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Rackspace and the Microsoft ProServe Partner Network

Rackspace and the Microsoft ProServe Partner Network

I have been a Racker for more than 2 years now and during this time I have found that Rackspace has always strived to maintain an amazing group of Microsoft Partners that do Professional Services (ProServe) work. We have phenomenal partners that we send work to today, however we want to broaden our knowledge base of who is out there doing great things in the Microsoft ProServe space. We no longer have teams that do ProServe work, save some migration efforts, but as their trusted advisors our customers ask us for recommendations of who they turn to in order to get their ProServe work done. This is where my ask of you comes in.

Are you interested in Rackers mentioning your company as a potential ProServe provider to our customers? If the answer is yes, then we need to know about you. My ask is that you fill out our 2 minute survey to let us know who you are and what is in your sweet spot.

A couple of caveats:
1.) This is the first of 2 surveys that we will ask you to fill out. The second will come after you have self identified and we have a reasonable number of responses. Additionally, we will reach out at least annually to validate that you are still pursing the same work as that which you have identified in the survey(s).
2.) Filling out the survey(s) does not guarantee that you will be referred business. It simply gives us an opportunity to do so and possibly reach out for additional partner conversations.
3.) We are not selling this list or doing anything nefarious with it. We just want to know who we can send our customers to when they ask for referrals and this is the best way I can think of doing that.
4.) PLEASE do not reach out to me asking (yelling at me about) why we haven’t done anything with your company yet. I will have no control over who our customers choose to reach out to. Think of this as a Rackspace ProServe Yellow Pages effort.
5.) Rackspace has a very well defined Partner Network Program which can be found at https://partners.rackspace.com/.  We will be providing some inputs from this effort to the team that runs that program, but this effort is independent of that. We are looking to identify (and keep fresh) a list of referral partners that we can tell our customers about when they ask. Plus the Partner Network is more focused on you help to sell our stuff than us sending you business, so feel free to go do that too! We would love for you to make money for referring us to your customers…

Closing thoughts, Rackspace loves Community. We went into hibernation for a while but are stirring back it life. Keep an eye out for us… in the meantime, please fill out this form: http://bit.ly/rackspace-msftpartners

May 16th is the new May 4th in SharePoint land

May 16th is the new May 4th in SharePoint land

Seth Patton started the event today by saying that today we are here to celebrate customers who are using using Office 365 to accelerate their digital transformations. He highlighted the Microsoft mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I was lucky enough to be invited, along with my fellow Racker & Microsoft MVP Randy Drisgill and several other community friends, to take part in the filming of this event. In addition to the excitement around all of the announcements I was especially thrilled that Microsoft had chosen to highlight Rackspace as a customer taking part in the aforementioned digital transformation.

As a part of the big announcement blog post that Jeff Teper put out today Rackspace was listed as one of the 9 customer success stories. This has been a labor of love here at Rackspace for me and I see our transformation daily in the way that we work together. From the migration to OneDrive, to our limited use of Microsoft Teams, and including our latest efforts to migrate to Exchange Online there is so much benefit to the people using the new functionality being brought to them via Office 365. You can read our Customer Story here: https://customers.microsoft.com/en-us/story/rackspace-professional-services-office-365

As for all of the amazing new things that Seth, Jeff and the Microsoft team share with us today, here is my recap:

OneDrive for Business

There were 3 big areas of highlight today:

  1. OneDrive Admin Center
  2. New Sharing Experience
  3. OneDrive Files OnDemand

OneDrive Admin Center

admin center

There are several really cool things that they showed today about the new OneDrive Admin Center, specifically the ability to set the default sharing policy for links. This will make it so that users do not have the ability to share a link that has no governance around it. The Admin Center controls override for all users and allow Admins to better control what is happening with their data.

The other great new feature that was demoed was the ability to limit sharing by domain. You now have the ability to either whitelist or blacklist domains. This will allow Admins to ensure that sharing can be done, however it gives them the ability to keep their users from accidentally opening access to the wrong element.

New Sharing Experience

sharing

I have written quite a bit on this for Microsoft, so I am going to limit my prose here and simply say that the new sharing experience is elegant, clean, and easy to use. I am a big fan. Once my article gets published and is out of embargo from being posted to my blog I will be sure to update this section and link it.

OneDrive Files OnDemand

files ondemand

My previous statement about embargoed content goes for this section too. My screenshot here shows a bit of the user experience we are expecting to see in the coming months once the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 hits.

