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Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Anti-Virus Exclusions

1:05 pm in Anti-Virus Exclusions, Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, hybrid cloud, MABS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server by Wim Matthyssen

Running a solid, constantly updated antivirus product on your servers is a necessity to keep a healthy and secure server environment. However, with installing an antivirus product, you also risk having issues with certain workloads and services on those severs. Just like System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM), the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) is compatible with most antivirus software products. Though, the implemented antivirus product can also affect MABS performance and, if not configured properly, can cause data corruption of replicas and recovery points.

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So, to avoid file conflicts and to minimize performance degradation between your MABS server and the antivirus software running on top of it, you should disable real-time monitoring by the antivirus software for all of the following processes and directories, which are listed below.

MABS processes to exclude from antivirus real-time monitoring

For information about configuring real-time monitoring based on process name or folder name, check the documentation of your antivirus vendor.

  • DPMRA.exe (*full path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\bin\DPMRA.exe)
  • csc.exe  (*full path: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\csc.exe -> you can also exclude csc.exe in all the other Microsoft.NET Framework folders)
  • cbengine.exe (*full path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\MARS\Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent\bin\cbengine.exe)

 

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MABS directories in the MABS Program Files folder to exclude from antivirus real-time monitoring

Be aware that when you installed MABS on another drive then “C:”, like in the example below, look under the correct drive for the folders to exclude.

  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\Temp\MTA\*
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\XSD\*
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\bin
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\MARS\Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent\bin
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\Cache (*MABS scratch folder)

 

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Delete infected files on the MABS server

As a final remark, I would also advise to configure to delete infected files by default on the MABS server rather than automatically cleaning or quarantining them. Automatic cleaning and quarantining can result in data corruption because these processes cause the antivirus software to modify files, making changes MABS cannot detect.

 

In summary, there are a lot of antivirus settings you should keep track of when running MABS. I’ve tried to list all of the exclusions, so hopefully it will help you with getting the most out of your MABS setup. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my Twitter handle.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

2016: My blog year in an overview

2:37 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Azure RemoteApp, Client Hyper-V, Cloud, DC, Hyper-V, IaaS, PowerShell, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Replica DC, SCAC 2012 R2, SCVMM 2012 R2, System Center 2016, W2K12R2, Windows 10 by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

As a blogger completely focused on Microsoft technologies, it was a fun year of writing about all those interesting and ever changing products and services. As we almost end the year 2016 and are preparing for 2017 to start, I wanted to make a list of all the blog posts I wrote throughout the twelve months of 2016. During the year, I’ve published 26 blog posts mostly about Azure, the System Center Suite and Hyper-V. Below you can find them all divided by technology.

 

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Azure Compute – IaaS (ASM)

Step-by-step: Move an Azure IaaS VM between different Azure Subscriptions

Clean up Azure PowerShell when using different Azure subscriptions

Replica DCs on Azure – Removing the Azure Endpoints

Replica DCs on Azure – Transferring FSMO roles to the IaaS DCs

Replica DCs on Azure – Manage the Time Configuration settings on the DCs

Replica DCs on Azure – Domain Controller Health Check

Replica DCs on Azure – Promote the Azure IaaS VMs to a domain controller

Replica DCs on Azure – Add the Active Directory Domain Services role

Replica DCs on Azure – Adjustment of some server settings before promoting the DCs

Replica DCs on Azure – Initialize and format the additional data disk

Replica DCs on Microsoft Azure – Create the VMs with Azure PowerShell

Step by step: Change the drive letter of the Temporary Storage on an Azure IaaS v1 VM

 

Azure Networking

How to connect an Azure ARM VNet to an ASM VNet using VNet Peering

Replica DCs on Azure – Switch DNS servers for the VNet

Replica DCs on Azure – Create the Active Directory site for the Azure VNet

 

Azure Backup

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Install a new version of the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: System State backup fails with WSB Event ID: 546

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: System State backup fails with the message replica is inconsistent

