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How to Provide PaaS Services with Azure Stack

On this post, we’re going to be getting into some talk about PaaS with Azure Stack, but before we get into that, let’s see where we’ve been thus far!

Our Microsoft Azure Stack Series So Far

  1. An Introduction to the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Concept and Azure Stack
  2. How to Install the Azure Stack Development Toolkit (ASDK)
  3. The Ultimate Azure Stack Post-Installation Checklist
  4. How to Provide IaaS Images with Azure Stack

What is PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Now that we’re diving deeper into cloud technologies, we can easily recognize that Infrastructure as a Service is not the best use-case for getting the most out of Azure Stack. With what we’ve covered so far, Azure Stack can really be seen as just more VM technology behind Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). But Platform as a Service can really bring a more dynamic and elasticity capabilities to services running in your cloud. There is no need to manage the underlying infrastructure and is highly available by default in general.

What is PaaS

Azure Stack PaaS is a special flavor because as of today the currently existing resource providers rely upon linking to an existing environment that could either be part of Azure Stack (if we talk about virtual machines that are responsible for the PaaS service itself) or a physical environment that sits outside of Azure Stack.

If you create a database “as a service” in Azure Stack, it will be deployed on this environment and you should take care to manage and back up the PaaS associated VMs themselves. They are not auto-deployed and self-managed like in Azure Public. So while they ARE providing PaaS services to those people and workloads connecting to them, you still need to manage them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the PaaS solutions are not part of the default Azure Stack setup that is being deployed from the Hardware vendor (Remember that a true Azure Stack deployment will be handled by the hardware vendor), it is optional and needs to be ordered via separate SKUs.

PaaS Solutions in Azure Stack

Azure Stack as of today comes with the following PaaS solutions:

  1. Microsoft SQL Server
  2. MySQL Server
  3. App Services

If you deploy them using the Script from Matt McSpirit, they are part of the deployment by default. Please have in mind that the MS SQL and the MySQL resource providers have completely different APIs than the Azure ones. This means that your automation scripts behave completely different and consistency may be an issue currently.

Microsoft SQL Server on Azure Stack

Resource provider for Microsoft SQL

As you can see, the underlying SQL Server infrastructure is a set of SQL Servers (up to release 2017) on Windows Server or even on Linux (if you’d like) for placement of you PaaS databases.

The deployment itself is being done using the DeploySqlProvider.ps1 script (from the resource provider link above), that performs the following tasks:

  • Certificate and artifact upload to the Azure Stack storage account
  • Publishing gallery items to be able to deploy SQL using the gallery
  • Deploying the SQL resource provider VM which is a Windows Server 2016 core based one
  • Registers a local DNS record that maps to your resource provider VM.
  • Registers your resource provider with the local Azure Resource Manager for the operator account.

NOTE: Please keep in mind, that the registration of the SQL Server resource provider may take up to 75 min on the Azure Stack environment.

To double check if the deployment finished properly you should check this in the .system..sqladapter resource group in your Azure Stack Amin Portal:

Microsoft SQL Server on Azure Stack

Finally, we will need to connect to the existing SQL Server environment (so-called hosting servers) to define the location for the created databases via this resource provider. Basically, we’ll be telling Azure Stack where to put new Databases when Azure Stack users request a new one!

Microsoft SQL Server on Azure Stack 2

You will find the entry for the SQL Hosting Servers under administrative resources and add new server environments:

Microsoft SQL Server on Azure Stack

Fill out the form as shown above.

After having created the corresponding SKUs, it may take up to 30 min to recognize and be able to use them in a proper manner in the environment.

You should now be able to create a first PaaS database using the wizard in the Azure Stack!

MySQL on Azure Stack

The resource provider for MySQL is available in its most recent version here:

If you have a look into the deployment guide, you will shortly recognize that the deployment steps are quite like what we went through above for the Microsoft SQL Server resource provider. The name of the script meanwhile changed a little bit to DeployMySqlProvider.ps1 and even the deployment steps are the same.

