Category Archives: Microsoft Azure

Install the Azure CLI Tool on ubuntu

Welcome back to the series I’ve been doing on OSS Tools in Azure.  The Azure CLI tool is extremely powerful and available on both the Windows and Linux Platforms.  In this Blog post I’m going to help you install the Azure CLI tools on the LinuxVM that we built in the last post.

These same steps will work on your local Ubuntu Machines I just happen to be installing it on a VM that is already running in Azure.

Let’s do this!







Task 1:  In this exercise you will install the Azure CLI Tools for Linux using the advanced packaging tool (apt).

After logging into the Unbuntu VM first you should go ahead an do a quick update to the VM.  To update the machine running the following command:

sudo apt-get update


 Next you will install the nodejs-legacy tools by running:

sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy


NOTE:  You will be prompted with an amount of diskspace that will be used by the installation.  Simply press ‘Y’. 

Then you will see an output of many screens that looks like this:


 Next install the Node Package Manager Tools with this command

sudo apt-get install npm

You will see many screens of output such as this during this part of the installation.

NOTE:  You will be prompted with an amount of diskspace that will be used by the installation.  Simply press ‘Y’.

Final step is to use the Node Package Manager or npm to install the Azure CLI Tools.

sudo npm install -g azure-cli

You will see many screens of information as the npm is running the installation.


After a successful installation run the Azure CLI Tool using the Azure command



Now that you have installed the tool let’s get logged into Azure!

Task 2:  Logging into Azure with the CLI Tool

At the Linux command Prompt type the following Command:

azure login

You will see a screen that asks you to open a web browser and navigate to an Azure Web Page to authenticate and a code to enter.  In my case the code is AUFNCWJD8.  When you arrive at the screen you will enter the code and then be asked to login to your Azure Subscription.


Once you have logged into your Azure Subscription Successfully you will be directed to this webpage.


You can then close this page and move back over to your puTTY session still connected your LinuxVM.

You will now see that your Login was successful and that your Azure Subscriptions was added.


You have now successfully logged into Azure via the CLI tool on your VM running in Azure!

Task 3:  Run some Azure Commands

Here are some commands that you can run to see items that are in your Azure subscription.  Take note that the Azure CLI tool by default is in Service Management Mode, but can see Azure Resource Manager items by changing modes.

Get a help with the Azure CLI Tool:

azure –help


List your Azure Accounts

azure account show


List Virtual Machines using this command:

azure vm list


List Virtual Networks using this command:

azure network vnet list


Well I hope this helped you get to know the Azure CLI on Linux.


Azure Dev/Test Labs


There is almost universal agreement that Development and Test environments, or “DevTest” as it’s known, should be moved to the Cloud.

DevTest is probably the only workload that doesn’t have corporate issues slowing down its migration.  Aside from the security and backup of a company’s source code, there’s no reason for IT managers to balk nor are there regulatory or compliance rules that are stopping the march of DevTest to the Cloud.

That being said teams still need to get up and running with a brand new environment. They will have to build VMs, Virtual Networks etc in order to have a functional network.  This can stretch the abilities of the team as it requires quite a bit of experience working with infrastructure.

To solve these problems and let developers and testers do what they do best Microsoft has developed a turnkey solution for DevTest in the Cloud:  Azure DevTest Labs.

Azure DevTest Labs was designed with one goal is mind to enable development teams to leverage the strength and flexibility of the cloud without the complication of having to build from scratch all of the infrastructure to make that possible.

In this post I’m going to help you get up and running with Azure Dev/Test Lab.  Currently it is in preview, but you should be able to find information about it on their site here.

In my next post I will feature how to build a Linux VM with Docker in your new Lab. 





Create a DevTest Lab in Azure

Much like anything in Azure creating a DevTest Lab is fast and easy.  Azure takes care of the hard parts for development teams allowing them to get up in running almost immediately.

The DevTest Labs can be found in the Azure Marketplace and will require only a few inputs to consider prior to creation.  The first will be creating or choosing an Azure subscription that will be used to create the Lab and the second being the location.


Step by Step – Building an Azure DevTest Lab

In order to create the DevTest Lab use Microsoft or Organization account to login to the Azure Preview portal to start.