Step by step: How to install Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS)

 

Azure RemoteApp

An RDP connection to the Azure RemoteApp custom VM fails with the following error: “No Remote Desktop License Servers available”

 

Windows 10

How to deploy Windows 10 from a USB flash drive

 

System Center

System Center 2016 evaluation VHDs download links

Step by step: How to connect SCAC 2012 R2 to SCVMM 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure

Step by step: Installing SCAC 2012 R2

 

Hyper-V

A list of tools that can be used to do a V2V from VMware to Hyper-V

Client Hyper-V – Using nested virtualization to run Client Hyper-V on a Windows 10 VM

 

Before I wrap up this blog post, I want to thank you all for reading my blog posts in 2016, and I really hope you will keep doing so in 2017. I wish you all a healthy, successful and outstanding New Year! See you all in 2017!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

How to connect an Azure ARM VNet to an ASM VNet using VNet Peering

4:25 pm in ARM, ASM, Azure, Azure virtual network, Cloud, DC, DNS, VNet peering by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

In this blog post I will show you how you can connect an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) virtual network (VNet) to a classic or Azure Service Manager (ASM) VNet using VNet Peering.

VNet Peering, which was made generally available (GA) on September 28th, is a mechanism that allows you to connect two VNets in the same region through the Azure backbone network as they were a single network. This means that you don’t need a VNet gateway anymore, like when you setup a VNet-to-VNet VPN connection. It will allow full connectivity between the entire address space of the peered VNets. So, for example when VNet peering is setup, all virtual machines in the peered VNets will be able to communicate with each other. If you’re interested you can read more about VNet Peering via following link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-network/virtual-network-peering-overview

Before we start setting things up, first some things to keep in mind:

  • VNet Peering requires that both VNets are located the same Azure region
  • The VNets must be in the same Azure Subscription (only for ARM – ASM VNet Peering)
  • The IP address space of both VNets must not overlap
  • Using your peer’s VNet gateway (UseRemoteGateways and AllowGatewayTransit settings) is not supported when peering with an ASM VNet
  • There is a small charge for data transferred between VNets using VNet Peering (inbound and outbound data transfer $ 0,01 per GB)
  • To be clear, you can find below a drawing of my ARM – ASM VNet Peering setup

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After all this is said and shown, we can start

1) First of all login to the Azure portal and sign in with your Azure account

2) Select Virtual Networks

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3) Select your ARM VNet (in my case AZU-Vnet-ARM)

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4) Click Peerings (like you can see there is one connected device AZU-APP-01)

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5) Click Add

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6) In the Add Peering blade, name your link (in my case LinkToVNetASM). Under Peer details select Classic. Choose the correct Subscription and the ASM Virtual Network you want to peer with. Leave Allow virtual network access Enabled, this will allow communication between the two virtual networks. Then click OK

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7) After clicking OK the peering link will be created

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8) When done, the two virtual networks are peered and you will see the PEERING STATUS between the two virtual networks is in a Connected state

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9) Like you can see, both VMs can ping each other. Don’t forget to allow ping through the Windows Firewall

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10) After adding AZU-DC-01 (10.0.1.36) as DNS server to the AZU-Vnet-ARM VNet, I was able to add AZU-APP-01 to the azuvlab.local domain which was created an AZU-DC-01

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This concludes this blog post. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me via twitter.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Step-by-step: Move an Azure IaaS VM between different Azure Subscriptions

11:22 am in Azure, Azure subscription, Cloud, IaaS, Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

From time to time, customers ask me to migrate Azure IaaS virtual machines (VMs) between Azure Subscriptions (for example moving a VM between the Dev subscription and the Prod subscription). There are several ways to accomplish this move, you can use Azure PowerShell or Azure Site Recovery (ASR), but mostly I do it the way that I will describe below.

