Key features of the new Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner

Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner is now GA with support for both Hyper-V and VMware.

Disaster Recovery cost to Azure is now added in the report. It gives compute, storage, network and Azure Site Recovery license cost per VM.

ASR Deployment Planner does a deep, ASR-specific assessment of your on-premises environment. It provides recommendations that are required by Azure Site Recovery for successful DR operations such as replication, failover, and DR-Drill of your VMware or Hyper-V virtual machines.  

Also, if you intend to migrate your on-premises workloads to Azure, use Azure Migrate for migration planning. Azure Migrate assesses on-premises workloads and provides guidance

 Key features of the tool are:

  1. Estimated Network bandwidth required for initial replication(IR) and delta replication.
  2. Storage type(standard or premium storage) requirement for each VM.
  3. Total number of standard and premium storage accounts to be provisioned.
  4. For VMware, it provides the required number of Configuration Server and Process Server to be deployed on on-prem.
  5. For Hyper-V, it provides additional storage requirements on on-premises.
  6. For Hyper-V, the number of VMs that can be protected in parallel (in a batch) and protection order of each batch for successful initial replication.
  7. For VMware, the number of VMs that can be protected in parallel to complete initial replication in a given time.
  8. Throughput that ASR can get from on-premises to Azure. 
  9. VM eligibility assessment based on number of disks, size of the disk  and IOPS, OS type.   
  10. Estimate DR cost for the target Azure  region in the specific currency.

When to use ASR Deployment Planner and Azure Migrate?

  • DR from VMware/Hyper-V to Azure
  • Migration from VMware to Azure


Download the tool and learn more about VMware to Azure Deployment Planner and Hyper-V to Azure Deployment planner.




New Technical Preview for Microsoft Windows Server management experience Project “Honolulu”, released

Modernized, simplified, integrated, and secure experiences. Project “Honolulu” Technical Preview 1711 update is now available!

Some cool new features were release like the Windows 10 client management: You can now add Windows 10 client machines as connections in Honolulu, and manage them with a subset of tools in the “Computer Management” Solution.

For more information on new and removed features check


Automating the deployment of Hyper-V hosts with VMM 2016 with Baremetal deployment

To deploy a new Hyper-V host from bare metal, the following simple steps are carried out by System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) :

  1. VMM Discovers the physical computer through out-of-band management (BMC)
  2. VMM Installs an OS image on the physical computer using a previously created physical computer profile.
  3. VMM Enables the Hyper-V role on the physical computer.
  4. VMM Brings the computer under VMM management as a managed Hyper-V host.

Now in order for that to happen, let’s see what pre-requisites you are required to provide first:

  1. DNS and Active Directory
    Create DNS entries and Active Directory account for the machine names.
  2. BIOS

    a. Set up the BIOS on the machine to support virtualization: Configuring the BIOS boot order to boot from (PXE)-enabled network adapter as the first device.
    b. Configure the BMC settings. Configure the logon credentials and IP address settings for the BMC on each computer.
  3. Add a PXE server environment: A PXE server integrated to VMM is required for Bare Metal deployment.
  4. Add resources to VMM library: Add a generalized virtual hard disk with an suitable OS to use as the base image, and driver files that will be added to the during installation of the OS.
  5. Create a Run As account. In VMM create a Run As Account with permissions to access the BMC.
  6. Create Physical Computer profiles: In the VMM library, create one or more physical computer profiles. These profiles include configuration settings, such as the location of the operating system image, and hardware and OS settings.

Now let’s have a look on the step by step to provision a Hyper-V host using Baremetal Deployment:

  1. Click Fabric > Servers > Home > Add > Add Resources > Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters.
  2. In the Add Resource Wizard > Resource location, select Physical computers to be provisioned as virtual machine hosts.
  3. In Credentials and Protocol select the Run As account with permissions to access the BMC. In the Protocol list, click the out-of-band management protocol that your BMCs use. If you want to use Data Center Management Interface (DCMI), click Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). Although DCMI 1.0 is not listed, it is supported. Make sure the correct port is selected.
  4. In Discovery Scope, enter the single IP address, the IP subnet, or the IP address range that includes the IP addresses of the BMCs


  • If you specify a single IP address, when you click Next, the computer is restarted.
  • If you specify an IP address range, when you click Next, information about the computer is displayed, and you can confirm that you specified the computer that you meant to.

