UPDATED: Including the newly released Step-by-Step guides for implementing Windows Azure Virtual Network Site-to-Site VPN and Point-to-Site VPN hybrid networking in the list of linked resources in this study program.
My fellow Technical Evangelists and I have authored a content series that steps through building your very own Private Cloud by leveraging Windows Server 2012, our FREE Hyper-V Server 2012, Windows Azure Infrastructure Services ( IaaS ) and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1. Week-by-week, we walk through the steps to envision, plan and implement your very own Private Cloud to take your existing data center to the next level and give you the tools and time back in your day for improving IT services and being able to change and shift with your business / IT needs.
In this article, I introduce this series and provide a weekly breakdown of each topic that we've written to help you build your own Private Cloud ...
UPDATE: At the end of this step-by-step article, I've also included a downloadable lab guide and a 130-line PowerShell script for initial provisioning. The PowerShell script helps to reduce the initial configuration time by automating the provisioning of a new Windows Azure Storage account, Virtual Network and Virtual Machines - after running the script, you'll just need to Remote Desktop into each VM to finish the OS and application-level configuration tasks. Hope you enjoy!
Now that SharePoint Server 2013 has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built for studying, testing, development, demos and/or performing a proof-of-concept. You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.
This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-day Trial Offer to build a free lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud. Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 that will be accessible for approximately 105 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you under the 90-day Trial Offer ...
Windows Azure Infrastructure Services launched on April 16th for production workloads, and we're already seeing tremendous interest around Several Key IT Pro Scenarios relating to off-site backup, disaster recovery and running key web application VMs in the cloud, such as SharePoint Server 2013.
On May 21st, we'll be offering two FREE half-day hands-on training sessions in Detroit, MI for extending your Datacenter with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services to support common scenarios. Seating is very limited, so be sure to register today to learn how to master these popular scenarios!
UPDATE: I've updated this Guided Hands-on Lab to reflect the new Virtual Network capabilities that were launched with the General Availability announcement of Windows Azure, including support for a Windows Server 2012 On-premises VPN Gateway device.
This month, my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I are authoring a new articles series on 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. You can catch the full series at http://aka.ms/CloudTop20. In today's article in this series, we'll discuss extending our On-premises Datacenter into a Hybrid Network Infrastructure with Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure Virtual Networks and Site-to-Site VPN Tunnels.
Windows Azure Virtual Networks offers the power to open up several cross-premises use case scenarios, including Active Directory Disaster Recovery, SQL Database Replication, Windows Server 2012 DFS-R File Replication, Accelerated Cloud File Services with BranchCache, Hybrid Web Applications and MORE! But … we need to configure the Virtual Network FIRST … which is what this Guided Hands-on Lab is all about!
I’ve assembled all of the relevant content from the Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge program into an accelerated Certification Study Guide for IT Professionals targeting Exam 70-417, Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012.
In this article, I’ll provide a summary of this Study Guide along with the information needed to receive your own copy of this Study Guide for FREE!
In addition to IT Pros previously certified on Windows Server 2008, the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification is also very relevant for IT Pros focused on SharePoint, Exchange and Lync solutions. Since SharePoint Server 2013, Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 all rely on a strong Windows Server 2012 foundation, you’ll find that the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification is now a required prerequisite for achieving the new MCSE certifications for SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013.
There’s LOTS going on in May and June for IT Pros in the US Heartland!
Below is a list of my upcoming events, most of which are FREE or low-cost opportunities for you to attend to learn about IT Pro news, topics and resources! Be sure to check back weekly as we add new events to the list ...
This month, my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I are authoring a new articles series on 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. You can catch the full series at http://aka.ms/CloudTop20. In today's article in this series, we'll discuss accelerating content on cloud-based web and file servers using Windows Server 2012 BranchCache. Once implemented, this solution can dramatically improve the user experience when accessing content servers in the cloud across high-latency, low-bandwidth Internet connections.
