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However, it’s a bit out of date.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.

Jul 022014
 

Introduction

Recently I was asked to look into solutions for moving some WordPress sites in-house for a client.  At first this looked fairly straightforward, until I realised that they wanted the ability to spin up new self contained VM sites with little effort.

Naturally, I pursued the logical step of building a “base” virtual machine with a clean install of the latest copy of Ubuntu Server 14.04, configuring it with the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack and Mail support.  At one pojnt at friend of mine, Craig Harvey, asked if I’d considered a pre-built distribution image such as the ones available from Bitnami.

As it happened, I hadn’t gone that route at the time – but I’m glad I did.

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Enter Bitnami virtual machine images

Suppose you want a baseline application platform with a sizable array of applications and a close to zero configuration effort?  Bitnami provides – for free – two awesome VMWare or VirtualBox virtual machines which are pre-configured to support single or multi-site instances of the latest version of WordPress (3.9.1 as of writing).

Can it be that simple?

Yes, it can.  You simply download the image of choice (using or registering an account) and all you need to do is unzip the contents and attach to VMWare/Virtual Box – then start the VM.

The version of Ubuntu is a little out of date (version 12.04) but is pre-configured.  Bitnami images are built from open source software and distributed for free.

As of the time of writing, the Bitnami WordPress stack ships with the following software versions:

  • WordPress 3.9.1
  • Apache 2.4.9
  • Varnish 3.0.5
  • MySQL 5.5.36
  • PHP 5.4.29
  • phpMyAdmin 4.2.2

One obvious advantage is that the Bitnami template virtual machine could be updated when newer versions of WordPress are released.

Understanding the Bitnami template

The Bitnami template provides a number of pre-installed applications, some of which may not necessarily be used for each WordPress installation.

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Figure 1 – The Bitnami Console

The default root of the hosted site provides access to a range of applications:

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Figure 2 – Default page of the out-of-the-box template

Adapting the Bitnami template for each WordPress site automatically provisions a pre-configured copy of WordPress 3.9.1:

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Figure 3 – Default WordPress site

When you authenticate for the first time, you are forced to change the default password (which is always a good idea!).  From here you may roam the operating system at your leisure. 

One quick tip for those not familiar with Ubuntu – there’s no “root”, to perform administrative functions you use the command “sudo” (as opposed to “su”) before the commands you need to execute.  There’s a compelling console/text editor as standard called nano which you’ll likely get used to.

Summary

It’s still early days for me, as I navigate the murky waters of Ubuntu.  I’ll be taking this image for a spin to determine whether it is fit for purpose, but at this stage it looks very promising.  I’ll most likely be posting a follow-up article to this one, so stay tuned for more updates.

Jun 222014
 

Last month I was lucky enough to try out a wireless charging solution for the iPhone 5/5s courtesy of a local mobile phone accessories site called MobileZap

Before we get into the charger itself, I just want to point out how well designed the site is to use, it’s terribly easy to search and filter through results – why can’t all sites be this easy to use?

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Trident Wireless Charging Case & Charging Pad

Anyhow – so today I’m focusing on specifically the iPhone Trident Qi Wireless Charging Case and Charging Pad.  I’ve thrown in a few (actual) product shots here of the charging pad and case I’ve used.

 
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This solution is very neat – use the protective charging case as your normal iPhone case, and instead of having to plug it in when it needs a charge, simply place it on top of the charging mat.  Too easy!

Now when it comes to convenience.. there are a couple of compromises worth considering.  Based on the design of the base of the iPhone, you’ll lose the I/O port on the base of the phone as it will be used by the charging case.

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You’d therefore lose the ability to hook your phone up to the car stereo (via USB) in this scenario, but you’d be able to bypass that if you link your phone via Bluetooth: problem solved.

The other consideration is that you’ll need a charging pad at each location where you’d want to charge your phone (e.g. Home/Office).  Then again, that’s the whole advantage of wireless charging!

This is a tidy charging solution which more or less erases the need for the daily plugging and unplugging of your iPhone.  The charging itself is a breeze, and this is well worth a look as a primary charging solution.

Check out more iPhone accessories and charging pads on this iPhone 5S Case page and the Qi Charging Pads page.