Category: Infrastructure

Infrastructure

More Affordable Azure VMs with “Burstable” B-Series

One of the most common complaints about Azure Virtual Machine (VM) pricing is that it’s too expensive for small workloads. For custom web applications you could share an App Service Plan, which is great if the app can be hosted within Azure App Service. However, if your workload needs a full VM, then there wasn’t really a great option unless you were willing to share a VM with multiple applications. This can pose many management difficulties. Thankfully, Microsoft has been listening to feedback of wanting an even more cost effective and affordable cloud for smaller workloads too. The Azure B-Series VM sizes are the answer to this, and instead being “just cheaper VMs” they offer an innovative advancement to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Read More

ArchitectureInfrastructureserverlessService Bus

A Tour of Azure Messaging Services (Queues, Event Grid, IoT Hub, and More)

In the early days of Microsoft Azure, there were only a couple message queue service; Azure Storage Queue and Service Bus. This was way back in early 2010. Over the years, there have been a few different messaging and message queue services introduced into the Microsoft Azure platform. Each of these messaging services are a little different than each other and offer a pretty wide range of messaging offerings to choose from. This article walks through the primary features of each of the Microsoft Azure messaging services, and will help give you an understanding of when to use each for your own applications and enterprise scenarios. Read More

Infrastructuremachine learning

OpenAI Wins Dota 2 Tournament using Microsoft Azure

On August 11, 2017, it was announced that OpenAI beat the world’s top professionals at 1v1 matches of Dota 2 tournament under standard rules. The bot’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) learned the game from scratch through self-play. This is a feat of achievement for AI as Elon Musk states this is “vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess & Go.” Shortly after it was announced that the AI bot won the tournament, Elon Musk also tweeted out his appreciation and thanks to Microsoft for using the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform and it’s “massive processing power” to win the tournament. This is a really great example of how the massive computing power of Microsoft Azure can be used, in addition to yet another stepping stone in the path towards much more advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI). Read More

Azure StackHardwareInfrastructure

Microsoft Azure Stack is ready to Purchase!

In the early days of Microsoft Azure, back in 2010 when it was called Windows Azure, Microsoft had announced plans to make the Azure services available to be run / hosted in on-premises datacenter. Shortly after the announcement they released Azure Pack which wasn’t quite what we had all hoped for. Then about 2 years ago, Microsoft started talking about “Azure in your datacenter” again! The started talking about this new product offering called Azure Stack. We’ve seen a couple technical previews of Azure Stack so far, but not much in the way of a GA (Generally Available) release. That is until now. This week, Microsoft announced that in coordination with hardware OEMs you can now order Azure Stack integrated system hardware, with the first systems beginning to ship in September. There is also some pricing information, and an Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) being made available.

This is an exciting time for Azure Stack, now that we can finally see it all coming together where we’ll finally be able to run Azure services natively in on-premises datacenter or absolutely anywhere else. Read More

Infrastructurepricing

Azure Subscription Resource Limits and Quotas

Azure Resource Manager (ARM) imposes limits and quotas on how many resources of each type you can provision per Azure Subscription, and even per Azure Region. Some limits are a hard maximum, while others are a soft limit that can be increases upon request. When working with Virtual Machines (VMs), Storage Accounts, Databases, and other resources in the Microsoft Azure cloud you can easily hit up against these limits, so it’s important to know they exist and how to work around them. This article will explain the details around the Limits and Quotas on resources within Microsoft Azure; including tips on how to work around these limits to scale as high as your organization needs. Read More

Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Quickly Start / Stop ALL VMs

You can easily Start and Stop Virtual Machines (VMs)¬†through the Azure Portal. Previously, I’ve written about the importance of Stopping unused VMs to save money and place them in a “Stopped (Deallocated)” state. While it’s easy and simple to do through the Azure Portal, it’s also time consuming if you have multiple VMs; especially if you have a dozen or more VMs. The following Azure CLI 2.0 tip will show you how you can easily use the Azure CLI to Start and Stop multiple VMs with a single command!

Before we get into how to Start, Stop and Deallocate Virtual Machines (VMs) in batches, we must first cover the basics of Starting, Stopping and Deallocating VMs one at a time. After those commands are defined and demonstrated, then you’ll have the foundation necessary to extend on that to do the batching. Please be patient as you read through as you’ll need to step through this to fully understand the end result. And, you’ll be glad you did once you get there as this will really enable you to be immensely more productive in your management of Azure Virtual Machines when it comes to Starting, Stopping, and Deallocating them. Read More

Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Reset / Change Azure VM Password

It’s very easy to spin up a Virtual Machine (VM) in Microsoft Azure. You can do it through the Azure Portal or with scripting tools such as the Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell cmdlets, and even ARM Templates. When you provision the new VM you need to set an Administrator username and password for the VM. You will use these login credentials to connect to and manage the VM. However, there are time when you either need to 1) change the password periodically, or 2) reset the password if you may have forgotten what it was. Thankfully, Azure makes the task of changing the password for a VM extremely easy to do from the management of your Azure Subscription. It can be done easily enough through the UI of the Azure Portal, however there are times when scripting and automation are necessary to fit your workflow best. Below you’ll find the simple, easy to use command to change / reset the password for a VM running in Azure. Both Windows and Linux VMs work the same way!
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Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Generate SAS Token for Blob in Azure Storage

Azure Storage is a cloud service at the very center of Microsoft Azure. It provides the foundations for storing data in many services and systems within the Azure cloud platform. You can use Azure Blob Storage to store any binary data such as files, images, backups, .vhd’s, videos, and pretty much any other file. The Azure Blob Storage will secure all blobs / files by default where they can’t be access without a key. You can configure the service to allow anonymous access to blobs, however, there are many circumstances that you want to securely share a file with Azure Blob Storage.
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Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Reset Azure SQL Database Password

The Azure SQL Database service allows you to set an Admin login and password when you provision a database server in the service. However, if you happen to forget the password for the Azure SQL Database server, it can be problematic. There is an option in the UI of the Azure Portal to reset this admin password. However, there may be times when you want to update the password from the command-line or in an automated fashion. Perhaps, you may want to automate the updating of the admin password for your Azure SQL Database servers periodically. Thankfully, there is a command in the Azure CLI 2.0 that does support updating or changing the password. Read More

Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Manage Resource Groups

All cloud resources created / provisioned in Microsoft Azure need to be associated with Resource Groups. This is one of the basic features of the Azure Resource Management model to cloud resource management, and it makes it far easier to manage groupings of resources that comprise full applications and workloads. The Azure Portal makes it extremely simple to create and delete Azure Resource Groups. This article takes a look at managing Azure Resource Groups form the cross-platform command-line using the Azure CLI 2.0. Read More