The Future of SharePoint event: a recap

The Future of SharePoint event: a recap

It is 1130p on May 4th, 2016 and I have just returned to my hotel room in San Francisco from an amazing day. Today was the Microsoft “Future of SharePoint” launch event. Here is my recap of the day:

pre-event

Before the event we all gathered excitedly to get into the venue and check out what was in store for the day. A gaggle of MVPs and Microsoft customers loitered on the sidewalk outside the Village at 969 Market anxiously awaiting “go time”.

IMG_3796cb bb and me

Once inside the unique, but cozy venue, we all found our seats, mingled with customers, chattered about what we were excited about hearing today, and Christian started taking selfies.

Dan

Getting to see Dan Holme kick off the event as a part of his new role at Microsoft was a pretty huge thrill. Dan has been a friend & mentor for many years and to see him in this position is hugely exciting, not only for what it means for him personally as my friend, but also for what it means for the SharePoint community. Dan has been a force in this community long before I found it, and his voice on the inside at Microsoft really highlights the changes that have been happened over the past few years.

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Satya was heard from, but not seen in person. This was a bummer, but ultimately it lead to more of other great folks, so we will happily take it.

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Jeff Teper came out strong explaining some of the new changes that are coming and sharing his excitement with the live audience. It was infectious.

All of the demos landed well. The ones that I thought were most impactful were:

Roadmaps

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This is the first time I can recall that Microsoft has given us a roadmap of features that are coming. There was a roadmap slide for each of the 4 areas that were discussed. The key to notice is that Microsoft is telling you what they are working on today, and what they think they are going to plan to work on for the rest of the year. Lots of things can happen to change, but Microsoft is finally showing us what to expect and roughly when. Dates may slip based upon a number of factors, however we now have a real roadmap from Microsoft.

Intranet in your pocket

IMG_3808

IMG_3810

One of the core themes of the day was “Your Intranet in your Pocket”. Microsoft is due to release (in the next few weeks ) its SharePoint Mobile app to iOS. Welcome to the new Microsoft! Adam Harmetz demo’ed the mobile app. I have had a chance over the past few weeks and am encouraged by what I have seen.

It is worth noting that the mobile app will support multiple SPO and commercial OneDrives.

spmobile

SharePoint Home

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SharePoint Home is the replacement for the half cared about (if that) Sites page in SharePoint Online. This experience is getting a completely new look and feel, backed against the Office Graph to show users sites that they are members of and following.

Fast site provisioning

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With a completely overhauled site provisioning process, Team Sites can be created in 5 seconds or less in the new UI. The ability to set the restriction polices during the site creation time is a huge win for Governance.

FastTrack

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Microsoft has recognized one of its key barriers to adoption and is now offering free migration services to SharePoint Online and OneDrive from not only Google Drive but from Box too. Previously it required massive dev or a third party tool. Customers over 150 seats are eligible for a free engineer lead migration from Microsoft. Until now I have steered somewhat clear of FastTrack, but now I am going to have to go revisit it.

Feature Packs

It was stated that Feature Packs will be coming to SharePoint onPrem starting in 2017. This was the only real mention of this MASSIVE new feature that I will cover off in a future post.

Here is an excerpt from the “SharePoint Server 2016 – your foundation for the future” post from Microsoft:

While our innovation will be delivered to Office 365 first, we will provide many of the new experiences and frameworks to SharePoint Server 2016 customers with Software Assurance through Feature Packs. This means you won’t have to wait for the next version of SharePoint Server to take advantage of our cloud-born innovation in your datacenter.

I am going to cover Feature Packs in a future article that I will link here when I am done. This to me was the biggest piece of news at the event. This opens doors for Rackpace.use SPLA licensing as our users are going to be able to update using a Public Update since SPLA inclues Software Assurance.

Analytics fun

John, Dave & I kept up with the events of the day, however we were also playing with our dashboards and scheming for how to improve the overall experience.