4a. If you specified an IP subnet or IP address range the Target Resources page appears. Select the BMCs you want to provision as Hyper-V hosts.

  1. In Provisioning Options, click a host group for new Hyper-V hosts. Select the physical computer profile you want to apply.
  2. In Deployment Customization, provide information for each computer that you want to provision as a Hyper-V host:

Note: To remove a BMC from the list, select it and then click Remove.

For each BMC IP address in the list:

    • Click the BMC IP address and specify a unique computer name, without wildcard characters.
    • Select or clear Skip Active Directory for this computer name. The Active Directory check prevents deployment if the computer account already exists.
    • For each BMC IP address in the list:
    • Click on the Network Adapter (on the left) to modify the configuration, or fill in more information. You can specify the MAC address of the management NIC (not the BMC) and static IP settings for this network adapter.
    • To specify an IP address select a logical network and an IP subnet if applicable. If the selected IP subnet includes IP address pool, you can check Obtain an IP address corresponding to the selected subnet. Otherwise, type an IP address that’s within the logical network or its subnet.
    • Configure the adapter settings for each network adapter. You must specify any information that is missing for the adapters.
    • When all information for the listed BMC are completed, click Next.
  1. In Summary, confirm the settings, and then click Finish to deploy the new Hyper-V hosts and bring them under VMM management.

Make sure that all steps in the job have a status of Completed.

  1. To confirm that the host was added click Fabric > Servers > All Hosts > host group, and verify that the new Hyper-V host appears in the group.


Note: Nano Server is not a supported OS for infrastructure-related roles like Hyper-V. I recommend that you use Windows 2016 Core Server version

Hyper-V Networking improvements: NAT. and what does it means to you?

October 31, 2017 1 comment

For many years I have been using Hyper-V in my laptop, which is specially useful considering a run many demos and from time to time I speak at conferences that requires you or to have 2 or 3 computers or to run virtualisation in your laptop.

But, to run some demos I needed network in my Virtual Machines, particularly internet connection,  and in most cases that was not easy to accomplish. The trick I used to have: a Internal Virtual Switch assigned to all VM’s and a second External Virtual Switch assigned to a VM acting as a router, running Windows Routing and Remote Access Service, which as you would understand was undermining my demos, by consuming vital resources (memory, cpu…) that I could otherwise assign to VM’s that was actually the demo VM’s.


Other common way to have internet on the Virtual Machines were by creating Connection Sharing (ICS) to connect on a shared Connection.


Anyway, that is now past, as since Microsoft released Creators Update for Windows 10, you can now create a Hyper-V Virtual Switch with NAT support which enables VM’s to be isolated behind a single IP address assigned to the host. This means that you don’t need to setup an ICS or create a VM to act as a route anymore. Also as Sarah Cooley, Hyper-V PM, pointed out in her post, NAT networking is vital to both Docker and Visual Studio’s UWP device emulators and there are two significant improvements to NAT brought by Windows 10 Creators update :

  1. You can now use for multiple NAT networks (internal prefixes) on a single host.
  2. You can build and test applications with industry-standard tooling directly from the container host using an overlay network driver (provided by the Virtual Filtering Platform (VFP) Hyper-V switch extension) as well as having direct access to the container using the Host IP and exposed port.

BTW, the process is done by using PowerShell. There is no UI for that. In fact, when you create a NAT Virtual Switch, it will appears as Internal Switch in the Hyper-V UI


To create the NAT Virtual Switch:

  1. Open the PowerShell console with Admin rights and create an Internal Virtual Switch. In the example below, I am naming the Virtual Switch “vNAT”. You can choose the name you want.

    New-VMSwitch -SwitchName “vNAT” -SwitchType Internal



  2. After creating the Virtual Switch, you need to configure the NAT gateway. This IP address must be from a new range, which will be defined in the next step. Notice the name of the Interface Alias, which is composed by the prefix “VEthernet ” plus the name of the Virtual Switch created in the previous step enclosed in brackets. I am assigning the IP address as a NAT Gateway IP and using 24 as prefix length ( which would cater for 254 VM’s.
     New-NetIPAddress -IPAddress  –PrefixLength 24  –InterfaceAliasvEthernet (vNAT)”

    You can otherwise utilise the InterfaceIndex instead of InterfaceAlias. For that, you need to find the interface index (ifindex) of the virtual switch previously created by typing


    In my case, the interface index is 68.

