Speaking at Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany

Hey everybody,

this week I got a mail from Carsten Rachfahl the inventor and host of the Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany. The CDC is one of the biggest IT Conferences in Germany and Carsten offered me a Speaker slot at his conference 🙂

I’m so proud that I match Carsten’s high quality standards and will be able to share some knowledge about Microsoft Azure. The topic I’m speaking about isn’t completely clear yet but I think it will be Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Azure Networking. 🙂

 

 

Keep your files and volumes available with Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft Azure

Hi Community,

after having a great time at the MVP Summit and finishing chapter six of my first book. I wanted to turn some more effort into my blog again. The first thing I wanted to talk about is a scenario to expand your Windows Server 2016 Storage into the cloud and keep it available over branches.

The Scenario and use cases

Sometimes I have customers who need to have caches for fileservers and storage within their branch offices. In the past I needed expensive storage devices, complex software or I used DFS-R to transfer files.

With Windows Server 2016 we got Storage Replication, which gave me new opportunities to think about.

First Scenario I tried and built was with Windows Server 2016 based fileservers to replace DFS-R and establish asynchrony replication based on byte and not file level to reduce traffic etc.

You can use this kind of replication to move for file or backup data into the cloud.

The Technologies

What technologies did I use.

Windows Server 2016 Storage replication:

You can use Storage Replica to configure two servers to sync data so that each has an identical copy of the same volume. This topic provides some background of this server-to-server replication configuration, as well as how to set it up and manage the environment.

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-docs/storage/storage-replica/server-to-server-storage-replication

Microsoft Azure VMs https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/services/virtual-machines/windows/ 

The Infrastructure Architecture

In the first place you need a fileserver as source and fileserver as target. You need also to ensure that the data you want to replicate are on a different volume than the data that stays onsite.

1

The source can either run on Hardware or which would be the most cost efficient way on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Cluster together with other virtual machines like Domain Controller, Backupserver, Webserver or Database. With this kind of cluster you would also save the license costs for the Fileserver Datacenter License because you can use the Host License with AVMA and you can leverage the Windows Server 2016 License Mobility to Azure. Which enables you to use your Windows Server License for Azure virtual machines.

2

 

The Azure virtual machine should be a DS3 or above, because you need at least two disks. If you want to replicate more disks, you should be able to add more disks.

3

 

From the Network Site you need to implement VPN Site to Site Connection between your offices and Azure. You need a performance gateway to get the necessary throughput and latency. I would recommend to use Microsoft ExpressRoute and MPLS.

4

Scenarios how to use those fileserver Volumes

The first scenario I tested so far, was to get a geo redundant standby system for a fileserver with profile data and shares. Both Servers do not run in a cluster (didn’t try that yet). Both servers are part of an DFS-N. The on premises server is the primary DFS-N target for the clients. The fileserver in Azure is the secondary target. The secondary fileserver is disabled as target for Clients in DFS-N. The  access will be on the primary fileserver and the storage information will be replicated to secondary fileserver.

5

 

As long as everything went fine, you have only incoming traffic to Azure with no costs for traffic. If the primary volume or fileserver went offline you switch to the secondary fileserver by enabling the secondary fileserver in DFS-N and swapping the target volume to active. You can either do this manually or trigger it via automation services and monitoring e.g. Azure Automation and Operations Management Suite or System Center Operations Manager.

6

You can also use the fileserver as target for different fileservers.

7

 

A different approached could be achieved when using this scenario for backup. First you backup your data to the primary fileshare or volume and replicate it to the cloud.

8

After you finished the backup you switch the volume and transfer the backup to a cheaper location e.g. Azure Cold Storage Accounts.

9

The Pro’s and Con’s

Pro Con
Easy to use ExpressRoute needed for best performance
Azure License for Azure VM might be covered by your on premises license Not documented yet and only Proof of concept
No need for expensive Storage Systems
Great to replicate File Data and Backups into the cloud

 

Book Project – Implementing Azure Solutons

Hey there,

it’s again very quiet on my blog for some times. Today I want to give you a little update.

My friends Jan-Henrik Damaschke (MVP CDM), Oliver Michalski (MVP Azure) and I are currently putting a lot of effort into a new book we are writing. Together with Packt Publishing we started to put lot’s of our knowledge into book about implementing Azure Architectures. This week it went to preorder status and we want to finish it until February next year.

You can find it here.

Book Review – Packt Publishing | Mastering Cloud Development using Microsoft Azure

Hi everyone,

today I want to give you an intro to another book I had the chance to review. 🙂

A few month ago I had the chance to review another book from packt. This time Mastering Cloud Development using Microsoft Azure written by Roberto Freato and Marco Parenzan. Both are great Azure MVPs and I had a great time to review their book.

 

You can order the book here: https://www.packtpub.com/networking-and-servers/mastering-cloud-development-using-microsoft-azure

Book Description

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that supports many different programming languages, tools, and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

This book starts by helping you set up a professional development environments in the cloud and integrating them with your local environment to achieve improved efficiency. You will move on to create front-end and back-end services, and then build cross-platform applications using Azure. Next you’ll get to grips with advanced techniques used to analyze usage data and automate billing operations. Following on from that, you will gain knowledge of how you can extend your on-premise solution to the cloud and move data in a pipeline.

In a nutshell, this book will show you how to build high-quality, end-to-end services using Microsoft Azure. By the end of this book, you will have the skillset needed to successfully set up, develop, and manage a full-stack Azure infrastructure.

What You Will Learn

  • Set up a development environment with VMs, ARM, and RemoteApp
  • Connect with VPNs to manage security and backups
  • Establish a front-end architecture with AppService, storage, search, and caching
  • Implement identity solutions, integrate applications, and use data
  • Integrate cross-platform mobile applications with the cloud
  • Consistently build and manage an API layer for millions of users
  • Work with messages in the enterprise
  • Deploy your services as an IT expert with ARM templates