Azure Automation Scheduled Runbook PowerShell Script to automatically update site-to-site VPN Local Network VPN Gateway Address with dynamic public IP

You can download the script at the end of the article. When you’re connecting a home (or perhaps even an office) lab to Azure with a site-2-site VPN you’ll probably have to deal with the fact that you have a dynamic IP assigned by your ISP. This means unless you update the VPN Gateway Address of your Azure local network in some automated way, your connection is down very often and you’re faced with this this in Azure …

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which on my DELL SonicWALL NSA 220 that looks like this …

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A fellow MVP of mine (Christopher Keyaert) has written a PowerShell script that a few years back that updated the VPN gateway address of your Azure local network via a scheduled task inside of his Windows RRAS VM. Any VM, either in Azure or in your lab will do. Good stuff! If you need inspiration for a script  you have a link. But, I never liked the fact that keeping my Azure site-to-site VPN up and running was tied to a VM being on line in Azure or in my lab, which is also why I switched to a SonicWALL device. Since we have Azure Automation runbooks at our disposal I decided to automate the updating of the VPN gateway address to the dynamic IP address of my ISP using a runbook.

Finding out your dynamic IP address from anywhere in the world

For this to work you need a way to find out what your currently assigned dynamic IP is. For that I subscribe to a free service providing dynamic DNS updates. I use https://www.changeip.com/. That means that by looking up the FQDN is find can out my current dynamic IP address form where ever I have internet access. As my SonicWALL supports dynamic DNS services providers I can configure it there, no need for an update client running in a VM or so.

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The runbook to update the VPN Gateway Address of your Azure local network

I will not deal with how to set up Azure Automation, just follow this link. I will share a little hurdle I needed to take. At least for me it was a hurdle. That hurdle was that the Set-AzureVNetConfig cmdlet which we need has a mandatory parameter -ConfigurationPath which reads the configuration to set from an XML file (see Azure Virtual Network Configuration Schema).

You cannot just use a file path in an Azure runbook to dump a file on c:\temp  for example. Using an Azure file share seems overly complicated for this job. After pinging some fellow MVPs at Inovativ Belgium who are deep into Azure automation on a daily basis, Stijn Callebaut gave me the tip to use [System.IO.Path]::GetTempFileName() and that got my script working. Thank you Stijn Winking smile!

So I now have a scheduled runbook that automatically updates my to the dynamic IP address my ISP renews every so often without needing to have a script running scheduled inside a VM. I don’t always need a VM running but I do need that VPN to be there for other use cases. This is as elegant of a solution that I could come up with.

I test the script before publishing & scheduling it by setting the VPN Gateway Address of my Azure local network to a wrong IP address in order to see whether the runbook changes it to the current one it got from my dynamic IP. As you can see it was successful.

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Now publish it and have it run x times a day … depending on how aggressive your ISP renews your IP address and how long your lab can sustain the Azure site-to-site VPN to be down. I do it hourly. Not a production ready solution, but neither is a dynamic IP and this is just my home lab!

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Now my VPN looks happy most of the time automatically

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Download the runbook  here (zipped PowerShell script)

How To Measure IOPS Of A Virtual Machine With Resource Metering And MeasureVM

The first time we used the Storage QoS capabilities in Windows Server 2012 R2 it was done in a trial and error fashion. We knew that it was the new VM causing the disruption and kind of dropped the Maximum IOPS to a level that was acceptable.  We also ran some PerfMon stats & looked at the IOPS on the HBA going the host. It was all a bit tedious and convoluted.  Discussing this with Senthil Rajaram, who’s heavily involved with anything storage at Microsoft he educated me on how to get it done fast & easy.

Fast & easy insight into virtual machine IOPS.

The fast and easy way to get a quick feel for what IOPS a VM is generating has become available via resource metering and Measure-VM. In Windows Server 2012 R2 we have new storage metrics we can use for that, it’s not just cool for charge back or show back Smile.

So what did we get extra  in Windows Server 2012 R2? Well, some new storage metrics per virtual disk

  1. Average Normalized IOPS (Averaged over 20s)
  2. Average latency (Averaged over 20s)
  3. Aggregate Data Written (between start and stop metric command)
  4. Aggregate Data Read (between start and stop metric command)

Well that sounds exactly like what we need!

How to use this when you want to do storage QoS on a virtual machine’s virtual disk or disks

All we need to do is turn on resource metering for the VMs of interest. The below command run in an elevated PowerShell console will enable it for all VMs on a host.image

We now run measure-VM DidierTest01 | fl and see that we have no values yet for the properties . Since we haven’t generated any IOPS yes this is normal.image

So we now run IOMeter to generate some IOPSimage

and than run measure-VM DidierTest01 | fl again. We see that the properties have risen.image

It’s normal that the AggregatedAverageNormalizedIOPS and AggregatedAverageLatency are the averages measured over a period of 20 seconds at the moment of sampling. The value  AggregatedDiskDataRead and AggregatedDiskDataWritten are the averages since we started counting (since we ran Enable-VMResourceMetering for that VM ), it’s a running sum, so it’s normal that the average is lower initially than we expected as the VM was idle between enabling resource metering and generating some IOPS.

All we need to do is keep the VM idle wait 30 seconds so and when we run again measure-VM DidierTest01 | fl again we see the following?image

While the values AggregatedAverageNormalizedIOPS and AggregatedAverageLatency are the value reflecting a 20s average that’s collected at measuring time and as such drop to zero over time. The values for AggregatedDiskDataRead and AggregatedDiskDataWritten are a running sum. They stay the same until we disable or reset resource metering.

