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 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.

May 162014
 

oracle

Yesterday I attended an executive breakfast briefing hosted by Oracle at the Hyatt Hotel in Yarralumla.

The event was hosted by Oracle’s Chief Technology Officer, Stuart Long and also featured a case study by NTT Communications.

As usual, I took shorthand notes based partly off the presentation slides and mostly from the points made during the hour long presentation.

The briefing aimed at answering some of the following points:

More and more organisations are moving services, storage, email, collaboration and applications to the cloud to drive innovation, but there are challenges:

• How do you decide whether to choose to support private, public or a hybrid cloud mix?
• What’s the right mix of infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS), and application (SaaS) environments for your organisation?
• Where are the cost savings?
• And how do you overcome the barriers to adoption?

Hear first hand Oracle customer case studies and join in the discussion on the business and IT decisions made in selecting the right cloud infrastructure and the benefits other organisations have seen.

Oracle’s Chief Technology Officer, Stuart Long provides internal private cloud services to over 1000 sales consultants across the region and has been actively engaged with a number of Oracle customers during their business transformation journeys. Stuart will discuss:

• Competitive differentiation through Innovation.
• The economics of “As A Service”.
• Lessons learned by Oracle Consulting “As A Service” in its journey.

My Notes from the briefing

bigdataA key change needs to be the way we view traditional IT; by no longer viewing legacy IP as a competitive differentiator when it is matched by current or next generation cloud capability.  Cloud services have introduced competitive offers which can match the competitive differentiators of legacy solutions.

Mobility and the Internet of Things plus smart devices have created the world of “Big Data”.  Legacy systems may cope to deal with the expanded demand from the millions of devices attempting to access data.

Cloud trends involve cost, flexibility and speed which results in a faster lifecycle for apps and app consumption.

Cloud Offerings

Transitioning existing LoB/ERP/CRM style systems are likely to move into a SaaS (Software as a Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) offering, however studies show that PaaS (Platform as a Service) is outpacing IaaS.

PaSSvSaaSIaaS could be considered a raw, siloed view of legacy systems which have been migrated to the cloud
PaaS could be considered a standardized view of migrated business processes with better data quality

IaaS requires business to better monitor cloud spend to compute the cost/benefits more regularly (i.e. in realtime) as a cloud migration which has not been cloud optimised could meet or exceed the costs of traditional server ownership.  This results in what Oracle are terming ‘sticker shock’ where the bill for initial cloud services is much greater than anticipated.
[ Source ]

  • IaaS, therefore, requires far greater analysis of the ‘cloud footprint’ (my term) to ensure that businesses don’t over-provision before and after migrating to the cloud.
  • PaaS however derives benefits through standardization.  This requires an accurate view of an organisation’s  structured data and a good knowledge of business processes.

Cloud services offer two “views”: horizontal and vertical.  A horizontal cloud offering provides an ‘end-to-end’ service, whereas a vertical cloud offering could be a silo/fit-for-purpose service (typically embodied by a standalone proof of concept – PoC).

Competitive Advantages

One of the selling points of cloud to business & Government is that the focus falls to the data/service instead of concerns about IT infrastructure skills and procurement activities.  This means more time considering business process and data, than the maintenance costs or skill costs for maintaining self-hosted solutions.

Cloud services also offer the ability to standardize based on service reuse.  This provides opportunities for business and Government to achieve cost savings by the reuse of common services.  This also allows for the reuse of IP via selective sourcing.  In this regard, there exists an opportunity for business to act as service brokers, and on sell cloud capabilities

Challenges

Authentication and authorization continues to be an important consideration.  Federated identity management is an important key to the solution, since it isn’t optimal to have users authenticate to local networks in order to leverage cloud services.

What makes a “Great Cloud”?

kloud

We heard from NTT Communications about their experience in journeying through six years of preparation and execution to move into the cloud.  The following points were highlighted as key to a great cloud experience:

  • Tier 3+ Colocation is essential
  • Senior engineering talent is a must
  • Monitoring
  • Automation (repeatable processes), and,
  • Process (ISP27001, ITIL etc)

Roadmap to the Cloud

Transitioning from legacy systems to a full cloud offering could be summarized as follows:

  1. Silo – Legacy systems, decoupled or loosely coupled
  2. Consolidated – Systems integrated and standardized (virtualized)
  3. Private Cloud – Systems migrated to complete virtual platform (self-service, auto scaling)
  4. Public Cloud – Systems optimized for minimum footprint
  5. Hybrid Cloud – Systems integrated into standardized services (“cloudbursting”)

The following considerations should be taken into account:

  • Repeatable testing, end-to-end
  • Packaging (deployments, configuration)
  • Monitoring (end-to-end and per system/service)
  • Elasticity should be policy driven
  • Metering/Charge model should be optimised to minimum need

Update

Many thanks to Oracle for the invitation to attend.  Post-breakfast, we were provided with links to the presentation materials, which I have linked, below.