    Then executing the following:
    New-NetIPAddress -IPAddress  –PrefixLength 24  –InterfaceIndex 68

    You can check if the IP addresses for the NAT default Gateway were assigned by typing:
    Get-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAliasvEthernet (vNAT)”

  3. The next step is to define the NAT network name and its IP address range, that the VM’s with the assigned Virtual Switch will run on. Make sure the IP address created in the previous step is on the range of this network.



4.  The next step is to assign the NAT Virtual Switch to the VM’s to use the NAT virtual switch. You can do that by using PowerShell or the UI.


  1. The final step is to assign an IP address to the VM’s. You will need to manually configure the network settings for the VM, as the built-in NAT switch doesn’t include a DHCP server for automatic IP address assignment. Assign the default gateway IP address of the private network to the internal VM switch Management Host vNIC.

Note: When the endpoint is attached to a container, the Host Network Service (HNS) allocates and uses the Host Compute Service (HCS) to assign the IP address, gateway IP, and DNS info to the container directly.



hypervnat8.PNGNote: If you require automatic IP address assignment to your VM’s, it can be easily accomplished by adding a DHCP server role to one of the VM’s. In my case, I added the DHCP role to the Domain Controller VM.

Important: To access the VM’s from the external network, you will need to create NAT rules, translating an external TCP/UDP port on the external interface to the NAT Virtual Switch port.

#The following command, maps the Hyper-V host port 80 to port 81 on VM
Add-NetNatStaticMapping -NatName “NATnetwork” -Protocol TCP -ExternalIPAddress  -InternalIPAddress -InternalPort 81 -ExternalPort 80


If you need to remove the NAT (clean up):

Get-NetNat | Remove-NetNat
Removes existing container networks, vSwitch,  NetNat




Categories: Cloud

Extending Microsoft OMS to monitor Squid Proxy running in Linux with a plugin – part 1/3 #MSOMS

November 24, 2016 1 comment

Since Microsoft released OMS, I have been an early adopter and evangelist for the solution. Not only it is simple to deploy but it gives you a full spectrum of many of the workloads you have either on-premises or in the cloud and it does not matter which cloud. Be it Azure, AWS, Google and many others.

So, as I was advising on OMS for a customer, I found that they were running Squid Proxy servers. The Squid proxy server is one of the most famous proxy servers in the world and it has been utilised for years in many organisations. For that reason I then I decided to look at how OMS could leverage the monitoring for Squid.


As you can see here: there are already many plugins for OMS to  monitor Windows and many Linux OS as well, DNS, Network, SQL, MySQL, Postgree, VMware, MongoDB, Security, Audit, Change Tracking and so on.

But, there was no Squid plugin and that’s where I brought back my past years of experience as a developer and although that was a long, long time go, I was able to developer in ruby a Squid plugin for Microsoft OMS.

How I developed it?

PART 1 : LOG Files

  1. I started but investigating the squid log on /var/log/squid/access.log and then I research REGEX expressions to extract information out of it. Below is a extract of it

1479696836.902    134 TCP_MISS/301 488 open – HIER_DIRECT/ –
1479696848.110    242 TCP_MISS/400 486 open – HIER_DIRECT/ text/html
1479696860.004    407 TCP_MISS/301 636 open – HIER_DIRECT/ text/html

The initial difficult part for me was of to decouple the date/time to get it on a human readable format. So, after long hours of research and playing along, I decided for the following REGEX :

 REGEX =/(?<eventtime>(\d+))\.\d+\s+(?<duration>(\d+))\s+(?<sourceip>(\d+\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+))\s+(?<cache>(\w+))\/(?<status>(\d+))\s+(?<bytes>(\d+)\s+)(?<response>(\w+)\s+)(?<url>([^\s]+))\s+(?<user>(\w+|\-))\s+(?<method>(\S+.\S+))/
(If you have a better one, please feel free to shot me)


