Image by Hannah Joshua @hannahjoshua / Unsplash.com

Mastering Azure CLI

I grew up with Perl, tcsh, bash, sh, awk, sed, grep, pico, vi, command.com and cmd.exe. Building scripts, batch files and little automations here and there was the norm for me and many others of that era. I’m especially proud for a set of .BAT files and VBScripts that connected to one of the very first Logitech USB webcams to retrieve a near real-time image of the coffee pot. “Yup, still coffee left I better hurry.” I ran this between 2002 and 2004 until someone dropped the webcam and broke it. We then got a proper GUI with Windows 95.… Read MoreMastering Azure CLI »
Photo by @russn_fckr / Unsplash.com

Anonymizing and masking sensitive data in SQL databases before migrating to Azure SQL

Many companies I interact with have expressed an interest in migrating their legacy SQL Server databases to Azure. Typically this is due to End of Life for SQL Server 2008 (and 2008 R2) and other times it’s a desire to perform reporting and analytics on existing data in the cloud. (I wrote about migrating to Azure SQL previously here) Mostly this is all documented nicely on docs.microsoft.com (Dynamic Data Masking, Static Data Masking) but what isn’t clear to me is how to best anonymize and/or mask sensitive data before migrating to Azure. This is typically something that companies need to… Read MoreAnonymizing and masking sensitive data in SQL databases before migrating to Azure SQL »
Photo by Greg Bakker @gregbakker / Unsplash.com

Be better – or how to consistently succeed as a techie

I’ve had this post — or rather just the title — in my blog as a draft for over a year. Today, I decided it’s time to put my money where my mouth by writing it and making it public. First, some clarification. My intention is not to brag about my professional career. My intention is to provide useful guidance I’ve learned during the course of almost 30 years. I’ve found the guidance below very useful and I’m typically seeing a pattern for success. I hope this provides assurance, help and guidance for anyone wanting to become better while working… Read MoreBe better – or how to consistently succeed as a techie »
Photo by Dan Gold @danielcgold / Unsplash.com

Tracking, resolving, storing and presenting AKA.MS short links from social media using Serverless capabilities in Azure

I think I’ve written once or twice I’m a great fan of building Proof of Concepts and prototypes. This allows me to rapidly learn without fear or risk of failing in front of an important customer. And all customers who pay for your time are important, of course. I’ve long admired the fantastic AKA.MS short links service Microsoft has internally created for their employees. Or that’s my understanding, as I see only Microsoft FTEs posting shortened URLs such as http://aka.ms/surfacethewomen (a great campaign, by the way!) on social media and sometimes also on docs.microsoft.com. Note: I have no access, direct… Read MoreTracking, resolving, storing and presenting AKA.MS short links from social media using Serverless capabilities in Azure »
Image by @rawpixel / Unsplash.com

Building a custom connector for Power BI that supports OAuth2 to visualize my wellness data

In my previous blog post, I wrote about the Oura Ring and how it tracks my wellness and activities. As part of the service Oura provides there’s also a comprehensive API that can be leveraged for your own purposes. As the data that is being tracked is very personal (“hmm, I wonder why Jussi is being active at 3:23 am.. oh he’s feeding the baby”), I see little justifications (yet) for sharing this data to anyone else. I wanted to visualize the data from Oura’s Cloud using their API. But I wanted to do this in my own terms by… Read MoreBuilding a custom connector for Power BI that supports OAuth2 to visualize my wellness data »
Image by Danielle MacInnes @dsmacinnes / Unsplash.com

Living with Oura Ring – the smart way to track wellness and activity

Late last year I decided to place an order for a Oura Ring, the smart wellness and activity tracking ring from the Finnish startup. It took a few months to arrive, as they seem to be in high demand. While I’m writing this Oura’s site has a banner saying that orders placed today will be delivered by May. Impressive! I had two intentions for my order. First and foremost I wanted to support the Finnish startup for producing such a nice gadget. A gadget, that doesn’t look like one. Second, I had heard good things about the ring, so I… Read MoreLiving with Oura Ring – the smart way to track wellness and activity »
Photo by Arya Meher @aryamehe / Unsplash.com

Fun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs

I sometimes find myself struggling with a technical issue that I just can’t seem to resolve in a timely manner. Over the years I’ve learned that once you’ve spent maybe 15 to 30 minutes troubleshooting without any noticeable progress, there’s only two things that will help you: a huge cup of fresh coffee or working on something else for a while. Some people claim asking for help from others is also beneficial, but I haven’t dared to go that far yet. I started working on something else. I found a problem where an external consultant working on a project for… Read MoreFun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs »
Photo by Rubén Bagüés @rubavi78 / Unsplash.com

One password to rule them all: Migrating to 1Password from KeePass and text files

I can’t quite remember when I started using a password manager, or which password manager it was at the time. As an IT Pro I’ve used everything from text files stored on Windows Desktop to encrypted Excel files to post-it notes to reusing the same password (“R3member1”, “R3m3mber2”..) to forgetting my password and resetting it. Repeatedly. I left Microsoft exactly 10 years ago, and we started our own company with my brother. I had amassed a formidable collection of passwords. Many systems at the time did not support Facebook authentication or Azure AD single sign-on so I had individual accounts… Read MoreOne password to rule them all: Migrating to 1Password from KeePass and text files »
Image by Samuel Zeller @samuelzeller / Unsplash.com

Migrating SQL Server 2008 databases to Azure SQL

“This is a quick one”, I thought. A customer asked me to have a look at their old CRM environment, that was running in a local physical server in their datacenter. The plan was to decommission the server, but rescue the CRM database. I knew I could lift-and-shift the database or databases to Azure SQL quite easily. This post walks through my experience and some of the challenges I encountered. Provisioning Azure SQL I received the source database as a traditional SQL Server backup, a .BAK file. It was compressed but still considerable big at 11,6 GB. I provisioned a… Read MoreMigrating SQL Server 2008 databases to Azure SQL »
Photo by @florianklauer / Unsplash.com

Building a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center

I’ve had some fun times lately with Azure. It seems there really is a second wave of adoption for cloud-based infrastructure and services from organizations. This is especially true in the Nordics, where Azure is commonly accepted as a trusted option for datacenters and PaaS services. This post stemmed from the idea of figuring out what options do we have for accessing and managing virtual machines remotely, while enforcing a secure approach. Ideally, we’d like to secure authentication with Azure AD, and optionally enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – especially for guest users. Business problem I needed to set up a… Read MoreBuilding a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center »