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.

Continue Reading...


Alleviate Direct and Indirect Patching Costs Through Automation

Written by Rory McCaw on Wednesday, November 7th 2018 — Categories: Patching, SCOM, SCCM, Datacenter Automation, Microsoft

In a world where we have self-driving cars, cures for complex diseases, and where we’re building houses with 3D printers, some enterprise organizations still manually patch servers which run their mission-critical applications.

Enterprise data center management can fray the nerves of even the most experienced administrators. “To err is human”, as the saying goes, and errors can happen during patching, even with the powerful toolset in Microsoft System Center. A server admin could spend hours struggling with a single patch and cause productivity delays the next day for the systems which don’t get addressed.

There are effective ways of automating these tasks, which come with price tags both directly and indirectly related to patching itself.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


What Is the Difference Between Microsoft SCCM and Microsoft SCOM?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, October 5th 2018 — Categories: Microsoft

Microsoft’s products “SCCM” and “SCOM” sound like confusingly-named twins, but try to get past your first impression of them as a set in identical dresses posing for a portrait. It is true that they are in the same Microsoft system center family, but each has its own distinctive traits and roles.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


How to Use VSAE to Create Your First Management Pack to Discover an App Using Its Registry Key

Written by Gabriel Mora on Wednesday, September 26th 2018 — Categories: SCOM, Management Packs, Microsoft

Creating a new Management Pack is not complicated—all you need to do is first install Visual Studio Authoring Extensions.

This blog will walk you through how to create your first Management Pack in Systems Center Operations Manager, one that will discover apps by identifying their registry key.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Configuring Network Policies for VPN

Written by Saeed Sheikh on Thursday, September 13th 2018 — Categories: Microsoft, Security

A Network Policy Server is Microsoft implementation of a RADIUS server that performs authentication, authorization, and accounting for remote VPN connections. Network policies are defined by network administrators to use conditions, settings, and constraints in order to determine who can connect to the network.

I was recently involved in reviewing the existing VPN solution and then deploying another solution for a client. Here are some common mistakes I found made when configuring these policies.

Continue Reading...


Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Getting Started with Identity Management in the Cloud, Part 1

Written by Muditha Chathuranga on Thursday, September 6th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure Active Directory is an IDaaS (Identity as a Service) offering that helps you manage corporate identities in the cloud. The solution itself is a cloud service that is hosted in Microsoft Azure datacenters globally. You can provision your tenant in a datacenter closest to where your organization is located.

Since AAD is a cloud offering it of course requires a paid subscription to use many of its features. But there’s a free tier for those who want to explore and are just getting started with the service.

This two part article is not a deep dive how-to guide. Rather, this is an effort to talk about a few major features available with AAD that you can use to get started with managing identities in the cloud. Depending on your AAD SKU, you may, or you may not have some of the features that are being discussed.

Continue Reading...

Chat Now