We continue our series of “Getting Started” articles, with most up-to-date information I use with Microsoft Partners and customers when enabling them with Azure infrastructure services. I follows the same structure which is: getting started, training videos if available, then reference architectures, capacity planning and pricing information.
Backup is generally not creating a lot of excitement in IT teams, that’s the very least we can say. The fundamentally difficult parts of it are:
defining data retention and archival policies.
defining the appropriate sizing for the solution.
executing the offsite data copy policy.
I’m not even talking about testing the restore of the backup, because people usually don’t do it
Here’s really why Azure can help:
You only have to size for the local backup storage system, archival is done is the cloud.
With all hidden costs of tape systems included like offsite processing, storage on cloud is very likely to be always cheaper than any on-premises storage.
You can easily test restoring data in a separate and isolated environment.
You can easily backup files on servers and client with a small backup agent
You can easily backup your applications running on Hyper-V on Vmware with Azure Backup Server.
Here’s what you need to get started building solutions on Azure:
In this series of “Getting Started” articles, I will post the most up-to-date information I use with Microsoft Partners and customers when enabling them with Azure infrastructure services. I follows the same structure which is: getting started, training videos if available, then reference architectures, capacity planning and pricing information.
Disaster Recovery Plans aka DRP is one the most ungrateful work in IT. Because basically you are going to prepare for some situations that will be painful and difficult. However, this is a good exercise to protect against one of the most prevalent laws in IT: “Anything (Everything) will fail at some point, and very likely at the worst time”.
It puts you in a state of mind that most of people don’t like.and you will ask your boss money for something that you hope will never be used.
That’s where the cloud can help, for both virtualized and non virtualized workloads. Here’s how in 4 easy steps:
First step consists of replicating your production workloads as they are running.
Second step is to automating the disaster recovery plan execution.
Run the workloads in Azure.
Replicate your virtual machines back to your datacenter.
If you are MCSA certified on Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008, you might want to upgrade your certification to Windows Server 2016. Fortunately you don’t have to go through the whole curriculum again and can just upgrade to MCSA Windows Server 2016 with one exam.
As an upgrade certification, 70-473 mainly verifies that you know the new features and differences compared to Windows Server 2012, so a very nice starting point is to review all the “What’s new in Windows Server 2016” sections for the different technologies and study their prerequisites, deployments methods and management techniques. The outline of this certification is located here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-743.aspx
Below is my list of links mapping to the different exam categories. This list is here to help you review before going to the exam, but of course is not sufficient to pass and you will need some hands-on experience to succeed.
Install Windows Servers in host and compute environments
There has been some significant improvements in the toolset you use to manage Windows, including a whole set of commands to manage the new DIY edition of Windows: Nano Server. In this area we check your basic knowledge of DSC to manage configurations of Windows, and let me remind you that you cannot anymore switch from graphical to core editions of Windows and vice/versa. Very importantly we want to make sure you know how to service images online or offline.
In this section we verify that you know how to configure a resilient storage infrastructure including support for DCB, Multipath IO and SMB 3.0. We verify that you know the scenarios and mechanisms for Storage replica server to server, cluster-to-cluster and in stretch cluster topology.
Hyper-V has evolved and now allows nested virtualization, secure boot with Linux VM, and PowerShell direct. Production checkpoints allows to do VM “snapshots” that are using VSS providers so that you can use that as a valid “backup”. Shielded VM (preventing the fabric administrator to access the VM data and to run the VM in another fabric.) are also a topic to work before you go to the exam.
The DNS service in Windows Server 2016 implements a couple of new features like policies which allows you to send different results to client request based on criteria like subnets or hour of the day. It allows also to query IPv6 root hints by default and has a request pacer to limit request-intensive clients.
Windows IPAM has new scenarios and integrated management possibilities. It will basically allows you to manage more efficiently your DNS and DHCP infrastructure without having the need to logon to the different consoles and granting you a better view on the whole infrastructure, physical or virtualized with VMM.
Implement network connectivity and remote access solutions
DirectAcccess had no major evolution in Windows Server 2016, so you can rely on your Windows Server 2012 R2 knowledge. Most of the new features are related to SDN multi-tenant gateway implementation and BGP support.
Implement virtual private network (VPN) and DirectAccess solutions
In this section, we evaluate your knowledge of the new SDN architecture of Windows Server 2016. It now has a real SDN controller which is acting as a central point to manage and deploy network definitions and policies via software calls.
Install and configure Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
AD has new features mainly related to Azure AD integration, better security and Just in Time Admin concepts. For the exam, we will also check that you know how to administer replication topology and FSMO roles operations in PowerShell.