Here is a snapshot of the event:

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After the event and lunch, John & I pulled out our laptop and get to playing with all of our new data in the SQL Azure Database. It was such a hit that even Jeff Teper couldn’t resist the pull of data about this event. That is pretty hot wouldn’t yall say?

analytics for all

 

Resources

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to go watch all of the demo videos. Here is a central list of articles and blog post:

Here are the links:

Satya Nadella welcomes the future of SharePoint

Vision & Overview Blog: The Future of SharePoint
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-future-of-sharepoint

SharePoint Server GA & Feature Packs: SharePoint Server 2016—your foundation for the future
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-server-2016-your-foundation-for-the-future/
VIDEO
: Foundation for the Future: SharePoint Server 2016 https://youtu.be/6ADQpn3xl2U
VIDEO
: Accelerating Innovation with Hybrid: SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 https://youtu.be/ACsSv6CNHY8

Simple & powerful file sharing and collaboration from any device: Announcing simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration for Office 365
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/announcing-simple-and-powerful-file-sharing-and-collaboration-for-office-365/
VIDEO
: Effortless File Sharing on Any Device: OneDrive for Business and SharePoint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRFe38WxCjU

SharePoint mobile app, SharePoint home, team sites, Microsoft Flow & PowerApps integration: SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-the-mobile-and-intelligent-intranet/

VIDEO: The Mobile and Intelligent Intranet: SharePoint sites and PowerApps
https://youtu.be/x8tgKBXmmPg

VIDEO: Your Intranet in Your Pocket: The SharePoint mobile app
https://youtu.be/L4OmRsiXbVw

SharePoint Framework: The SharePoint Framework—an open and connected platform
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-sharepoint-framework-an-open-and-connected-platform/
VIDEO
: Open and Connected Platform: The SharePoint Framework https://youtu.be/T_bGyqKwT4g

Security, Privacy and Compliance for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business
VIDEO ONLY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mvZr_Gc36U

Happy learning!
-jase

The Future of SharePoint is almost here!

The Future of SharePoint is almost here!

 

FoSEvent banner

Good morning from 34k feet somewhere over New Mexico! I am currently flying out to San Francisco to take part in the Future of SharePoint event tomorrow. I have been lucky enough to have spent time out in Redmond over the past few weeks and have had a chance to see some of what Jeff Teper and the SharePoint Team are going to share with us tomorrow and I can tell you that it is some game changing, super exciting stuff

If you haven’t already registered for the Live Stream you should stop reading and do it right now…  I will wait… http://aka.ms/FutureOfSharePoint

Now that you’ve done that we can continue Smile

If you aren’t able to stream the feed for some reason or just want to an up to the second view into what I am thinking about the event, my colleagues Todd Klindt, Randy Drisgill, and John Ross will also be Live Blogging the event on the Rackspace SharePoint site at http://sharepoint.rackspace.com/live-event. You can download a calendar reminder for this here.

Want to keep up with what is trending on Twitter around the event? Check out the Twitter Analytics Power BI dashboard that Dave Feldman, John White & I put together below.

Last night as we were playing with our Twitter Analytics I saw someone tweet the question: “Can the future of SharePoint really live up to all the hype?”. I am hopeful & optimistic for the first time in quite a while that it can, however only time will tell. I for one am betting heavily that it will as I have chosen to tie my career to SharePoint & Office 365. From everything that I have seen from Microsoft recently they are doing 3 things very right in my opinion:

1.) They are listening. Whether it is via User Voice, direct interactions with them, or the telemetry that they are using coming from the service they are listening to what we are telling them with our words and our actions.

2.) They are getting fresh blood into the right seats on the bus and keeping the world moving forward.

3.) They are investing in innovation. This is something that they had stopped for a while, but they are back with a vengeance.  There is nothing more exciting in the tech world to me than innovation.

I am excited to see what they have to say tomorrow and I hope you are too. May the 4th be with you!
-jase

Microsoft Flow and Power BI make awesome bedfellows

Microsoft Flow and Power BI make awesome bedfellows

On Friday April 29th Microsoft release the preview of its latest toy, Microsoft Flow. Flow is similar to Zapier & IFTTT in that it connects to online services and takes actions based upon trigger events. During the demo to a group of Microsoft MVPs we saw some interesting ways to utilize Flows, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands into it to build some fun Power BI visualizations against more easily accessible data. Saturday morning I built out a simple Flow that took data from Twitter and added it to a SharePoint Online list.

From this I was able to create a Power BI report that visualized Tweets by count of Tweet and demonstrated individual tweets vs re-tweets. The data was drillable to the text level. I gave John White a call because I thought I had finally created something that we could geek out on before he got to it! Amazingly enough I had and within minutes we were adding refinements and enhancements, giddy as school girls.

The core issue that I was facing with my Report and methodology was that SharePoint lists are not best suited for contain the amount of data that we are likely to see this week with the Future of SharePoint event on Wednesday, let alone a month or year’s worth of twitter data. After we talked my Report had become a very slick visualization (embedded below).

