Kevin McCauley

Cloud commentary with an emphasis on Azure

WordPress on Azure with ClearDB – Not ready for prime time

I’ve spend the last month or installing and running a simple WordPress site on Azure.  My goal was to get better acquainted with Azure for a simple website. What I’ve learned is that WordPress Gallery solution with ClearDB (which costs an extra $55 a month) is an incomplete solution. It only backups the MySQL database and not any of the WordPress Admin files.  So, if you make any WordPress admin changes (like changing the domain name) you are completely out of luck.  You can’t restore and you can’t access the /wp-admin/ admin page. In summary, you just lost your entire WordPress site!

So I tried creating again on Azure.  This time I created another WordPress site on Azure and tried using a WordPress plug-in called “Backupbuddy” (before creating any new content)  Backupbuddy comes highly recommended (according to bloggers on the Internet).  However, after two day of tests, I’ve given up.  “Buddy” is slow, gives false zip errors and completely fails on full backup restore.  In addition, there doesn’t seem to be a way to do a local store to a Mac.

I tried support and described my problem to iThemes (the company that sells Backupbuddy).  The support engineer replied back asking “what is Azure?” He also included troubleshooting FAQ with over 100 links.  Thanks for “help”.

In summary, I’m going back to a simple hosting site –  I’ve used that site for 4 years without any issues.

Microsoft’s comprehensive Availability on Demand (AoD) solution ASR goes live

Migration capabilities are available for a range of workloads including Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server:

  • Move applications with near-zero downtime: Move a single application or an entire datacenter to the cloud with minimal impact to production users
  • No-impact migration testing: Replicate production workloads into Azure, execute tests to ensure readiness, then onboard users into the cloud for no-impact migration
  • Replicate data once, for migration or recovery: With ASR and AoD, you replicate application data only once, and can then use that data to perform disaster recovery, migrate workloads, or create DevTest environments in Azure

Azure Site Recovery GA: Move VMware, AWS, Hyper-V and Physical Servers to Azure | Microsoft Azure Blog.

Gartner Says Power Shift in Business Intelligence and Analytics Will Fuel Disruption

“Self-service data integration will do for traditional IT-centric data integration what data discovery platforms have done for traditional IT-centric BI: reduce the significant time and complexity users face in preparing their data for analysis and shift much of the activity from IT to the business user to better support governed data discovery,” said Ms. Sallam. “However, specific skills are required. Self-service data integration requires that users master both the technical aspects and the business requirements of joining data together.”

via Gartner Says Power Shift in Business Intelligence and Analytics Will Fuel Disruption.

Healthcare Cloud Usage Exceeds IT Expectations, Report Finds – HealthITSecurity

Healthcare collaboration tools were the most popular cloud category, according to Skyhigh’s findings. The average healthcare organization uses 188 collaboration services, such as Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, and Evernote. The next most commonly used cloud category with an average of 52 services per organization was development, including SourceForge and GitHub. Content sharing services and social media services were the next most commonly used categories, with an average of 37 and 33 services per organization, respectively.

via Healthcare Cloud Usage Exceeds IT Expectations, Report Finds – HealthITSecurity.

Law enforcment turning to Microsoft’s cloud to keep their files secure: only service to comply with FBI’s CJIS policy

And Michael Donlan, Microsoft’s Vice President of State and Local Government, believes the Redmond based technology company is best suited for the job not only because they are the only provider contractually committed to compliance with the CJIS, but also:

“…for Microsoft, CJIS compliance isn’t just a check box. While other technology companies claim to support CJIS requirements, many are vague on the subject and details around it or how they work with law enforcement agencies to meet the mandatory security and privacy needs.”

via Law enforcment turning to Microsoft’s cloud to keep their files secure: only service to comply with FBI’s CJIS policy.

Internet of Things (IoT) Analytics Market Worth $16.35 Billion by 2020

The demand in Internet of Things (IoT) Analytics Market is highly driven by the increasing penetration of connected devices and analytics tools. Furthermore, the shifting interests in cloud deployment, predictive analytics for business, end-to-end automation, and consumer-friendly IoT analytics platform are some other factors driving this market and creating value in the market.

via Internet of Things (IoT) Analytics Market Worth $16.35 Billion by 2020 – MarketWatch.

Azure Active Directory Join eliminates need for on premise…

In a few weeks, Windows 10 users can bypass their domain controllers (on premise) and join their W10 computer directly to their corporate domain on the Internet.  This new feature significantly reduces the complexity (and management cost) that was first introduced with Windows 2000.

The key to this is Azure AD Join, a new Windows 10 feature for configuring and deploying corp-owned Windows devices. Like traditional Domain Join, Azure AD Join registers devices in the directory so that they are visible and can be managed by an organization. But with Azure AD Join, Windows authenticates directly to Azure AD, no Domain Controller needed (unless you want to use one of course).

Full Story: AD Blog

Top 5 things Docker can do for you:

Great introduction to Docker by Geman Jaber.

Here’s his “Top 5” list:

  1. Isolating an application dependencies
  2. Creating an application image and replicating it
  3. Creating ready to start applications that are easily distributable
  4. Allowing easy and fast scalation of instances
  5. Testing out applications and disposing them afterwards

The idea behind Docker is to create portable lightweight containers for software applications that can be run on any machine with Docker installed, regardless of the underlying OS, akin to the cargo containers used on ships. Pretty ambitious, and they’re succeeding.

Full blog here

Brad Anderson Outlines New Azure Features at Ignite Conference

Brad Anderson – CVP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division – laid out the key attributes upcoming in Microsoft Azure:

Azure in your datacenter

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 – partners and availability

New Networking services and capabilities in Azure

  • New Network Virtual Appliances

  • User Defined Routing

  • Azure ExpressRoute Premium Add-on Package

  • Azure DNS

  • Azure ExpressRoute and Site-to-Site VPN co-exist

  • New Standard VPN Gateway

  • Multiple Virtual IPs per Cloud Service

Azure Active Directory enhancements

Disk Encryption for Linux and Windows Virtual Machines

  • Virtual Machine Scale Sets

Full Details on the Microsoft Azure Blog

Assume Breach: An Inside Look at Cloud Service Provider Security

Great summary of Azure CTO Mark Russinovich’s presentation at the 2015 RSA conference by Rob Wright.

Azure security is split into three categories. The first is protection, which features components such as identity and access and vulnerability management. The second is detection, which includes auditing, logging, monitoring and penetration testing. And the third category is response, which involves breach containment and customer notification.

Cloud services are appealing targets for hackers and cybercriminals, according to Russinovich.

“It’s easy to get a free trial,” he said. “And once you get a free trial, you have at your disposal huge network pipes, lots of compute power, and you’ve got a concentration of vulnerable assets in the cloud, which are the other customers in that cloud.”

Microsoft looks at best — and worst — practices for Azure security (TechTarget)

Mark Russinovich’s RSA slides

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