Azure

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:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Extract-user-list-from-6cb9a93c

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

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PowerShell – Generate Azure PaaS Inventory

This PowerShell script helps you to maintain an inventory sheet of your Azure Platform-As-A-Service services. So that you can refer to them anytime you want.

Also, it serves a quick way to generate a report when your client needs to have a quick look at their PaaS services.

Below is the flow

  • The script logins to your Azure account and fetches the details of your Azure PaaS resources – Azure CDN and Azure WebApps.
  • It creates one worksheet for each Azure resource.
  • The user is prompted to select the subscription.Powershell Exception handling is implemented.
  • The user is again prompted if he wishes to view the excel sheet once the script is finished running.

** The script assumes you are using Powershell v5.0 and have excel module. (Basically, you should have MSOffice installed)

Below is the link to the script:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Azure-PaaS-inventory-using-d1872989

I have also written script to generate:

Azure IaaS Inventory

AWS IaaS Inventory

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Azure – First look into Cloudlyn (Azure’s Cost management service)

This is a continuation of my first blog on Cloudlyn. Below is the link to my first blog. It guides you to register for Cloudlyn if you have an Azure subscription.

AZURE – COST MANAGEMENT BETTER THAN EVER USING CLOUDYN (REGISTRATION)

In this post, let us take a first-look into Cloudlyn’s Cost management console and the features Cloudlyn offers.

Once you have completed the registration with Cloudlyn as explained in my first blog (link shared above). You can access the Cloudlyn’s Cost management portal by:

  1. Log into Azure portal
  2. Navigate to “Cost Management + Billing.”
  3. Click on “Go to Cost Management” button
  4. A new window will be opened with an URL – https://azure.cloudyn.com/dashboard#/tool/enterprise_dashboard

Once you navigate to the URL, below is the page you see. This is Cloudlyn’s Management Dashboard.

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Below is the Annual Projected Annual cost. I have used only Azure Storage and Azure Network. If you have used more services, their costs will also be projected here.

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We can also view Current and Previous Month Projected Cost. This is very useful to track changes in infrastructure costing more than usual.

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The “Actual Cost Analysis” will provide cost by Services, Providers, and Accounts. This graph can be further customized. Groups (highlighted below) provides plenty of options that we can check as per our requirement. Finally, you can choose an option from many of the Actions (highlighted below) on what to do with the report. Save / Copy  / Export etc.,

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The “Actual Cost Over Time” lets you pull up a report to analyze the cost over a range of time.

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Cloudlyn also offers an “Alert Management” feature that alerts you when certain thresholds are crossed as per alert’s configuration.

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“Cost vs. Threshold” is one of many alerts. As you can see Cloudlyn offers you many options to customize the alert policy. Alerts will be sent to an email ID.

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Finally, the last noticeable feature is “Data Transfer.” You can either Analyze data transfer usage or view the trend of data transfer.

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These are the noticeable features that I felt to be very valuable.

If you found any other feature to be worth mentioning, let me know in the comments section.

If the content of this blog is valuable to you, do consider sharing with your friends and colleagues.

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Azure – Cost Management Better Than Ever Using Cloudyn (Registration)

Microsoft’s acquisition of Cloudyn will help Azure customers manage and optimize their cloud usage. Read more about the acquisition here. A message from Sharon Wagner, CEO of Cloudyn.

About Cloudyn

Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn empowers organizations to monitor cloud spend, drive organizational accountability, and optimize cloud efficiency so they can accelerate future cloud investments with confidence.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Cloudyn will help Azure customers and partners as they face the challenges of growing their multi-cloud environments. It will enable them to gain visibility, understand and optimize cloud consumption, as well as accurately project future usage.

Microsoft will continue to support multi-cloud environments, including Azure, AWS, and GCP. Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn is available for free to customers and partners managing Azure spend. Additional premium capabilities are available at no cost through June 2018, once they will become paid features.

