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Posts Tagged ‘IaaS’

Microsoft Azure IaaS Operations Guidance – #AAD, #RBAC, #ARM, #Microsoft, #Azure

Here you can find a ton of great guidance material for Azure operations by mzbowe! Really good summary!

This is a collection of Azure Infrastructure installation and operational guidance resources I provide to my customers.  By keeping these links up to date with each engagement, all of my customers may benefit.  Hopefully you can too!  The latest Azure updates will always be at Azure service updates.  Make it part of your operational procedure to review that monthly, if not weekly!  In 2015, there were over 500 updates. Wow!

The goal of this guide to highlight core installation and operational procedures for an Azure IaaS deployment which predominantly will consist of Compute, Network and Storage resources.  This article Azure Infrastructure Services Implementation Guidelines, gives a pretty good run down of what needs to be created and in what order. The resources I will keep updated below pretty much follow most of those resources in the last link. But for now, there is a very important piece of that puzzle missing.  For the newer Azure Resource Manager (ARM) model of deployment, we need to plan, design and create Azure Resource Groups. Once we have Resource Groups, we can delegate administration with Role Based Access Control (RBAC).

Besides all this, if you just need to ramp up and learn more on Azure, go to the Azure Learning Paths page.  Check it out and learn something new! I also have my Azure Certification resources (Slides and Videos) from MS Ignite 2015, to get you certified and ready to go!

Azure Active Directory

Azure AD Operational Guidance

Read more…

Microsoft and AzureCon delivers! Love it! – #Azure, #AzureCon, #EnvokeIT, #IoT, #SaaS, #PaaS

I really love the way that Microsoft and Azure delivers! It’s so amazing with all the PaaS and SaaS offerings they now have on top of the traditional IaaS delivery. There is no other cloud provider out there that delivers anything near it! I’m amazed and so happy to be a part of this journey!

If you didn’t have the time to look at AzureCon you have a lot of great videos and topics to go through!!

Here is a short overview of the many great things released and presented:

  • General Availability of 3 new Azure regions in India
  • Announcing new N-series of Virtual Machines with GPU capabilities
  • Announcing Azure IoT Suite available to purchase
  • Announcing Azure Container Service
  • Announcing Azure Security Center

Watching the Videos

All of the talks presented at AzureCon (including the 60 breakout talks) are now available to watch online.  You can browse and watch all of the sessions here.

Announcing General Availability of 3 new Azure regions in India

Yesterday we announced the general availability of our new India regions: Mumbai (West), Chennai (South) and Pune (Central).  They are now available for you to deploy solutions into.

This brings our worldwide presence of Azure regions up to 24 regions, more than AWS and Google combined. Over 125 customers and partners have been participating in the private preview of our new India regions.   We are seeing tremendous interest from industry sectors like Public Sector, Banking Financial Services, Insurance and Healthcare whose cloud adoption has been restricted by data residency requirements.  You can all now deploy your solutions too.

Announcing N-series of Virtual Machines with GPU Support

This week we announced our new N-series family of Azure Virtual Machines that enable GPU capabilities.  Featuring NVidia’s best of breed Tesla GPUs, these Virtual Machines will help you run a variety of workloads ranging from remote visualization to machine learning to analytics.

The N-series VMs feature NVidia’s flagship GPU, the K80 which is well supported by NVidia’s CUDA development community. N-series will also have VM configurations featuring the latest M60 which was recently announced by NVidia. With support for M60, Azure becomes the first hyperscale cloud provider to bring the capabilities of NVidia’s Quadro High End Graphics Support to the cloud. In addition, N-series combines GPU capabilities with the superfast RDMA interconnect so you can run multi-machine, multi-GPU workloads such as Deep Learning and Skype Translator Training.

Announcing Azure Security Center

This week we announced the new Azure Security Center—a new Azure service that gives you visibility and control of the security of your Azure resources, and helps you stay ahead of threats and attacks.  Azure is the first cloud platform to provide unified security management with capabilities that help you prevent, detect, and respond to threats.

