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Azure IaaS: Deploying B-series VMs

10:18 am in ARM, Azure, Azure PowerShell, B-Series VMs, IaaS, PowerShell, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

Last week Microsoft introduced the B-Series VM size in preview. These B-Series VMs can run workloads that burst in their performance, but do not need continuous full performance of the CPU. Servers that would be eligible for this new “burstable” VM size are servers with small databases, webservers, development servers, quality assurance (QA) and test servers. But also servers with other workloads that do not utilize the full located vCPUs are grate candidates to benefit and lower costs by using a B-Series VM.

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Herby a list of the 6 B-Series VM sizes, which are currently available in Preview in the following Azure Regions (Europe-West, US-West 2, US-East, Asia Pacific-Southeast):

Instance Size vCPU vMemory: GiB Tempory Storage / Local SSD: GiB Max data disks Max NICs Credits banked / hour Max Banked Credits
Standard_B1s 1 1 2 2 2 6 144
Standard_B2s 2 4 8 4 3 24 576
Standard_B1ms 1 2 4 2 2 12 288
Standard_B2ms 2 8 16 4 3 36 864
Standard_B4ms 4 16 32 8 4 54 1296
Standard_B8ms 8 32 64 16 4 81 1944

You can also read more about this new VM size here and find all pricing info

Now I am going to show you how you can deploy a new B-Series VM trough Azure PowerShell.

First, you need to request quota to be able to deploy this B-Series VMs. To do so you should logon to the Azure portal and go to Help + support. To request an increase or to be able to deploy B-Series VMs, select New support request.

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You need to create a Quota support case for Cores. So, on the NEW SUPPORT REQUEST page, select Issue type as “Quota” and Quota type as “Cores”. Also, select the Subscription and the correct Support plan. Click Next.

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Select Severity “C – Minimal Impact”, Deployment model “Resource Manager” and the correct Location, which in my case is West Europe. Select as SKU Families that requires an increase “BS Series” and set the NEW LIMIT higher than before, for example 15 instead of 10. Click Next.

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In the Contact Information blade, select your Preferred contact method, provide a Response time, select your preferred Language and fill in the Contact Information. Click Create to create the new support ticket.

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In my case I received an email after the quota was been approved, which normally does not take that much time. So from here we can go further with the deployment.

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If you open Azure PowerShell, and run following commands, you can now built a new B-Series VM. You can copy the commands or save them to as a PowerShell script (.ps1). Do not forget to adjust all variables were needed.

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Hope this helps you getting started with this new B-Series VMs.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Azure Backup: Create a Recovery Services vault with Azure PowerShell

9:46 am in Azure, Azure Backup, Azure PowerShell, PowerShell, Public Cloud, Recovery Services vault by Wim Matthyssen

A Recovery Services vault is an online storage entity used to backup workloads to the Azure cloud. You can use it to hold backup data for various Azure services such as IaaS VMs (Linux or Windows) and Azure SQL databases, but it can also be used by System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) or Azure Backup Server (MABS v1 and MABS v2) to enable cloud backups.

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These days it is quite easy to create or manage a Recovery Services vault through the Azure portal, but it is even faster when you make use of a scripting language like Azure PowerShell to automate the setup. Therefore, below you can find the PowerShell script I mostly use to do all the work for me. You can just copy and paste or you can download the complete script (.ps1) from the Microsoft TechNet gallery.

To use the script, first adjust all variables to your use. Afterwards login into an Azure PowerShell window as an administrator and when asked login with the credentials for your Azure Subscription.

The script will first create a Resource Group and then the Recovery Services vault in your Azure Subscription. At the end, it will also set the storage redundancy for the newly created vault. Keep in mind that you can only use Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) or Geo Redundant Storage (GRS).

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Useful Azure PowerShell cmdlets for Azure Backup

List all available Azure Backup PowerShell cmdlets

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List all available Recovery Services vaults in your subscription

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Hope this post helps you when you start using Azure Backup.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Azure PowerShell: Migrate an Azure ASM Virtual IP address (VIP) to an ARM Public IP address (PIP)

12:13 pm in ARM, ASM, Azure, Azure PowerShell, Cloud, PIP, Public Cloud, Public IP address, VIP, Virtual IP address by Wim Matthyssen

The last weeks, I am assisting some customers with the migration of their existing Azure Service Manager (ASM) VMs to the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) portal. Most of those workloads are migrated with the use of Azure Site Recovery (ASR). The only thing ASR cannot handle for the moment is the migration of the Cloud Services Virtual IP Address (VIP). This public IP address can for example used by an IIS website running on a specific IaaS virtual machine (VM) which is part of that Cloud Service. You can work around this problem, as in many of these cases, by using Azure PowerShell. Below I will wake you through this process with an example.