Open a browser and navigate to

Enter the account associated with a Microsoft Azure subscription.


 If the account is associated with an organization account and a Microsoft account there could be a prompt to choose which one to authenticate with for Microsoft Azure.


 After logging into the Azure Portal next create a New DevTest Lab in Azure

Click the +NEW button in the portal.


Click See all.


Click Everything and then type DevTest Labs and press enter.


 The Search will reveal the DevTest Labs link for you to click.


 This will bring up the DevTest Labs Page.  Click Create.


Then you will see the Create a DevTest Lab Blade.  Name the Lab: in the example the name ContosoDevTestLab was used.


Next Choose the Correct Subscription you wish to use for this DevTest Lab.  Please note that owners of the subscription will have full access to everything in the Lab.

Chose location for the DevTest Lab assign a Location for this lab in this case I have chosen East US. 

Click Auto Shutdown and ensure that the defaults are assigned to Enable On and Scheduled Shutdown 19:00.


Then click Create to start the process of building the DevTest Lab.


After completing these steps Azure will take care of the hard work of creating all of the resources required for the DevTest Labs.

Azure Dev/Test Labs has to be one of the coolest products I’ve seen from the Azure team to date!  It really is a fully functional environment right out of the box.

Make sure you look for the Next post where we get some Open Source Action happening in this lab!

Hope you enjoyed this post – @deltadan

Resources for passing Azure Exam 70-533 from Opsgility

If you are just now getting started with Azure Certification it is useful to have a roadmap on how to learn the technology in order to pass the certification.

Our team of industry recognized Azure experts have built a lot of Azure training over the years, and in this case we’ve literally written the book on how to pass the exam.

In this post, I want to share some of our online courses that map directly to the objectives for the exam. Each of these courses will cover the objective topic (and then some), and also provides in-depth hands-on lab guides that you can practice in your own Azure subscription to get the hands-on practical experience to really learn the skills being taught.

Objective Online Course
Implement Websites
Implement Virtual Machines
Implement Cloud Services
Implement Storage
Implement an Azure Active Directory
Implement Virtual Networks

If you haven’t tried us out yet, you can start learning Azure with a free 7-day trial here, you can cancel at any time.

New Features for Enhanced Learning

We have recently launched several new features to enhance your learning experience with Opsgility.

Course Assignments for Individuals

Course assignments allow you to assign a goal date on when to complete a class. They are great because in addition to helping you track your learning progress they also are great for bookmarking your top courses.

Course Assignments for Teams

In team mode an administrator can assign specific courses to their team and track progress to course completion. Reporting is built in to quickly give you an update on your teams progress towards the goals you assign.

Certificates Quick View

For each course that you have completed by completing the labs and knowledge measures you will receive a certificate of completion. We have added a top level link off of the account menu to quickly see and download all of your certificates from a single location.

Course Player Enhancements

Lab Files

Lab files are now a top level download instead of associated with each individual lab.

Take Notes While Learning

You can now add notes while watching a module. Each note will capture the location within the module and when selected take you back to the spot you took the note in.

Simplified discussion

Added support for Disqus to each course. Previously, access to Opsgility expert trainers was through Yammer. To simplify interaction we have added an inline Disqus feature to answer your questions about the course or the labs.

As always, we love to hear feedback on new topics or site enhancements.

New Course: Azure Site Recovery

New Course!

Opsgility has just launched a new online course by Microsoft MVP Peter De Tender, Azure Site Recovery. This course is available online or can be taught onsite at your location.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to one of the newest cloud services available within Microsoft Azure, the Azure Site Recovery Manager (ASR). Students are introduced to the core principals of disaster recovery first, followed by an introduction to Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks. In the next part, the course will dig deeper inside Azure Site Recovery Manager itself; how it works, how to configure it, how to streamline your disaster recovery failover from on-premises to Azure, and so on. Learn the concepts of protection groups, how to perform planned and unplanned failover and more.

Learn Azure Site Recovery Today!

Windows Azure – Disk Cleanup with Virtual Machines

In the latest Windows Azure Portal and PowerShell updates Microsoft has added some great functionality to manage disk cleanup with virtual machines.

