Azure

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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

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 few Windows Server 2016-based virtual machines in Azure. They will be provisioned in a new VNET together and both will… 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

Building a simple and secure DNS updater for Azure DNS with PowerShell

(or: making life better by fixing one small issue at a time) I love designing and building solutions for my customers. Lately they’ve been more on the Microsoft Azure side, especially with serverless and security. The problems I encounter are interesting, require me to dive deep into certain aspects of the customer’s business domain and they enforce me to become a better professional. I truly think being able to work with cloud-based architectures is the best job on the planet right now. Then there are the times when I have a small but itching problem at home, that I really hope someone else would have resolved by now. As it turns out, last Friday when I was done with mostly… Read More »Building a simple and secure DNS updater for Azure DNS with PowerShell

Managing your costs in Microsoft Azure with Sharegate’s Overcast

  • Azure
I started using Microsoft Azure in the very early days in 2008, when the whole idea with cloud computing was something very different than it is today. During recent years I’ve found myself working mostly with Azure-related architectures, deployments and governance projects as the platform has matured to fit any type of customer need. One recurring challenge I find many organizations facing is the shift from capital expenditures (CAPEX) to operational expenditures (OPEX). Traditional IT has always relied on a 12-36-month investment cycle, and one the decision for investment has been made, it’s mostly a sunken cost. Afterwards the cost is something that is rarely revisited. With Azure, and similarly with other cloud providers, the shift to operational costs brings… Read More »Managing your costs in Microsoft Azure with Sharegate’s Overcast

Thoughts on Microsoft ❤ GitHub announcement

By now, it is old news that Microsoft officially announced they will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion. Rumors started swirling on Sunday, and as is often the case, they are more or less to the point. I’ve been following with interest the different takes on this deal. First, Slashdot. I regularly check the news on Slashdot, mostly for the commentary. Unfortunately many people still post as Anonymous Cowards, so you have to filter out a lot to get to the thought-provoking comments. There’s a petition to stop Microsoft in finalizing the deal (which presumably takes until the end of the year to finalize), with 908 supporters as of now. In some of the comments, people point out that everyone will… Read More »Thoughts on Microsoft ❤ GitHub announcement

Embracing the future: Integrating SharePoint Portal Server 2001 with Microsoft Azure Functions

During Christmas break in late 2016 I started planning for my upcoming presentations and demos for the first half of 2017. I’ve held talks on a wide range of topics, including all things SharePoint, Microsoft Azure Security, PowerApps and Flow, and Azure App Service to mention a few. I like the challenge of learning about new technologies, platforms, frameworks and approaches for productivity and modern work. So once again in December it was time to think about something new. My first presentation was yesterday in Paris, for the Microsoft Cloud Summit. I knew I wanted to touch a bit on PowerApps and Flow, since they’ve progressed hugely in the past few months. In addition I’ve been using Azure Functions quite… Read More »Embracing the future: Integrating SharePoint Portal Server 2001 with Microsoft Azure Functions