How to install and use the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment tool

2:41 pm in AD Assessment, Azure, Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment, PowerShell, SharePoint, SQL Assessment, SQL Server by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

In my first blog post of this year, I will show you how you can install and use the free optimization tool, Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment. This tool (current version 2.0.61228.1 – released 1/16/2017) can help you optimize performance for your Azure virtual machines (VMs) running AD, SQL or SharePoint workloads. The tool focuses on 6 key areas, including security, compliance, availability, business continuity, performance and scalability. When the tool is first started, it will present a short questionnaire about your cloud deployment, followed by an automated data collection and inspection which will analyze the selected workload running on Azure. After finishing this assessment, which could take upon an hour, a custom report is generated which contains useful advice and key recommendations on how to secure and protect this workload following Microsoft best practices.

I myself mostly use the tool when migrating VMs from on premise to the cloud or after setting up a new Azure cloud environment for a customer.

The tool has the following requirements:

  • It can be installed on any workstation or server (on premise or Azure VM) running at least Windows 7 (or later) or Windows Server 2008 (or later)
  • The server or workstation running the tool should at least have 4GB RAM, a 2 GHz dual-core processor and 5 GB of free disk space
  • The server or workstation should be joined to one of the domains of the AD forest in which the target VMs are part of
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 should be installed
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0 is also needed
  • Full Administrative access to the Microsoft Azure target environment
  • Access to the Microsoft Azure target environment via WMI
  • Full network connectivity to the Microsoft Azure target environment

Installation of the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment tool

To get started, first download the tool (total size 70,2 MB) from here

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When downloaded run MAVMOA.exe (Run as administrator) on the computer you want to run the assessment from (setup requires around 110 MB)

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When the UAC screen pops up, click Yes

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Agree to the License Terms and select a folder to install (I always use the default folder). Click Install

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When the installation is completed click Close. I’ve you leave the checkmark near to Launch Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment the tool should start.

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If the tool doesn’t start up, you can use the following PowerShell command to start it:

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Active Directory Assessment

The user running the tool to should have read access to the target domain. When I run the AD Assessment I always use a user with enterprise admin privileges.

Open the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment tool and select Active Directory from the drop-down menu. Optionally you can agree to upload your data to help improve this product. Click Start Assessment

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On the next screen, you are reminded to all requirements needed for the assessment. Click Next

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In the next part of the assessment you need to answer a set of questions regarding your environment. Click Next to start the questionnaire and answer all the questions

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Once you answered all the questions, the tool will proceed to the Collect & Analyze tab where the assessing of your environment will start

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When the tool is finished with the assessing, click Save and view report, and choose a location to save the Microsoft Word document (.docx)

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Click Close and Yes to close the tool. You can now open the document using Microsoft Word. In my case Word is not installed on my server so I copied the document to my workstation to review it

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If you scroll through the document when opened, you will see that each recommendation is given a percentage weighting. For example, when you resolve the problem concerning “Change your password policy to enforce a minimum password age” your Security and Compliance will improve with 5.2 %

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SQL Assessment

Running the SQL Assessment is quite similar as running the AD Assessment, the only difference is that you have to supply the SQL Server that you want to assess.

Open the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Optimization Assessment tool and select SQL Server from the drop-down menu. Like before you can optionally agree to upload your data to help improve this product. Click Start Assessment

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Click Next on the Requirements page

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To start the questionnaire, click Next and answer all questions

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On the Environment page add the SQL Server you want to get assessed. Click Next

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When the tool is finished with the assessing, click Save and view report, and choose a location to save the Microsoft Word document (.docx)

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After saving the document to your preferred location, click Close. When you open the document with Word afterwards, you will also see that each recommendation is given a percentage weighting just like with the AD Assessment. For example, when you resolve the problem concerning “Ensure only essential users are added to the SQL Server sysadmin server role” your Security and Compliance will improve with 2.8 %

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I hope this helps you to get started with this nice tool. If you have any issues or questions, feel free to contact me through my twitter handle

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)