John & I agreed that we needed more geek out time and decided to meet back up later in the evening. I started getting texts an hour before our meet up time with links to what John had built in the previous hour. An Azure SQL Database to house the twitter information, 5 new flows to capture specific Twitter data, and a Dashboard backed report that is slicker than Canadian Goose poo.

We knew that we had to share this new cool stuff with the community, but didn’t think we had the cycles to write the hundreds of pages of content we needed to get the point across. Then we remembered that we have Camtasia licenses thanks to TechSmith‘s generous Microsoft MVP offer.

John & I spent the next hour recording a 3 part series that you can find on the BIFocal YouTube Channel or simply click on the links below. We take you through creating an Azure SQL Database, building Flows, and finally using Power BI to create awesome Reports and Dashboards.

Our final product in the web series can be found below. Keep in mind that it the anonymous report is only refreshed 8 times a day.

We hope that you enjoy the content!

-jase

Announcing the new ITUnity web show: BIFocal

Announcing the new ITUnity web show: BIFocal

BIFocal LogoI was sitting in the speaker room at SharePoint Fest Seattle having a Skype chat with John White. We were collaborating on some Business Intelligence content that we could deliver at conferences either together or independently, but still ensure that we were providing a consistent message. At some point during this chat one of us suggested that this amusing & informational back and forth that we were having would make for a pretty decent podcast. Dan Holme, CEO of ITUnity, overheard the comment and said “It would make an even better web show on ITUnity!” Thus an idea was born.

I am excited to announce that a mere 5 months later we are ready to go live with our new monthly web show, BI Focal. We are going to keep you up to date on all of the latest news in the BI space, provide Tips & Tricks, have interesting guests, take viewer questions, and even do some cool demos.

We hope that you will join us for our inaugural show “Select * from Hosts” on January 28th, 2016 at 1:30PM Eastern Time on ITUnity. Check out our promo below:

Ignite is sold out?!? Now what?

Ignite is sold out?!? Now what?

For the past 2 years I have been honored to be the Speaker co-chair for the SharePoint Intersections Conference with Dan Holme. This year SharePoint Intersections is in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 18-21and the line up is epic. We have Ruven Gotz, Asif Rehmani, Scott Hillier, Mike Fitzmaurice, Brian Alderman, Mark Rackley, Michelle Caldwell, and Andrew Connell to name a few.

DevIntersection is co-located with SharePoint Intersection. This means that developers can take advantage of sessions not only about SharePoint, but also about Visual Studio, ASP.NET, HTML, SQL and open web standards like angular, from the absolute best speakers on those topics.

SharePoint Intersection features great content for Developers, IT Pros, and business owners of SharePoint and Office 365. We’ll be covering hybrid, security, governance, workflow and business process automation, and much, much more.

There will be dozens of awesome presenters including Microsoft’s own Jeremy Thake, Scott Hanselman, Scott Guthrie and Steve Guggenheimer so you’ll get to hear both the “Microsoft” and the “independent” perspective on todays’ and tomorrow’s technologies, including all of the big news from Ignite.

And a Surface for Free…

SharePoint Intersection just announced a ridiculously cool package. If you register for the Complete Package, which includes the event and 2 workshops, you will get the recently-announced Surface 3, for free!

Shirley Brothers and her team work tirelessly to ensure a great event experience, with delicious food and a gorgeous venue–the five-star Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. All that, with a price tag lower than Ignite and a Surface on your desk to build your next SharePoint or Office 365 project!

Register today at http://www.spintersection.com/Sharepoint-Office365-Conference/!

Another #SPC14 check list… with a different spin

Another #SPC14 check list… with a different spin

logo

Flying at 34k feet over the midwest on my way to #SPC14 and I realized that I had not stopped to enjoy the moment.  We are once again about to dive head long into a week filled with the greatest technical community around.  This is my 4th SharePoint Conference, but the first time that I will be presenting.  Over the past 3 years as a speaker in the SharePoint Community I have found my way to Las Vegas about a dozen times now, not including my regular enjoyment trips for March Madness, the occasional bachelor party, and what used to be a semi-annual gambling trip.  While there are several blogs out there talking about what not to miss while you are in town for the conference, I hope to throw a different spin on the conversation.  Here goes:

1.)    Speed walking the trade show floor

Personally I like to do a full lap of the floor before walking up to any of the booths.  Just from perusing the floor you can get a sense of where you will want to spend your time.  If you just start at the entrance and dive in you may miss out on some of the hidden jems of the floor.

