Jul 242014
 

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Today I authenticated to the Azure portal to look at setting up a new Azure service when I took note of the alert (above) which popped up from the notification bar. 

So what are subscriptions and directories? 

Subscriptions and directories are accessed via the Subscriptions menu within the portal:

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You can have multiple subscriptions under a directory, and multiple assets (databases, sites etc.) linked to subscriptions.

 

Term Description
Subscription* Subscriptions are a container for billing, but they also act as a security boundary: each subscription has a Service Administrator (SA) who can add/remove/modify Azure resources in that subscription by using the Azure Management Portal (https://manage.windowsazure.com/).
Directory* The Directory defines a set of users, which can be Organizational (i.e. sourced in that Directory) or Foreign (such as Microsoft Accounts).

* Source

My situation

I noticed that my SQL Azure databases weren’t listed with all the other usual assets, like Web Sites and so forth.

It was a few seconds later when I understood what was going on.  I recently had all my current Azure assets migrated from another Microsoft Account to my current one, and this process went well with no loss of connectivity and no need for me to have to upload or reconfigure existing sites and services.

However, whilst the SQL Azure databases have been migrated and are now associated with my new Microsoft Account, they are linked against an expiring subscription.  Since this is a bit tricky to explain, I’ve tried to illustrate the scenario with a diagram:

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My question is: is it possible to move the items linked to Directory ‘B’ into Directory ‘A’?

More information on the subscription/directory structure

Then I came across this post on the TechNet forums, which links to a Word document which outlines the changes to Azure which occurred late last year.  From the document:

For users with subscriptions across multiple directories, they have the ability to switch the current context of the Azure Management Portal by using the Subscription Filter. Under the covers, this results in a separate login to a different Directory, but this is accomplished seamlessly using single sign-on (SSO).

Operations such as moving resources between subscriptions can be more difficult as a result of this single directory view of subscriptions. If necessary, the subscriptions may first need to be associated to the same directory (using the Edit Directory feature in Settings à Subscriptions) in order to perform the resource transfer.

Success

After reading one of Scott Gu’s blog posts from the TechNet forum post, I achieved the desired outcome.  To borrow from that article:

If you have already have multiple directories and multiple subscriptions within your Windows Azure account, we have done our best to create a good default mapping of your subscriptions->directories as part of today’s update.  If you don’t like the default subscription-to-directory mapping we have done you can click the Settings tab in the left-hand navigation of the Windows Azure Management Portal and browse to the Subscriptions tab within it:

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If you want to map a subscription under a different directory in your account, simply select the subscription from the list, and then click the “Edit Directory” button to choose which directory to map it to.  Mapping a subscription to a different directory takes only seconds and will not cause any of the resources within the subscription to recycle or stop working.  We’ve made the directory->subscription mapping process self-service so that you always have complete control and can map things however you want.

Source: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/windows-azure-backup-services-release-hyper-v-recovery-manager-vm-enhancements-enhanced-enterprise-management-support

Once you have moved the subscription’s directory, all the assets follow to the target directory.  Now all that’s left to do is move my assets from one subscription to another:

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Shouldn’t be too hard, right?  I’ll have to get back to you about that… 

Maybe the new Portal might help?

new-portal

new-portal-dashboard

?

Jul 202014
 

IMG_9975_Medium  IMG_9976_Medium

Hi There,

Today we’re taking a look at the rather appealing Kensington KeyFolio Executive with Bluetooth keyboard.  As regular readers would know, I’m a bit of a keyboard junkie, and I have developed a number of mobile keyboard solutions over the years.

Here’s one of my favourites – a Think Outside foldaway Bluetooth keyboard.

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My foldaway keyboard

I include a photo of it here for comparison purposes – although they serve slightly different purposes, the KeyFolio I think achieves a far superior experience.  Let’s take a look.

The contents of the packaging are snapped in the picture below.  It’s a pretty straightforward setup, and quite a sleek looking folio, to be honest!

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Unpacking / Box contents

Unpacking takes seconds, and everything’s already ready to go.  I was a little uncertain about how to insert the iPad into the folio – there’s what looked like an adhesive layer on the kickstand, and it looked so sticky, I feared the adhesion might be permanent!

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USB charging cable attached

However, after some research on the Kensington website, it turns out that the adhesive isn’t adhesive per se, it’s an advanced seal using thousands of tiny suction points, and won’t ever lose its adhesion.  You can quite easily release a device without damage to it or to the folio.

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Screenshot of the suction technology / Bluetooth pairing

Once installed, I powered on the keyboard and easily paired the tablet using BlueTooth.  The keyboard is actually rechargeable via a supplied USB cable.  That’s very handy, but in my experience you get quite a lot of life out of the keyboard before requiring any charge.

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USB Cable

The kickstand is removable, as is the supplied folio card holder.  This can be useful if you wish to make better use of the space around you.  As you can see from the photos, the previously mentioned suction adhesive holds the tablet in place with no problems.

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Kickstand / iPad attached to kickstand

It’s quite easy to use the folio and any devices attached either with the kickstand separate or within the folio, as you can see from the photo below.

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iPad attached to the Folio

This would be most excellent for use when flying, for example, or any occasion where space is at a premium,  As the folio is quite light, you wouldn’t have trouble carrying it on trips or in an office environment.

