Our Top Announcements and News from Microsoft Build 2020

Written by Mike Douglas on Thursday, June 4th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Windows 10, O365, DevOps, Microsoft, Software Development

At Green House Data, we help deliver a wide range of technology solutions for our customers, including many as a Microsoft partner and MSP. It’s vital for us to understand the strategic direction at Microsoft and the direction of the overall industry, so we naturally were paying close attention to see which announcement at Build 2020 might be relevant.

Like many other technology conferences in the shadow of COVID-19, Microsoft decided to go all-digital for this year’s edition of Build, the company’s massive annual developer-focused conference. The affect of COVID-19 on Build 2020 couldn’t have been more obvious than the “work from home”-style keynote that Scott Hanselman and friends did.

This year was the 10th edition of Build and due to the digital nature was even entirely free to attend. 48-hours of sessions were peppered with news about Azure, .NET, Windows, Microsoft 365, GitHub, and more, alongside educational content in the form of Q&As and tutorials.

Read on to discover our top picks from Build 2020.

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Using System Center to Reduce VPN Congestion from Remote Workstation Updates

Written by Rory McCaw on Tuesday, April 28th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Patching, SCCM, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations

During this challenging time, we need to make sure our infrastructure is available for our quickly evolving remote workforce while ensuring security and compliance.

Many organizations have sent devices home with employees so they can work remotely. Your standard monthly Windows and security updates — typically distributed across a high speed, corporate network — can now potentially create bandwidth and user performance issues if received over the corporate VPN. It’s critical to maintain patching and compliance schedules while minimizing traffic spikes over your VPN that can cause connectivity and performance issues.

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How Azure Migrate Helps You Assess Cloud Readiness

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, February 6th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Migration, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Microsoft

Every cloud migration follows the same general path: assessment, optimization, security protocol, and management. As your cloud environment matures, the latter three phases should be repeated to refine and improve your operations.

One native Azure tool that can be useful to begin this cloud journey is Azure Migrate. It consists of Azure Server Assessment and Azure Server Migration. Assessment is a discovery tool helps you assess cloud readiness and collect valuable intelligence about your virtual machines and associated infrastructure so you can be prepared to replace them in Azure. Migration, as you might expect, can actually migrate those servers to Azure.

Within the Azure Migrate hub are also database migration tools, Movere (an assessment tool purchased by Microsoft), a web app migration assistant, and Azure Data Box which assists with large scale data migration without using the internet.

This blog will focus on the Server Assessment tool, which helps you plan for cloud readiness, budget, and target environment architecture within Azure. Learn if it will work with your target environment, what it reports, and how it can lay the groundwork for a successful migration.

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What Should You Do About Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 EOL?

Written by Rory McCaw on Monday, January 13th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Windows 10, Migration, Desktop Modernization, Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Microsoft, Virtual Desktop

Two major enterprise computing platforms are reaching their end of life this week. Tomorrow (January 14th), in fact. While this may seem like a last-minute blog entry, we know there are plenty of you out there still running Windows 7 on corporate desktops and Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 in your data centers.

Microsoft itself estimated that 60% of its Windows Server install base was still running 2008 back in August. Some of those instances may have been upgraded or migrated to cloud VMs, but we’re betting many of them remain. Unofficial estimates peg the number of Windows 7 machines worldwide at around 200 million.

Change can be hard, especially when your systems seem to be working properly and upgrading appears to be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. But operating systems that have reached End of Support open the door for vulnerabilities, bugs, and incompatibility with newer infrastructure. They also make it more difficult to deploy and support newer software that can improve employee efficiency and empower the business to drive revenue in new areas and to compete with others in the industry. With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support upon us, what are your options?

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Our Biggest Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2019

Written by Rory McCaw on Wednesday, November 13th 2019 — Categories: Azure, SCOM, SCCM, DevOps, Enterprise Applications, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Microsoft, Software Development

Green House Data was onsite last week at Microsoft Ignite. We had some incredible conversations at our booth about Azure, PowerApps, application modernization, DevOps, Windows Server end of support, and more. Of course, while we were working the floor, Microsoft made a bevy of product announcements around core products and services that are sure to shake up your IT world! I’m super excited about these new developments, so here are my top takeaways from the show.

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Azure Governance: Defining Your Organizational Hierarchy

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, October 2nd 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Operations, Microsoft

A fundamental building block for your successful adoption of cloud services is the organizational hierarchy, a mode of organizing your cloud services, resources, and virtual machines in such a way that you ensure cloud governance and can better resolve billing within your organization.

Cloud governance is the answer to common questions like:

• “How do I keep my data compliant with industry regulations?”

• “How can I implement chargeback within my organization so I know which departments are consuming cloud services and account for that usage?”

• “How can I mandate security and access measures across our cloud environment?”

By implementing a flexible set of controls and overall organizational hierarchy within Azure, you can enable adoption of the cloud services your business units require and avoid shadow cloud use. A well-designed enterprise cloud environment can accommodate modern agile practices alongside traditional workloads.

Here’s how to structure your organizational hierarchy within Azure so you can set governance requirements and encourage speed of delivery for your individual departments and business units.

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Five Key Questions to Control Cloud Costs

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 9th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, IT Modernization

With some organizations looking to move cloud workloads back on-premises to mitigate costs and regain control over their hardware and audit trails, you might be questioning cloud-first and cloud-only initiatives for infrastructure procurement.

After all, for years marketing pushed lower overall costs after migrating to the cloud. So what gives? Why are many cloud workloads ending up more expensive than their on-prem counterparts?

You've probably heard the old joke before that the cloud is “just someone else's data center.” That may have been true a decade ago, but no longer.

Forcing a cloud migration is not the key to savings. You must understand the business value, catalog and think deeply about the existing and desired state of your infrastructure, rearchitect your workloads, and adjust your workflow to this new paradigm. Here are the five key areas you need to plan things out.

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Before Going Serverless, Be Aware of Limitations

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 25th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Modernization

Serverless functions (often referred to as Functions as a Service or FaaS) will no doubt continue to grow in popularity and remain a cornerstone of IT services for many years to come. However, they are simply another way of building, maintaining, and delivering IT systems. With that in mind, they naturally have disadvantages or situations in which they may not be the preferred technology to use. These are due both to the nature of serverless and how it is currently implemented by cloud service providers.

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Azure Functions and Logic Apps: Differences and When to Use Them

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, July 10th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Operations, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure offers native serverless computing features. Two of the most crucial to master are Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps. Each of them help enable business logic that automates your Azure workflow, but they have key differences and in fact can be used together in a complementary manner to offer flexible, powerful control over your cloud resources.

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these serverless automation platforms work within Azure and some use cases for them.

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What’s a Jumpbox or Bastion Host, Anyway?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 20th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, Networking and Fiber, Security

Microsoft recently revealed a service called Azure Bastion that allows customers a more secure way to connect and access virtual machines (VMs). It uses Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Secure Shell (SSH) network protocol alongside Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

Bastion connects VMs, your local computers, and cloud resources without exposing them to public network connections. As a Platform as a Service, it simplifies the process of setting up and administrating bastion hosts or jumpboxes in your cloud environment.

But what are bastion hosts or jumpboxes? And why would you use them, or a service like Azure Bastion?

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