2.)    Pick up a carry around bag

You are going to get some form of bag from the conference itself, but more than likely this is going to be a backpack or a messenger style bag.  I am talking about an open top two handled bag.  Lots of vendors have them at their booth and they come in very handy.  If you are carrying your laptop\tablet around in your backpack you don’t want to have to rip it off your back every time an exhibitor gives you a piece of swag or collateral.  It is much easier to drop it in your bag and move on.  Sort through it all later.

3.)    HYDRATE

I am not just talking about drinking water, which you should do at every opportunity.  Most of us do not come from the very dry climate that Las Vegas features.  Couple with that the recirculated air of the conference center and double that up with the open smoking indoors that you find on the casino floor and you have a nasal nightmare.  Get some saline spray and keep your nose moisture laden or you will regret it.  Also, utilize the lotion from your hotel room to keep from turning into a dry scaly mess.

4.)    Note taking in your sessions

This year with the second screen experience you are getting the slide deck directly from Yammer.  Rather than trying to take notes in OneNote and correlating that to a slide that the speaker is talking about, simply use the notes field in PowerPoint and take notes directly in your copy of the deck.  This will make for a more cohesive recollection after the conference.  I tend to insert a slide where the presenter is doing their demos and take notes directly on that blank slide for the demos.  Remember that you are going to get access to the recordings of the sessions afterwards.

5.)    Pay attention

I have been very guilty of this at some conferences and missed out as a result.  You are immersing yourself in the largest collection of SharePoint talent gathered in one place.  What do you think is going to get talked about in the hallways between sessions?  At dinner? Over drinks? If you haven’t been paying attention during the day, how are you going to keep up with the conversations?  Take the time to listen and learn in the sessions and then continue the learning with your peers after.

6.)    People

The best part about being in the SharePoint Community is the people.  This is the best networking opportunity you will have all year to meet people and grow your network.  Whether you are looking to meet someone who you respect from reading the blogs, books and watching the PluralSite course or if you are just trying to meet likeminded people who are just getting started, don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect and make new connections.  Be sure that you have a Twitter & LinkedIn account so that you can expand your network and connect with the people you meet.

7.)    Enjoy yourself

If you cannot find fun at SPC, then you are doing something wrong.  There are always multiple somethings going on every night.  Keep an eye on the Yammer network, #SPC14 on Twitter, and FourSquare to find the open invites all over the place.  Can’t get in to a vendor’s party because the line is too long?  MAKE YOUR OWN PARTY.  There is a bar every 22.7” feet in Las Vegas.  We did this at SPC in Anaheim because we weren’t willing to wait on a 2h line to get into a club.  While the club party was amazing from what I heard, I wouldn’t change a thing about the night that we had.

…and on lucky #7 I will leave you.  I hope that these tips are useful to you and I look forward to seeing you throughout the course of the conference.  I will be hanging around playing Xbox One between sessions at the Atrion booth #2140, so please stop by and say hi.

Please join me for “Achieving better business productivity through Apps for Office” on Tuesday morning at 9a.  I am very excited to present this awesome topic on the first Executive track at SPC!

MVP Award – My new year’s day suprise

MVP Award – My new year’s day suprise

MVP

With my vacation coming to a close I opted to spend one last morning with the boys and let Jill sleep in this morning. The day started like any other, Sam (age 3) came into my room and immediately started talking while Max (age 5) was hunkered down in his bed surrounded his books. We went downstairs to start the day and have breakfast, for which they had requested my special chocolate chip pancakes.

We finished our breakfast and had some fun play time before the pathetic plea for movies kicked in. I’m a sucker and had some web surfing to do so I caved quickly. When Jill came down stairs she found the 3 of us in the middle of the Lorax.

I popped onto Twitter to see what was doing in the world and saw Marc Anderson‘s tweet stating that he had been renewed for his MVP (and deservedly so). I had been informed that I was under consideration this cycle, but had not put much stock in my chances of being awarded. I was about to tell Jill about Marc and that it looked like I had not gotten it this year when my Outlook dinged and a message titled “Congratulations 2014 Microsoft MVP!” popped up.

I was speechless. Jill & I have been married almost 7 years and I can count on one hand the number of times that she has seen that happen.

