Microsoft Azure Advisor is a super useful tool to help administrators obtain pertinent recommendations for improvement of services. It is used in order to work towards obtaining best practices. Azure will occasionally prompt administrators upon log in, but to get to it manually, simply type in “advisor” on the home screen search.
The categories focus on cost, security, reliability (aka, high availability), operational excellence, and performance. In a perfect world, we would always see all these wonderful green check marks, as below. Admittedly my ever-changing Azure account is currently limited, so the green was easy in this case. It is normally not unusual to see low, medium and high level recommendations, with descriptions of their impact on services.
I created a page with a simple guide on how to add a virtual machine to Microsoft Azure. This, however, is not instruction on doing this from within the Azure Portal. The VM is added by using the cloud shell.
I had a chance recently to dig into the Google Cloud Platform, in particular Kubernetes clusters and virtual machine instances. This is the “Compute Engine” offering of the GCP, or Google Cloud Platform. The GCP also offers much more, for example, Cloud Storage [data, object storage], Cloud SQL [MySQL/PostgreSQL], and App Engine [building web + mobile apps]…
Need to extend or add disk space to a Virtual Machine? The wonderful thing about virtual server technology is that disk space can be added super easily. The days of purchasing extra hard drives of any sort online and then installing them in a server are slowly coming to an end. Now disk space can be added, or extended in this example, through virtualization technology.
6.59 Terabytes disk space, on a Solid State Drive?? WOW. [not o mention 448 GB of RAM!)
“We have just recently announced the new series of VM sizes for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines called the G-series, providing the most memory, the highest processing power and the largest amount of local SSD of any Virtual Machine size currently available in the public cloud. It easily handles deployments of mission critical applications such as large relational database servers (SQL Server, MySQL, etc.) and large NoSQL databases as well as the most demanding, very large scale-up enterprise systems.
G-series offers up to 32 vCPUs using the latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5 v3 family, 448GB of memory, and 6.59 TB of local Solid State Drive (SSD) space.”
I want to thank Microsoft from the bottom of my heart for automating and completely cleaning up the mounting of ISO images! ISO’s are the de facto standard for Operating System (or SQL Server, Office, and others) installs these days. From the perspective of bits and bytes, ISOs are efficient, sleek, compressed packages. But in years past, they were sometimes … cumbersome to deal with.
In the virtualized world, it is important to have an ISO ‘mounted’ automatically. What does this mean? It means you click the ISO and within a split second the ISO transforms itself into a standard combination of installation binaries, or files and folders that are needed to perform an installation. The mount appears as just another ‘on-the-fly’ drive created in Explorer. From there you click the .Exe or .Msi and begin.
Back in the ‘old days’, Systems Administrators had to rely on 3rd party freeware or paid software to properly handle ugly ISOs. These did not always work as promised and frequently offered separate challenges. But this is no longer needed. For example: let’s say there is a need to install Windows Server 2012 Standard with Datacenter edition. No, I do not mean do an install while visiting your Datacenter, I mean installing a virtual machine (server) within the virtualized Windows 2012 Datacenter edition, the host. [as an aside, the ISO for Standard Edition and Datacenter Edition for Server 2012 is same].
Once, the OS is paid for and downloaded, then within the Hyper-V Manager, the new virtual machine process can be pointed to the ISO. It is transparently handled behind the scenes. And, mainly for demo purposes, the ISO for the server OS ISO can be double-clicked and mounted as well. Automatically the mount produces the needed “Setup” file. The below can also be done for Windows Deployment Services (WDS). The files below would look different, but WDS needs to have Windows 7 or 8 ISOs, for example, mounted so that the WDS server can pass needed images.