Prior to these updates managing the cleanup of virtual machine disks was fairly painful. You either had to delete each disk one by one from the portal or use PowerShell code with some complex filtering and polling mechanism to remove them.

Deleting an Individual Virtual Machine and Disks from the Portal

In the portal when you select an individual virtual machine and on the bottom of the screen select Delete you are given two new options.

  • Keep the attached disks (doesn’t delete any disks)
  • Delete the attached disks (deletes all attached disks OS and Data)

delete vm windows azure portal

Deleting an Individual Virtual Machine and Disks from PowerShell

The equivelant functionality for the “Delete the attached disks” option from PowerShell is to append the -DeleteVHD parameter onto a call to Remove-AzureVM.

  Remove-AzureVM -ServiceName $serviceName -Name $vmName -DeleteVHD

Deleting all Virtual Machines and Disks in a Cloud Service from the Portal

If you need to remove all of the virtual machines and underlying disks in a specific cloud service you are covered too.
In the portal simply click CLOUD SERVICES on the left menu and find the cloud service hosting your virtual machines.

In the portal select a cloud service that contains virtual machines and on the bottom of the screen select Delete you are given three options.

  • Delete the cloud service and its deployments (deletes cloud service, all of the virtual machines (in the cloud service) and all disks attached to the virtual machines)
  • Delete all virtual machines (deletes all of the virtual machines (in the cloud service) but retains the disks)
  • Delete all virtual machines and attached disks (deletes all of the virtual machines in the cloud service and all of the disks but does not delete the cloud service)

portal delete cloud service and disks

To accomplish each of the tasks from PowerShell is straightforward.

Delete the cloud service and its deployments – equivalent PowerShell Code

Remove-AzureService -ServiceName $serviceName -DeleteAll

Delete all virtual machines (but not the cloud service or disks)

Remove-AzureDeployment -ServiceName $serviceName -Slot Production

Delete all virtual machines and attached disks (but not the cloud service)

Remove-AzureDeployment -ServiceName $serviceName -Slot Production -DeleteVHD

PowerShell for the rest
Finally, if you need to clean up disks that are no longer attached to virtual machines the PowerShell cmdlets come to the rescue.

Get-AzureDisk | where { $_.AttachedTo -eq $null } | select diskname, medialink

To delete an individual disk.

Remove-AzureDisk "disk name" -DeleteVHD

If you want to delete all of the disks that are not attached (be careful of this one – ensure you know what you are deleting before executing!).

Get-AzureDisk | where { $_.AttachedTo -eq $null } | Remove-AzureDisk -DeleteVHD

The ease of use of Windows Azure is getting better every day. What used to be a complex task (deleting disks after VM deletion) is now simplified without taking away the power that is available to the command line user. The Windows Azure team(s) are doing an amazingly good job of tackling tasks that were once difficult and making them much more manageable.

Calling the Windows Azure Management API from PowerShell

Most of the time using the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets will accomplish whatever task you need to automate. However, there are a few cases where directly calling the API directly is a necessity.

In this post I will walk through using the .NET HttpClient object to authenticate and call the Service Management API along with the real world example of creating a Dynamic Routing gateway (because it is not supported in the WA PowerShell cmdlets).

To authenticate to Windows Azure you need the Subscription ID and a management certificate. If you are using the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets you can use the built in subscription management cmdlets to pull this information.

 $sub = Get-AzureSubscription "my subscription" 
 $certificate = $sub.Certificate
 $subscriptionID = $sub.SubscriptionId

For API work my preference is to use the HttpClient class from .NET. So the next step is to create an instance of it and set it up to use the management certificate for authentication.

$handler = New-Object System.Net.Http.WebRequestHandler
# Add the management cert to the client certificates collection 
$httpClient = New-Object System.Net.Http.HttpClient($handler)
# Set the service management API version 
$httpClient.DefaultRequestHeaders.Add("x-ms-version", "2013-08-01")
# WA API only uses XML 
$mediaType = New-Object System.Net.Http.Headers.MediaTypeWithQualityHeaderValue("application/xml")

Now that the HttpClient object is setup to use the management certificate you need to generate a request.

The simplest request is a GET request because any parameters are just passed in the query string.