I am humbled and honored to have been presented with this award. There are too many people for me to name here to whom I owe a debt of thanks & appreciation, so I will simply say thank you to the SharePoint Community as a whole.  I have to give the credit for this award to the people who have given them most, and that is my amazingly supportive wife and kids without-whom I would not be able to do any of the community work that I do.

I look forward to another great year of blogging, speaking, geeking, and community building. See you all in March at #SPC14 in Las Vegas if not before!

Order is everything when setting up SharePoint on Azure IaaS

Order is everything when setting up SharePoint on Azure IaaS

I spent a bunch of time with my buddy Kirk Evans while at DevConnections in Las Vegas last month, some drinking and watching football, but mostly learning about running SharePoint on Azure. Azure IaaS has come a long way, but is still confusing & troublesome at times. I have written a few PowerShell tools that help me and I will share them in some future posts.

I started playing with SharePoint on Azure IaaS on my own without doing much reading. My goal in this was to see how intuitive it was to get things setup and going for the average person. Once in the console creating a VM was very quick and simple. I was up and running on a pre-built Windows Server image in no time. This was great.

Then I decided that I wanted to build a SharePoint farm. I deployed out 2 addtional VMs. I built an Active Directory and attempted to join the other 2 servers to the domain. This is where I ran into problems.

There are some building blocks that need to first be put in place before you start building servers if you want them to be able to communicate with one another.

The first is the Affinity Group (AG). An AG is required before you can create a Virtual Network. The way that Kirk explained it, the AG is a container to keep your Virtual Network in a single data center. To create an AG you will either use PowerShell or go to Settings at the bottom of the Management Portal and find Affinity Groups as the fourth of five options.

1-1-2014 10-30-49 PM

Next create the Virtual Network and assign it ot the AG.

2

After the Virtual Network is created you will be able to setup a Cloud Service. The Cloud Service is going to be the container for your VMs.

3

This process sounds uber simple, but the order of things matters here. Now you can create your VMs. Once you have your VMs and your DNS server built you can go in and specify the Domain Controller as a DNS server.

This is where you will hit a snag. In the normal course of events you would be running a domain controller on a static IP address. Unfortunately this is not something that you can do on Azure IaaS. Every time you deprovision a VM, which you have to do unless you want to get charged, your IP address reservation can get taken by another machine.

My solutions to this problem was fairly simple:

1.) Create a virtual network for each of my environments
2.) Always start the VMs in the same order so that they pick up the same IP address each time

The first part was easy, however the second part is difficult when you get beyond one or two people using the same Azure subscription. I needed an easier way to ensure that my VMs would start in a specific order. After a late night with one of my favorite single malts I came up with a fairly simple PowerShell solution.

set-AzureVMs.ps1
As a result of my conversations with Kirk, and some annoyance at the inconsistent nature of shutting down VMs using the Management Portal, I decided to look into how I could shutdown my VMs using PowerShell. There is a nice cmdlet for doing this called stop-AzureVM.

Since I want to do this for a set of VMs I needed to be able to run a for-each loop, so I wrote a start and stop function into the script.

4

I started to use a CSV or text file method for loading the VMs that I wanted to start and stop together when I realized that I didn’t want to have to maintain a series of files on every environment that I create and then distribute that to my team. Not to mention that I have multiple Azure subscriptions that I am using for clients and personal use. The management of that would get cumbersome quickly.

Then I remembered that all of the VMs that I will want to use together are going to be a part of the same Azure Cloud Service (ACS) and that each farm or group of servers that I want to use will have their own unique ACS. There is a cmdlet to get all of the ACS in an Azure Subscription called get-AzureService. I have opted to get the Service Name, Affinity Group, and status of the ACS in my script.

5

The status field is not overly useful, but if something other than “Created” is returned it is worth investigating since that is the expected value.

6

Once you have the correct ACS the script will list the VMs that exist within and ask if you want to start or stop them.

The obvious question at this point is “How does this solve the IP address problem that you set out to solve?”

The answer is that the script will always start and stop the VMs in a specific order. Starting the VMs using this script will ensure that the same IP addresses are obtained every time.

The script was originally designed to solve this problem however I have been using it to ensure that my VMs get shutdown cleanly rather than using the Management Portal which, as I mentioned earlier, is inconsiestent at best.

I hope that you find this as useful as I do. I have been using this script since I wrote it Thanksgiving weekend and I stopped tweaking about a week ago. You can find the script here: http://www.jasonhimmelstein.com/scripts/Azure/set-AzureVMs/set-AzureVMs.ps1

Enjoy!