Let us look into how to sign up to Cloudyn if you are an Azure customer

Step 1: Login to your Azure Subscription via the Azure portal. Select the “Cost Management + Billing” blade. Then select “Cost Management” from the options on the left-hand side of the pane.

Click on “Go to Cost Management”

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Step 2: Once you click the”Go to Cost Management” button, you will be redirected to  Cloudlyn’s page to set up your Cost Management details.

Enter your organization name and the type of Azure access you have on your Azure account. I have a personal subscription, so I have chosen as “Azure Individual Subscription Owner.”

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Step 3: Cloudlyn Account name and Tenant ID will be automatically populated. Now, select the offer-ID from the drop-down list.

If you do not know your Offer-ID, then go back to your Azure portal. Click on “Subscriptions,” that should provide you the type of subscription that you have.

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Step 4: Click “Next”

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Step 5: Click “Next”

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Step 6: We are done with the registration with Cloudlyn. Cloudlyn needs about 2 hours for collecting the data.

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If you find the content valuable, do consider sharing with your friends and colleagues.

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Azure – PowerShell in Azure Cloud Shell

Today we are looking into PowerShell in Azure Cloud Shell. This is still in public preview as of this writing.

If you are wondering why Microsoft would introduce a PowerShell console inside the Azure Cloud Shell, then have a look at the below features:

Features

Browser-based shell experience

Cloud Shell enables access to a browser-based command-line experience built with Azure management tasks in mind. Leverage Cloud Shell to work untethered from a local machine in a way only the cloud can provide.

Choice of preferred shell experience

Azure Cloud Shell gives you the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work. Linux users can opt for a Bash experience, while Windows users can opt for PowerShell.

Pre-configured Azure workstation

Cloud Shell comes pre-installed with popular command-line tools and language support so you can work faster.
View the full tooling list for Bash experience and PowerShell experience.

Automatic authentication

Cloud Shell securely authenticates automatically on each session for instant access to your resources through the Azure CLI 2.0.

Connect your Azure File storage

Cloud Shell machines are temporary and as a result, require an Azure file share to be mounted as clouddrive to persist your $Home directory. On the first launch, Cloud Shell prompts to create a resource group, storage account, and file share on your behalf. This is a one-time step and will be automatically attached for all sessions. A single file share can be mapped and will be used by both Bash and PowerShell in Cloud Shell.

Below are some conditions that we have to remember:

Cloud Shell runs on a temporary machine provided on a per-session, per-user basis
Cloud Shell times out after 20 minutes without interactive activity
Cloud Shell can only be accessed with a file share attached
Cloud Shell uses the same file share for both Bash and PowerShell
Cloud Shell is assigned one machine per user account
Permissions are set as a regular Linux user (Bash)

Now that we have some background knowledge on the PowerShell in Cloud Shell, let us dig more into the usage of it:

To access the Cloud Shell, click on the PowerShell icon in the Azure portal:

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Once you click on the icon, a pane is opened at the bottom of the screen as shown below. You can choose from two options – BASH or PowerShell. Since we are interested in learning PowerShell in CloudShell, let us choose PowerShell as our desired option.

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When you are starting for the first time, the Shell will configure an Azure File Storage. Cloud Shell machines are temporary and as a result, require an Azure file share to be mounted as clouddrive to persist your $Home directory. Alternatively, if you have multiple subscriptions, you will be allowed to choose your favorite subscription to work with.

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Azure Authentication, Resource Group, Storage Account and File Storage are automatically created as shown below:

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Testing an Azure command. Works perfectly.

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If you are idle for more than 20 minutes, you will be kicked off the session, and you will have to start the session again:

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Discovering the drives under PowerShell in Cloud Shell:

Now let us execute the Get-ChildItem cmdlet and see what we can find.

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As we can see, running the Get-ChildItem in the current scope will list out the subscriptions that your account is associated with.

Traversing one step deeper into the directory, we can see the resources related to the subscription.

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Let us get into the “StroageAccounts” directory to confirm if we get to see a list of Storage Accounts under the selected subscription:

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PowerShell cmdlets to manage PowerShell in Cloud Shell:

From the below information, we can see that Microsoft provides us two cmdlets to work with the cloud shell.