Azure_Security_Center

The Azure Security Center provides a unified view of your security state, so your team and/or your organization’s security specialists can get the information they need to evaluate risk across the workloads they run in the cloud.  Based on customizable policy, the service can provide recommendations. For example, the policy might be that all web applications should be protected by a web application firewall. If so, the Azure Security Center will automatically detect when web apps you host in Azure don’t have a web application firewall configured, and provide a quick and direct workflow to get a firewall from one of our partners deployed and configured: Read more…

FINALLY!! Nutanix Community Edition (CE) is here and it’s FREE!! – #Nutanix, #EnvokeIT, #Virtualization via (@andreleibovici

This is so cool! I know that a lot of people out there has beeen waiting for this, including myself! 😉

Nutanix CE is a great way to get you started with Nutanix in your own lab environment; and it is now available to everyone now. CE is a fully working Acropolis + Prism stack that enables you to not only host your virtual machines, but enjoy all the benefits of Nutanix. The features available with CE are the exact same enjoyed by paying customers, being the difference that it is a community supported edition and there is a maximum limit of 4 nodes.

Some of the features available with CE are:

  • De-duplication
  • Compression
  • Erasure Coding
  • Asynchronous DR
  • Shadow Cloning
  • Single server (RF=1), three servers (RF=2) or four servers (RF=2)
  • Acropolis Hypervisor (all VM operations, high availability etc.)
  • Analytics
  • Full API framework for development, orchestration and automation
  • Self-Healing
  • ToR integration

Metro Availability, Synchronous Replication, Cloud Connect and Prism Central as not part of Nutanix CE.

Since you will be providing the hardware there are some minimum requirements:

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Nutanix CE extends the Nutanix commitment to fostering an open, transparent and community-centric approach to innovative solutions for mainstream enterprises. Nutanix CE enables a complete hyperconverged infrastructure deployment in just 60 minutes or less on your own hardware and without virtualization or software licensing.

To get started access “Getting Started with Nutanix Community Edition”, create an account and you will be able to register for download. The first…

As usual your more than welcome to contact me at richard at envokeit.com or contact us at EnvokeIT if you want to know more about Nutanix!

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Microsoft Specialist – Architecting Microsoft Azure Cloud Solutions – #Azure, #LoveAzure, #EnvokeIT

Yes, I found a really interesting exam and must say that this is a great one! Makes you show that you understand all the great services that Azure has to offer and on such a good level as well!

I’m happy I made it and that EnvokeIT continues its journey within the Microsoft Cloud and Mobility area! 🙂

Spec_Arch_AzureSol_logo_BW

The things that I love is the way that Microsoft puts a lot of really good material out there for free for all us techies to consume, like the Microsoft Virtual Academy, Channel 9, Azure Friday, etc.

Also what is really good if you’re preparing for this exam (70-534) is to go through this great prep guide:

Early Experts Study Guide for Microsoft Specialist Certification Exam 70-534, Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

So go and explore everything that Azure has to offer and if you have any thoughts or questions around Azure don’t hesitate to contact me at richard at envokeit.com or through our official contact details for the UK and Swedish businesses here.

Have a great weekend!

//Richard

Microsoft Ignite 2015 summary – #MSIgnite, #EnvokeIT, #Azure, #Office365, #OneDrive, #EMM, #PaaS, #IaaS

Hi all,

We at EnvokeIT participated and collaborated at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago. And it was one of the most intense events I’ve visited in years with a lot of happening in the business and Microsoft really showed that they are the leading innovator in many areas!

I hope that you enjoy my report and that it gives you a condensed overview of what happened and please contact us at EnvokeIT if you want assistance within any area below! And thank you Microsoft for such a great event and also all you bloggers out there that I’ve linked to in this material.

I must say that this event was positive and a bit scary at the same time. Microsoft is for sure pushing as visionairies and innovators in a lot of areas, and I think that competitors will have a hard time competing in the coming years.

These are the areas where A LOT have been released already and where Microsoft according to my oppinion will increase its market share significantly:

  • Cloud and Mobile services, and with this I don’t mean IaaS service for just running a VM in their public Azure cloud or building a hybrid cloud with connectivity to on-premise datacenters. They are delivering so many capabilities now as PaaS and SaaS services. Just look at the sections below, it’s everything from Enterprise Mobillity Management (EMM), Business Intelligence, Database, Storage, Web Apps/services, Service Availability services (DR, Monitoring/Reporting, Backup etc.), Development, Source Control, Visual Studio Online etc. It’s amazing!!
  • Open Source/Linux support – It’s so cool how much Microsoft have shifted to become an adopter to support more open source technologies and way of thinking than just a couple of years ago! Just have a look at all the Linux support they have in Azure, the Linux support they now have in System Center, Docker support to deliver more DevOps capabilities and all the other services in Azure. It’s amazing and so fun! So now both Microsoft have opened their eyes and realized that they can’t ignore this anymore just like Citrix has with their addition of XenDesktop for Linux with SuSE and RedHat support!

