Windows Azure TechEd Challenge – Wednesday Cheats (Part 1)!

Hey all! Sorry I missed yesterday’s update of the cheats. The booth was busy enough I ended up working double shifts and then I had some technical issues preventing me from getting the next update out (stupid failed power supply). So I didn’t manage to get to this. But I’m back this morning for another update and I’m preparing this from my “meeting” device, aka a Surface RT. One item that did come up yesterday was the realization that you can complete the entirety of the IT Pro Windows Azure Challenge from a Surface RT device! Really! So I’m going to walk through IT Pro challenges 3-5 entirely with my Surface RT!

IT Pro Challenge 3 – Create an image from a VM and redeploy with HA

So last time we created and configured a Server 2012 virtual machine and installed IIS into it. This time we need to capture that server as an image and deploy a second, load balanced copy taking advantage of high availability.

Now the first step is to create an image from our running virtual machine. The details steps for this are outlined in this MSDN article. For this we’ll need to RDP into the virtual machine we created in Challenge 2, then sysprep it. Since Surface RT includes a Remote Desktop app, I can do this without switching to a “normal workstation”.

Once we’ve issued the request to sysprep the virtual machine, we can log off and just watch the management portal until the virtual machine enters a stopped state.

*coffee time*

Now that the machine has stopped, we can capture a copy of it by selecting it like we did yesterday (select the row, don’t go into the detail view) and select “Capture” from the menu at the bottom of the page (which should now be enabled, if it isn’t make sure the machine has stopped). When clicking the capture option, you’ll get a pop-up like the one to the left. Fill it out and click on the check mark to complete this operation.

You’ll see the status of the virtual machine change to “Registering” as we capture the image. When complete, the virtual machine itself will disappear, and we’ll now see if under the list of images with the name we provided.

Now we’ll start by deploying the first virtual machine from this base image. Using the toolbar at the bottom, click the “+” sign then select Compute -> Virtual Machine -> From Gallery as illustrated below:

This will result in a dialog box where we can select to create a VM from “My Images” then define the size and location of our VM as we did when we initially deployed it. We’ll select to deploy this as a ‘stand alone’ machine, but this time we want to make sure we create an availability set. Availability sets are a way to tell the Windows Azure fabric to distribute virtual machines in such a way as to minimize the risk of downtime simultaneous downtime. Spreading it out over multiple physical locations within the datacenter for lack of a better explanation. You can enable remote powershell if you like (not necessary for the TechEd Challenge), but make sure you define it as part of an availability set.

Once the first machine has finished deploying, create a second, but this time instead of a “stand along” machine, we need to attach this one to the first.

And make sure it’s part of the same availability set. The new machine will be provisioned, and we’re almost there.

Once both machines are running, we can now set up load balanced endpoints. Endpoints in Windows Azure are important because they control what ports the outside world can connect to our virtual machines on. If you select one of the virtual machines and view the details (what we’ve been avoiding so far), and then click on “Endpoints”, we’ll see one, perhaps two endpoints already declared: RDP and remote powershell.

By defining these endpoints, we’ve told Windows Azure to allow traffic directly to this virtual machine on these ports and over a specific protocol.

To create an endpoint on our first server, select the “Add” option in the bottom toolbar and following the instructions in the dialog box. So let’s create a new endpoint (port 80 for argument’s sake) and make sure both machines have it and that Windows Azure will know to load balance the traffic. For the first server, I “add endpoint” then created one called “webdefault” and used port 80 for both the public and private ports. Once created, we should be able to open up a browser windows and enter in the address of our service and see the default IIS display screen.

Next we’ll select our second virtual machine, and create an endpoint on it. The only real difference is that this time we’ll select to “Load-Balance Traffic on an existing endpoint” as shown below.

Once both have been created. You’ve completed IT Pro Challenge 3 and are ready to receive your Windows Azure earbuds!

So I have to run to a session. But I’ll try to be back this afternoon with more cheats so you can get your Windows Azure swag. Until then!


3 Responses to Windows Azure TechEd Challenge – Wednesday Cheats (Part 1)!

  1. jjdurrant says:

    I made it through he first four steps of the IT Pro challenges. Stuck on 5 though..

  2. jjdurrant says:

    I got through it! Lots of work but great learning exp. Thanks!

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