|By Matt Hester||
|January 21, 2014 09:45 AM EST||
Based on Matt Hester's Cloud Expo Presentation: Overview of Windows Azure IaaS
Introducing the concept of cloud computing into your existing environments can seem to be a daunting task. Cloud computing is the next generation of computing and taking your first step into the cloud can be revolutionary for you and your company. The question you need to ask yourself is where to start? What are some of the low risk workloads that I can test the cloud with? More important, which cloud do you use as there are many different forms of clouds to choose from that could benefit your business. In this article we will take a look at some of the common clouds in today's computing world, and then we will focus in on using infrastructure as a service, as this probably provides the easiest entry point into the cloud.
Before we dive into the clouds let's talk about simple models to help keep the clouds straight. There are four main models, and they all boil down to what is in your sphere of control. Clouds really should be considered as a "how" and not a "what." They are how you manage, automate and control your resources.
- Private: This is your on premise datacenter. You control everything from the cabling to the applications. Private clouds are organized on how you provide workload automation for your environment
- Software as a service (SaaS): SaaS is where you are essentially are paying someone else for the services normally on a monthly/user basis. There are a variety of examples of SaaS from consumer-based services like Xbox live or business based services like Office 365
- Platform as a service (PaaS): PaaS is where you have control over the actual application and data; howeve, you rely on the cloud provider to provision the underlying supporting infrastructure. This allows your developers to write applications that take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud.
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS allows you to control the application down to the underlying OS; however, the cloud provider manages the virtualization layer and the hardware. In this model you have full control of the virtual server running in the cloud. In a sense this is no different than other virtual servers running in your data center.
When you consider cloud providers, Microsoft is one of the few companies that can provide services across all the cloud models, and allows you choose what makes the most sense for you and your organization. With Windows Azure you will also find PaaS and IaaS services.
Most customers I talk with are not all in when it comes to the cloud. Fundamentally you will only use the cloud in two instances: to improve your bottom line or to improve your strategy. If you want to still maintain on-premise IT and combine it with a cloud model for a specific workload you can. I refer this to as hybrid, and in a sense you get the best of both worlds.
How you implement IaaS in your environment really depends on your needs. IaaS can encompass many different roles in your company, from directory services to backup to virtual machines. In this article we are going to focus on how to create your first virtual machine in Windows Azure IaaS, and along the way you will learn many of the aspects of Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Windows Azure virtual machines allow you to provision a fully functional server in the cloud. This is a server that you will have complete control over the operating system. You will need to provision any roles and services that you will need it to support just like any other server in your infrastructure.
Create a Windows Azure IaaS Virtual Machine
Getting started with Windows Azure IaaS is easy. The first thing you will want to do is sign up for a free Windows Azure trial, you can learn more here to get started: http://aka.ms/getazureiaas or you can visit the home page for Windows Azure here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/.
After you get your trial subscription you will then be able to immediately start using Windows Azure. While this focusses on just one workload, you do have access to all the workloads in Azure from web sites to mobile services to SQL Services and everything in between.
Let's get started with creating your first virtual machine. On the home page of Windows Azure, click on portal (in the upper right side of the page). This will take you to the Windows Azure management portal. While we will focus on the GUI, one important note before you start is that everything you can do in the GUI portal can be scripted with PowerShell.
- In the Windows Azure Management portal click + NEW in the lower left hand corner.
- In the New selection window, select COMPUTE, select VIRTUAL MACHINE and select FROM GALLERY, this will launch the Create a Virtual Machine wizard
- In the first part of the wizard you will need to choose an image to start. Note there are several images to choose from including many Linux versions, SQL, Oracle, SharePoint and Visual Studio. These templates make it easy for you start with a prebuilt environment. For the purpose of the article select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and click the arrow in the lower right hand corner to proceed to the next step.
- In the Virtual machine configuration screen you will be asked to give your virtual machine a name, choose a size, set the administrative user name, and password. Before you fill in the wizard it is important to understand some of the choices as it will control the overall security of your virtual machine as well as performance and cost.