The first day kicked off and was a bombarding of product announcements aimed at helping IT pros secure and manage the new Universal Windows Platform.

CEO Satya Nadella presided over a three-hour keynote, which focused on how Microsoft’s new wave of software and cloud services will enable IT and business transformations that are in line with the ways people now work. Nadella talked up Microsoft’s focus on “productivity and platforms” and how it’s tied with the shift to cloud and mobility. He also highlighted the need for better automation of systems and processes, and better management of the vast amounts of data originating from new sources such as sensors and other Internet-of-Things-type nodes.

As mentioned there where a lot of updates and below I’ve tried to gather these and I hope it gives you a good insight on the infromation we received and also guidance on how you can get more information about the topics.

Included below are links to detailed overviews of each of the demos (from Microsoft blog post) – including information about how to use them, where to learn more, and what you’ll need to get started.

The following picture is a sketch of the keynote and is also quite good at summarizing the message of Mobile and Cloud first!

 

vNiklas also created a great powershell script that automates the downloading of all MS Ignite content with PowerShell and Bits from Channel 9 that you can find here!

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) – MDM, MAM, MCSM/MIM etc…

Microsoft’s next chapter in Enterprise Mobility, great blog post on where Microsoft is going etc. http://blogs.technet.com/b/enterprisemobility/archive/2015/05/04/ignite-microsofts-next-chapter- in-enterprise-mobility.aspx …

Windows 10 Continuum – this is cool, think about docking your smartphone to your external screen, keyboard and mouse! That’s try mobility of youre device, this looks really cool and something that I’d like to try out once released!

Have a look at the feature demo at Ignite in the video below.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager | Microsoft Ignite 2015

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3861/player

In the CloudEnterprise Mobility Management table of content:

Office 2016 public preview available!

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.

Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.

New in Office 2016

Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.

Read more…

#Microsoft #Azure (#IaaS) Cost Estimator Tool version 1.2 released

January 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Have a look at the new version of the Microsoft Azure Cost Estimator Tool, here is a good summary by Courtenay Bernier. It currently only supports US pricing but would give you a good estimate at least and hopefully it’s updated with all other country pricing as well soon!

Back in August of 2014 Microsoft released version 1.0 of the Azure (IaaS) Cost Estimator Tool (view my previous post here). Today I’m happy to announce the release of version 1.2!

The following new features have been updated/added:

  1. Support for all regions (apart from US) along with associated currencies.
  2. Support for D-Series virtual machines.
  3. Export data with new regions and currency symbols.
  4. Updated instance prices for all regions and currencies.
  5. Total monthly costs are now calculated over 31 days that’s 744 hours and is aligned with the costs displayed in the Azure portal. (In version 1.0 costs were calculated over 30 days).

Download: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=43376

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Estimated runtime of 31 days

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D-Series VMs Added Read more…

Which #DaaS architecture is right? – #Azure, #RemoteApp, #Microsoft, #Citrix, #Workspace

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

I really feel for you Solution Architects out there that have to struggle with how to revamp your companies or customers Hosted Desktop/App services. They may be provided by a service provider today, or you do it yourself on-premise and manage them, or you’ve already taken the step to purchase it as a true DaaS/SaaS service from a public cloud provider. Today the options are many, and too many if you add all the hosting models and the technology options you have. From a business perspective you’re getting the heat to deliver something with the word “cloud” in it just because it’s hot, and management then expect that TCO is sooooo low and that you have now problems in delivering at all within a couple of weeks and you can scale up and down without any issues at all from a financial or technical perspective… 😉

Often you also don’t even have the business, security, functional or technical requirements either so you’re supposed to come with the magic solution that fits all needs! 😉

My personal view is also that some of our vendors/partners out there don’t seem to have one (1) clear strategy either (at least not officially).