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Get-CloudDrive provides the details of the “Azure File Share” that was created when the cloud shell started. You may continue to use the cloud share. However, if you want a new one, you can dismount and create a new one using the Dismount-CloudDrive cmdlet.

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Note: Once you dismount the Azure file share, your current session will be restarted to set up a new cloud share.

Assumption:

I am assuming that Microsoft is using container service infrastructure to provide a session. You will get the below windows path when you query for the temp drive:

C:\Users\ContainerAdministrator\AppData\Local\Temp

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Note the administrator is a “ContainerAdministrator.” The container here could be a Windows Server or a Windows Container. I am assuming it is a Windows Container since the underlying “image” comes pre-packaged with below tools and a temporary one. A typical use case scenario for Container technology.

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If the content is valuable to you, do consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.

Did I miss out anything? Let me know in the comments section.

 

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Azure – Configure Storage Spaces for Azure VM for increased disk performance

This blog will walk you through on how to configure Storage Spaces for Azure Virtual Machine (Windows). Finally, we get to see some IOPS benchmarks.

Each data disk (Standard Storage Account) has about 500 IOPS. In this example, we are going to create a Storage Space by attaching 4 data disks to a Standard A2 sized Azure VM. In theory, this should increase the IOPS to 2k. (500 x 4 = 2000)

 

Configuring Storage Spaces for Azure windows VM

Step 1: Attach four data disks to your virtual machine.

From the azure portal, select your virtual machine >> Click on “Disks” >> click on the “+ Add data disk” >> Fill out the details accordingly >> Save the disk.

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Repeat this process 3 more times and we will have 4 data disks attached to our virtual machine as shown below:

4_disk_attached_azure_portal.PNG

 

Inside the VM, we can see the disks attached:

4_disk_not_initialized

 

 

Step 2: Login to the virtual machine and run the following PowerShell cmdlets. This will configure Storage Space and will create a drive for you.

 

In our example, we will configure one volume. Hence, only one storage pool. If you are implementing SQL Server or any other architecture, you may need more than one storage pool.

Create a new virtual disk using all the space available from the storage pool using a Simple configuration. The interleave is set to 256KB. We are also setting the number of columns to be equal to the number of disks in the pool

Format the disk with NTFS filesystem and a 64KB allocation unit size.

Below is a snippet of the PowerShell console after executing the above cmdlets.

create_storage_space.PNG

Finally, we can see the drive. A drive named “E” will be created with a free space of ~4TB.

e_drive_created.png

 

Benchmark Tests

Obviously, this works. However, I have run IOPS test to have a visual. You may choose any standard benchmark testing tools. To keep it simple, I have used a PowerShell script authored by Mikael Nystrom, Microsoft MVP. This script is a wrapper to the SQLIO.exe. You may download the PowerShell script and SQLIO.exe file, HERE.

 

Download the archive file to your local system and copy it to the server. Extract the contents to any folder.

 

Below is a sample script to estimate IOPS:

.\DiskPerformance.ps1 -TestFileName test.dat –TestFileSizeInGB 1 -TestFilepath F:\temp -TestMode Get-SmallIO -FastMode True -RemoveTestFile True -OutputFormat Out-GridView

Feel free to tweak the parameter values for different results.

Explaination of parameters:

-TestFileName test.dat

The name of the file, it will create the file using FSUTIL, but it checks if it exists and if it does it stops, you can override that with the –RemoveTestFile True

–TestFileSizeInGB 1

Size of the file, it has fixed values, use the TAB key to flip through them

-TestFilepath C:\VMs

The folder can also be an UNC path, it will create the folder so it does not need to exist.