Let’s generate some extra IO, after which we wait a while (> 20 seconds) before we run measure-VM DidierTest01 | fl again and get updated information. We confirm see that indeed AggregatedDiskDataRead and AggregatedDiskDataWritten is a running sum and that AggregatedAverageNormalizedIOPS and AggregatedAverageLatency have dropped to 0 again.

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Anyway, it’s clear to you that the sampled value of AggregatedAverageNormalizedIOPS is what you’re interested in when trying to get a feel for the value you need to set in order to limit a virtual hard disk to an acceptable number of normalized IOPS.

But wait, that’s aggregated! I have SQL Server VMs with 4 virtual hard disks. How do I know what hard disk is generating what IOPS? The docs say the metrics are per virtual hard disk, right?! I need to know if it’s the virtual hard disk with TempDB or the one with the LOGS causing the IO issue.

Well the info is there but it requires a few more lines of PowerShell:

cls
$VMName  = "Didiertest01" 
enable-VMresourcemetering -VMName $VMName 
$VMReport = measure-VM $VMName 
$DiskInfo = $VMReport.HardDiskMetrics
write-Host "IOPS info VM $VMName" -ForegroundColor Green
$count = 1
foreach ($Disk in $DiskInfo)
{
Write-Host "Virtual hard disk $count information" -ForegroundColor cyan
$Disk.VirtualHardDisk | fl  *
Write-Host "Normalized IOPS for this virtual hard disk" -ForegroundColor cyan
$Disk
$count = $Count +1 
}

Resulting in following output:

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Hope this helps! Windows Server 2012 R2 make life as a virtualization admin easier with nice tools like this at our disposal.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Cluster Reset Recent Events With PowerShell

I blogged before about the fact that since Windows Server 2012  we have the ability to reset the recent events shown so that the state of the cluster is squeaky clean with not warnings or errors. You can read up on this here. Windows Server 2012 Cluster Reset Recent Events Feature.

You can also do this in PowerShell like in the example below:

#Connect to cluster & get current RecentEventsResetTime value
$MyCluster = Get-CLuster -name "W2K12R2RTM"
$MyCluster.RecentEventsResetTime

#Reset recent events
$MyCluster.RecentEventsResetTime = get-date
$MyCluster.RecentEventsResetTime

 

 

 

 

As you may notice, the RecentEventsResetTime is displayed in UTC when read form the cluster after connecting to it. Right after you set it it displays the time respectful of the time zone you’re in right until you connect to the cluster again. We demonstrate this in the 2 screenshots below (I’m at GMT+1).

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This comes in handy when writing test, comparison & demo scripts. Often you do things with the network that causes network connectivity to be lost when the NIC gets reset (disabled/enabled) and such. Also when something fails as part of the demo or tests scripts it’s nice to start the rerun or the next part of the demo/test with a clean cluster GUI when you’re showcasing stuff. Unfortunately an already GUI doesn’t refresh these setting if the reset is not done in the GUI. So you need to open a new one. For scripting you don’t have this issue. EDIT: In Windows 2012 R2 you can use the $MyCluster.Update() to reflect the new value of RecentEventsResetTime in UTC without having to reconnect to the cluster. In Windows Server 2012 this Update method isn’t available but it seems to happen automatic.

PowerShell: Monitoring DrainStatus of a Hyper-V Host & The Time Limited Value of Information In Beta & RC Era Blogs

I was writing some small PowerShell scripts to kick pause and resume Hyper-V cluster hosts and I wanted to monitor the progress of draining the virtual machines of the node when pausing it. I found this nice blog about Draining Nodes for Planned Maintenance with Windows Server 2012 discussing this subject and providing us with the properties to do just that.

It seems we have two common properties at our disposal: NodeDrainStatus and NodeDrainTarget.

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So I set to work but I just didn’t manage to get those properties to be read. It was like they didn’t exist. So I pinged Jeff Wouters who happens to use PowerShell for just about anything and asked him if it was me being stupid and missing the obvious. Well it turned out to be missing the obvious for sure as those properties do no exist. Jeff told me to double check using:

Get-ClusterNode MyNode -cluster MyCluster | Select-Object -Property *

Guess what, it’s not NodeDrainStatus and NodeDrainTarget but DrainStatus and DrainTarget.

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What put me off here was the following example in the same blog post:

Get-ClusterResourceType "Virtual Machine" | Get-ClusterParameter NodeDrainMoveTypeThreshold

That should have been a dead give away. As we’ve been using MoveTypeTresHold a lot the recent months and there is no NodeDrain in that value either. But it just didn’t register. By the way you don’t need to create the property either is exists. I guess this code was valid with some version (Beta?) but not anymore. You can just get en set the property like this

Get-ClusterResourceType “Virtual Machine” -Cluster MyCluster | Get-ClusterParameter MoveTypeThreshold

Get-ClusterResourceType “Virtual Machine” -Cluster MyCluster | Set-ClusterParameter MoveTypeThreshold 2000

So lessons learned. Trust but verify Smile.  Don’t forget that a lot of things in IT have a time limited value. Make sure that to look at the date of what you’re reading and about what pre RTM version of the product the information is relevant to.

To conclude here’s the PowerShell snippet I used to monitor the draining process.


Suspend-clusternode –Name crusader -Cluster warrior -Drain

Do
{
    Write-Host (get-clusternode –Name “crusader” -Cluster warrior).DrainStatus -ForegroundColor Magenta    
    Sleep 1
}
until ((get-clusternode –Name “crusader” -Cluster warrior).DrainStatus -ne "InProgress")

If ((get-clusternode –Name “crusader” -Cluster warrior).DrainStatus -eq "Completed")
{
    Write-Host (get-clusternode –Name “crusader” -Cluster warrior).DrainStatus -ForegroundColor Green
}

Which outputs

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