1) First of all, you need to download an Azure Storage Explorer which enables you to move the VHD (page blob) which is used by the IaaS VM from one storage account (Azure Subscription 1) to another (Azure Subscription 2). Mostly I use the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer which you can download for free via following link: http://storageexplorer.com/

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2) When downloaded and installed you’ll need to add the two Azure Blob Storage Accounts, the one you want to move the VHD from and the one you want to move the VHD to. Open up the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, right click Storage Accounts and select Connect to Azure storage…

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3) To find the Storage Account name and the Account key, just logon to the Classic Azure portal (https://manage.windowsazure.com/). Go to STORAGE select the correct Storage Account and click MANAGE ACCESS KEYS.

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4) Fill in the correct Account name (STORAGE ACCOUNT NAME) and the Account key (PRIMARY ACCESS KEY)

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5) Repeat steps 3 to 5 also for the Storage Account in the other Azure Subscription. At the end two Storage Accounts should be available to use in the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer

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6) Now stop the VM (logon trough RDP and choose shutdown) and you are good to copy/paste your VM’s VHD from one Storage Account to another

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7) Open up Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, right click the VHD for the VM you just stopped and select Copy

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8) Open the other Storage Account’s Blob container (in my example azureos01 – Blob Containers – vhds) and select Paste. Be aware that this copy can take some time depending on the size of the VHD

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9) When the VHD is completely copied, open the Azure classic portal and logon to the second Azure Subscription. Go to VIRTUAL MACHINES, then DISKS and select CREATE A DISK

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10) Fill in a NAME (for example AZ-VM-SUB2) and select the correct VHD URL from the storage you just moved your VHD file to. Mark “The VHD contains an operating system.” and select Windows. Click the check mark to finish

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11) As the next step create a new VM. Click NEW – COMPUTE – VIRTUAL MACHINE – FROM GALLERY

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12) Select MY DISKS and select the newly created disk (in my example AZ-VM-SUB2)

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13) In the next screen choose a proper VIRTUAL MACHINE NAME, the TIER and the VM SIZE

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14) Create a new CLOUD SERVICE or select an existing one, choose the correct VNET and SUBNET. If an AVAILIBILITY SET is required, select or create it

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15) Select the ENDPOINTS you require and finally press the check mark icon to start provisioning the VM

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16) Like you can see the VM is created and starts Running. You should now able to connect to it again with RDP

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17) If the VM looks and reacts like it should, you can delete the original VM with the attached VHD in the first Azure Subscription. Also don’t forget to delete the Cloud Service

This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Clean up Azure PowerShell when using different Azure subscriptions

12:34 pm in Azure, Azure PowerShell, Azure subscription, Cloud, PowerShell by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

These days I’m working on several Azure projects for different clients. As a result, my default subscription data file which is used by Azure PowerShell is completely filled up with settings from those different subscriptions. Frequently, I notice that Azure PowerShell mixes up all this information and does not perform as expected. I strongly assume this is caused by the cached credentials and other elements. In order to fix this, I regulary clean up my Azure PowerShell to have a better overview and to accomplish a better working scripting environment. Below you can find the Azure PowerShell cmdlets to clear a specific customer’s Azure subscription from Azure PowerShell. I will also show you how you can clear your complete Azure profile.

Delete a specific Azure subscription from PowerShell

1) Open up PowerShell ISE as an Administrator and run the following PowerShell cmdlets to list all Azure subscriptions available in the default subscription data file on the computer in use, which can be found under the following location C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Windows Azure PowerShell and is named AzureProfile.json

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2) To delete a specific subscription from the date file run the below cmdlet (adjust for your own purpose). You may be sure that this cmdlet will not delete the subscription from Azure in any way. You can use this cmdlet with the -Force parameter to suppress the confirmation prompt

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3) If the above cmdlet ran without any errors the specific subscription will not be shown anymore when you’re re run the Get-AzureSubscription cmdlet and it should also be cleared from the subscription data file

Clear your complete Azure Profile

1) Open up PowerShell ISE as an Administrator and run the following PowerShell cmdlets to completely clear your Azure Profile on the computer in use

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2) If the cmdlet ran without any errors your Azure Profile should be cleared.

