Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Sandi Mappic, Bernard Golden, Roger Strukhoff, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Getting Started with Windows Azure IaaS

Cloud computing is the next generation of computing and taking your first step into the cloud can be revolutionary for you

Based on Matt Hester's Cloud Expo Presentation: Overview of Windows Azure IaaS

Introducing the concept of cloud computing into your existing environments can seem to be a daunting task. Cloud computing is the next generation of computing and taking your first step into the cloud can be revolutionary for you and your company. The question you need to ask yourself is where to start? What are some of the low risk workloads that I can test the cloud with? More important, which cloud do you use as there are many different forms of clouds to choose from that could benefit your business. In this article we will take a look at some of the common clouds in today's computing world, and then we will focus in on using infrastructure as a service, as this probably provides the easiest entry point into the cloud.

Cloud Models
Before we dive into the clouds let's talk about simple models to help keep the clouds straight. There are four main models, and they all boil down to what is in your sphere of control. Clouds really should be considered as a "how" and not a "what." They are how you manage, automate and control your resources.

  • Private: This is your on premise datacenter. You control everything from the cabling to the applications. Private clouds are organized on how you provide workload automation for your environment
  • Software as a service (SaaS): SaaS is where you are essentially are paying someone else for the services normally on a monthly/user basis. There are a variety of examples of SaaS from consumer-based services like Xbox live or business based services like Office 365
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): PaaS is where you have control over the actual application and data; howeve, you rely on the cloud provider to provision the underlying supporting infrastructure. This allows your developers to write applications that take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS allows you to control the application down to the underlying OS; however, the cloud provider manages the virtualization layer and the hardware. In this model you have full control of the virtual server running in the cloud. In a sense this is no different than other virtual servers running in your data center.

When you consider cloud providers, Microsoft is one of the few companies that can provide services across all the cloud models, and allows you choose what makes the most sense for you and your organization. With Windows Azure you will also find PaaS and IaaS services.

Most customers I talk with are not all in when it comes to the cloud. Fundamentally you will only use the cloud in two instances: to improve your bottom line or to improve your strategy. If you want to still maintain on-premise IT and combine it with a cloud model for a specific workload you can. I refer this to as hybrid, and in a sense you get the best of both worlds.

How you implement IaaS in your environment really depends on your needs. IaaS can encompass many different roles in your company, from directory services to backup to virtual machines. In this article we are going to focus on how to create your first virtual machine in Windows Azure IaaS, and along the way you will learn many of the aspects of Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Windows Azure virtual machines allow you to provision a fully functional server in the cloud. This is a server that you will have complete control over the operating system. You will need to provision any roles and services that you will need it to support just like any other server in your infrastructure.

Create a Windows Azure IaaS Virtual Machine
Getting started with Windows Azure IaaS is easy. The first thing you will want to do is sign up for a free Windows Azure trial, you can learn more here to get started: http://aka.ms/getazureiaas or you can visit the home page for Windows Azure here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/.

After you get your trial subscription you will then be able to immediately start using Windows Azure. While this focusses on just one workload, you do have access to all the workloads in Azure from web sites to mobile services to SQL Services and everything in between.

Let's get started with creating your first virtual machine. On the home page of Windows Azure, click on portal (in the upper right side of the page). This will take you to the Windows Azure management portal. While we will focus on the GUI, one important note before you start is that everything you can do in the GUI portal can be scripted with PowerShell.

