Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Michelle Drolet

Blog Feed Post

31 Days of Servers in the Cloud – Creating Azure Virtual Machines with App Controller (Part 13 of 31)

As you know, if you’ve been following our series, “31 Days of Servers in the Cloud”, Windows Azure can become an extension of your datacenter, and allow you to run your servers in the cloud.

“We get it, Kevin.”

And you’ve seen excellent articles in this series already, describing how to use the Windows Azure portal to create your virtual machines, how to upload your own VM hard disks into the cloud and use them to build machines, and more.  In today’s installment, I’m going to show you how easy it is to connect App Controller (a component of System Center 2012) to your Windows Azure account, and then how to use App Controller to create virtual machines in your Windows Azure cloud.

To do this, we need to have a few preliminaries in place:

  1. You have a Windows Azure subscription, and have requested the ability to preview the use of Windows Azure virtual machines.  (If you don’t have an account, you can start a free 90-day trial HERE.)
  2. You have System Center 2012 App Controller installed.  (Download the System Center 2012 Private Cloud evaluation software HERE.) 
    NOTE: You will need System Center 2012 SP1 App Controller, which at the time of this writing is available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers and volume license customers only; but will very soon be generally available.  I will update this blog post as soon as that happens.

So, with nothing more assumed then just those basics, let’s walk through the following steps:

  1. Connect App Controller to your Windows Azure subscription (READ THIS POST for the instructions on how to do this.)
  2. Create a Storage Account in Windows Azure
  3. Use App Controller to create a new Virtual Machine

Assuming you’ve done part 1, and have your connection to your Windows Azure subscription set up in App Controller, let’s move on.

 

Create a Storage Account in Windows Azure

There are many ways to create a new storage account:

  • I could use the Windows Azure administrative portal
  • I could use PowerShell for Windows Azure and the New-AzureStorageAccount cmdlet
  • Or I could do it using App Controller.

For our purposes, let’s use App Controller.

Open App Controller and login as your administrative account.  On the left, select Library.

image 

Click Create Storage Account.  Give your storage account a name, and choose a region or an affinity group.

image

Click OK.  You should see something that looks like this at the bottom-right of the browser window:

image

After a few minutes, a refresh of the Library page should show you that you now have your new storage account available. 

image

Now we need to create a container to hold our machine disk(s).  With your new storage account selected, Click Create Container.

image

Give your container a name and click OK.

In a very short while, you’ll see your new container. 

image

Now we’re ready to create virtual machines.

 

Use App Controller to create a new Virtual Machine

Open App Controller and login as your administrative account.

On the left, select Virtual Machines.  This is where we can see, manage, and create new virtual machine and service deployments.  (If you’re doing this for the first time, you won’t see items in your list here just yet.)

image

Click Deploy.  The New Deployment window opens up. 

image

Under Cloud, click Configure…, then select your Windows Azure connection as the cloud into which you’re going to deploy your new virtual machine. 
(Note: In my App Controller, I’ve also connected to a local VMM Server, which is why I see this other cloud in my list.)

image

Click OK.

Now you will see this:

image

Click Select an Item… under Deployment Type.  Now you’ll see a screen that looks something like this:

image

This is where you can choose to build a new machine or service based on existing, provided images, or images or disks you’ve uploaded into your own Windows Azure storage.  In this example, I’m going to select Images on the left, and choose to build a new Windows Server 2012 machine using the provided image.

Once I click OK, I now see this:

image

So the next thing I need to do is click Configure… under Cloud Service.  Virtual machines and services all run in the context of cloud services.  For our example, we’re going to assume that you haven’t created any machines or other items that requires a service, so your list is going to be empty.  You’ll use this screen to create and then select your new service.

image

Click Create…  and then fill in cloud service details (Name, Description) and the cloud service location (a unique public URL, plus a geographic region or affinity group).

imageClick OK, and then select your new service and click OK again.

image

Next we need to configure the deployment:

image

Click Configure… under Deployment.  Now you’ll see this:

image

Enter a deployment name, and optionally associate your machine with a virtual network if you have one.  (If you don’t have, or don’t select a network, you will be creating the machine and service to handle networking within the service automatically.)  Click OK.

Now it’s time to configure the virtual machine itself.

image

Click Configure… under Virtual Machine.

Now we set the general properties…

image

Note: an Availability Set is not required, but a new one can be created or an existing one selected from here.

Set the Disks…

image

When I click Browse…, I’m given the ability to choose the location for my disks in Windows Azure storage, as well as to add (or create) additional data disks for this machine.  For our example let’s use the storage account and container we created earlier.  I won’t be adding any data disks.

image

For the Network…

image

…I’ll just leave the default.  I could use this opportunity to define additional endpoints for connections to services on this machine, or I could do it later.

For Administrator password

image

…enter a password for the local administrator account.  (It also looks like you can use this to assign the computer to a domain if you happen to have a domain controller in the same network or service.  I haven’t yet tried, this, so I can’t comment further.)

Click OK. 

image

And now click Deploy.

You’ll see a notification towards the bottom right that should look something like this:

image

And after several minutes, looking in the Virtual Machines area of App Controller, you will see your new machine appear.  Its status will change to “provisioning”, and eventually “running”. 

image

Notice also that if you select your new machine, you also have the option now to connect to it via Remote Desktop!  (Cool!)  Log in as the Administrator with the administrator password you assigned, and you’re in!

image

Naturally, you can very easily use App Controller to delete your machines, disks, storage containers, and storage accounts, too.  (Remember to do that when you’re done.  Even if a machine isn’t running, you’re still being billed for it and for the storage being used!)

---

Useful stuff?  I hope so.  Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or… comments.  Smile 

And if you missed any of the other parts of our series, you can find the entire list HERE.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Remde

Kevin is an engaging and highly sought-after speaker and webcaster who has landed several times on Microsoft's top 10 webcast list, and has delivered many top-scoring TechNet events and webcasts. In his past outside of Microsoft, Kevin has held positions such as software engineer, information systems professional, and information systems manager. He loves sharing helpful new solutions and technologies with his IT professional peers.

A prolific blogger, Kevin shares his thoughts, ideas and tips on his “Full of I.T.” blog (http://aka.ms/FullOfIT). He also contributes to and moderates the TechNet Forum IT Manager discussion (http://aka.ms/ITManager), and presents live TechNet Events throughout the central U.S. (http://www.technetevents.com). When he's not busy learning or blogging about new technologies, Kevin enjoys digital photography and videography, and sings in a band. (Q: Midlife crisis? A: More cowbell!) He continues to challenge his TechNet Event audiences to sing Karaoke with him.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.