This ends this short blog post, hope it helps and till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Install a new version of the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent

3:06 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, hybrid cloud, Microsoft Azure Backup Server by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

Some time ago a client received following alert on his Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS):

“Azure Backup raised the following alert for the subscription in use: (ID 33406). A new version of Windows Azure Backup Agent is available. You can review details about the new version and download it from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=229525. (ID 100083) More information

Like you all can read this alert was raised because there is a new version of the Azure Backup Agent available. In the Event Viewer on the MABS server you can also find following Warning message under the Application and Services Logs, CloudBackup, Operational:

“A newer version of Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent is required.”

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To install this new agent the following steps were taken:

1) Check the current Azure Backup Agent Version. To do so open the MABS console and click Management. Under Online you can find the Azure Backup agent version. Like you can see in the screenshot below for the moment version 2.0.9032.0 is installed

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2) Download the latest version of the agent via following link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3162327 . Go to the section Update information were you can find the update package for agent version 2.0.9037.0 In my example I saved it under the Temp folder

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3) Go to the Temp folder and Run the MARSAgentInstaller as administrator

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4) If the UAC screen pops up, click Yes

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5) To continue installing the update, click Next

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6) If all required software is in place, click Upgrade. This will start the upgrade process

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7) When the Upgrade is successful click Finish

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8) If you check the Azure Backup Agent version again, you can see version 2.0.9037.0 is installed

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9) You can also verify the current version by opening Run and typing appwiz.cpl to open Programs and Features. Look for the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent which should have version 2.0.9037.0

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10) Be aware that by default the Warning message will stay there for 30 days. To clear this message after the update you can inactivate it by right clicking the message and selecting Inactivate alert or by rebooting the MABS server several times (3 times at least)

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This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Replica DCs on Azure – Removing the Azure Endpoints

10:04 am in Azure, Azure Endpoints, Cloud, DC, hybrid cloud, IaaS, PowerShell, RDP, Replica DC, W2K12R2 by Wim Matthyssen

This blog post is part of the step-by-step to deploy replica DCs on Microsoft Azure which can be found here: http://scug.be/wim/2015/09/28/deploying-replica-dcs-in-windows-azure/

All VMs that you create in Azure can automatically communicate using a private network channel with other VMs in the same cloud service or VNet. However, other resources on the Internet or resources from other VNets require endpoints to handle the inbound network traffic to those VMs. That’s why when you create a new Azure  IaaS v1 VM (Azure Service Manager deployment model), Azure automatically creates two endpoints: Remote Desktop and Windows PowerShell Remoting. Both endpoints consist of a protocol (TCP or UDP) and have a public (for example 54036) and a private (for example 3389) port. The public port is used by the Azure load balancer to listen for incoming traffic to the IaaS VM from the Internet. The private port on the other hand is used by the IaaS VM itself to listen for incoming traffic to an application or service running on the VM.

After the creation of this new VM it’s possible to create additional endpoints if needed. The VM deployment wizard provides pre-defined endpoint configurations not only for Remote Desktop and PowerShell, but also for SSH, FTP, SMTP, DNS, HTTP, POP3, IMAP, LDAP, HTTPS, SMTPS, IMAPS, POP3S, MSSQL and MySQL. If the needed service isn’t in this list,  you can also  also create your own service endpoint and define the protocols and ports needed.

You can manage and isolate the incoming traffic to the public ports of these endpoints by configuring access control list (ACL) rules. By using ACLs, you can for example, only permit access to a specific service from a set of trusted hosts or networks.

However, for security best practices, it’s always advisable when an IaaS VM is configured and a Site-to-site VPN (S2S) exists, to remove all endpoints you don’t need (like RDP) and only to use them when their really needed (for example to access a IIS hosted website from the Internet on port 443). When the S2S is in place, you can connect to the VM through the use of the standard local RDP port (3389) via the secure IPsec VPN tunnel instead of connecting over the public Internet.