Overview used Azure VMs:

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1) First, we need to login and prepare the ARM environment. To do so run following PowerShell commands (change variables as needed):

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2) Next we need to login to the ASM environment

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3) As the next step we need to reserve the public IP Address

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4) Next we need to de-associate the Reserverd IP address from the Cloud Service. Press Yes when asked

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5) When you now check the list of reserved IP addresses, it will show the reserved IP address 40.68.191.13 as unassigned. The attribute InUse is set to False and the ServiceName and DeploymentName attributes are empty

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6) Also check if the Reserved IP address is valid for migration

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7) Next we need to prepare the Reserved IP address for migration

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8) Now run the following PowerShell command to finalize the migration of the Reserved IP address

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9) You can verify the availability of the migrated Public IP address by login in to the Azure portal. Under Public IP address, you should see the resource with the correct IP address

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10) Now, you can move this resource to the correct resource group. When you do so, and your asked to Confirm the move, click Yes

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11) Afterwards you can assign the public IP address to whichever resource you would like

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That concludes this blog post. Hope it comes to your use.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Azure IaaS: VM status Running (Installing Extensions)

6:13 am in ASM, Azure, Azure PowerShell, Cloud, IaaS, Installing Extension, Microsoft, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

Last week while migrating Azure IaaS VMs from ASM to ARM, I noticed that one VM was showing the status “Running (Installing Extension)” in the Azure Classic portal. When I tried to connect to that specific VM with RDP no connection could be made. This status also prevented me from doing some automation activities, the VM however still responded to a ping.

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When I opened the DASHBOARD page of the VM and looked at the extensions, I saw that the Microsoft.Compute.VMAccessAgent showed following error:

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The simplest way I found to resolve this error was to delete the extension, and add it back. To do so login to the Azure portal with your Azure account. Go to Virtual Machines and click on the specific VM. On the opened blade select Extensions, right click the VMAccessAgent and click Delete. When asked to delete the extension select Yes

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To reinstall the VMAccess extension open PowerShell ISE, connect to your Azure subscription with your Azure account and run the following command (replace cloud service name and VM name by your own)

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To check the current status of the extension, run following command (replace cloud service name and VM name by your own):

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Or you can also check trough both Azure portals

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After the reinstallation of the VMAccessAgent, it ran with STATUS Success and I was able to reconnect to the VM with RDP. This concludes this blog post, hope it helps whenever you have this issue.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Error when installing on Windows Server 2016 – The Single Instance Store (SIS) component is not installed

3:36 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, hybrid cloud, MABS, Microsoft Azure Backup, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud, SIS, SIS-Limited, Windows Server 2016, WS2016 by Wim Matthyssen

 
Hi All,

Last week I was contacted by a customer who tried to install Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) on an on-premise Windows Server 2016. However, when he started the installation he always received an error because a prerequisite was not installed, namely the Single Instance Store (SIS) component.

 
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When opening the DpmSetup.log with PowerShell (as Administrator), you could see the following error:

 

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However, when you try to install this missing component through PowerShell it gives you an Error: 0x800f080cFeature name SIS-Limited is unknown.

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The reason for this is that because from Windows Server 2016 the SIS-Limited component is replaced by Microsoft’s deduplication or data footprint reduction (DFR) technology, like you can read in the following article from MVP Greg Schulz: http://storageioblog.com/rip-windows-sis-single-instance-storage-or-at-least-in-server-2016/

Also, when you go to the Microsoft Azure Backup Server download page and you expand System Requirements you can see that Windows Server 2016 at the present time is not listed as a supported Operating System (OS) to deploy MABS, probably because it does not have this SIS component.

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Conclusion

Currently you’re not able to use Windows Server 2016 as OS for you MABS server. Probably in the near future Microsoft will release a new version of MABS which will allow it, but until then you need to stick with Windows Server 2012 (R2) or Windows Server 2008 R2 to install your MABS on.

Hope this helps you with this error.

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)

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)

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

7:07 am in Azure, Azure Backup, DC, IaaS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

After setting up a Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) running on an IaaS v1 VM for a customer, I encountered a problem with a System State backup. The server having the problem was a Domain Controller (DC) also running as an Azure IaaS v1 VM and a member of the Domain Controller Protection Group on the MABS server. You can see the error message found on the MABS server in the screenshot below

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“DPM cannot create a backup because Windows Server Backup (WSB) on the protected computer encountered an error (WSB Event ID: 546, WSB Error Code: 0x1751870). (ID 30229 Details: Internal error code: 0x80990ED0)”

On the DC itself following error message was found:

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“The backup operation attempted at ‘‎2016‎-‎05‎-‎10T14:00:28.139491000Z’ has failed to start, error code ‘2155348032’ (The backup storage location is invalid. You cannot use a volume that is included in the backup as a storage location. ). Please review the event details for a solution, and then rerun the backup operation once the issue is resolved.”

