Monday, December 2, 2019

Azure Migrate – Frequently asked questions – not easily answered

12 min to read.

Abstract

Migration are not new to humans. Migrations are happening since early days of human history. Almost every person on planet earth have migrated one or more times in their life. In today's world I see people are migrating for their Love and Marriages. It is mostly boys who migrate for their love and mostly girls migrate after their marriage. Love and Marriage both are complex! 

When you say you have done Love Marriage - that is a deadly complex combination!

In technology world also, migrations are not new. Migrations of applications is fundamental work to achieve core motive of migration – Betterment.

Workloads / applications will be going through Azure migration. Questions related to Azure migrate are unique and I see many enterprises get stuck just because they are not able to find the right answer.
This blog post dedicated to all those “real world frequently asked Azure migrate questions - not easily answered”.

I am strong believer in Diversity and Inclusion therefore - This FAQ is suitable for people who knows Azure and who don’t know Azure yet!

Lets go!

Note – This is second blog in the popular series of Azure VM Real world frequently asked questions – not easily answered.

Azure Migrate

I just love the Azure Migrate engineering team. They are really awesome guys and most talented. In technology field, believe it or not “Migrations are always complex”. Azure Migrate engineering team is making cloud migration tasks so simple with their hard work and dedication. Really impressed!

Azure migrate is fantastic tool to cater to all of your migration needs. The scope and scenario coverage is really awesome. Below are the tools that are present/ integrated in Azure Migrate which can be used for migration based on your scenario –



Below are the workload types supported by the Azure Migrate –
       1.    Servers – Virtualized, physical, other clouds to Azure
2.      Databases – almost all, Refer below screenshot in related questions below
3.      Data – Migrate to Hot, Cool and Archive tier of Azure Storage using Databox, Import/ Export
4.      Web applications – Migrate to Azure App Service
5.      Virtual Desktops – VDI migrations to Windows Virtual Desktop


I am not going to explain “what is Azure migrate?” We directly dive into questions in next section. As of today I have curated list of around 23+ questions based on experience which are other than official FAQ document

If you have any question that is still not answered, use “Contact Me” and I shall get answer for you related to Azure Migration. That’s a promise!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Assign and verify Microsoft Azure AD custom domain using Azure App Service Domains

10 minutes to read.

Abstract


Have you ever heard of the word Doppelganger? It means ghostly double or counterpart of living person. There is theory that says, In today’s world there are 7 people who look similar to you. There are 6.4 billions basepairs in Human DNA. So I don’t trust this theory. However humans made sure that when it comes to internet world, there is one thing always unique – domain names. Domain names are very critical and there have been many famous domain name battles on uniqueness. One of the famous domain name battle was “Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft”. What? You never heard of it? Go search the internet.

Domain names can make or break an identify for your business. Custom domain names are inevitable in today’s world. If you want to be successful with your business/ website then custom domain name is a must. Microsoft Azure services also need custom domain names so that instance of Microsoft Azure services names can be aligned with your business / company names.

Azure AD is central to any Microsoft Azure based environment. All subscriptions belong to Azure AD and Azure subscriptions related identity management is also managed through Azure AD. Any Azure AD created will always have form as “YourAADInstanceName.onmicrosoft.com”. So when you create a user in Azure AD the FQDN of Azure AD user will be “username@YourADInstanceName.onmicrosoft.com.” Example I have an Azure Active Directory named “SanganakAuthority.onmicrosoft.com” then user “kunal” will have FQDN as “kunal@SanganakAuthority.onmicrosoft.com”. This is definitely not a user friendly name. If I change it to kunal@SanganakAuthority.com then it appeals a lot.

So custom domain for Azure AD is good to have thing!

Best thing is you DON’T have to go for external domain registrars/ providers like GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost etc. Microsoft Azure provides domain names through Azure App Service domains and you can use it anywhere including Azure AD.

Let’s go!

Relationship in Domains Names, DNS Records, DNS Zones and equivalent Microsoft Azure services

This is important to know aspects such as Domain Names, DNS Zones and DNS Records concepts in general and in Microsoft Azure platform. Refer below important diagram.