In this blog post I will show you how you can delete the RDP and PowerShell endpoint manually by making use of the Azure Classic Portal (AZGR-DC-01) and how to do it with the use of Azure PowerShell (AZGR-DC-02). So, let’s get started.

Manually remove the Azure Endpoints through the Azure Classic Portal

1) Logon to the Azure Classic Portal as a Service administrator or Co-administrator

2) In the navigation pane, click VIRTUAL MACHINES and then click the name of the VM where the endpoint needs to be deleted (AZGR-DC-01)

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3) Select ENDPOINTS

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4) Select the Remote Desktop endpoint and click DELETE

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5) Select YES when asked Are You sure that you want to delete endpoint Remote Desktop? This will start the deletion process

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6) When the Remote Desktop endpoint is successfully deleted, you can test or you’re still able to RDP to the VM over the Internet. First of all, like you can see the CONNECT button is disabled

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7) If we try to connect through the previously downloaded RDP file, no connection is possible

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8) However, when we logon to GR-DC-01 and open mstsc via Run, we are still able to RDP to AZGR-DC-01 like it should, because we connect over the internal network

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9) You can also repeat the above steps, to delete the Remote PowerShell endpoint

 

Remove the Azure Endpoints through the use of Azure PowerShell

1) Open Windows PowerShell ISE, logon with your Azure account and select the correct Azure Subscription

2) Run following Azure PowerShell cmdlet:

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3) Run following cmdlet to check the existing endpoints for the VM

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4) Like you can see only the Remote PowerShell endpoint still exists, which we also can verify in the Azure Classic Portal

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5) To delete the PowerShell endpoint run following cmdlet:

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6) After running this cmdlet no endpoint longer exist for the AZGR-DC-02 VM

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That ends the final part of this series. If had a lot of fun while writing these series and I really hope, it’s useful for some people. If someone has any questions about the series or a specific part of it, you can always contact me through my Twitter handle.

Till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Replica DCs on Azure – Switch DNS servers for the VNet

7:18 am in Azure, Cloud, DC, DNS, hybrid cloud, IaaS, Replica DC, W2K12R2 by Wim Matthyssen

This blog post is part of the step-by-step to deploy replica domain controllers (DCs) on Microsoft Azure which can be found here: http://scug.be/wim/2015/09/28/deploying-replica-dcs-in-windows-azure/

After we successfully installed both IaaS virtual machines (VMs) as DCs there are still some Azure related actions we can perform. One of them is changing the DNS servers used in the VNet (AZU-VNET-01) to primary use the DNS installed on both IaaS DCs. By doing this we will minimize the data (DNS related actions) out of the Azure data center, which will reduce Azure network costs. We can do this changes through use of the Azure Classic Portal or via the network configuration file (NetworkConfig.xml). I will show both steps below, so let’s get started.

By making use of the Azure Classic Portal

1) Logon to the Azure Classic Portal as a Service administrator or Co-administrator

2) In the navigation pane, click Networks and then click the name of your VNet (AZU-VNET-1)

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3) Click Configure

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4) In the dns servers section, delete the on premise DC (GR-DC-01) by clicking the X next to the IP ADDRESS

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5) To add and register both Azure IaaS DNS servers (AZGR-DC-01 and AZGR-DC-02) with the VNet and Azure, just type their name and IP Address in the boxes. I will also add the on premise DNS server (GR-DC-01) as third failback DNS server. When added click Save

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6) When asked click YES, this will start updating the VNet

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7) When finished successfully, click OK

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8) When the DNS list is updated, we must restart all IaaS VMs (AZGR-DC-01 and AZGR-DC-02) connected to the VNet, so they can pick up the new DNS settings

Before the reboot:

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After the reboot:

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9) To check if DNS is working like it should after the changes, ping the on premise DC (GR-DC-01). If all is OK, you should get replies like shown it the below screenshot

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By making use of the network configuration file

