TechNine SMB Technology User Group

Introduction

The TechNine SMB Technology User Group has a meetup on December the 4th 2019. It will be the last event of 2019.

It takes place at Ingram Micro who is hosting this at Ingram Micro, Hermeslaan 1b / 3rd floor, B-1831 Diegem. Thanks for this.

There are 3 speakers who will share some of their insights with you.

Hyper-V backups. The good, the bad, the ugly

This is the session I am giving. I presented this before and I have found that it still delivers a lot of value and insights to people. Every time it has helped some attendees out. We’ll discuss how Hyper-V backups have improved and why. I will also share some insights into what can trip you up with Windows Server 2016/2019.

7 Habits every Azure Admin Must Have

Wim Matthyssen, a well known Azure specialist at Cegeka and is an experienced speaker delivers this one. It will help you be a better Azure admin. As he is a Microsoft Certified Trainer his teaching talents are well developed. We can only benefit from this.

The mystery session

Diego Lens is an experienced trainer, speaker, and Citrix expert. He works as a Cloud Technology Strategist and he will bring us a mystery session. Actually, it is such a mystery I honestly have no idea what it is all about. You’ll have to attend to find out! a talk about Azure Migrate This is “the” tool for migrating workloads to Azure. Is this the forklift for lift and shift or is there more to know? Come and find out!

TechNine SMB Technology User Group event on December 4th 2019

Calendar:
18h00: Welcome & Food
18h30: Hyper-V backups. The good, the bad, the ugly – Didier Van Hoye
19h15: 7 habits every Azure admin must have – Wim Matthyssen
20h00: Break
20h15: Mystery session 😊 – Diego Lens
21h00: Networking and Questions
21h30: End
When: Woensdag 4/12 om 18:00
Where: Ingram Micro, Hermeslaan 1b / 3rd floor, B-1831 Diegem

Register

If you are interested in attending just navigate to the TechNine SMB Usergroup website read up un the other sessions and register. It is as easy as that. If you don’t even have the time for that, the blow button takes you directly to the Eventbrite site for registration.

I hope to see you at the TechNine SMB Technology User Group on December 4th 2019.

Azure Virtual Datacenter

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Azure Virtual Datacenter

Sometimes Microsoft times a blog post exactly right. For a while now working on bridging worlds (on-premises / cloud) in a responsible and realistic manner. Making sure the transition is smooth and avoids pitfalls. You use what you need where you need it, when you need it and in a way that fits your needs, right? Anyway, in real life that means that I’m working on a Azure Virtual Datacenter deployment (brainstorming/architecture/design phase).

Last week during white boarding twitter notified me of the release of a new portal for the Azure Virtual Datacenter. That’s great timing! And no, there’s no need for thin foil head paranoia here. We MVP are not linked directly into the mother ship.

Azure Virtual Datacenter

MSFT previously delivered an Azure Virtual Datacenter eBook with the concepts and the Lift and Shift Guide. But right now we are mainly looking at workload migrations and not lift and shift. You evaluate and make the best decision within the context at hand.

Help with project communications

The nice thing is they also published a slide deck about the Azure Virtual Datacenter concept. This helps me build presentations on this subject. Well, after removing the marketing slides and adding some extra content. Both technical content and information specific to the environments I’m working in.

Azure Virtual Datacenter

Right now I’m working on the network part (VNETs, subnets, peering, BGP), but I need to pause now and go take care of some Dell PowerEdge R740 and maybe R940 server configurations to order together with some RDMA NICs. Yeah, my existing skills are still in high demand and I know how to bridge worlds pragmatically, efficiently and effectively. There is server- less in our future as well as hardware, at least for now. Now I need to get some IoT in this mix, that’s the fun full stack game right now.

Real life cost savings with Azure IAAS B-Series virtual machines

I recently move some low end virtual machines from the rather low spec but cheap basic A series (A2, 2 CPU  AMD Opteron and 3.5 GB RAM) to the newer B-Series. These have better processors and better specs all over. I did not want to move to the standard A series A2 or A2v2 as those are more expensive. I had to needs: reduce costs, get better performance. I achieved real life cost savings with Azure IAAS B-Series virtual machines

The B-Series are burstable and offer better pricing if you can build up credits when the VM is not going over it’s base line. The B-series provides you with the ability to purchase a VM size with baseline performance and the VM instance builds up credits when it is using less than its baseline. When the VM has accumulated credit, the VM can burst above the baseline using up to 100% of the vCPU when your application requires higher CPU performance. So picking the VM size is key here. The B2S seemed the best option as the base line for the CPU is 40%. and we needed at least 2 CPU and 3.5GB of RAM. The CPU type is the Intel Broadwell or Haswell E5-2673 so these are also better than the AMD Opteron.

You can see a quick price comparison here. More on the B-Series can be found here: Introducing B-Series, our new burstable VM size

One concern was that we might not be under the base line enough to build up the credits for when we go over the base line. That might kill our cost reduction hopes. That concern was invalidated by the fact that the average vCPU usage % is lower anyway due to the fact the the processors are faster and better. This helps to stay below the vCPU base line and as a result gives me credits for when I need more CPU cycles.

Overall I now have better performance at lower costs. As you can see in the screenshot of 1 VM below the savings are real after swapping over from the basic A2 to the B2S size.

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So, that’s an optimization that has worked out well for me. I suggest you check it out and see where you can reduce or optimize your spending in Azure.

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) supports IAAS managed disks region to region

Introduction

When we see enough progress, not perfection, and get to the point that all our minimal needs are covered is when we decide to adopt a technology, feature or solution as the default. We might even move whole sale, either over time or on an expedited time line.

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As more and more companies reach for the cloud we see the offerings mature. That’s when cloud becomes the new normal for a majority. I’m happy to say that with managed disks we are at the point we have not many reasons not to use them. Which means latecomers get a more complete offering “out of the box” and can focus on the next generation of solutions, beyond cloud so to speak, in another wonderfully inadequate term called serverless.

What are IAAS managed disks?

Managed disks provide simpler storage management (no more storage account limits leading to managing and monitoring those accounts) along with better availability, disk level data protection with encryption, RBAC and backups, the ability to create snapshots etc. Clearly, they are the way forward. Read up on them here. I did migrate many virtual machines to them but we could not do this for equally as many despite the clear benefits. Why? Read on!

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) Supports IAAS managed disks region to region

But they had a key piece missing. ASR until last week did not allow to setup Disaster Recovery (DR) for IaaS VMs with managed disks. Those already running everything on managed disks might have found out during a hurricane or flooding scare that they could not quickly set up ASR and move those workloads to another region. I know people who were in that situation.

But as Microsoft announced public availability for the capability to Protect machines using managed disks between Azure regions using Azure Site Recovery. I’m very happy with this because I really like manage disks but this was a real show stopper for the IAAS virtual machines where ASR between regions is a hard requirement. It’s often the case in the quickly evolving cloud environment that features are missing for a while. Those can slow down adoption until they are available.

Now we have a full IAAS solution on par with on-premises VM to Azure IAAS VMs where managed disks are also supported. Which reminds me I need to check if the failback option form Azure to on-premises works already with managed disks (it used to be a one-way street with managed disks). Today, with managed disks I can say we’ve reached the point where we’ll convert the remaining IAAS virtual machines as it covers many needs and we’re confident the remainder of needs will be following.

Progress, not perfection

It’s not perfect yet. We’re still looking forward to encrypted disk support, incremental snapshots etc. But as I said, we decide and work based on progress, not perfection.