Have I mentioned I love using Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service? Perhaps once or twice. 🙂 Azure IaaS allows me to extend my on-premises test lab to the cloud and provide tremendous flexibility for some of the projects I’m working on. Occasionally I’ll have a need to create a load-balanced cluster of servers for testing, which on-premises can often easily be accomplished using the native Windows Network Load Balancing (NLB) feature. However, NLB isn’t supported in the cloud. Thankfully Microsoft recently added a load balancing feature in Azure to address this need. Read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com to learn more!
I love Azure! There are so many great features included with the service it’s amazing. One of them I discovered recently is the Azure Traffic Manager. It provides intelligent and granular network traffic distribution using DNS. Essentially it is a cloud-based virtual Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) solution. Easy to take advantage of and works for on-premises workloads too! Read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com to learn more.
Can you install Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 in Microsoft Azure? Should you? Are there any uses cases for which installing TMG in Azure is a good fit? I answer these questions and more in my latest article on ISAserver.org. Check it out!
I’ve been working with Microsoft Azure a lot lately, utilizing their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) virtual machines to extend my on-premises test lab and for a few other projects I’m working on too. Address assignment in Azure is dynamic, with services typically being accessed by hostname. There are times when having a static IP address is desirable, however. Microsoft Azure does have several options available to address this need. Read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com to learn more.
There are a number of storage options available in Microsoft Azure, including blobs, tables, and queues. There are also various versions of SQL available in both Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Recently Microsoft announced the availability of Azure Files, which is designed for unstructured data that can be access via SMB. This is a wonderful new feature that will greatly enhance the IaaS solution, as having a native Azure storage option for things like scripts, configuration files, and software that can be access via file share in the cloud will streamline things greatly. No more having to configure a dedicated file server VM! For more information about Azure Files, read my latest article on CloudComputingAdmin.com here.
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.
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.
The WindowSecurity.com monthly newsletter is out! This month I discuss my recent trip to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WWPC) in Washington, D.C. and share details about Microsoft’s increased focus on security for their online services. I also provide details about Microsoft’s current state of security and compliance for the Azure public cloud offering. Check it out!
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.