-TestMode Get-SmallIO

There is too test modes Get-LargeIO or Get-SmallIO, you use Get-LargeIO to measure the transfer rate and you use Get-SmallIO to measure IOPS

-FastMode True

Fast mode true runs each test for just 10 seconds, it gives you a hint, if you don’t set it or set it to false it will run for 60 sec (it will take a break for 10 sec between each run)

-RemoveTestFile True

Removes the test file if it exists

-OutputFormat Out-GridView

Choose between Out-Gridview or Format-Table

 

IOPS for C drive on Azure VM [OS Disk]:

C_drive

 

IOPS for D drive on Azure VM [Temporary Disk]:

D_drive

 

IOPS for E drive on Azure VM [Standard data disk]:

E_drive

 

IOPS for F drive on Azure VM [Storage Spaces]:

F_drive

 

We can use this storage strategy when we have a small amount of data but the IOPS requirement is huge.

Example scenario:

You have 500GB of data, and the IOPS for that data exceeds 1K. Storing 500GB of data in one data disk will create IOPS problems since each data disk has a 500 IOPS limit. But, if we combine 4 disks and create a storage space, the IOPS will increase to ~2k [we have to consider latency etc., to have a correct figure]. Since we are using the same Standard A2 virtual machine and Azure charges for the overall data and not per disk, the pricing will be the same.

 

 

AWS – Monitor AWS Windows EC2 instance using Microsoft OMS (Operations Management Suite)

Microsoft is investing a lot of money and effort into OMS (Operations Management Suite). OMS can be used to monitor Windows/Linux machines, not just in Azure, but also in AWS, or any cloud vendor platform for that matter. You can even monitor the servers hosted in your on-premise environment.

Configuring OMS for Azure instance is pretty straightforward. I will walk you through on how to configure OMS on Windows AWS instance.

I already have a OMS workspace (with an Azure subscription)

Step 1: Create and connect to your AWS Windows instance, by following the below link as guidance:

http://docs.aws.amazon.com/codedeploy/latest/userguide/tutorials-windows-launch-instance.html

Step 2: Download the OMS direct agent for Windows Machine.

Option1: If you are using an Azure subscription to manage OMS, then you can find the link to download the direct agent by clicking on:

Selecting your OMS workspace >> Select “Quick Start” >> Select “Computers” >> Select “Download Windows Agent (64 bit)”

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Option 2: You can download the OMS direct agent, from the OMS portal as well.

Click on the “gear button” (third icon from left) located at the top right-hand corner of the portal >> select “Connected Sources” >> Select “Windows Servers” >> Click on “Download Windows Agent (64 bit)”

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Once the “MMASetup-AMD64.exe” file is downloaded to your local desktop. Copy the file to the AWS Windows instance where you are configuring the OMS agent.

Now, double click on the “MMASetup-AMD64.exe” to start installing.

 

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Click “Next”

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Click on “I Agree” once you have read the legal terms.

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Select the installation folder, if you are not happy with the default location. Then click “Next”

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Select the checkbox “Connect the agent to Azure  Log Analytics (OMS)” and then click “Next”.

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Enter your OMS workspace details. You can find this information from Azure portal or OMS portal. It is the same page from where we download the Direct Agent for Windows.

[Optional] Click on the “Advanced” button, if your server has to go through a proxy server. Make necessary changes and click “Next”. Since I do not use a proxy server to connect to the OMS, I am leaving the fields as blank.

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Click “Next” on the above page takes you back to the page where you updated the OMS workspace ID and key. Now click “Next” to proceed.

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Select accordingly, if you need Microsoft updates or not. Then click “Next”.

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Review your settings/data. Click on “Install”.

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Now click on “Finish”.

 

Step 3: Verify connectivity to OMS workspace

Open Control Panel >> Select “Microsoft Monitoring Agent”

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Select “Azure Log Analytics (OMS)” tab.  You can see that your windows agent has successfully connected to the Microsoft Operations Managment Suite service.

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Step 4: Verify log from AWS windows instance to OMS

From the OMS portal, we can see that our AWS windows instance is connected. [WIN-PQ69983CQ24 is my AWS windows instance name]

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A simple Log Search will give us data fetched from the instance.

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