Azure – Who de-allocated my virtual machine?

Many a time we might want to know details about certain operations performed on our Azure resources.

Once such case study would be to track how many virtual machines are being de-allocated by users, so we can make a decision on not to monitor them.

I have written a simple script that would make the tracking easy.

Download the script


This script will fetch information of certain Azure operation against Azure resources and create a CSV file. Specifically, this script will create a CSV file that contains a list of Azure operations that de-allocates an Azure virtual machine.

You may alter the IF condition statement to produce desired results.

Example, fetch operational logs for Azure Storage only. Or fetch operational logs for re-start VM or any operation on any Azure resource.

The CSV file will be saved in the same folder from where you run the script and will be saved as “Azure_activity_logs.csv”


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Azure – Audit report (Azure automation runbook)

The PowerShell script is an Azure automation runbook that pulls the below data and populates the data into a CSV file. The script then summarizes the data into an email’s body and sends an email to the recipient with the CSV files as attachments.

If the Azure automation runbook is scheduled to run every day, you will get a summary/high-level view of what is happening in your environment to your email box. The email could be the first report any organization’s high management would desire to look at.

1. Count of De-allocated Azure virtual machines

2. Count of Running Azure virtual machines

3. Count of Stopped Azure virtual machines

4. Count of Azure virtual machines that do not have native backup configured (Azure Back up and Recovery service)

5. Count of Inbound Security rules that causes vulnerability

Download the script


Sample Summary:

Screenshot from 2018-06-04 19-13-52

Email is sent via SendGrid service. You need to update the script with your SendGrid credentials.

You may choose a “Free Tier” pricing for SendGrid. Below is documentation to create a SendGrid account:

Note: The script is an Azure Automation runbook. You have to run it from an Azure Automation account.


If you would like me to add more data that would be useful as an Azure audit report, please let me know.


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Azure – Install exe files (BigFix) on Azure windows virtual machine using Azure Custom Script Extension (CSE)

What is custom script extension?

The Custom Script Extension downloads and executes scripts on Azure virtual machines. This extension is useful for post-deployment configuration, software installation, or any other configuration/management task. Scripts can be downloaded from Azure storage or GitHub, or provided to the Azure portal at extension runtime. The Custom Script extension integrates with Azure Resource Manager templates, and can also be run using the Azure CLI, PowerShell, Azure portal, or the Azure Virtual Machine REST API.

This document details on how to use Custom Script Extension using the Azure PowerShell Module against an already provisioned Azure Windows virtual machine to install BigFix client.


Operating System

The Custom Script Extension for Windows can be run on Windows 10 Client, Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, and 2016 releases.

Script Location

The script needs to be stored in Azure Blob storage, or any other location accessible through a valid URL.

Internet Connectivity

The Custom Script Extension for Windows requires that the target virtual machine is connected to the internet.

The BigFix client files are stored in the storage account:


We shall be naming the extension as “bigfixinstallextension.” Make sure that an extension with the same name already does not exist.

Step 1: Get the Azure virtual machine config object

$vm = get-azurermvm -ResourceGroupName “datadog-test” -Name “dg-private-1”

Step 2: Query the Virtual Machine object for existing extensions:


You should see an output similar to below if it does not have any custom extensions.


Note: any azure virtual machine will have one default extension – “MicrosoftMonitoringAgent.” This is because Azure installs “Microsoft Monitoring Agent” on every virtual machine. Make sure, the virtual machine does not have another extension with the name “ bigfixinstallextension.” If it does have, we have to remove that extension.

Below link provides an Azure Powershell cmdlet to remove the extension:

Once, we have confirmed that a custom extension with name “ bigfixinstallextension” does not exists, we can proceed in adding one. Below is the powershell code:

# Resource group of virtual machine

$resource_group = “datadog-test”

# location of virtual machine

$location = “East US 2”

# azure virtual machine name

$vm_name = “dg-private-1”

# storage account name where the custom script is stored

$storage_account_name = “xxxx”

# storage account key of where the custom script is stored

$storage_account_key = “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”

# custom script file name

$file_name = “azure_custom_script_execution_install_bigfix.ps1”

# container name where the custom script is stored

$container_name = “msifiles”

# extension name for the custom script extension

$extension_name = “bigfixinstallextension”

# azure powershell cmdlet to execute add the custom script extension and to execute the powershell file

Set-AzureRmVMCustomScriptExtension -ResourceGroupName $resource_group -Location $location -VMName $vm_name -Name $extension_name -TypeHandlerVersion “1.1” -StorageAccountName $storage_account_name -StorageAccountKey $storage_account_key -FileName $file_name -ContainerName $container_name



Now login to the Azure windows virtual machine to confirm if the BigFix client is installed and running:


The downloaded file can be found inside the virtual machine at the below file path:


Extension execution output is logged to files found under the following directory on the target virtual machine. For troubleshooting.



Explaining the PowerShell scriptazure_custom_script_execution_install_bigfix.ps1

This script gets executed as part of the Custom Script Execution. And it is responsible for installing the BigFix agent.