-First, regarding security your user name cannot be a common administrative name, like admin, administrator, root, etc. Make sure you choose a secure name. The same goes for the password; it has to be strong; it cannot be blank; it has to be 8 characters, upper and lower case, number and a special character. Additionally the password cannot be a variation of the word ‘password'.
-Second, regarding the size of system you have a choice of 8 configurations. The more memory and processor you select will increase the cost of running the virtual machine. Note, the Windows Operating System license is covered in the cost of Windows Azure. You can use the calculator to get an estimate of costs here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/ . When you are done, click on the arrow to continue.
- The next screen has several choices that are important for your virtual machine, from the placement to the availability of your virtual machine. Some the choices could be a single article in and of themselves. For this you will get a brief look at them.
a. Cloud Service: are containers for the virtual machines you will create. You have just a single virtual machine in a cloud service or several that are load balanced
b. Cloud Service DNS Name: is the public DNS name given to your service, and by default ends in cloudapp.net. You can redirect to a preferred name.
c. Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: these three choices control the placement of your virtual machines. Regions determine in which geographic location your virtual machines will be placed. Affinity groups are ways to group your cloud services for better performance. Affinity groups are associated with the same datacenter region; ultimately they will help improve performance and reduce latency. You can learn more about affinity groups here: Affinity Groups Overview. Virtual networks enable you to extend your enterprise networks into Azure, for your hybrid applications. They also allow you to set up secure private IPv4 networks contained in Windows Azure. The virtual networks allow you to create point-to-site VPN connections or site-to-site VPN Connections. You can learn more about virtual networks here: Virtual Networks Overview
d. Storage Account: the virtual machines you create are essentially hyper-v machines and all the files you create the virtual machines, like the .vhd files, are stored in this account and by default there are three copies.
e. Availability Set: provides fault tolerant placement to your virtual machine in the Windows Azure datacenters. This will help spread the virtual machines for your cloud services across fault and update domains.
As you can see there are lots of choices to be made about creating your virtual machine. For this walk through, choose a region closest to you, leave the default choices and click on the arrow to go to the last step.
- The last step is to create endpoints. Endpoints allow you to access your Windows Azure virtual machines, not only for internal administrative access but also to allow external access to your Windows Azure virtual machines. By default you have two endpoints that are created for you. One for remote desktop access into the virtual machine and the other for PowerShell remoting. You can change the ports as needed. It is important to note that there are no external facing endpoints, which means if you were going to create a Web application you would need to create at least one more endpoint for that access either for port 80 or 443 for secure access. Additionally if you created virtual networks for your virtual machines, it provides an alternative administrative access method. The virtual networks allow you to create point-to-site VPN connections or site-to-site VPN Connections to connect to all of the virtual machines that are on the virtual network. When you're done click the checkmark to begin provisioning your virtual machine.
After you are done with the final step your virtual machine will be provisioned in about 10 minutes. Think about that for a second. In about 10 minutes you have a fully functioning server to run your workloads on. Once the virtual machine is finished being provisioned you will then need to connect to the virtual machine to provision it. You can connect to the virtual machine from the virtual machine's dashboard. To access the dashboard, select the virtual machine from your Windows Azure portal, and click on the dashboard on the menu below the virtual machine name. The dashboard provides a lot of useful information; you can get basic performance data of the virtual machine, as well configuration data (public and private IP address, DNS name, etc.). Also on the dashboard on the bottom of the screen you should see the connect option. Simple click connect and it will bring up the remote desktop connection program. Fill in your credentials you created above to log in and configure your virtual machine.
Hopefully you enjoyed creating your virtual machine. If you are ready for more, you may want to try another great aspect of using Windows Azure take a look at backing up your server to the cloud. If you want to learn how to do that, take a look here: Backup Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Azure
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,830
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 26, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,322
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 26, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,306
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Jul. 26, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 993
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 26, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,526
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Jul. 26, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 637
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,543
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Jul. 25, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,017
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,315
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 25, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,516
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 25, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,945
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Jul. 25, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,984
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Jul. 25, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,897
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,805
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
Jul. 25, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,031
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Jul. 25, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,020
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jul. 25, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,777
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Jul. 25, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,082
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Jul. 25, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,447
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 25, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 973