# The URI to the API you want to call 
# List Services API:
$listServicesUri = "$subscriptionID/services/hostedservices"
# Call the API 
$listServicesTask = $httpClient.GetAsync($listServicesUri)
if($listServicesTask.Result.IsSuccessStatusCode -eq "True")
    # Get the results from the API as XML 
    [xml] $result = $listServicesTask.Result.Content.ReadAsStringAsync().Result
    foreach($svc in $result.HostedServices.HostedService)
        Write-Host $svc.ServiceName " "  $svc.HostedServiceProperties.Location 

However, if you need to do something more complex like creating a resource you can do that as well.

For example, the New-AzureVNETGateway cmdlet will create a new gateway for your virtual network but it was written prior to the introduction of Dynamic Routing gateways (and they have not been updated since…).
If you need to create a new virtual network with a dynamically routed gateway in an automated fashion calling the API is your only option.

$vnetName = "YOURVNETNAME"
# Create Gateway URI
$createGatewayUri = "$subscriptionID/services/networking/$vnetName/gateway"
# This is the POST payload that describes the gateway resource 
# Note the lower case g in <gatewayType - the documentation on MSDN is wrong here
$postBody = @"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<CreateGatewayParameters xmlns="">
Write-Host "Creating Gateway for VNET" -ForegroundColor Green
$content = New-Object System.Net.Http.StringContent($postBody, [System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8, "text/xml")        
# Add the POST payload to the call    
$postGatewayTask = $httpClient.PostAsync($createGatewayUri, $content)
# Check status for success and do cool things

So there you have it.. When the WA PowerShell cmdlets are behind the times you can quickly unblock with some direct API intervention.

Try out Server 2012 R2 RTM in Windows Azure

It was announced today that MSDN/TechNet subscribers can now download Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 RTM.. Fantastic news if you have access to MSDN or TechNet :)

As of 9/9/2013 Server 2012 R2 RTM is not available as an image in Windows Azure. You can either wait for them to add it OR if you have access to the RTM bits you can add it yourself.

Step 1: Login to MSDN or TechNet and download the ISO

Step 2: Download the Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 PowerShell script to convert the ISO from MSDN/TechNet into a bootable VHD.

Step 3: Mount the ISO to your machine (double click it in Win8)

Step 4: Run the following to create the VHD:

 .\Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 -SourcePath "E:\sources\install.wim" -Edition ServerStandard -VHDPath D:\Server2012R2.VHD

Step 5: Use the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets to Upload the VHD

Add-AzureVHD -Destination "https://<yourstorage>" -LocalFilePath "D:\Server2012R2.VHD" -NumberOfUploaderThreads 5

Step 6: Register as an image.

Add-AzureVMImage -ImageName "Server2012R2" -OS Windows  -MediaLocation "https://<yourstorage>"

Now, back in the portal or from PowerShell you can provision a new Server 2012 R2 VM from your very own custom image. My bet is the Windows Azure team will have an RTM Image of Server 2012 R2 in the Image Gallery and avoid the need for these steps but until then you can try out 2012 R2 in the cloud :)

Connecting Clouds – Creating a site-to-site Network with Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure

Connecting Windows Azure to Amazon AWS

In this post I will show how you can use a Windows Azure Virtual Network (VNET) to create a site to site IPsec tunnel to connect to a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Using this setup you can literally have workloads in each cloud with full VM to VM connectivity over a secure IPsec tunnel. This scenario could easily be used for failover, backup or even migration between providers. The software VPN solution I chose for testing is Open Swan.

Creating a VPC in Amazon AWS

Starting on the Amazon side create a virtual private cloud (VPC) which is the equivalent to a virtual network in Windows Azure.

VPC Creation Wizard – Single Public Subnet with Internet Gateway


I’m choosing the address space for the Amazon VPC network.


Provision an EC2 instance that will be used to host Open Swan and be the Amazon side of the tunnel.

Launch Ubuntu 13.04 into the VPC Subnet


Specify the subnet of the VPC previously deployed and I would advise bumping up the instance size to Small from Micro.


Once the instance is created switch to the EC2 view and allocate a new Elastic IP. This will be the public IP address you will connect to the VM using SSH and the IP address your Windows Azure Virtual Network will connect to.

