Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Aruna Ravichandran, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Silverlight, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Post

Integrating Active Directory into Windows Azure Virtual Machines

Active Directory Deployment Considerations and Implementation Steps in Windows Azure

Migrating traditional client/server applications to Windows Azure Virtual Machines is what Don Noonan does every day. The majority of these workloads use Active Directory Domain Services as their authentication provider, or in other words, classic Windows authentication. In this post Don walks us through the best practices high level architecture and the basic building blocks of creating a private forest within Windows Azure.

If Active directory is not available, you better be
As we all know, if AD is down so is your app. Imagine setting up a single domain controller responsible for both name resolution (DNS) and authentication. You just created another synonym for single-point-of-failure. At a minimum you should deploy two (2) domain controllers, and they should be created as part of an Availability Set. This will ensure that at least one (1) domain controller is always available for authentication and name resolution requests. If you’re considering saving a few bucks by deploying a single domain controller in non-production environments, let me save you a few more. The first call you get from development or QA will cost you at least 6 months of compute. Telling a dozen upset people on a conference call that you wanted to save the company $50/month will sound pretty bad…

A private forest for me? oh you shouldn’t have
There are currently two major scenarios for providing Windows authentication in Windows Azure Virtual Machines:

  • Deploy a new private forest
  • Extend an existing on-premise forest

In this blog we’ll cover deploying a new private forest. Here is a quick Visio of a classic 3-tier application (using Windows Azure features) to get us started:

As you can see, we have a management subnet that contains our domain controllers, as well as separate database and application “tiers”.

Stop Talking and Start Deploying
As with any new deployment to Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you will perform the following high-level steps:

  1. Create an affinity group (See Bob Hunt’s Article in the Series)
  2. Create a virtual network (See Bob Hunt’s Article in the Series)
  3. Create a storage account (See Kevin Remde’s Article in the Series)
  4. Create virtual machines (See Tommy Patterson’s Article in the Series)

While creating the virtual network, you will need to specify that the domain controllers will also be providing name resolution for all of the servers in your deployment. You can do this in the Windows Azure management portal as well as through the management web service. Here is how you do this via PowerShell:

Specifying custom DNS servers using PowerShell

Example command line:

Set-AzureVNetConfig –ConfigurationPath “C:\networkConfiguration.xml”

Contents of C:\networkConfiguration.xml:

<NetworkConfiguration>
<VirtualNetworkConfiguration>
<Dns>
<DnsServers>
<DnsServer name="skydc01" IPAddress="10.1.1.4" />
<DnsServer name="skydc02" IPAddress="10.1.1.5" />
</DnsServers>
</Dns>
<VirtualNetworkSites>
<VirtualNetworkSite name="skyvn" AffinityGroup="skyag">
<AddressSpace>
<AddressPrefix>10.1.0.0/16</AddressPrefix>
</AddressSpace>
<Subnets>
<Subnet name="Management">
<AddressPrefix>10.1.1.0/24</AddressPrefix>
</Subnet>
<Subnet name="Database">
<AddressPrefix>10.1.2.0/24</AddressPrefix>
</Subnet>
<Subnet name="Middleware">
<AddressPrefix>10.1.3.0/24</AddressPrefix>
</Subnet>
<Subnet name="Application">
<AddressPrefix>10.1.4.0/24</AddressPrefix>
</Subnet>
</Subnets>
<DnsServersRef>
<DnsServerRef name="skydc01" />
<DnsServerRef name="skydc02" />
</DnsServersRef>
</VirtualNetworkSite>
</VirtualNetworkSites>
</VirtualNetworkConfiguration>
</NetworkConfiguration>

In the example above, the IP addresses used assume the domain controllers are the first virtual machines created on the Management subnet. Let’s make sure that’s true by creating them now:

Creating Highly Available Domain Controllers using PowerShell

Relevant excerpts from createService.ps1:

$instanceSize = 'Small'
$imageName = 'MSFT__Win2K8R2SP1-Datacenter-201210.01-en.us-30GB.vhd'
$subnetName = 'Management'
$availabilitySetName = 'skydc'