  1. I then wrote a squidparserlog.rb in ruby to parse the Squid access.log file and turn it into a OMS format
class SquidLogParserLib
require ‘date’
require ‘etc’
require_relative ‘oms_common’
require ‘fluent/parser’
    def initialize(error_handler)
@error_handler = error_handler
    REGEX =/(?<eventtime>(\d+))\.\d+\s+(?<duration>(\d+))\s+(?<sourceip>(\d+\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+))\s+(?<cache>(\w+))\/(?<status>(\d+))\s+(?<bytes>(\d+)\s+)(?<response>(\w+)\s+)(?<url>([^\s]+))\s+(?<user>(\w+|\-))\s+(?<method>(\S+.\S+))/
    def parse(line)
      data = {}
time =
REGEX.match(line) { |match|
data[‘Host’] = OMS::Common.get_hostname
          timestamp = match[‘eventtime’].to_i() )
data[‘EventTime’] = OMS::Common.format_time(timestamp)
data[‘EventDate’] = timestamp.strftime( ‘%Y-%m-%d’ )
data[‘Duration’] = match[‘duration’].to_i()
data[‘SourceIP’] = match[‘sourceip’]
data[‘cache’] = match[‘cache’]
data[‘status’] = match[‘status’]
data[‘bytes’] = match[‘bytes’].to_i()
data[‘httpresponse’] = match[‘response’]
data[‘bytes’] = match[‘bytes’].to_i()
data[‘url’] = match[‘url’]
data[‘user’] = match[‘user’]
data[‘method’] = match[‘method’]}
rescue => e
@error_handler.logerror(“Unable to parse the line #{e}”)
      return time, data
end   #def
   end   #class
3. Finally, I wrote the squid.conf for OMS
# enhanced parse log with date format , which pass the path for the log to the SquidLogParser and tag it as oms.api.Squid. By doing this, you will end up with 11 custom fields in OMS for the LOG TYPE Squid_CL
type tail
format SquidLogParser
path /var/log/squid/access.log
pos_file /var/opt/microsoft/omsagent/state/var_log_squid_access.pos
tag oms.api.Squid
log_level error


On my next article I will go through the next part, which is getting Squid Proxy Statistics in OMS, along with the full code.



Innovation Days: Event Report and Feedback

September 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Innovation Days was held from 9am to 5pm on Saturday 17th September at NSI TAFE NSW Campus. Over 130 attendees took part in a ground-breaking new event. The content focused on the following topics: Datacenter and Cloud (Private, Hybrid and Public), Identity and Security, Linux, Collaboration, IoT, Database, Business Analytics and Integration and Application Development.



Information gathered during registration showed that 73% of attendees were interested in Cloud and Datacenter management, 64% in Data Analytics and 50% in Modern Apps.



It also showed that 53.77% are aware that their company has a cloud strategy, 27.36% who don’t know and 18.87% whose company does not have a cloud strategy yet.




It showed also some insights about Linux utilisation/deployment at about 42% and what are their planning public clod adoption, with Azure as preferred by 44.81% followed by AWS at 21.23% and Unknown/None at 35.38%.


The event was sponsored by NSI Tafe NSW, Microsoft, RXP and RedHat. Significant in-kind sponsorship was received from NSI Tafe NSW, and I am very thankful for that. The event ran at a non-profit and it was free to the attendees, thanks the sponsorship.

The feedback from participants gathered during informal conversations at the networking time, indicated a very high level of satisfaction with the event. Quoting one attendee: “The event was inspiring. The IoT session was great. I am going to buy a Raspberry PI and start coding.  It’s amazing what we can achieve with that.”

The speakers were amongst industry experts and Australian Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) who presented great content about innovative technologies and based on their real world experience in short action packed sessions. I would like to thank you all the speakers for taking time to prepare and present great content sessions.6

The event started 9am with an introduction from NSI Tafe NSW Derik Pola, Faculty Director of Information Technology, Media and Business , followed by a keynote session “Go Mobile, stay in Control: Enterprise Mobility + Security” from Microsoft Evangelist Jeff Alexander, followed by another keynote on Modern Cloud by Alessandro Cardoso and then 3 sessions: Nano Server:  Minimize reboots and improve security with next-gen server deployment with Jeff Alexander, Introducing Microsoft Pimg_5140owerApps with Bill Chesnut and .Net Core with Jordan Knight.

After lunch, we had another keynote Session: IMG_5149.JPGContainers Anywhere with OpenShift with Stefano Picozzi from RedHat, who give away an Openshift book and I saw a many interested in getting a copy, which showed that the subject is at much interest.

