Friday, July 11, 2014

Reserve Public IPs in Azure? Maybe Not...

Recently Microsoft announced the general availability for VIP reservations in Azure. VIP reservation now generally available; Virtual Machines instance-level public IPs are in preview.

"You can now reserve public IP addresses and use them as virtual IP (VIP) addresses for your applications. Reserve up to five addresses per subscription at no additional cost and assign them to the Azure Cloud Services of your choice. In addition, you can now assign public IP addresses to your virtual machines, so they become directly addressable without having to map an endpoint to access them directly." 

When Azure IaaS was first introduced, you could not ensure that public facing IP address of your VM or cloud service would remain the same, particularly if you shut down all the machines within a cloud service. What Azure would retain for you was the DNS name you created within the cloudapp.net domain. The recommended practice was to use DNS to locate your services, instead of relying on a specific IP address.

I know, we all love the comfort of knowing our IP address. Over the past decade or so, I lovingly handed out the easiest internal and external addresses we had to servers I accessed frequently. Stable IP addressing was a must - changes often meant re-configuring firewalls, routers and even some applications, which could lead to downtime and complaints. Even Azure's long term lease for IP addresses if your cloud service was active, wasn't comforting enough for many who had been burned the past by a hard-coded application or some other IP address nightmare.

But it's not 1998 anymore. The Internet isn't a quaint little place you go to read text and your "mobile" phone isn't hard wired into your car. IPv4 addresses are exhausted at the top levels, it's just a matter of time before your internet service provider won't have anything to give you when you ask. For a while I firmly believed that IANA would open up that special "Class E" space to buy extra time, but nope, it didn't happen.

So yes, if you have a legitimate business need to have reserved public IPs you can go reserve some public IP addresses in Azure to meet your needs. The first five are free if you are actively using them.  But think hard about what your business needs are. Do you have an application that needs a static public IP address? Maybe it's time address that requirement within the application itself.  Do you update applications by swapping IP addresses?  Maybe you should look more closely at the options within Azure to swap staging and production deployments.

But if you aren't thinking about IPv6 and just want to try to buy some time in the IPv4 world, you might want pause before hunting down the necessary PowerShell to get that done. This is why name services existing in the first place - so you don't have to learn and remember IP addresses and don't need to latch onto them for all time. Once IPv6 is fully deployed across all the major players (cloud providers, ISPs, etc) you won't even bother trying to remember a 128-bit address. Unless you are trying to impress people at bars.

No, I'm pretty sure there are better ways to impress people at bars.

So don't bother with hoarding up IPv4 addresses, just embrace FQDNs, DNS, and start preparing for IPv6 so that when it comes to you, you'll be ready. In the great words of my preschooler as she dances around singing Disney songs, "Let It Go". FQDNs are the future and the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space will make that so.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Sessions from TechEd Houston

Today is my final installment of highlights from TechEd Houston! Below are some of my session picks from the last day of the conference.

  • TWC: Hacker's Perspective on Your Windows Infrastructure: Mandatory Check List (DCIM-B366)
  • Windows 8 Security Internals (WIN-B350)
  • Real-World Windows 8.1 Deployment Note from the Field (WIN-B358)
  • Providing SaaS Single Sign-on with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (PCIT-B326)
  • Delivering Disaster Recovery Solutions Using Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure (DCIM-B421)
  • How IPv6 Impacts Private Cloud Deployments (DCIM-B373)
  • Windows Server 2003 End of Life Migration Planning for Your Workloads (DCIM-B376)
  • Upgrading Active Directory the Safe Way: Using Virtualization Technologies (PCIT-B341)
For my lists of sessions from the other days, you can find them here: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Software-Defined Networking with Windows Server and System Center Jump Start

Just wanted to make sure you knew about this upcoming, free online event with live Q&A with the WAP team: http://aka.ms/WAPIaaS. It's two half-days – Wednesday July 16th & Thursday July 17th – 9am-1pm PST

The details: IT Pros, you know that enterprises desire the flexibility and affordability of the cloud, and service providers want the ability to support more enterprise customers. Join us for an exploration of Windows Azure Pack's (WAP's) infrastructure services (IaaS), which bring Microsoft Azure technologies to your data center (on your hardware) and build on the power of Windows Server and System Center to deliver an enterprise-class, cost-effective solution for self-service, multitenant cloud infrastructure and application services.

Join Microsoft’s leading experts as they focus on the infrastructure services from WAP, including self-service and automation of virtual machine roles, virtual networking, clouds, plans, and more. See helpful demos, and hear examples that will help speed up your journey to the cloud. Bring your questions for the live Q&A!


Register here: http://aka.ms/WAPIaaS

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Microsoft End of Life Dates - Mark Your Calendars!

With each passing year, Microsoft phases out software versions, replacing them with the new and exciting. It's kinda like death and taxes. You know they are coming, but they don't always give you the dates ahead of time. So here are some upcoming dates you might care about.

This one is fast approaching on 7/8/14 - Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 reaches the end of extended support!

Not impressed?  Okay, here's more...
  • The end of sales for PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled (Windows Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate) is scheduled for October 31, 2014.  End of sales for Windows 7 Professional preinstalled has not yet been established, but Microsoft promises one year of notice so as of this writing it's safe to say mid-year 2015 at least for that.  Windows 7 also reaches the end of mainstream support on January 13, 2015, leaving it in extended support until 1/14/2020.
  • Window Server 2003 reaching end of extended support on 7/14/15. This one is a biggie. Windows Server 2003 has been a workhorse for the last decade, much like Windows XP and it will be missed by many.  If you need some help, check out "It's the End of the World As You Know It... Windows Server 2003 End of Life: Infrastructure Migration" from TechEd 2014.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 has it's extended support end on 4/11/2017.  I admit, I'm not so worried about this one. I used to be hard-core about running email services in house, but now I really think it depends on the size of your company. Email is sometimes best just hosted elsewhere and if you are running Exchange 2007 getting that out of the data center in the next few years might be something to consider.
Meanwhile enjoy your long weekend and lift a drink to BizTalk 2004.
:-)


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learn Something Today from TechEd Houston

Since today is Wednesday, I'm bringing you a selection of session from Day 3 of TechEd Houston which was also a Wednesday.

  • Introduction to Microsoft Azure Automation (DCIM-B347)
  • Data Protection in Microsoft Azure (DCIM-B387)
  • How to Rapidly Design and Deploy an Active Directory Federation Services Farm: The Do's and Don'ts (PCIT-B324)
  • Leveraging Your On-Premises Directory Infrastructure to Manage Your Microsoft Azure Active Directory Identities (DCIM-B301)
  • Mark Russinovich and Mark Minasi on Cloud Computing (DCIM-B386)
  • Deploying and Managing Work Folders (PCIT-B322)
  • Windows To Go: Deployment, Support for BYOD, and What IT Pros Need to Know (WIN-B342)
  • The Agile End-to-End Story for Developers and IT Professionals (DCIM-B358)
  • TWC: How You Can Hack-Proof Your Clients and Servers in a Day (DCIM-B372)

As you can see, Wednesday was a busy day at TechEd and I since I was working down in the Windows Client area on the expo floor I still have a lot of these to watch!