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Folio fully expanded

The folio, when opened completely, is actually quite large and well laid out, although it zips down into a parcel only slightly larger than a standard iPad.  The Bluetooth keyboard is slightly magnetized (to hold the base of a tablet in place) and also is removable.

The keyboard experience is actually very impressive for a mobile one.  I mentioned earlier, my old favourite mobile keyboard from Think Outside is well out matched by this Kensington.  As an Architect, I do a lot of writing, and as an IT consultant I tend to do a lot of it either on client sites or when I’m out and about.  As a consequence, I’ve used a lot of keyboards in the past 30 years, and they just keep getting better.

This folio is exactly what the doctor ordered, and has enabled me to integrate an iPad into my weekly consulting work.  The folio also doubles as a bit of a mobile workspace, in other words, a convenient way to store the various hard copy designs and specifications which “cross my desk” from time to time.  As a result, I heartily endorse this mobile solution.

You can find a very convenient range of Kensington Folios over at MobileZap where they have a great range of accessories, many (like this one) are perfect for the iPad Air.

Jul 142014
 

Today I was able to successfully migrate all of my Windows Azure artifacts from one Microsoft Account/Subscription to another Microsoft Account/Subscription.   The scenario was – I had an MSDN subscription via my former employer, and over the source of the past year, I’d developed a number of applications whilst learning the Azure platform.

After being made redundant, my subscription was naturally deactivated, giving me the balance of part of July before the subscription credit would run out.  As it happened, my current employer also assigned me an MSDN subscription to a new Microsoft Account, so I have the same subscription level and the Azure available to me again.

The problem was: how do I migrate all the web sites, data stores and any other things I’d been working on? 

I could manually backup everything and then set it all back up again in the new account, but that would take a fair amount of effort and perhaps even some pain reconfiguring databases, DNS and so forth.

In the end, after a bit of Googling, I discovered this article here which mentions how to create a support ticket: http://devblog.ailon.org/devblog/post/2011/07/14/How-to-transfer-your-Azure-site-to-another-subscription.aspx

However, it’s a bit out of date.  For the most part though, the premise is the same.

Note: Before you decide to migrate data from one Azure Subscription/Microsoft Account to another, you should check the pre-requisites beforehand (see at the end of this article).

To create a support ticket

To migrate data or move subscriptions between different Microsoft Accounts, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Azure support site
  2. Click on “Get Support”

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3. This will cause you to have to authenticate to the Azure portal

4. Once loaded, you’ll get a modal window like this one.  Select “Billing” for support type:

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5. On the next page you have a number of options, if you want to migrate a subscription or data, go with the option “Subscription transfer and Migrations”

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6. In the Category, you can be more specific with your request

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7. On the final page, enter contact information

Once you submit the ticket, a representative from the Azure Support team will be in touch via Email or Phone to confirm the details with you.

My Experience

Was excellent.  I had an almost immediate response via e-mail which summarised the request and asked me to confirm.  As it turned out, what I’d requested to do (transfer subscription) was the wrong request – my mistake, but after some emails backwards and forwards, resolved by a quick phone call, data migration was the desired action.

Once confirmed, I reviewed the pre-requisites (see below) and confirmed the migration.  All I had to do was ensure that the Service Administer was the same for both source and target subscriptions.  Once everything was confirmed, the migration took only about 30 minutes and at the end, all services were working as expected, sites and DNS as well.

It was a very good support experience, communication was always very clear and concise and the outcome was exceptional.  High marks all around.

Microsoft Azure Data Migration/Data Transfer Pre-requisites

Ensure you review each point before submitting a service ticket:

  • The source as well as destination subscription should be active,
  • We do not support selective service transfer. i.e. transfer selected hosted service, storage service from one subscription to another. It may become available in future but today, we transfer all or nothing.
  • Destination subscription must be completely empty. If there is any data on the destination, we will be performing a force migration which will transfer the data.
  • Source subscription and destination subscription must have the same service admin (at least till the migration completes). 

List of services that can be migrated by us:

  • Virtual Machines
  • Cloud Services
  • CDN
  • Web sites
  • Media Services
  • Service Bus
  • Storage
  • Multi Factor Authentication
  • Traffic Manager
  • Mobile Services 
  • Virtual Network 
  • Access Control Service (ACS)
  • Caching – we need to work with Engineering Team for migrating caching service
  • Reserved IP Address and the Reserved IPs under the list

Self- serve Migration:

  • VSO
  • SQL DB
  • MFA

These are the services that cannot be moved:

  • Active Directory (AAD)
  • BizTalk Services
  • HD Insight
  • Backup 
  • Hyper-V Recovery Manager 
  • Azure Store 
  • Import / Export 
  • Scheduler 
  • Management Services 
  • SQL Reporting

Note: We won’t be able to perform data migration, if source as well as destination has  mobile services deployed. You would need to take the backup of mobile services from either Source or Destination delete it and once the data migration is completed, you can redeploy the mobile services on destination.

Additionally  follow these steps to change the Service Administrator if it’s not same: 

  1. Login in to https://account.windowsazure.com.
  2. Click ‘Subscriptions.’
  3. Select the subscription
  4. Click “Edit subscription details.”

Note: the Service Administrator needs to be the same for both target and source subscriptions.