To fix this problem I followed the steps below:

1) On the server with the problem, verify if no other backup or recovery operation is running by opening a PowerShell window (as administrator) and typing:

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If the command output indicates that no operation is running, then you can proceed to step 2. Otherwise wait until the current job is completed and retry the failed System State backup job

2) In the same PowerShell windows type the following command:

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Verify of the writer named System Writer is running Stable and without any errors. If so proceed to step 3. Otherwise manually restart the VSS Writer, if it fails again it’s necessary to reboot the server

3) Open Services and verify if the Cryptographic Services is running and set to startup Automatically.

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4) The check if Windows Server Backup (WSB) is able to take a local System State Backup, open up PowerShell (as an administrator) and run the below command. When asked press (Y). Be aware it could take a while before the job completes:

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If the backup is successfully proceed to step 5. Otherwise check the Windows event viewer for other errors

5) Open the registry editor and go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wbengine. Create a key called SystemStateBackup and set the values of this entry as follows:

Name: AllowSSBToAnyVolume
Data type: DWORD
Value data: 1

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You also can use PowerShell (as an administrator) to create the registry key, to do so run following command:

6) When done, logon to the MABS server and retry the failed System State backup job by right-clicking and selecting Perform consistency check … Verification will start and at the end the job will complete with success

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This concludes this blog post, hope it’s useful. Till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

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

8:00 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, IaaS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud, Windows Server Backup by Wim Matthyssen

Last week I was setting up a Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) for a customer running on an Azure IaaS v1 VM for taking disk and System State backups which are stored in an Azure Backup vault for long-term retention. After done all of the configuration, like deploying the agents and creating the Protection Group(s), most of the backup jobs ran without any issues, only the System State backups were failing. This is shown in the screenshot below.

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For those who not know, I will first list some extra information to clarify what a System State backup really is:

  • A System State backup uses the Windows Server Backup (WSB) feature to take a snapshot of the system state and saves it locally to the server before moving it to the MABS server storage pool
  • It contains the following system components: System Registry, SYSVOL directory, Boot files including the system files, Active Directory, COM + Class Registration Database, Certificate Services, Cluster service information, IIS Metadirectory and System files that are under Windows File Protection (some of these items are only included if the specified service is installed – AD, ISS, Certificates)
  • §System state backup and restore operations include all system state data: you cannot choose to backup or restore individual components due to dependencies among the system state components. However, you can restore system state data to an alternate location in which only the registry files, Sysvol directory files, and system boot files are restored.

Troubleshooting a System State backup failure can be frustrating as there are a lot of underlying components that come into play during the process. To figure out what was causing the System State backup(s) to fail, I followed the steps below:

1) Check out the Critical alerts for a specific server having the issue in the Monitoring pane on the MABS server. Here I found the following error:

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2) After reading the description carefully, you can see there should be enough free space on the target server and also WSB should be installed. So to verify,  first logon to the specific server trough RDP

3) Check out the free disk space by opening Disk Management

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4) Like you can see, there is plenty enough of free disk space to store a local System State backup

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5) To check if WSB is installed, run following cmdlet in PowerShell (as an Administrator)

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6) Like you can see WSB is not installed and probably causing the failure of the System State backup

7) Install WSB trough PowerShell (as an Administrator)

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8) Check if this fixes the issue by opening the Microsft Azure Backup MMC on to the MABS server. Go to Protection and select Perform consistency check …

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9) Click Yes to perform the consistency check

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10) You will see the Protection Status changing to “Replica is inconsistent, verification in progress”

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11) To be sure everything is working like it should, you can logon to the specific server and open WSB locally by opening the Run box and typing wbadmin.msc

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12) Select Local Backup. If all is running fine, their should be a local backup job running at the moment

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13) After a while the job should complete Successful

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14) You should also verify the successful System State backup in the MABS console. Like you can see the Protection Status of the job is OK now (also for all other System State jobs, after WSB was installed locally on all those servers)

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This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

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

4:43 pm in Azure, Cloud, DC, IaaS, PowerShell, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

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

In this part I will setup the replica DC VMs with the use of an Azure PowerShell script. To do so follow the steps below:

1) Download the Built_DCs.xlsx file here. When downloaded rename the extension from .xlsx to .csv and adjust the file to your needs. In my example I saved it in the following folder C:\Temp\Azure_setup_DC

 

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2) To check if the Cloud Service name used in the .csv already exists on Azure, run the below PowerShell cmdlet. If the name exists, the cmdlet returns $True. If the name does not exist and can be used, it returns $False

 
3) Deploy both Azure IaaS VMs with the following Azure PowerShell script, in my example named Azure_built_DCs.ps1. This file is also stored under the folder C:\Temp\Azure_setup_DC. This script accesses the previously created Built_DCs.csv file were all necessary variables are declared. Both VMs will be built from the Azure Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter image, will be placed in an Availability Set and an extra data disk will be attached (stored in the azudata01 Storage Account) with a size of 1023 GB and the host-cache mode set to None

 

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4) When the script has run you can verify if all settings are applied correctly from the Azure classic portal

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5) You should also be able to RDP into both VMs

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That ends the second 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)