Domain names are provided by domain name registrars. Owning the domain names gives you right to control the DNS hierarchy. These purchased domain names are hosted on DNS names servers in terms of DNS Records. The domain registrar has their own name servers or they also allow you to specify your own/ preferred name servers. You host the domain names on name servers as DNS Records like A records, CName record, Txt record and so on. The combination of Names servers and DNS records is called as DNS Zones.
For purchasing domain names Azure provides “Azure App Service domain” and for DNS Zones Azure provides service called as “Azure DNS”.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Azure Cost Optimization - Effective use of Azure App Service and App Service Plans


Abstract


Azure cost optimization is becoming a reality and must do for every organization. Limiting cloud spend is top most priority for many organizations to continue the show. While Microsoft Azure drives organizations to perform “Digital Transformation” and “App Modernization”; the IT Heads are finding it difficult to keep the cost low for cloud services. This does not mean that Microsoft Azure do not offer you choices to bring your Azure cost down rather cloud approach is meant to bring your IT cost down. However if you are not doing smartly then obviously you are not getting most out of your Azure journey. I have seen mainly the ignorance from IT Heads, IT admins, Cloud Administrators and lack of knowledge [Most of the time I call it Laziness] causing much of the problems. Microsoft Azure gives you enough choices, ways and tools to make sure you optimize the Azure cost. Remember Azure Cost Optimization is a journey and you have to continuously monitor it.

As always, my dear [and of course lazy] followers keep asking to bring down Azure cost and what are the effective ways of doing it. For you guys [and girls] I have started a dedicated page for “Azure Cost Optimization”. On this page I will be adding the tricks and tips for Azure cost optimization. Link of this page can be found at the end of article or on the top.

Let’s go!

Why Azure App service for cost optimization?

How many of you have seen KeyNote of Satya Nadella held in July 2019 at Microsoft Inspire conference? If not go watch it. Refer to below screenshot –





It was stated that in next 5 years, 500 million apps/ applications will be created. When we talk about creating so many applications definitely major chunk will be web applications, REST API and web hosted applications. The question where will be those applications hosted. The service which is scalable, resilient and easy to configure will win the race. Azure App Service exactly fits into it. Azure App Service is a platform which makes it super easy for hosting web-based applications primarily. The current momentum of Azure App service is also amazing.


So obviously Azure App service is the primary way of hosting web applications and will increase exponentially in coming future. So in essence it is important for us to know how can we save cost when we host our applications on Azure App Service. 

The costliest resource on cloud – Compute

Microsoft Azure is made of 3 basic building blocks – Network, Storage and Compute. All services are built on top of these building blocks. For any computing, processing , analysis you need compute power. For Azure, “Compute” is the most costly resource as compared to Networking and Storage. If you save on Compute then you perform major cloud cost optimization.

In Azure App service, the compute, network and storage for your application is provided by Azure App Service Plans.

Understanding Azure App Service Plans


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Azure VMs – Export to CSV

Abstract

For human race, there are some common tasks in daily life which you must do. Without which humans can survive but you can’t say if they are “living the life”. For example, taking a bath is one of such tasks. You can survive without taking a bath but you will not like it. These tasks are those which bring “life” to humans daily lives and make them enjoy their stay on earth.

Out of these humans there is special category of humans – I call them “Humans who work in Software field”. They can be sub-categorized into below –

       1.     Software developers
2.      IT administrators
3.      Project managers
4.      Software Engineers
5.      Solution Architects

For all these sub-categories you can apply prefix such as Senior, Junior, Principal, Full Stack, Distinguished and in recent times we have a new addition to this prefix known as “CLOUD”. These are humans who can easily survive without bath but there is one thing without which none of these humans can survive and it is known as “Export to CSV”. It is more or equally important like eating food and drinking water for them.

No matter how many cutting edge features and service Microsoft Azure is bringing, we still feel the product or service is not complete unless you offer “the” functionality of “Export to CSV”. Surprisingly Azure VM export to csv do not exists on Azure portal and you need to write a PowerShell for this. Therefore my lazy followers and friends asked me to write PowerShell to export Azure VM to CSV. So here we are!

Let’s go!

Current state of feedback

Users have provided the feedback to bring the functionality of export to csv for all azure resources on the portal. It is on the roadmap. You can view the details here - https://feedback.azure.com/forums/216843-virtual-machines/suggestions/37934101-virtual-machine-list-export-to-csv.

Why yet another new script?


I spoke to multiple people who are dealing with Azure VMs daily basis and requirements from there for CSV was an eye opener. Many of the scripts available today provides very minimal details about VM when exported to CSV. Most of the Azure Administrator find them not so useful. So after a quick survey with few of Lazy followers I received below list as a top ask for Azure VM to CSV export. In the below list the top ask was to retrieve Azure VNET for Azure VM and Azure VNET subnet for Azure VM using PowerShell. I have addressed this as well in the script.

So, current script provides the CSV output of Azure VMs with great details. Refer below columns list –