Below is the code:

# Create a directory to hold BigFix files

new-item ‘c:\bigfix’ -ItemType directory

# Copy BigFix files from Azure storage to local directory

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -outfile ‘c:\bigfix\clientsettings.cfg’

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -outfile ‘c:\bigfix\masthead.afxm’

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -outfile ‘c:\bigfix\setup.exe’

# Execute the setup file

$arguments = “/S /v/qn”

$filepath = “c:\bigfix\setup.exe”

Start-Process $filepath $arguments -wait

Execution Flow:

1. Create a directory to hold big fix files.

2. Copy the three files associated with BigFix installation to the directory created in Step 1.

3. Execute the setup file in silent mode.

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Azure – Collecting performance metrics for Azure virtual machines

Azure Monitor provides several ways to interact with metrics, including charting them in the portal, accessing them through the REST API, or querying them using PowerShell or CLI.

In this blog, we shall learn how to fetch the metrics for our Azure Virtual Machines using PowerShell. The script that I provide can be used as a utility to generate quick reports.

Below is the script:


Manjunath Rao
February 21, 2018
The script will generate performance metrics (as recorded by Azure agent) from Azure virtual machines and then populate into an excel sheet.
$ErrorActionPreference = “SilentlyContinue”
# Login to Azure Account
Login-AzureRmAccount -ErrorAction Stop
# The exception lands in [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.AadAuthenticationCanceledException]
Write-Host “User Cancelled The Authentication” -ForegroundColor Yellow
# Prompting the user to select the subscription
Get-AzureRmSubscription | Out-GridView -OutputMode Single -Title “Please select a subscription” | ForEach-Object {$selectedSubscriptionID = $PSItem.SubscriptionId}
Write-Host “You have selected the subscription: $selectedSubscriptionID. Proceeding with fetching the inventory. `n” -ForegroundColor green
# Setting the selected subscription
Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId $selectedSubscriptionID
# Get the list of resource groups
$resourcegroup_list = (get-azurermresourcegroup).resourcegroupname
# Create an Excel COM Object
$excel = New-Object -ComObject excel.application
Write-Host “Something went wrong in creating excel. Make sure you have MSOffice installed to access MSExcel. Please try running the script again. `n” -ForegroundColor Yellow
# Create a Workbook
$workbook = $excel.Workbooks.Add()
# Creating a directory overrides if any directory exists with the same name
Write-Host “Creating a directory: C:\AzurePerformanceMetrics. This operation will override if you have a directory with the same name. `n” -ForegroundColor Yellow
New-Item C:\AzurePerformanceMetrics -Type Directory -Force
Write-Host “Creating the Performance Metrics worksheet…” -ForegroundColor Green
# Adding worksheet
# Creating the “Virtual Machine” worksheet and naming it
$VirtualMachineWorksheet = $workbook.Worksheets.Item(1)
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Name = ‘Virtual Machine perf metrics’
# Headers for the worksheet
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,1) = ‘Resource Group Name’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,2) = ‘VM Name’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,3) = ‘Location’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,4) = ‘Percentage CPU’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,5) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,6) = ‘Network IN’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,7) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,8) = ‘Network Out’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,9) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,10) = ‘Disk Read Bytes’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,11) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,12) = ‘Disk Write Bytes’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,13) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,14) = ‘Disk Read Operations/Sec’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,15) = ‘Units’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,16) = ‘Disk Write Operations/Sec’
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item(1,17) = ‘Units’
# Cell Counter
$row_counter = 3
$column_counter = 1
foreach($resourcegroup_list_iterator in $resourcegroup_list){
#write-output “RG: ” $resourcegroup_list_iterator
$vm_list = get-azurermvm -ResourceGroupName $resourcegroup_list_iterator
foreach($vm_list_iterator in $vm_list){
write-host “Fetching performance metrics for the virtual machine: ” $vm_list_iterator.Name -ForegroundColor cyan
$percentage_cpu_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Percentage CPU” # Percentage
$network_in_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Network IN” # Bytes
$network_out_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Network Out” # Bytes
$disk_read_bytes_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Disk Read Bytes” # Bytes Per Second
$disk_write_bytes_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Disk Write Bytes” # Bytes Per Second
$disk_read_operations_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Disk Read Operations/Sec” # Count Per Second
$disk_write_operations_data = get-azurermmetric -ResourceId $ -TimeGrain 00:01:00 -MetricName “Disk Write Operations/Sec” # Count Per Second
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $vm_list_iterator.ResourceGroupName.ToString()
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $vm_list_iterator.Name.ToString()
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $vm_list_iterator.Location.ToString()
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $percentage_cpu_data.Data[-2].Average
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Percentage”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $network_in_data.Data[-2].Total
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Bytes”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $network_out_data.Data[-2].Total
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Bytes”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $disk_read_bytes_data.Data[-2].Average
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Bytes Per Second”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $disk_write_bytes_data.Data[-2].Average
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Bytes Per Second”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $disk_read_operations_data.Data[-2].Average
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Count Per Second”
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = $disk_write_operations_data.Data[-2].Average
$VirtualMachineWorksheet.Cells.Item($row_counter,$column_counter++) = “Count Per Second”
$row_counter = $row_counter + 1
$column_counter = 1
Write-Output ” ”
# Checking if the Inventory.xlsx already exists
if(Test-Path C:\AzurePerformanceMetrics\Performance_metrics.xlsx){
Write-Host “C:\AzurePerformanceMetrics\Performance_metrics.xlsx already exitst. Deleting the current file and creating a new one. `n” -ForegroundColor Yellow
Remove-Item C:\AzurePerformanceMetrics\Performance_metrics.xlsx
# Saving the workbook/excel file
}else {
# Saving the workbook/excel file