  1. In the Windows Azure Management portal click + NEW in the lower left hand corner.
  2. In the New selection window, select COMPUTE, select VIRTUAL MACHINE and select FROM GALLERY, this will launch the Create a Virtual Machine wizard
  3. In the first part of the wizard you will need to choose an image to start. Note there are several images to choose from including many Linux versions, SQL, Oracle, SharePoint and Visual Studio. These templates make it easy for you start with a prebuilt environment. For the purpose of the article select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and click the arrow in the lower right hand corner to proceed to the next step.
  4. In the Virtual machine configuration screen you will be asked to give your virtual machine a name, choose a size, set the administrative user name, and password. Before you fill in the wizard it is important to understand some of the choices as it will control the overall security of your virtual machine as well as performance and cost.
    -First, regarding security your user name cannot be a common administrative name, like admin, administrator, root, etc. Make sure you choose a secure name. The same goes for the password; it has to be strong; it cannot be blank; it has to be 8 characters, upper and lower case, number and a special character. Additionally the password cannot be a variation of the word ‘password'.
    -Second, regarding the size of system you have a choice of 8 configurations. The more memory and processor you select will increase the cost of running the virtual machine. Note, the Windows Operating System license is covered in the cost of Windows Azure. You can use the calculator to get an estimate of costs here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/ . When you are done, click on the arrow to continue.
  5. The next screen has several choices that are important for your virtual machine, from the placement to the availability of your virtual machine. Some the choices could be a single article in and of themselves. For this you will get a brief look at them.
    a. Cloud Service:
    are containers for the virtual machines you will create. You have just a single virtual machine in a cloud service or several that are load balanced
    b. Cloud Service DNS Name:
    is the public DNS name given to your service, and by default ends in cloudapp.net. You can redirect to a preferred name.
    c. Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network:
    these three choices control the placement of your virtual machines. Regions determine in which geographic location your virtual machines will be placed. Affinity groups are ways to group your cloud services for better performance. Affinity groups are associated with the same datacenter region; ultimately they will help improve performance and reduce latency. You can learn more about affinity groups here: Affinity Groups Overview. Virtual networks enable you to extend your enterprise networks into Azure, for your hybrid applications. They also allow you to set up secure private IPv4 networks contained in Windows Azure. The virtual networks allow you to create point-to-site VPN connections or site-to-site VPN Connections. You can learn more about virtual networks here: Virtual Networks Overview
    d. Storage Account:
    the virtual machines you create are essentially hyper-v machines and all the files you create the virtual machines, like the .vhd files, are stored in this account and by default there are three copies.
    e. Availability Set:
    provides fault tolerant placement to your virtual machine in the Windows Azure datacenters. This will help spread the virtual machines for your cloud services across fault and update domains.
    As you can see there are lots of choices to be made about creating your virtual machine. For this walk through, choose a region closest to you, leave the default choices and click on the arrow to go to the last step.
  6. The last step is to create endpoints. Endpoints allow you to access your Windows Azure virtual machines, not only for internal administrative access but also to allow external access to your Windows Azure virtual machines. By default you have two endpoints that are created for you. One for remote desktop access into the virtual machine and the other for PowerShell remoting. You can change the ports as needed. It is important to note that there are no external facing endpoints, which means if you were going to create a Web application you would need to create at least one more endpoint for that access either for port 80 or 443 for secure access. Additionally if you created virtual networks for your virtual machines, it provides an alternative administrative access method. The virtual networks allow you to create point-to-site VPN connections or site-to-site VPN Connections to connect to all of the virtual machines that are on the virtual network. When you're done click the checkmark to begin provisioning your virtual machine.

After you are done with the final step your virtual machine will be provisioned in about 10 minutes. Think about that for a second. In about 10 minutes you have a fully functioning server to run your workloads on. Once the virtual machine is finished being provisioned you will then need to connect to the virtual machine to provision it. You can connect to the virtual machine from the virtual machine's dashboard. To access the dashboard, select the virtual machine from your Windows Azure portal, and click on the dashboard on the menu below the virtual machine name. The dashboard provides a lot of useful information; you can get basic performance data of the virtual machine, as well configuration data (public and private IP address, DNS name, etc.). Also on the dashboard on the bottom of the screen you should see the connect option. Simple click connect and it will bring up the remote desktop connection program. Fill in your credentials you created above to log in and configure your virtual machine.

Hopefully you enjoyed creating your virtual machine. If you are ready for more, you may want to try another great aspect of using Windows Azure take a look at backing up your server to the cloud. If you want to learn how to do that, take a look here: Backup Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Azure

More Stories By Matt Hester

Matt Hester is a Senior Information Technology Professional Evangelist for Microsoft. Matt has been involved in the IT Pro community for over 20 years. Matt is a skilled and experienced evangelist presenting to audiences nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Microsoft Matt was a highly successful Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 8 years. After joining Microsoft, Matt has continued to be heavily involved in IT Pro community as an IT Pro Evangelist. In his role at Microsoft Matt has presented to audiences in excess of 5000 and as small as 10. Matt has written 4 articles for TechNet magazine. In addition Matt has published 3 books:

You can contact Matt off his blog at http://aka.ms/matthester

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...