Most of you know MySQL as a database environment sitting on a Linux operating system. This is where the resource provider is somehow different as it relies on Windows Server-based MySQL resources.

After having deployed the resource provider you could simply add the MySQL hosting server, define the SKUs and deploy the first databases on your MySQL server environment just like we showed for Microsoft SQL above.

App Services on Azure Stack

The App Services resource provider is one which should be quite familiar with what you may already know from public Azure.

The options with the App Services resource provider are:

  1. Web Apps
  2. Mobile Apps
  3. Function Apps

Therefore, the use-cases are a bit broader compared to the SQL options mention thus far.

Looking into the deployment guide, the setup is more GUI based and quite simple. You can run the deployment using the appservice.exe installer that collects all requirements and lets you define the required parameters before starting the installation itself.

The requirements besides a few basic parameters are:

  • Microsoft SQL Database (e.g. via the MS SQL resource provider)
  • Windows File Server

After the installation has finished, the appropriate resources will show up in the portal.

App Services on Azure Stack

Having this done, the resource provider for App Services is up and running and can be used in your environment.

PaaS Use Cases on Azure Stack

After having installed all available resource providers for Azure Stack, you will be able to provide these services to your tenants using Plans and Offers. They are now able to deploy e.g. a WebApp as their services frontend with a SQL server-based backend.

Looking into hybrid cloud environments using Azure and Azure Stack, one part of the solution architecture may reside on Azure Stack (e.g. database) and the frontend on public Azure to be nearer to the customer itself or vice versa depending on the solution requirements. The only requirement would be again to have networking connectivity between both environments.

One other thing to note, regarding the Azure Stack Update cycles, you should have in mind that Azure Stack updates do not include updates for PaaS solutions. These need to be done manually and based on their availability. As the last months showed, the updates always included new features. So, I would say it is mandatory to follow the cycle. Regarding the update tasks, see the corresponding resource provider download as mentioned in this article. They should include a description and will show you how the update has to take place.

Wrap-Up

How are you liking Azure Stack so far? Have you found it easy to use? Difficult? Have you run into anything not covered yet in this series? We’d love to know in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Author: Markus Klein

Announcing new AI and mixed reality business applications for Microsoft Dynamics – The Official Microsoft Blog

Today, I had the opportunity to speak to press and analysts in San Francisco about our vision for business applications at Microsoft. In addition, I had the privilege to make two very important announcements: the upcoming availability of new Dynamics 365 AI applications, and our very first mixed reality business applications: Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout.

Our vision for business applications at Microsoft

We live in a connected world where companies are challenged every day to innovate so they can stay ahead of emerging trends and repivot business models to take advantage of new opportunities to meet growing customer demands.

To innovate, organizations need to reimagine their processes. They need solutions that are modern, enabling new experiences for how they can engage their customers while making their people more productive. They need unified systems that break data silos, so they have a holistic view of their business, customers and employees. They need pervasive intelligence threaded throughout the platform, giving them the ability to reason over data, to predict trends and drive proactive intelligent action. And with adaptable applications, they can be nimble, allowing them to take advantage of the next opportunity that comes their way.

Two years ago, when we introduced Dynamics 365 we started a journey to tear down the traditional silos of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). We set out to reimagine business applications as modern, unified, intelligent and adaptable solutions that are integrated with Office 365 and natively built on Microsoft Azure.

With the release of our new AI and mixed reality applications we are taking another step forward on our journey to help empower every organization on the planet to achieve more through the accelerant of business applications. Specifically, today we are making the following announcements:

Dynamics 365 + AI

First, I am happy to announce the coming availability of a new Dynamics 365 AI offering — a new class of AI applications that will deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions. And because these insights are easily extensible through the power of Microsoft Power BI, Azure and the Common Data Service, organizations will be able to address even the most complex scenarios specific to their business.

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales: AI can help salespeople prioritize their time to focus on deals that matter most, provide answers to the most common questions regarding the performance of sales teams, offer a detailed analysis of the sales pipeline, and surface insights that enable smarter coaching of sales teams.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service: With Microsoft’s AI and natural language understanding, customer service data can surface automated insights that help guide employees to take action and can even leverage virtual agents to help lower support costs and enable delightful customer experiences, all without needing in-house AI experts and without writing any code.

Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights: Helps empower your marketing, social media and market research teams to make better decisions with market insights. Marketers can improve customer relationships with actionable web and social insights to engage in relevant conversations and respond faster to trends.

To help bring this to life, today we released a video with our CEO, Satya Nadella, and Navrina Singh, a member of our Dynamics 365 engineering team, showing examples of ways we’re bringing the power of AI to customer service organizations.

Dynamics 365 + Mixed Reality

Our second announcement of the day centers on the work we are doing to bring mixed reality and business applications together.

Since the release of Microsoft HoloLens over two years ago, the team has learned a lot from customers and partners. The momentum that HoloLens has received within the commercial space has been overwhelmingly positive. This has been supported by increased demand and deployment from some of the world’s most innovative companies.

We recognize that many employees need information in context to apply their knowledge and craft. Not only on a 2-D screen — but information and data in context, at the right place, and at the right time, so employees can produce even greater impact for their organizations. Mixed reality is a technology uniquely suited to do exactly that.

This is a whole new kind of business application. And that’s precisely what we’re introducing today, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout.

Today, we also showcased for the first time how Chevron is deploying HoloLens to take advantage of Dynamics 365 mixed reality business applications.

Chevron is already achieving real, measurable results with its global HoloLens deployment. Previously it was required to fly in an inspector from Houston to a facility in Singapore once a month to inspect equipment. Now it has in-time inspection using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and can identify issues or provide approvals immediately.

In addition, remote collaboration and assistance have helped the company operate more safely in a better work environment, serving as a connection point between firstline workers and remote experts, as well as cutting down on travel and eliminating risks associated with employee travel.

Here is a peek into the work Chevron is doing with mixed reality:

Unlock what’s next with the Dynamics 365 October 2018 release

Next week at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Envision we’ll be in Orlando talking with thousands of customers, partners, developers, and IT and business leaders about our October 2018 release for Dynamics 365 and the Power platform that will be generally available Oct. 1. The wave of innovation this represents across the entire product family is significant, with hundreds of new capabilities and features.

We will have a lot more to talk about in the weeks and months ahead. We look forward to sharing more!

Tags: , , ,

Wanted – Apple Magic Trackpad or attachment thingy

Still looking for MT2

re sofa, what the reviews have said is the mt1 is hinged so when you press down on it, most of the force goes through two feet. On a sofa or soft surface, the two feet move down a bit so you don’t get the click as easily.

With the mt2, there’s no hinge, only a haptic clicker, so when you press down on a soft surface, the force is spread over the entire bottom of the mt2, so getting a click is more similar to when the mt2 is on a table or hard surface.

ymmv

(Slightly edited for clarity)

For Sale – REDUCED – £260 – MacBook Pro 13.3″, Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB, 320GB HDD

About time I got round to selling this! A trusty old MacBook Pro 13.3” with original charger but in excellent condition.

Its an Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Battery is “Normal” and at just 317 cycles – not been used a great deal!

Has been kept in a case when not in use but does have some minor scratches – pretty good considering its age. The screen is unmarked. Please see pics – if you require any more please ask.

Currently running a clean install of El Capitan with known Admin account and password but could be easily reset.

I thought about fitting an SSD and upping the RAM to transform it into a semi decent laptop but I never bothered – am always atttacted to shiny newer models!

Not looking to trade – straight sale.

Ideally you will collect so you can try it out but will consider posting at additional cost – RMSD would add around £28.

Was £375, then £300, then £275 – NOW £260 – but not too far off this please!

Price and currency: £260
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG, BT or cash on collection
Location: Saffron Walden
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – REDUCED – £260 – MacBook Pro 13.3″, Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB, 320GB HDD

About time I got round to selling this! A trusty old MacBook Pro 13.3” with original charger but in excellent condition.

Its an Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Battery is “Normal” and at just 317 cycles – not been used a great deal!

