Welcome!

.NET Authors: ChandraShekar Dattatreya, Jim Kaskade, Skytap Blog, Pat Romanski, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Related Topics: .NET, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Silverlight, Cloud Expo

.NET: Blog Feed Post

Step-by-Step: Connect System Center 2012 App Controller to Windows Azure

Setting up System Center App Controller to drive Windows Azure

The article I’m writing for part 13 our “31 Days of Servers in the Cloud” series involves using App Controller to create a virtual machine.  But to do this, you first need to connect and associate App Controller (a component of System Center 2012) with your Windows Azure subscription.

So in today’s Part 12, as a preliminary document for part 13, in this article I’m going to show you how to connect App Controller to your Windows Azure account.

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: In my examples I’m using 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.

Connect App Controller to your Windows Azure subscription
To make this happen, you first have to have a management certificate in place.  This makes up the bulk of the complexity involved.  It must be a management certificate that has a key length of at least 2048 bits and resides in the Personal certificate store.  To make this all work, you’ll need both a .cer file, which is the exported certificate that you’ll upload as the management certificate in Windows Azure, and a.pfx (personal information exchange) certificate file that you’ll  use to connect App Controller to your Azure subscription.  You can create this self-signed certificate easily in one of two ways:

  1. If you have Visual Studio installed, you can use the makecert command from the Visual Studio command prompt to create the certificate and at the same time create the exported .cer file that you can upload into Azure.   Ore…
  2. More likely if, like me, you’re not a developer, you’ll use IIS (Internet Information Services) to create the self-signed certificate.  Add IIS either as a role to a Windows Server, or even as an to Windows 8.

For my example, I’m going to use IIS that I’m going to install on Windows 8.

Install IIS on Windows 8
In the “Turn Windows features on or off” section of the “Add or Remove Programs” (just search from your Start Screen), add the IIS Management Console feature:

image_thumb[2]

Generate the Self-Signed Certificate
Once installed, open up the IIS Manager.  Double-click on “Server Certificates”, and then in the Actions pane on the right, select “Create Self-Signed Certificate”.

image_thumb[5]

Give your certificate a friendly name that you’ll recognize later, and click OK.

Export the .pfx File
Next, we need to export the new certificate as a .pfx file.  (This is the file we’ll later use to connect App Controller to our Windows Azure subscription.)  You can create this from IIS Management as well.   With your new certificate selected, click export in the Actions pane.  Choose a file name and destination for the file, set a password, and click OK.

image_thumb[7]

Once this is done, and if you have no further use of IIS on your Windows 8 machine, you can remove it just as easily as you added it.  You won’t need it for anything more here.

Generate the .cer file.
Now we need a .cer file – the exported certificate that we will upload into our Windows Azure subscription.  The certificate we just created is in the Local Computer certificates store, so we could either need to use MMC and the “Certificates” snap-in to get to and export the certificate from there, OR we could import the .pfx into the personal certificate store and then export it from there.  I’ll describe the latter..

Run certmgr.msc as a quick way to open up MMC connected to the current user’s certificate store, and navigate to Personal –> Certificates

image_thumb[11]

Right-Click on Certificates, and under All Tasks, select Import…

In the Certificate Import Wizard, click Next, and then browse to and select your recently created .pfx file.  (NOTE: You’ll have to change the file type you’re looking for to include .pfx files in order to see it as you navigate)

image_thumb[10]

Click Next.

Enter the password you used to secure your .pfx file, and click Next.

Leave the Certificate Store as the Personal store.  Click Next, and then click Finish to complete the import.

Now in the list of your certificates in the personal certificate store, you should see a certificate that contains a friendly name you used earlier (in my case it’s “MyAzureMgmtCert”).   Right-click on your certificate, and under All Tasks, select Export.

Just use the defaults through this wizard, browse to a location for and name your certificate:

image_thumb[17]

Click Next and then Finish.

Okay.  Now you have both the .pfx and the .cer files you’ll need to connect App Controller to Windows Azure.

Upload the .cer to Windows Azure.

In the Windows Azure portal, at the bottom left, select Settings, and then click Upload.

image_thumb[15]

Browse to and select your .cer file:

image_thumb[19]

Click the Check Box, and in a few seconds you should see a notification telling you that your upload is successful.  You should also see your certificate added to the list of management certificates

Connect App Controller to Windows Azure
Before we make the connection, we’ll need to have our Windows Azure Subscription ID.  The subscription ID is a long set of numbers, formatted to look something like this: 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000

You can get this a number of different ways.

  • If you have any storage defined or any virtual machines created, you can select them and see the subscription ID on the bottom right of the “quick glance” information.
  • If you have Windows Azure PowerShell installed and connected to your subscription, you can simply run the “Get-AzureSubscription” cmdlet to see the Subscription ID.
  • Or most easily since we’ve just uploaded one, you can see the subscription ID as one of the columns in our list of management certificates.

Copy the subscription ID to the clipboard.

Now we’re ready to open up App Controller and log in as your administrative account.

In the Overview pane, under Public Clouds, click “Connect a Windows Azure Subscription

image_thumb[21]

Paste your subscription ID into the appropriate field, browse to and select your .pfx certificate file, enter the password, and give your connection a name and optional description.

image_thumb[23]

Once you click OK, you should soon see that you have a Windows Azure subscription connected.  If you had any virtual machines or services running in Windows Azure, you’ll be able to see those represented here also.

image_thumb[25]

And that’s it!  You’re connected!

Now you can do really cool things like using App Controller to create Virtual Machines in Windows Azure.

---

I hope you found this useful!  If you have any questions or comments, please add them to the comments and we can discuss them.

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...