Traditional file sharing protocols, such as Server Message Block ( SMB ) in Windows Server 2012, are primarily designed for low-latency, high-bandwidth scenarios commonly found in Local Area Networks ( LANs ). When attempting to move file server workloads to the cloud, many IT Pros find that the unpredictable latency and limited bandwidth related to most Internet connections can make it challenging to deliver file services from the cloud in a reliable manner.
In this Step-by-Step article, I’ll walk through a configuration that leverages the BranchCache feature available in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Enterprise. Once implemented, BranchCache can solve cloud networking challenges by implementing a Wide Area File Services ( WAFS ) solution that caches frequently accessed data locally, either in a Distributed Cache across local clients or on a local Hosted Cache Server.
Lab Scenario: BranchCache Accelerating Content Access from the Cloud
TechEd is our premier technical conference for IT Professionals and Enterprise Developers, and this year Microsoft TechEd 2013 North America will be in New Orleans, LA on June 3rd-6th. I’ll be speaking at sessions to help IT Pros prepare for MCSE certification on Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Private Cloud.
In this article, I provide links to my sessions and other resources to help you get started in your TechEd experience ...
This month, my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I are authoring a new articles series on 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. You can catch the full series at http://aka.ms/CloudTop20.
In today's article in this series, we'll discuss backup of SQL databases and logs to the Windows Azure cloud as an alternate off-site backup strategy to using tape. I think every IT Pro I’ve ever met hates tape backups … but having an offsite component in your backup strategy is absolutely necessary for effective disaster recovery.
One of the new features provided in SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 2 is the ability to now backup SQL databases and logs to Windows Azure cloud storage using native SQL Server Backup via both Transact-SQL ( T-SQL ) and SQL Server Management Objects ( SMO ).
Backup to cloud storage is a natural fit for disaster recovery, as our backups are instantly located offsite when completed. And, the pay-as-you-go model of cloud storage economics makes it really cost effective – Windows Azure storage costs are less than $100/TB per month for geo-redundant storage based on current published costs as of this article’s date. That’s less than the cost of a couple SDLT tapes! You can check out our current pricing model for Windows Azure Storage on our Price Calculator page.
In this article, I’ll step through the process of using SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 native backup capabilities to create database backups on Windows Azure cloud storage ...
Windows Azure Infrastructure Services officially launched in April for supporting production Virtual Machine and Virtual Network workloads. Master the skills for leveraging Windows Azure as part of a hybrid cloud infrastructure and showcase your new knowledge to others in the "Early Experts” Cloud Quest … best of all, this program is completely FREE to all participants! Get the details in this article ...
Become an “Early Expert” on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services!
UPDATE: New Resources Included for System Center 2012 SP1
Getting ready to start prepping for the new System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Exam 70-243, but looking for some solid study materials? This study guide targets the certification objective domains for Exam 70-243 and is intended to assist in self-assessing your preparedness for this exam as well as providing FREE study resources for each objective area to quickly close knowledge gaps. I've assembled this study guide using the same materials that I used when I was preparing for this exam myself.
As I was preparing for the new Microsoft Private Cloud Certification Exam 70-247, Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 over the past several weeks, I saved links to all my study resources that I leveraged to study and pass this exam. I’ve incorporated this list of resources into a step-by-step Exam Study Guide for anyone else who may be interested in targeting this exam ...
This month, I spent a fair amount of time preparing for the new Microsoft Private Cloud Certification Exam 70-246, Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 and I saved links to all the study resources that I used to study and pass this exam as a step-by-step Exam Study Guide for anyone else who may be interested in targeting this exam. Download my FREE Study Guide for this Exam here ...
Yesterday, I had a great time with the CincyPowerShell user group discussing security and delegation in PowerShell with PKI, code-signing certificates, PowerShell Remoting and PowerShell Web Access ( new with Windows Server 2012! ).
In this article, I'm posting links to the PowerShell snippets we walked through for each topic ...
As we’ve seen so far throughout our Build Your Private Cloud in a Month series, Private Clouds allow us to organize our datacenter resources into pools of resources and template configurations that are really easy to deploy and manage.
