Azure

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Running a static site in Microsoft Azure using WordPress for content management

I’m currently running my blog (the one you’re reading, thanks!) in Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. For the longest of times — which is maybe five years — I ran multiple WordPress sites in Azure using the PaaS offering. This includes the Azure Marketplace-based template, that provisions a Web App and MySQL database with a few simple clicks. I also had our company website, e-commerce services and a few different blogs on this same setup — all on separate Web App Plans and in a few different Azure regions. Back in the day hosting WordPress on Azure meant you had to resort to using ClearDB’s MySQL hosting. Your website would run on Azure, and for database services, it would connect to… Read More »Running a static site in Microsoft Azure using WordPress for content management
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

I’m renewed as a Microsoft MVP!

I’m renewed as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional today, for the sixth time in a row! I started my journey in 2014, and I’m again honored to be chosen as part of this elite community of enthusiasts and professionals around the globe. Every year has been great, and I’m anticipating for the next 12 months to be even greater! Microsoft MVP is a non-paid advocate and community role, consisting of technology experts who share their knowledge. You can view all current MVPs here. For the first five years, I was recognized for my contributions to Office Apps & Services, which includes Office 365, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, to name a few. You can view the award structure here. This year… Read More »I’m renewed as a Microsoft MVP!
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Building a simple and secure DNS updater for Azure DNS using Raspberry Pi and Azure Functions

Almost exactly a year ago I blogged about building a simple and secure DNS updater for Azure DNS using PowerShell. If you didn’t read that post, it’s a solution for keeping my dynamic IP updated with a static DNS name using a little bit of automation from PowerShell. This tool is useful for when I VPN back home, the dynamic IP has often changed and without a pointer (with DNS) it’s impossible to know where to connect. I hinted in the summary of that previous post that I already had more ideas on how to make this, even more, simpler and lightweight. It took a year but here I finally am – building this very same solution using Raspberry Pi… Read More »Building a simple and secure DNS updater for Azure DNS using Raspberry Pi and Azure Functions
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Mastering Azure CLI

  • Azure
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. Operating Systems before this, such as IBM’s OS/2, and Microsoft’s Windows 3.1 and 3.11 did have pretty splendid GUIs but… Read More »Mastering Azure CLI
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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 perform in on-premises infrastructure before moving a database outside the perimeter network. So I set to work and spent some… Read More »Anonymizing and masking sensitive data in SQL databases before migrating to Azure SQL
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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 or indirect information about AKA.MS other than what I see publicly being used on social media. This post is based… Read More »Tracking, resolving, storing and presenting AKA.MS short links from social media using Serverless capabilities in Azure
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Fun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs

  • Azure
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 my company was unable to perform a task in Azure DevOps. Turns out this person didn’t have enough permissions to… Read More »Fun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs
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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 new managed SQL Server in Azure. Not the Managed Instance, as I feared it would be too expensive to maintain… Read More »Migrating SQL Server 2008 databases to Azure SQL
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Building a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center

[Update October 1, 2019: I’ve published another blog post on Azure Bastion Host, which complements the findings and services I go through in this post. Perhaps have a look at it here!] 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 data centers 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)… Read More »Building a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center
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An adventure in containers and command-line tools: Running MongoDB in Azure

I’ve used a Synology NAS solution at home since 2012. It’s simply great – very affordable, runs everything I need and has consistently given me uptimes of 60-90 days (I reboot it mostly to patch things up). In 2015 my Synology model (a DS412+) received an upgrade enabling it to run something called Docker containers. I’d read by then about Docker, and containers of course. It reminded me of 1996 or 1997, when VPN as a technology started to become a reality for early adopters. It was new, a bit weird and hard to understand at first. I’m proud to say I completed the F-Secure Data Fellows VPN+ Certification in 1998 (I think) so at least I knew a bit… Read More »An adventure in containers and command-line tools: Running MongoDB in Azure