Click Yes Allocate on the new Elastic IP dialog.


Select the instance from the drop down and click Yes Associate.


Creating the Windows Azure Virtual Network

Before configuring the Open Swan service I need to create the other side of the network in Windows Azure. To establish the IPsec tunnel Open Swan needs the gateway IP address and authentication key which both from the Windows Azure Virtual Network.

Create a Windows Azure Virtual Network


Specify Data Center Location and VNET/Affinity Group Name


Check site-to-site VPN


Define the onsite network properties which in this case is the Amazon VPC Address Space and Elastic IP of the Open Swan Server


Define the Windows Azure Address Space. Ensure you add the Gateway Subnet.


Creating the Windows Azure Virtual Network Gateway

Once the Virtual Network is created open it and click create gateway -> and select static routing.


Once the gateway is created you can get the gateway IP address and the authentication key and configure Open Swan on the Amazon side.
You will need the gateway IP and the key on the Amazon side.


Configuring Open Swan in Amazon Web Services

Connect to the Open Swan VM

Switch to the instances view, select your instance and on the Actions menu click Connect.

Select Connect with a standalone SSH client.


Copy the SSH command (or use Putty using the instructions on the screen) to connect via SSH. I’m using the Windows SSH client that comes with GitBash for the record :)


Once connected install and configure Open Swan for the VPN solution on the Amazon side.

Installing Open Swan

  sudo apt-get install openswan

Select NO for installing a certificate since we will be using key based authentication.


The next steps require you to use a text editor to modify some configuration files. If you are rusty on using Linux editors like vi here is a handy cheat sheet: VI Cheat Sheet

Edit the ipsec.conf file

   cd /etc
   sudo vi ipsec.conf

Once open, enter edit mode by pressing: *i (in that order)

Replace the existing configuration with the following:

config setup
include /etc/ipsec.d/*.conf

Exit and save the file by pressing: : x (in that order)

Change to the ipsec.d directory and create a new file named amznazure.conf.

  cd ipsec.d
  sudo vi amznazure.conf

Contents of amznazure.conf

conn amznazure

Notes about the above configuration:

  • left= is the local IP address of the Open Swan Server
  • leftsubnet= is the local address space of the servers in the VPC
  • right= is the IP Address of the Windows Azure VNET Gateway (replace with your own)
  • rightsubnet= is the address space of the Windows Azure Virtual Network

Once you have specified the configuration you need to specify the authentication key.

  cd /etc  
  sudo vi ipec.secrets

Add a line to the file in the following format (do not add the [] brackets): [WINDOWS AZURE GATEWAY IP] : PSK "[WINDOWS AZURE GATEWAY KEY]"

Next, enable enable IP forwarding to the Open Swan VM:

sudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Then uncomment this line:


Apply the changed network setting.

sudo sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf

Next, disable source / destination checking on the Open Swan server.



Modify Security Groups to Allow Traffic from Windows Azure

In the Amazon management console select Security Groups and -> amzn-azure-group.

Add two custom UDP inbound rules – one for 500 and one for 4500 using the Windows Azure GW IP with /32 as the CIDR.


 sudo service ipsec restart

Windows Azure Virtual Network Connected to Amazon AWS Virtual Private Cloud


Configuring Routing

The reason the software VPN solution needs to be on the Amazon AWS side is because the AWS networking stack supports configuring routing tables where Windows Azure does not (yet I assume).

In the Amazon management console switch back to the VPC view and select route tables.

Select the route table associated with your VPC and add a new route to the (Windows Azure Network) and that routes traffic through the instance ID of the Open Swan Server.

Updating Route Information


Creating Instances to Test Connectivity

Create an instance in AWS on the VPC Subnet.


Launch an instance in Windows Azure on the Virtual Network created.


One both instances are up you will need to enable the ICMP rule on each VM to test out connectivity using PING.

Pinging an Azure VM from an Amazon VM over the IPsec Tunnel


Pinging an Amazon VM from an Azure VM over the IPsec Tunnel


That is it!

I can now deploy applications into Amazon AWS and Windows Azure and communicate between the two on a secure IPsec tunnel over the Internet.