Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2014

I’m very happy to announce that I have been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for 2014! This is my sixth consecutive year receiving this award from Microsoft, and I’m proud and honored to be included with the great group of professionals associated with this program. I’m looking forward to joining all of my fellow MVPs again at this year’s summit in November. Hope to see you there!

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2014

Creating Custom Base Images for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines

Creating virtual machines in Microsoft Azure is simple and straightforward. There are countless preconfigured virtual machine images to choose from for both Windows and Linux platforms. Also available are pre-defined workloads like SharePoint, SQL Server, and many others. But what if you want to deploy a virtual machine in Azure using your own deployment image? Well, Azure supports creation and deployment of virtual machine on their cloud platform using your own pre-configured images. Read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com to find out more.

Creating Custom Base Images in Microsoft Azure

Techniques for Blocking Anonymous Public Proxies using Forefront TMG 2010

I’ve spent the better party of the last 16 years implementing and managing edge security and remote access solutions for some of the largest organizations in the world. With a lot of experience enforcing Internet access policies, I can tell you from experience that users will try anything to circumvent those restrictions. One of the most common methods of avoiding in place access controls is public anonymous proxy servers. In this month’s ISAserver.org article I’ll demonstrate a few techniques for preventing public anonymous proxy server access using Forefront TMG 2010.

Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010

SQL Database Options in Microsoft Azure

One of my favorite things about the Microsoft Azure public cloud is the SQL database options that are available. Whenever I’m building a test lab that requires an SQL database, in the past it would take quite a long time to get a VM provisioned and SQL installed and configured. Also, with limited local resources, my test lab SQL servers were often significantly underpowered. With Azure-hosted SQL databases, that’s no longer a problem. I can provision a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM with whatever version of SQL I require in just a few minutes. In addition, I’m no longer constrained by local resources. Now I routinely provision very powerful VMs, typically with at least 8 cores and 14GB of RAM, which makes testing much easier. Microsoft Azure also features SQL database as a service options too, which doesn’t require provisioning a VM. This works quite well in many cases. For more information about SQL database options in Microsoft Azure, be sure to read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com.

Configure a Windows Server 2012 R2 Lab in Microsoft Azure

Configure a Windows Server 2012 R2 Test Lab in Microsoft Azure

I’ve really enjoyed working with Microsoft Azure over the last few years. The service continues to add new features at a rapid pace, and I’m finding myself using Azure virtual machines much more frequently that in the past. Recently I decided to configure a full, standalone Windows Server 2012 R2 lab hosted entirely in Azure. The first challenge I faced was configuring the domain controller. As it turns out, there are a few things you have to do to make it work. Read my latest article in CloudComputingAdmin.com to find out the details.

Configure a Windows Server 2012 R2 Lab in Microsoft Azure

Integrating Microsoft Exchange 2010 Edge Transport with Forefront TMG 2010

If you are still hosting your own Microsoft Exchange 2010 server on-premises, you may be considering the integration of the Exchange Edge Transport role with Forefront TMG 2010. There are a variety of reasons for doing this, but it is not without some drawbacks. If you’d like to learn more about this deployment scenario and how to configure both Exchange and TMG to accomplish this, read my latest post on ISAserver.org here.

Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010

Deploying a WordPress Blog on Microsoft Azure

WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, and one that I’ve used for many years. My first two blogs, tmgblog.richardhicks.com and directaccess.richardhicks.com, were both created using the hosted WordPress platform at WordPress.com. Recently I decided to move my personal web site (the site you are viewing now!) over to Microsoft Azure. Instead of migrating my old Classic ASP web site I created a long time ago, I decided that I’d leverage Azure’s support for WordPress. I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the process! There were a few catches, but for the most part it has been a great experience. In my latest article at CloudComputingAdmin.com you can learn for yourself how to create and deploy a WordPress blog on the powerful Microsoft Azure platform. Enjoy!

Deploy WordPress on Microsoft Azure