But, as we all know, configuration tasks for datacenter workloads don’t end with initial provisioning! We’ve got to have equally effective tools for managing updates to our Private Cloud fabric components, as well as servicing and scaling application workloads deployed within our Private Cloud. IT requirements can frequently change through the lifecycle of a deployed application as the scope of business needs, application code, and user audience continue to evolve.
In this video walk-through, Yung Chou and I will showcase recommendations, tools and methods for managing the lifecycle of your Private Cloud workloads with System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager – including updating Private Cloud fabric components, servicing and deploying new versions of an application workload, and scaling applications elastically to support changing capacity requirements.
UPDATE: Exercise 3, Step 4 in this Step-by-Step Guide has been updated to include Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1.
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System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 ( “ConfigMgr 2012 SP1” ) offers lots of great new capabilities for IT Pros, but building a lab to evaluate, test and study ConfigMgr can be challenging if you don’t have spare hardware capacity in your data center. In this Step-by-Step Guide, I’ll walk through the steps that I used to build my ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 demo and study lab in the cloud on the Windows Azure platform.
This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-Day Trial Offer to build your lab environment for FREE in the cloud for up to 90-days. Using the configuration outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a functional lab environment that will be accessible for approximately 150 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you under this 90-day trial offer.
Lab Scenario: ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 in the Cloud
So far in our Build Your Private Cloud in a Month series, we’ve prepared a scalable, resilient foundation and created our storage, network and compute fabric in System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager. Now …. we're ready to build some Private Clouds!
In System Center 2012 SP1, we can build "Private Clouds” as pools of delegated resources that abstract our underlying physical fabric. We can create multiple Private Clouds for varying application or business unit needs, and present each Private Cloud with a defined capacity that we can later grow, shrink or customize as needed. In this manner, Private Clouds provide us with a ton of flexibility for mapping our datacenter capacity to changing business requirements while not exposing the full fabric capacity details to application owners.
In this video walkthrough, Yung Chou and I show how to create Private Clouds using System Center 2012 SP1 VMM, and then we step through scenarios for delegating and using them to support application workloads.
UPDATE: I'm updating this article to also include a new Step-by-Step video and migration guide that was recently released by our Cluster team to provide guidance for using the Migrate a Cluster Wizard to migrate CLUSTERS of Hyper-V Server hosts from 2008 R2 to 2012, in addition to the other migration scenarios previously included in this article below.
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Recently, I was involved in a project that was migrating from Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 to Hyper-V Server 2012. Due to architectural changes involved in implementing the new features in Hyper-V Server 2012, a direct in-place upgrade is not possible. However, the across-the-wire migration process we used below was straight-forward and worked very well. A ton of work has been done by the product team on improving the virtual machine export/import process, and we definitely saw this area shine during our project. Here's the migration steps we used ...
Earlier in this Build Your Private Cloud in a Month article series, we defined Elasticity as an important property of a Private Cloud Fabric. Elasticity allows us to manage our Private Cloud as a flexible pool of resources that we can leverage to rapidly grow our datacenter capacity to meet new resource demands within our organization or shrink our datacenter capacity when resource demands are lighter to save on datacenter power and cooling operating costs.
In this article, we’ll get introduced an additional strategy in managing our Private Cloud fabric elastically: Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization – both are capabilities provided by System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager. In addition, we'll provided a Guided Hands-on Lab to allow you to step through the process of configuring these capabilities.
Today, April 16th 2013, the Windows Azure team has announced that Windows Azure Infrasructure Services ( Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks ) has been released for General Availability ( GA ) for production workloads!
Over 200,000 customers are actively using Windows Azure as their cloud platform. In this article, I’ll review the step-by-step scenarios with which these customers have experienced great value – so that YOU can easily get started leveraging the low-cost and flexibility of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, too – beginning TODAY!
I’ve recently presented talks at a number of SharePoint-related conferences and events on practical approaches to deploying SharePoint on Windows Server 2012 and our FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 enterprise-grade bare-metal hypervisors ( on–premise ) as well as using Windows Azure VMs ( in the cloud ). In this article, I’m including a copy of each deck along with a set of follow-up resources that can be leveraged as next steps in getting your infrastructure platform ready for your next SharePoint deployment …