :D I spent a couple of minutes and added a little extra menu for my own use#MVPBuzz #AzSHCI pic.
So you’ve set up an Azure Stack HCI Cluster and everything’s running great, but there is this nagging feeling in the back of your mind. It’s a hybrid setup, with some type of flash cache sitting in front of spinning disk, and you start to wonder how hard you’re pushing that cache, and how long it will last. Thankfully with Windows Server 2019, there are many in-built tools and commands to help work out just that!
DFS Replication (DFS-R) is a fantastic tool in any sysadmins belt when it comes to creating highly redundant and scalable file shares. And yet anyone who has used it, knows that monitoring it can be difficult at the best of times. Windows Server 2012 introduced several Powershell commands for DFS-R which help discover partnerships and their status, however none of them test replication end-to-end. So here are the goals I get out to achieve with Powershell:
AzureStack is a fantastic appliance, with a massively simplified patch and lifecycle policy thanks to a lot of hard work from Microsoft and the OEMs delivering it. But even with all that, to ensure the best experience when updating AzureStack, you should always apply the available hotfixes in-between updates. At some point, you may find you’ve fallen more than one update behind and need to catch up. Finding all the right hotfixes and updates requires reading each of the release notes for prerequisites.
Overview While spending a lot of time on the Storage Spaces Direct Slack group, one thing that comes up, again and again, is patching of S2D Clusters, and what is the best way to do it. For this blog series, I’m going to break down the patching best practices into 2 separate scenarios: Offline Patching Using Cluster Aware Updating Offline Patching Offline patching is a pretty common scenario when patching S2D Clusters, and in my mind it is used for 2 reasons, catching up on multiple months of patching where there are known issues, and planned patching in a small window with an outage.
Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) is an incredibly powerful technology, and makes up a huge part of the new AzureStack HCI Solution, however performing maintenance on it can catch out new players. One of the biggest causes of failures while performing maintenance on S2D hosts and clusters, is that the hosts haven’t been correctly put into maintenance mode, so I set out to simplify the process with 3 new functions. The 3 activities I’ve targeted with these functions are enabling and disabling maintenance mode on a host correctly, and checking the current state of a host or cluster.
After my previous article about the wonders of the new Azure Update Management Extension for SCVMM 2019, some of you might have been thinking that it was all well and good that VMM now automates the installation and configuration of the Azure Monitor Log Analytics Agent (MMA) for you when deploying new VMs, but what about all those existing servers out there? Well unfortunately out of the box, Microsoft doesn’t provide a single installer UI that can target multiple machines, unless you’ve also got SCOM deployed and have configured it’s OMS integration as well.
Microsoft products are showing a clear theme these days, and the System Center Suite is no acception, hybrid scenarios and cloud augmentation. And while there are those that see this as just a way to drive Azure adoption, this doesn’t need to be a bad thing. In this article, I’m going to cover how to take advantage of Azure Update Management, using the new Extension in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2019.