Has been kept in a case when not in use but does have some minor scratches – pretty good considering its age. The screen is unmarked. Please see pics – if you require any more please ask.

Currently running a clean install of El Capitan with known Admin account and password but could be easily reset.

I thought about fitting an SSD and upping the RAM to transform it into a semi decent laptop but I never bothered – am always attached to shiny newer models!

Not looking to trade – straight sale.

Ideally you will collect so you can try it out but will consider posting at additional cost – RMSD would add around £28.

Asking £375 – NOW £260 – but happy to consider offers as unsure of exact worth – eBay pricing is all over the place!

Price and currency: £260
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG, BT or cash on collection
Location: Saffron Walden
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – REDUCED – £300 – MacBook Pro 13.3″, Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB, 320GB HDD

About time I got round to selling this! A trusty old MacBook Pro 13.3” with original charger but in excellent condition.

Its an Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Battery is “Normal” and at just 317 cycles – not been used a great deal!

Has been kept in a case when not in use but does have some minor scratches – pretty good considering its age. The screen is unmarked. Please see pics – if you require any more please ask.

Currently running a clean install of El Capitan with known Admin account and password but could be easily reset.

I thought about fitting an SSD and upping the RAM to transform it into a semi decent laptop but I never bothered – am always attached to shiny newer models!

Not looking to trade – straight sale.

Ideally you will collect so you can try it out but will consider posting at additional cost – RMSD would add around £28.

Asking £375 – NOW £300 – but happy to consider offers as unsure of exact worth – eBay pricing is all over the place!

Price and currency: £300
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG, BT or cash on collection
Location: Saffron Walden
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – MacBook Pro 13.3″, Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB, 320GB HDD

About time I got round to selling this! A trusty old MacBook Pro 13.3” with original charger but in excellent condition.

Its an Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Battery is “Normal” and at just 317 cycles – not been used a great deal!

Has been kept in a case when not in use but does have some minor scratches – pretty good considering its age. The screen is unmarked. Please see pics – if you require any more please ask.

Currently running a clean install of El Capitan with known Admin account and password but could be easily reset.

I thought about fitting an SSD and upping the RAM to transform it into a semi decent laptop but I never bothered – am always attached to shiny newer models!

Not looking to trade – straight sale.

Ideally you will collect so you can try it out but will consider posting at additional cost – RMSD would add around £28.

Asking £375 but happy to consider offers as unsure of exact worth – eBay pricing is all over the place!

Price and currency: £375
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG, BT or cash on collection
Location: Saffron Walden
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Lenovo Thinkvision T2454PA 1920×1200 monitor

Lenovo Thinkvision T2454PA.
Good overall condition, minus an inch scratch about 4 inches up from the bottom of the monitor.
No stand included as this was always vesa mounted.
No power lead provided.

Price for quick sale £40.

Price and currency: 40
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Lincolnshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – MacBook Pro 13.3″, Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB, 320GB HDD

About time I got round to selling this! A trusty old MacBook Pro 13.3” with original charger but in excellent condition.

Its an Early-2011, 2.4GHz i5, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Battery is “Normal” and at just 317 cycles – not been used a great deal!

Has been kept in a case when not in use but does have some minor scratches – pretty good considering its age. The screen is unmarked. Please see pics – if you require any more please ask.

Currently running a clean install of El Capitan with known Admin account and password but could be easily reset.

I thought about fitting an SSD and upping the RAM to transform it into a semi decent laptop but I never bothered – am always attached to shiny newer models!

Not looking to trade – straight sale.

Ideally you will collect so you can try it out but will consider posting at additional cost – RMSD would add around £28.

Asking £375 but happy to consider offers as unsure of exact worth – eBay pricing is all over the place!

Price and currency: £375
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG, BT or cash on collection
Location: Saffron Walden
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Lenovo Thinkvision T2454PA 1920×1200 monitor

Lenovo Thinkvision T2454PA.
Good overall condition, minus an inch scratch about 4 inches up from the bottom of the monitor.
No stand included as this was always vesa mounted.
No power lead provided.

Price for quick sale £40.

Price and currency: 40
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Lincolnshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.