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Azure – Server Inventory solution

This blog post is dedicated to IT Operations team and administrators who are managing Cloud Infrastructure. The recommended practice while providing managed service to any client is to have a CMDB (Configuration Management Database), which tracks the list of servers and the corresponding details, that we are managing for the client.

However, considering the dynamic nature of the cloud environment, it is a difficult task to maintain such a database. Manually updating the list of servers/server inventory is tedious and error-prone. The only solution is to have an automated approach to this problem.

Below is my solution:

The PowerShell script will extract virtual machines and their details. In this particular case, the script will consider virtual machines, which has tags (‘owner’,’Manju’). That is, I want to manage virtual machines owned only by me. You can go ahead and make changes to the script if you have a different requirement.

Next, the script will write the data into an Azure table. Remember, that the Azure table has to be created before running the script. Another option is Azure Cosmos DB.

Next, you can upload this script to your Azure Automation account or a dedicated windows server. Then, schedule this script to run every one hour to track your server inventory.

The script uses cmdlets from the “AzureRmStorageTable” PowerShell module.

Execute “Install-Module AzureRmStorageTable” to install the module.

Note: You have to alter the script when you schedule the script. The login mechanism is different for “Azure Automation” and “Task scheduler via Windows server”. The login mechanism of the below script is to execute it directly (manually) from PowerShell console or PowerShell ISE.



# Author: Manjunath Rao
# Date: Febuary 13, 2018

# Install-Module AzureRmStorageTable –>> THIS MODULE NEEDED

# Login to Azure
## Code to create Azure table storage context
$azure_table_storage_account_name = “xxx”
$azure_table_name = “xxx”
$azure_table_partitionKey = “xxx”
$azure_table_rowkey = “xxx”

$azure_table_resource_group = “xxx”

$storage_account_context = (Get-AzureRmStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName $azure_table_resource_group -Name $azure_table_storage_account_name).Context

$azure_table_object = Get-AzureStorageTable -Name $azure_table_name -Context $storage_account_context


# Getting all the resource group
$resource_group_list = Get-AzureRmResourceGroup

# Iterating through the resource group
foreach($resource_group_list_iterator in $resource_group_list){

# Since the solution applies for virtual machines,
# obtain the list of virtual machines for the resource group
$virtual_machine_list = get-azurermvm -ResourceGroupName $resource_group_list_iterator.ResourceGroupName

# Proceed only when resource group contains virtual machines
if(!($virtual_machine_list -eq $null)){

# Iterate through the virtual machine list
foreach($virtual_machine_list_iterator in $virtual_machine_list){

# Creat an unique ID by concatinating ‘Resource Group name’ and ‘Virtual Machine name’
$unique_id = $resource_group_list_iterator.ResourceGroupName + $
#Write-Host $unique_id
$tag_list = $virtual_machine_list_iterator.Tags

$tag_list.GetEnumerator() | foreach {
#write-host $_.key
#Write-Host $_.value
#write-host “”

$partitionKey1 = $unique_id

if($_.key -eq ‘owner’ -and $_.value -eq ‘manju’) {
#write-host “true”
$virtual_machine_name = $virtual_machine_list_iterator.Name.ToString()
$virtual_machine_resource_group_name = $resource_group_list_iterator.ResourceGroupName.ToString()
$virtual_machine_location = $virtual_machine_list_iterator.Location.ToString()
$virtual_machine_size = $virtual_machine_list_iterator.HardwareProfile.VmSize.ToString()
$virtual_machine_operating_system = $virtual_machine_list_iterator.StorageProfile.ImageReference.Offer.ToString()


$hash = @{}
#$hash.add(‘currentDate’, $current_date)

# Write data into azure table
Add-StorageTableRow -table $azure_table_object -partitionKey (“CA1”) -rowKey ([guid]::NewGuid().tostring()) -property $hash






On the other hand, if you would like to fetch inventory details, and just save it in an excel sheet, I have the perfect scripts that do the job for you:


Click here to download my PowerShell scripts for Free !!




Powershell – Extract user list from Azure Active Directory to an excel file

This script will authenticate to your Azure Active Directory and fetch all the user details. Finally, it will save the details to the excel sheet.

Below is the link to the script:

Below are the user attributes the script fetches:

1. Display Name

2. Object ID

3. Type

4. Principal Name

5. Role Name

6. Role Description

The excel sheet is saved as: C:\AzureADUserList\AzureADUserList.xlsx

Pre-Requisites: This script needs ‘MSOnline’ and ‘AzureRM’ PowerShell modules

Click here to download my PowerShell scripts for Free !!