Some are building and providing their own “cloud architecture” models for DaaS for partners to build on (VMware, Citrix, Microsoft etc.), and then they also are providing specific models for certain partners as well that run on top of other cloud solutions, like Citrix Service Provider (CSP) offerings on Azure or on-premise. As a partner to these companies you also are in a tough spot, are you to partner with them and deliver their technology on your infrastructure, or shall you wait until they deliver a fully working public cloud offering (like WorkSpace Services) and then add your added value on top of that? Options are many and I don’t think that Citrix has given their whole story yet, I still think that they business wise need to go where Microsoft is going by providing a DaaS service by themselves directly to customers and thereby also “cut” the partner network out because once the technology and self-service becomes to easy then what shall they add as value then? There will always be customers that wants help to onboard, operate etc. of course but this will be another type of service and many Citrix and Microsoft partners need to be become more solution focused and get away from the SME space and deliver integration and more IT management consulting skill sets instead.

But let’s get back to more technology…

I’ve been kind of waiting to get some time over to test the RemoteApp service in Azure. I personally think that this is the future and they way that many small to medium size business fairly short shall start to look at. Not all of these companies have the skill set or financials to look at building a good Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings of Windows applications internally. I’m a bit annoyed though that out of the box there isn’t any Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering and that it’s still just the RDS/Hosted Shared Desktop model that is provided. A real Hosted Virtual Desktop or VDI offering would be nice and a license model that goes with it from Microsoft.

There are today so many different options that companies that want to provide or consume a DaaS service can leverage today, Citrix Service Providers have all of their options in terms of technology stacks (CloudStack, CloudPlatform, CSP for Azure, App Orchestration 2.5, Microsoft System Center, Azure Pack and all options that are out there)… but which one shall/can you select? And what if you’re NOT a Citrix service provider and have a huge datacenter and haven’t already done your CAPEX investments around compute, network and storage etc..? Where do you then turn?

I think that here is where RemoteApp and a future Workplace Services offerings with Citrix on top would be great! You as a customer can turn to a partner/consultant company to get guidance and assess all your requirements and then easily be provisioned an environment that is of the “standard cloud offering” or get a customised one tailored specifically for your needs.

Like in my little demo scenario here I provisioned a fully functional RemoteApp environment that hosted all of the Microsoft Office 2013 apps that I use and also got a lot of storage at the same time… in almost no time at all!

Azure RemoteApp helps employees stay productive anywhere, and on a variety of devices – Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android. Your company’s applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Users can access their applications remotely from their Internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone. While appearing to run on the users’ local device, the applications are centralized on Azure’s protected, reliable platform.

Azure RemoteApp combines Windows application experiences with the powerful capabilities of Remote Desktop Services on Microsoft Azure – the cloud for modern business.

I also like the licensing model:

  • Azure RemoteApp is priced per user and is billed on a monthly basis.
  • The service is offered in two tiers: Basic and Standard. Basic is designed for lighter weight applications (e.g. for task workers). Standard is designed for information workers to run productivity applications.
  • Pricing: Each service has a starting price per user that includes 40 hours of service per user. Thereafter, a per hour charge is applied for each user hour up to a capped price per user. You will not pay for any additional usage beyond the capped price in a given month.
This means that you’ll get Office 2013 managed for standard information workers of a max price of 23 USD/month including management of the RDS Image and Office etc. and it also includes user data storage. Then you could of course also upload your own image with your apps as well and publish. Pretty good price model and will be interesting to see if this is what we will deliver in the future for all small/medium size companies instead.
As a comparison you can compare RemoteApp pricing then with the example if you would build your own RDS environment in Azure according to the following good guidelines: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/azure/dn451351.aspx
A little follow up TCO example below. This Azure hosted RDS example would give the 25 user company a dedicated RDS solution in Azure for 27 USD/month from a CAPEX perspective (HW + SW/licensing), I know that this is not a CAPEX investment if you go for it but you should compare it to your CAPEX investment you need to do if you would purchase compute, network, storage, licenses etc. The main point also is that  this does not include any OPEX costs needed to support and operate it. This would be great for providing a Hosted Desktop/Software service for a line of business app… but here you’re already at 27 USD/user/month, and RemoteApp is at 23 including user storage of 50Gb (where Microsoft also manage the “image and software” from a life-cycle management point of view.
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RDS on Azure example quote:

More Azure solution pricing examples: http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/10/14/more-azure-solution-pricing-examples.aspx

What if you then also shall put Citrix on top of that… cost increases of course and still you’re kind of limited of being a SPLA or CSP in order to build this, or you go and ask a SPLA/CSP to provide it for you if you’re an end-customer.

But back *again* to the test-drive that I did of RemoteApp…

Read more…

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