Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Become an Early Expert in Virtualization

In an increasingly multi-hypervisor world, more and more IT organizations are using Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure to achieve superior performance and workload flexibility at the best possible price. With nearly two-thirds of businesses on more than one virtualization platform, adding Microsoft virtualization and cloud skills to your technical repertoire can improve your career options and prepare you to face new IT demands.

Join Early Experts! We'll help you get certified!

What is Early Experts?

Microsoft Early Experts is a free, online study group for virtualization professionals who want to extend their Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center and Microsoft Azure knowledge with official Microsoft certifications. We've organized our high-impact learning resources into online Knowledge Quests that include concise videos, prescriptive study materials and hands-on practice with real products. Complete the weekly quests at your own pace and enjoy the flexibility to stop and review certain topics when you need more time.

Rewards and Prizes (U.S. Only)

Complete the online Quests and receive a completion badge suitable for printing or sharing online to showcase your new skills with Microsoft virtualization! In addition, IT Pros located in the U.S. are eligible to win one of several cool prizes during monthly prize drawings in April, May and June 2014. **

Rewards, Prizes and Certification: Join Early Experts today!
If you're located outside of the U.S., you're certainly still welcome to join us and take advantage of the Early Experts study materials to help you prepare for certification.

The clock is ticking … Join us today!

Early Experts study groups are forming now for existing VMware / Virtualization professionals targeting the following Microsoft certification:
Join Us: Become our next Early Expert!
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to IT Professionals who are legal residents of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18+. Sweepstakes ends on June 30, 2014. See Official Rules.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are you ready to begin your Quest of the Cloudwalker?

Hark beleaguered IT Professionals! We know of the evils which plague you daily—mountains of help desk tickets, crashing computers, ridiculous requests from management, and far, far worse. But fear not, for we have felt your misery and despair, and created a fantastical world where you can use your hard-earned knowledge to crush demonic personifications of your IT woes.

So begin thy quest, choose from one of three heroic avatars, and arm yourself with up to four of the righteous weapons of IT. For each mystical weapon you arm yourself with, you’ll receive a code to enter in the game for a chance to win a fabled Xbox One.

Then carry onward into battle, where eight of your greatest foes await. There is Tickakomus, the God of forgotten passwords and missing power cords; Messglore, master of server closet chaos; and of course, the most feared monster of all, Chronos, Devourer of Time and Destroyer of Reality!

The task before you is mighty, but if you are true of heart and steeped in knowledge, your victory is assured. Become the savior all besieged IT Pros have been waiting for, in Quest of the Cloudwalker!

Friday, April 11, 2014

FREE Windows 8.1 Camp: Discover Key Windows 8.1 Solutions for IT Pros

IT Camp: Windows 8
As IT professionals, it’s your job to keep up with the latest demands – ensuring your organization has the fastest, most intuitive technology and uninterrupted services, while giving people the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices.

Join us (the IT Pro Evangelists!) for the upcoming IT Camp, “Empowering People-Centric IT with Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals,” and learn about the new features in Windows 8.1. These capabilities simplify the migration, deployment, and management of tomorrow's IT environments, while tangibly improving the end-user experience.

At this IT Camp, you’ll get hands-on experience with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 in the enterprise. Explore the new Windows 8.1 feature set while you dive deep into key enterprise scenarios around System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune management, deployment, security, desktop virtualization, side-loading apps, and mobility.

Session Requirements
  • Be sure to bring a modern laptop that can run the following prerequisites.
  • Modern operating system, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux or Mac OS X
  • Modern web browser supporting HTML5 and Javascript, including IE 9 or later, Chrome, Firefox and Safari
    Remote desktop (RDP) client – included with Windows platforms.  Mac and Linux RDP clients can be downloaded for free at http://www.2x.com/rdp-client/
Visit http://www.technetevents.com to learn more or register by clicking on the city closest to you.

Date
City
State
4/29/2014
WI
4/29/2014
TX
4/29/2014
FL
4/30/2014
MI
4/30/2014
NY
4/30/2014
CA
5/1/2014
IL
5/1/2014
FL
5/6/2014
MN
5/6/2014
NY
5/7/2014
OH
5/7/2014
GA
5/7/2014
PA
5/7/2014
CO
5/7/2014
CA
5/8/2014
KS
5/9/2014
FL
5/20/2014
OH
5/20/2014
VA
5/20/2014
IL
5/21/2014
TX
5/21/2014
MA
5/21/2014
NC
5/22/2014
WA
5/22/2014
MO
5/22/2014
AZ
5/28/2014
TX
6/4/2014
CA

Much thanks to Matt Hester, who let me "borrow" his blog post to re-post! Why reinvent the wheel, right? :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hey Ladies... the next She's Geeky is in Seattle!

She's Geeky will be two days in Seattle, May 9 and 10th at the Lake Washington Rowing Club.

Register HERE.  It will be the best $90 (one day) or $160 (two days) you spend. I recommend going both days, since you won't know what's going to happen until you get there.

You can even bring your daughter for a discounted price!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Azure DNS: What Comes First?

Oh, it’s that age old question - what comes first? The chicken or the egg?  With Windows Azure, the question often is about DNS. What comes first?  The IP address of the DNS server or the machine itself?

Honestly, it depends on what you plan on doing with your virtual machines and how you utilize the virtual networks.

Option 1: Spin up a VM as a “Quick Create”
When you do this, you are creating a VM without a custom virtual network that you control. The Azure fabric will assign an external IP address (VIP) and an internal IP address (DIP) isolated from all other machines. An appropriate DNS server from the fabric will be injected and your servername.cloudapp.net DNS name will be registered so your VM can be reachable from the Internet. All is done.

You could create other VMs the same way and the only way they would be reachable from one to the other is over the Internet via ports you opened. They would not share any “internal” networking.

Option 2: Create a Virtual Network and the create VMs attached to your VNET.
When you do this, you are controlling the internal address assignments and purposely joining VMs to that network so they can communicate with each other.  For that they need an “internal” DNS server.
Because the DNS settings are injected into the VM upon boot, you must have the IP address of that DNS server in mind before you begin and assign it within your Virtual Network settings, before creating the VMs themselves.

This DNS server could be from your on-premises network (if you are creating a site-to-site VPN) or one that does not yet exist in your Azure VNET, like an server acting as an Active Directory DC, perhaps.
When you create a virtual network, take note of the first IP address that would be assigned to a machine, or you can now choose to statically assign IP addresses using PowerShell. Add that address as the DNS server in your virtual network.  Then when you create VMs they will know to use the internal DNS you specify as the primary DNS.

An external address (VIP) would still be automatically assigned and the name of the cloud service would be either your server name or something else that fits into the design of what you are trying to accomplish. That DNS name would still be registered with Azure DNS, but your internal IP address would be registered with the DNS server you specified.

Happy networking!

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For more "Pieces of Azure" find them here: