Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Yung Chou, Kevin Remde, Keith Mayer, RealWire News Distribution

Related Topics: .NET, Virtualization, Silverlight, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo, Security

.NET: 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 = '@skyDc01'
$vmName = 'skydc01'
$skydc01 = New-AzureVMConfig -Name $vmName -AvailabilitySetName $availabilitySetName -ImageName $imageName -InstanceSize $instanceSize |
Add-AzureProvisioningConfig -Windows -Password $password |
Set-AzureSubnet $subnetName

$password = '@skyDc02'
$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"
SafeModeAdminPassword=@skyDc01
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
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.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have spoken with, or attended presentations from, utilities in the United States, South America, Asia and Europe. This session will provide a look at the CREPE drivers for SmartGrids and the solution spaces used by SmartGrids today and planned for the near future. All organizations can learn from SmartGrid’s use of Predictive Maintenance, Demand Prediction, Cloud, Big Data and Customer-facing Dashboards...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArchon, he served as a VP and Principal Analyst with Constellation Group. He is a member of the Boulder (Colo.) Brain Trust, an organization with a mission “to benefit the Business Intelligence and data management industry by providing pro bono exchange of information between vendors and independent analysts on new trends and technologies and to provide vendors with constructive feedback on their of...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) irreversibly encoded. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, will look at how this identity problem can be solved and discuss ways to use existing web identities for real-time communication.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn real-world benefits of WebRTC and explore future possibilities, as WebRTC and IoT intersect to improve customer service.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, an Open Source Cloud Communications company that helps the shift from legacy IN/SS7 telco networks to IP-based cloud comms. An early investor in multiple start-ups, he still finds time to code for his companies and contribute to open source projects.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
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, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services to the modern P2P RTC era of OTT cloud assisted services.
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehension and conference efficiency.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example to explain some of these concepts including when to use different storage models.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, 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. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. These technological reforms have not only changed computers and smartphones, but are also changing the data processing model for all information devices. In particular, in the area known as M2M (Machine-To-Machine), there are great expectations that information with a new type of value can be produced using a variety of devices and sensors saving/sharing data via the network and through large-scale cloud-type data processing. This consortium believes that attaching a huge number of devic...