Convert existing Azure Virtual Machines to use Hybrid Use Benefit

Hybrid Use Benefit (HUB) Allows customers with Software Assurance to use their on-premises Windows Server licenses to license Servers in Azure. With one Windows Server license, you can run two Windows Server Virtual Machines up to 8 Cores or a single Virtual Machine up to 16 Cores. This is a significant price reduction for customers who are using standard Windows Server image from Azure Marketplace (Up to around 40% cost saving).

4TB Disk Support for Azure

Microsoft recently increased maximum Virtual disks size for all Azure datacentres. Now we can create disks up to 4TB and assign to Virtual machines. This also increases total capacity supported up to 256TBs per VM. At the moment, we cannot create large disks or resize using the Azure Portal, and this needs to be done using an ARM template. Portal changes are planned to be rolled out within next few weeks along with the support for Azure backups and also Azure Site Recovery (Migration & DR).

Azure Site Recovery Unified setup 9.7 – Change input language to English

In this blog post, I’m going to walkthrough and issue which I came across recently while setting up a lab environment for a customer. I downloaded latest ASR unified setup yesterday to build VMware (on-premises) to Azure (DR) scenario for a client. While running ASR Unified Setup, I came across below error, which was a bit strange for me as I had not seen that error before when running this setup(build a similar setup last month).

SQL Server 2016 Failover Cluster Instances in Azure

Microsoft recently announced additional support scenarios for using Guest Clusters in Azure. In this blog post, let’s have a look how we can build a two node SQL 2016 Guest clustering in Azure using Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct. Utilizing Guest clusters in Azure enables mission critical application such as a SQL backend to function with greater availability if a single instance fails. By using Failover clustering and also placing virtual machines in an availability set, ensure that the application can work regardless of a hardware failure / Host updates or an application instance failure.

Single Instance VM SLA in Azure

For many years one of the challenges we had with customers, is that Azure didn’t have an SLA for single instance VMs. The recommendation is always to have two VM instances added to an availability set, which will make sure that the customer are covered under Microsoft SLA for VM Update time which is 99.95%. A recent announcement from Microsoft states that they now support for Single Instance VM within Azure with an SLA of 99.

Application Dependency Monitoring with OMS

Last year Microsoft acquired a company that specializes in App Dependency Monitoring called Bluestripe. This solution is now built into OMS which automatically maps dependencies by monitoring inbounds and outbound connections. Dependency Monitor creates a Service Map which also integrates with other services such as Security & Update Solutions. Below is an example where we have a Service Map which shows DPM Agent installed on a Hyper-V Host We can also see Windows Updates on each of the dependent servers

Windows Server 2016 & System Center 2016 General Availability

Microsoft released evaluation bits for Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 during Ignite Conference in Atlanta on 27thSeptember 2016. Having released evaluation bits, Microsoft made these two products generally available on 12thOctober, which added them to MSDN and also into Volume Licensing Service Center for Enterprise Customers. Evaluation media can be downloaded from links below Windows Server 2016: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2016?i=1 System Center 2016: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-system-center-2016 While there are many sessions at Ignite, which highlights capabilities presented within Windows Server 2016, feel free to have a look at some of the videos below as well.

Awarded as a Microsoft MVP for 6th consecutive year

2nd July I was re-awarded as a Microsoft MVP for 6th consecutive year. Over the years, it has been a great privilege being part of this Microsoft MVP community, to be able to share and also learn from others. This year, I’m part of the Cloud & Datacenter Management award category due to some of the recent changes in the MVP Program. Previously I was awarded for High Availability award category for my contributions relating to Windows Server / SQL Server High Availability and since OCT 2015, Microsoft made changes to bring Windows Server / System Center award categories together under Cloud & Datacenter Management.

Windows Update using Azure Server Management Tools

Microsoft recently updated Azure Server Management tools with a new functionality, which allows remote execution of Windows updates against managed Windows Server / Nano Server instances using Azure Server Management tools. For those who are not familiar Azure Server management tools, I wrote a blog post recently announcing Azure Server Management Tools, which is a new method for managing Windows Server 2016 Servers and also Nano Servers. (https://nirmalt.com/2016/02/26/azure-server-management-toolsinstallation/) Let’s have a look at the new patch management process using Server Management Tools.

Import All Virtual Machines in a Folder using Powershell

Hello Everyone Quick blog post to walkthrough a script that I used during my Windows Server Technical Preview 5 Lab refresh. I used below script to search through a folder and look for all the virtual machines, and then get them imported in to Hyper-V. Credit should go to Ben who blogged about this few years back but the script was specific for Windows Server 2012 R2 which uses XML for VM configuration.