1) Logon to the Azure Classic Portal as a Service administrator or Co-administrator

2) In the navigation pane, click Networks, click the name of your VNet (AZU-VNET-1) to select it and at the bottom of the screen click EXPORT

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3) Select your SUBSCRIPTION and click het check mark button

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4) The NetworkConfig.xml file will be downloaded. When finished click View downloads

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5) Click Open folder

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6) Right click the NetworkConfig.xml file and select Edit

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7) You can see in the original file there is just one DNS servers used (GR-DC-01 – 192.168.2.4)

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8) Change the DNS servers like in the screenshot below and save the file

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9) Go back to the Azure portal, click NEW at the bottom, click NETWORK SERVICES, click VIRTUAL NETWORK and then click IMPORT CONFIGURATION

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10) Browse the changed NetworkConfig.xml file and click the arrow

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11) Verify the changes and press the check mark button at the bottom if all is fine

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12) The import will start

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13) When the import is successfully finish press the OK button

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14) Like you can see, the DNS servers (AZGR-DC-01 and AZGR-DC-02) are added

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15) Reboot all IaaS VMs connected to the VNet to adjust their DNS settings

That ends this part of the series. I hope it’s useful, till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Replica DCs on Azure – Transferring FSMO roles to the IaaS DCs

7:27 am in Azure, Cloud, DC, FSMO, hybrid cloud, IaaS, PowerShell, Replica DC, W2K12R2 by Wim Matthyssen

This blog post is part of the step-by-step to deploy replica domain controllers (DCs) on Microsoft Azure which can be found here: http://scug.be/wim/2015/09/28/deploying-replica-dcs-in-windows-azure/

After we successfully installed both IaaS virtual machines (VMs) as DCs and verified everything was running smoothly (time synchronization included) there is still one AD related action we can perform, namely transferring the Flexible Single Master Operation (FSMO) roles between the on premise DC and the ones running on Azure.

Like you probably all know, some of these FSMO roles (5 in total) are rarely used, such as the Schema and Domain naming Master roles, while others are highly used, such as the PDC emulator and Relative ID (RID) Master role. One thing to keep in mind is that each FSMO role only exists once in the domain and forest. When the entire domain is running on Microsoft Azure it’s completely logical that all FSMO roles are ran on a single Azure IaaS DC or split over different Azure IaaS DCs. However, in most production environments a hybrid (combination of on premise and Microsoft Azure resources) cloud scenario is used. In this case you should see Azure as any other secondary site and the placement of the FSMO roles should be treated in that way. Therefore, always assess all pros and cons before moving certain or all FSMO roles to a DC running as an Azure IaaS VM. In either case, I will show you how you can transfer all or some of the FSMO roles to one of the DCs running on Azure. In my examples all these transfers are done by use of the GUI, but you can also use the command-line tool Ntdsutil.

To transfer the FSMO role(s), a user must be a member of the following group(s):

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Transfer the Schema Master role (GUI)

1) Logon to one of the Azure IaaS DCs (AZGR-DC-01), open the Schmmgmt.dll library by opening Run and typing:

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2) Press OK if the installation is succeeded

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3) Also from the Run command open an MMC Console by typing mmc

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4) On the Console menu, press Add/Remove Snap-in, select Active Directory Schema, click Add> and press OK

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5) Right-click the Active Directory Schema icon and press Operation Master…

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6) Click Change

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7) Click Yes

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8) Click OK

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Transfer the Domain Naming Master role (GUI)

1) Logon to one of the Azure IaaS DCs (AZGR-DC-02), open Administrative Tools and click on Active Directory Domains and Trusts

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2) Right-click the Active Directory Domains and Trusts icon and press Operation Masters…

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3) Press the Change button

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4) Press Yes to confirm the change

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5) Press OK

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Transfer the RID Master, PDC Emulator and Infrastructure Master role (GUI)

  • The RID master role and the PDC emulator role should be owned by the same DC as a best practice