Then we had 9 great sessions:

  • Azure IoT End-to-End with Martin Abbott, MVP
  • Business Case for Upgrading to SQL Server 2016 with Victor Isakov
  • API Management and Hybrid Integration with Bill Chesnut, MVP
  • “Best mates” Power BI and Machine Learning with Grant Paisley, MVP
  • Using Azure Active Directory B2C in your next consumer App with Simon Waight, MVP
  • Hyper-V, Nested Virtualisation and Linux with Alessandro Cardoso, MVP
  • Windows 10 Integration with Organisational Identities in The Cloud with Mark O’Shea, MVP
  • Collaborate beyond the boundaries of an enterprise: Your Enterprise bot is here with Amr Fouad, MVP
  • Understanding Rights Management with Robert Crane, MVP

You can find more about our speakers here:

As stories goes, one of the speakers came out the hospital where his wife just had a baby. I would like to congratulate Victor Isakov for the new born and for taking time away from his family to present a great session.

img_5085The motto of the event: Delivering an engaging, informing and technically focussed event – “Whether you know your way around the cloud and are trying to stay current, or are just getting started and figuring out the best path forward – having access to information, best practices and training is more critical than ever”, was fully achieved. There were several objectives which Innovation Days aimed to fulfil: bringing together the ICT community, discovering new solutions and new ways to implement it, connecting with industry experts, IT professionals and technology partners.

The range and depth of presentations was incredibly encouraging and networking with other professional colleagues was cited as one of the mimg_5145ost important reasons to attend.

But the conference was not just talks and workshops. We had a good networking time at lunch time featuring Microsoft Cognitive Services as well as a social gathering after event with drinks.

At the end, thanks to the sponsors, we had many prizes and a lucky winner of a Lenovo Laptop sponsored by RXP Services.

wp_20160917_17_20_37_proThis event could not be great success as it was without the support from John Barnet from NSI Tafe, Michael O’Keeffe from Microsoft and our sponsors and speakers: Martin Abbott, Victor Isakov, Bill Chesnut, Grant Paisley, Simon Waight, Mark O’Shea, Amr Fouad, Robert Crane, Jeff Alexander, Stefano Picozzi and myself: Alessandro Cardoso.


Several of the presentations can be found on the event website, alongside with some photos from the event at


I Looking forward to see you again in 2017!

Alessandro Cardoso Microsoft MVP | RXP Services Technology Strategist @cloudtidings



Categories: Cloud

Windows 2016 released and with it Hyper-V and System Center

September 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Microsoft released today at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta the newest release of Windows Server 2016!

Windows Server 2016 is jam-packed with innovation and customer response has been overwhelming, with more than half a million devices running the final Technical Preview. These customers range from large global enterprises to private cloud hosters to organizations of every size from every corner of the globe – Erin Chapple, General Manager, Windows Server


Windows Server 2016 delivers powerful innovation across three areas:

  • Advanced Multi-layer Security: Use Shielded Virtual Machines to help protect your virtual machines from a compromised fabric as well as improve your compliance. Shielded Virtual Machines are encrypted using BitLocker and will run on healthy hosts. To help prevent attacks and detect suspicious activity with new features to control privileged access, protect virtual machines and harden the platform against emerging threats.Watch an introduction to Shielded Virtual Machines
  • Software-defined Datacenter with Hyper-V: Run your datacenter with the utmost confidence with an automated, resilient server operating system. Azure utilises Windows Server and Hyper-V at a massive scale. Windows Servers delivers a more flexible and cost-efficient operating system for any datacenter, using software-defined compute, storage and network features inspired by Azure. Explore server virtualization with Hyper-V
  • Cloud-ready Application Platform: Run your existing apps on Windows Server 2016 without modifying them. Take advantage of enhanced security and efficiency features in the fabric. Applications are at the heart of every organization and its ability to serve customers and compete effectively for their loyalty.  Windows Server 2016 delivers new ways to deploy and run both existing and cloud-native applications – whether on-premises or in Microsoft Azure – using new capabilities such as Windows Server Containers and the lightweight Nano Server deployment option.  Learn more about containers  and Learn more about Azure Service Fabric on Windows Server 2016


Availability: Windows Server 2016 is available for evaluation starting today

Note: Volume licensing customers will be able to download fully licensed software at General Availability in mid-October.