Azure Stack: What You Need to Know Before Deploying Your On-Premises Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, November 28th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Azure Stack enables you to run Azure workloads on-premises or even within a colocation facility, enabling stronger security and control over your data and applications with a single management platform for your public Azure cloud infrastructure and your Azure Stack deployment.

You can use many of the best Azure tools, processes, and features — including add-ons and open source solutions from the Azure Marketplace — in the cloud of your choice, helping to meet regulatory or technical challenges.

Before you get started with this intriguing hybrid and private cloud technology from Microsoft, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind, however. Here are some of the most important.

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How to Download an Azure Automation Connection Certificate Locally

Written by Freddy Mora Silva on Tuesday, November 27th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation

When you work with Azure Automation — and especially if you use Hybrid Worker machines — sometimes you need to use the certificates that are part of the connections created by the automation account on a local VM or server.

Runbooks that use these kinds of certificates work fine in the Azure environment, but if you need to run it in your local environment, using Hybrid Worker machines, this represents a challenge. Here's how to get those connection certificates on your Hybrid Worker.

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Why Managed Services Are Key to Fill the Multi-Cloud Skills Gap

Written by Thomas Burns on Thursday, November 1st 2018 — Categories: Azure, Managed Services, Multi-Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations

Multi-cloud is the IT service model du jour, but it comes with a set of challenges that many IT departments aren’t yet ready to tackle. There are many reasons to go with more than one cloud provider, including the use of specific services or abilities, backing up storage across various vendors, maintaining availability or minimizing latency, and even using different cloud vendors as bargaining chips for pricing negotiation.

A managed services partner might be the best way for you to take advantage of multi-cloud IT infrastructure and services, especially if you face the all-too-common cloud skills gap that many organizations encounter.

Read on for statistics on multi-cloud adoption and cloud skills difficulties, as well as ways in which a partner can help you alleviate the top multi-cloud obstacles.

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How to Extend Your Azure Automation Library Modules

Written by Freddy Mora Silva on Wednesday, October 31st 2018 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation

Azure Automation is a cloud-based configuration service that automatically manages your Azure and non-Azure environments based on your runbooks, update management features, and shared capabilities like access controls, global storage of credentials/certificates/etc, tags, and more.

Included in Azure Automation is the option to extend your libraries. You can import a set of libraries called Modules to your automation account from a preexisting list that can be found in the Gallery or by uploading script files of your own.

Below you’ll see where to upload or choose these Modules.

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Application Patching, Testing, and Validation: Closing the Gaps that Microsoft SCCM Doesn’t Address

Written by Rory McCaw on Wednesday, October 24th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Patching, SCCM, Microsoft

Automated patching server application patching can alleviate a lot of work for IT management teams. It shifts the patching and updating process outside of business hours. In an ideal world, Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) would flawlessly execute server application patches. 

However, there are some gaps in SCCM patching functionality, especially when it comes to orchestration, validation, and report logs. These can cause issues with QA and risk mitigation and can drive frustrations among your IT staff.

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How to Run Azure Automation Runbooks Locally While Accessing Assets

Written by Freddy Mora Silva on Thursday, October 18th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation

When you work with Azure Automation, you might find yourself coding locally, putting all the initial logic into the script, copying and pasting the code to the web to run it, and then testing the code from the portal.

Usually this practice takes longer to execute and will require a printout of variables or comments to follow the code execution, as you are not debugging your script.

There is another, possibly better, way to get your PowerShell code into Azure.

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Microsoft Azure Active Directory – Identity Models Explained

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Wednesday, October 10th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AAD) is a multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service. It combines core directory services, access management, and identity protection in to a single solution. Azure Active Directory is not to be confused with Azure Active Directory Domain Services, which is a separate service and not the focus of this article.

For every organization that chooses to subscribe to Microsoft Online Services– Office 365, Dynamics 365, Intune, etc., choosing the correct identity model for AAD becomes an important task. In this article, we will have a look at the characteristics of each.

While there are no specific dependencies on the identity model of AAD for Microsoft Online Services to function, your organizational needs and other factors such as manageability, access control, auditing, and user experience determine which identity model should be deployed.

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Start Automating Your Cloud with Azure Automation

Written by Freddy Mora Silva on Wednesday, October 3rd 2018 — Categories: Azure, Patching, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

As part of any monitoring strategy, we might need to automate some tasks to provide key information to evaluate the state of our infrastructure or apply a repetitive action to resolve specific issues.

We have several ways to implement this. One option is to use Microsoft’s Azure Automation toolset. Let’s explore what you can control with Azure Automation and how to get started using it for cloud server update management, configuration, and more.

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High Availability vs. Fault Tolerance vs. Disaster Recovery

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 20th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Disaster Recovery, VMware

You need IT infrastructure that you can count on even when you run into the rare network outage, equipment failure, or power issue. When your systems run into trouble, that’s where one or more of the three primary availability strategies will come into play: high availability, fault tolerance, and/or disaster recovery.

While each of these infrastructure design strategies has a role in keeping your critical applications and data up and running, they do not serve the same purpose. Simply because you operate a High Availability infrastructure does not mean you shouldn’t implement a disaster recovery site — and assuming otherwise risks disaster indeed.

What’s the difference between HA, FT, and DR anyway? Do you really need DR if you have HA set up?

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Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Getting Started with Identity Management in the Cloud, Part 2

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Wednesday, September 19th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, Security

Microsoft Azure Active Directory, or AAD, is an IDaaS (Identity as a Service) offering that helps you manage corporate identities in the cloud. In this blog series, we're taking a look at the primary AAD features that you'll use to get your ID management up and running for Azure cloud services.

In Part 1 we discussed Connect, Single-Sign On, and Multifactor Authentication. You can also find a table of AAD pricing on that post. Remember, this series is not a deep dive into AAD configuration, but rather an overview of key features. Depending on your SKU you may or may not have access to all of these features.

Part 2 includes Self Service Password Resets, Identity Protection, Conditional Access, and Privileged Identity Management. These features help you control access and maintain security and compliance protocol across your enterprise cloud.

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