1) Logon to one of the DCs running on Azure (AZGR-DC-01 or AZGR-DC-02) trough RDP, open Run and type dsa.msc and press OK

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2) When the Active Directory Users and Computers window is opened right click the domain and click Operations Masters…

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3) In the Operations Masters window, each tab will show you who the current Operations master is for a specific FSMO (RID, PDC and Infrastructure). For example, the RID Operations master is shown in the screenshot below

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4) To transfer the role just press Change…

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5) Select Yes

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6) Press OK

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7) Like you can see the role is transferred to AZGR-DC-02

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8) If you want to transfer another role for example to AZGR-DC-01, select Active Directory Users and Computers and select Change Domain Controller…

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9) Select AZGR-DC-01 out of the list and press OK. This will switch the DC

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10) Now repeat steps 2 till 6 to switch the Infrastructure role to AZGR-DC-01

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Check the location of all FSMO roles (PowerShell)

1) Logon to one of the DCs running on Azure (AZGR-DC-01 or AZGR-DC-02) trough RDP and open PowerShell as an Administrator

2) Run following command (save as .ps1 or run directly)

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That ends the this part of this series. Please continue through the rest of the series to complete the setup (if all are available). Till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Replica DCs on Azure – Manage the Time Configuration settings on the DCs

1:46 pm in Azure, Cloud, DC, hybrid cloud, IaaS, PowerShell, Replica DC, Time Service, W2K12R2 by Wim Matthyssen

This blog post is part of the step-by-step to deploy replica domain controllers (DCs) on Microsoft Azure which can be found here: http://scug.be/wim/2015/09/28/deploying-replica-dcs-in-windows-azure/

Because time management is one of the most critical things to take care of in an AD domain, I will discuss this topic in this part of the series. Like you probably all know, all DCs should be in time synchronization with the DC holding the PDC Emulator role. This DC is responsible for the time in the AD environment. Therefore it’s a best practice to manually set this server to synchronize his time with an external time source on the Internet (time.windows.com, be.pool.ntp.org, us.pool.ntp.org, …). In their place all other DCs sync their time with the this PDC Emulator.

Other than the DCs, all member servers and workstations will sync time with their authenticated DC. Be aware that when the local time of a server or workstation is out of sync (more than 5 minutes – default setting) Kerberos authentication will fail and users won’t be able to login. Besides all that, time stamps are also used in AD replication process. Below I will list some commands you can run in PowerShell, which will manage the time configuration settings on the DCs. Some oh these commands can also be used on a member server or even on a workstation. I hope you have some time to go through it.

 

 

* Picture source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc773013.aspx

Check and set the Time Zone on a DC (PowerShell):

1) Logon to one of the DCs, open PowerShell and check the Time Zone via following cmdlet:

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2) To set the time zone, run following command:

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Set the DC which holds the PDC Emulator role to synchronize time with an external time server (PowerShell):

1) To find the server who holds the PDC Emulator FSMO role run following PowerShell command:

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2) Logon to the DC holding the PDC Emulator role (GR-DC-01), open PowerShell As an Administrator and run the below command to check the current time against an external time server (time.windows.com):

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3) The following command needs to be run on the PDC Emulator (GR-DC-01). Logon to an Azure DC, open PowerShell as an Administrator and run the below command to set the current time in synchronization with an external time server (time.windows.com):

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4) The following command needs to be run on the Azure IaaS DCs (or all other DCs not holding the PDC Emulator role). Logon to an Azure DC (AZGR-DC-01), open PowerShell as an Administrator and run the below command to set the current time in synchronization with the PDC Emulator (GR-DC-01):

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5) To check if all if the time settings are applied correctly, open up PowerShell (as admin) again and run following command. If you run this on the PDC Emulator and on another DC, you should see different settings under [TimeProviders] if all is configured well:

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This concludes this part of the series, but if you’re interested in reading more about the Windows Time Service you can do so via following Microsoft TechNet article: Windows Time Service Technical Reference

Till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)