$password = [email protected]'
$vmName = 'skydc01'
$skydc01 = New-AzureVMConfig -Name $vmName -AvailabilitySetName $availabilitySetName -ImageName $imageName -InstanceSize $instanceSize |
Add-AzureProvisioningConfig -Windows -Password $password |
Set-AzureSubnet $subnetName

$password = [email protected]'
$vmName = 'skydc02'
$skydc02 = New-AzureVMConfig -Name $vmName -AvailabilitySetName $availabilitySetName -ImageName $imageName -InstanceSize $instanceSize |
Add-AzureProvisioningConfig -Windows -Password $password |
Set-AzureSubnet $subnetName

Once you’ve created the servers, you will need to make them domain controllers, also known as promotion.

Promoting a Server to a Domain Controller using DCPROMO or PowerShell

Depending on what operating system you have chosen, you can automate forest creation via command line. In the following examples, be sure to replace DOMAIN_HERE with the desired domain name, and replace passwords with those corresponding to temporary password you assigned to the local administrator account on the first (primary) server.

Windows Server 2008 R2 – Create a new forest using DCPROMO

dcpromo.exe /unattend:C:\primaryDomainController.txt

Contents of C:\primaryDomainController.txt:

[DCInstall]
; New forest promotion
ReplicaOrNewDomain=Domain
NewDomain=Forest
NewDomainDNSName=[DOMAIN_HERE].com
ForestLevel=4
DomainNetbiosName=DOMAIN_HERE
DomainLevel=4
InstallDNS=Yes
ConfirmGc=Yes
CreateDNSDelegation=No
DatabasePath="C:\Windows\NTDS"
LogPath="C:\Windows\NTDS"
SYSVOLPath="C:\Windows\SYSVOL"
[email protected]
RebootOnCompletion=Yes

Windows Server 2012 – Create a new forest using PowerShell

C:\primaryDomainController.ps1

Contents of C:\primaryDomainController.ps1:

Import-Module ADDSDeployment
Install-ADDSForest `
-CreateDnsDelegation:$false `
-DatabasePath "C:\Windows\NTDS" `
-DomainMode "Win2012" `
-DomainName "[DOMAIN_HERE].com" `
-DomainNetbiosName "DOMAIN_HERE" `
-ForestMode "Win2012" `
-InstallDns:$true `
-LogPath "C:\Windows\NTDS" `
-NoRebootOnCompletion:$false `
-SysvolPath "C:\Windows\SYSVOL" `
-Force:$true

Part of your homework will be to create the second domain controller in the new forest. There will need to be slight changes made to the answer files above.

What's Next?

Creating the rest of servers required by your application seems like the logical next step. However, there are a handful of important tasks I like to do prior to creating ANY additional virtual machines:

Create domain user accounts that will be used for future system administration.

Create containers for major objects such as server computer accounts.

Create core group policies for significant items such as:

  • Remote Desktop Services – Enable Keep-Alives (article posted previously at Skylera)
  • User Account Control
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Update

Important Considerations

When creating a private forest, consider the amount of administrative overhead involved vs. level of isolation. For example, you may want to have a single forest for all pre-production environments so that you only need to perform user account tasks in one place. This is easy to do in Windows Azure.

Written by Don Noonan (Don's Blog at Skylera)

Edited by Tommy Patterson (Tommy's Blog on Virtuallycloud9.com)

Be Sure to Read Up on the Rest of the Series for 31 Days of Servers in the Cloud!

http://virtuallycloud9.com/index.php/31-days-of-servers-in-the-cloud-series/

More Stories By Tommy Patterson

Tommy Patterson began his virtualization adventure during the launch of VMware's ESX Server's initial release. At a time when most admins were only adopting virtualization as a lab-only solution, he pushed through the performance hurdles to quickly bring production applications into virtualization. Since the early 2000s, Tommy has spent most of his career in a consulting role providing assessments, engineering, planning, and implementation assistance to many members of the Fortune 500. Troubleshooting complicated scenarios, and incorporating best practices into customer's production virtualization systems has been his passion for many years. Now he share his knowledge of virtualization and cloud computing as a Technology Evangelist in the Microsoft US Developer and Platform Evangelism team.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT depl...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.