4 Digital Transformation Focus Areas During a Pandemic

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 9th 2020 — Categories: Datacenter Automation, DevOps, IT Operations, Digital Transformation

You’ve already been disrupted –- now see why this is an opportunity for transformation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into many IT plans and budgets for 2020. We won’t dive into that right now, as it’s been said many times over.

Now, many IT managers are turning towards the grim possibility of reduced budget. With economic uncertainty looming, it may be enough to just keep the proverbial lights on. This is a great time to take a look at both short- and long-term opportunities presented by pursue digital transformation.

Your daily operations are already disrupted. Your users are adopting new ways of working. And even if your IT staff and budget are stretched thin, many aspects of digital transformation can actually help you increase efficiency and deliver more value to your organization.

Here are the most vital transformative measures to focus on during this time of upheaval.

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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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Defining Your Enterprise Monitoring Strategy: Close the Gaps with SCOM 2019 and Azure Monitor

Written by Sameer Mhaisekar on Wednesday, April 17th 2019 — Categories: Azure, SCOM, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Microsoft, Monitoring, White Papers

When using Microsoft technologies in your enterprise IT stack, you have a few native options for systems monitoring and alerts. Two recent product developments — folding Operations Management Suite (OMS) functionality into Azure Monitor, as well as the release of the new SCOM 2019 — have reignited the debate to determine whether Azure Monitor can entirely replace the long standing, good-old SCOM (System Center Operations Manager).

In a way, I feel this comparison is a bit unfair, like comparing apples with oranges. Ultimately the two products can work together and overlap in order to eliminate monitoring gaps in your environment. So which monitoring solution would work the best for your enterprise? Let’s try to figure out!

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Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Sentinel: Part 2

Written by Aman Sharma on Tuesday, April 9th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation, Microsoft, Security

This is Part Two and the final entry in our introductory blog series on Azure Sentinel, Microsoft's new Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool for Azure environments. Read Part One here for information on what Sentinel is, how to set it up, and how to begin importing data from your Azure PaaS and IaaS.

In Part Two, we'll examine deeper functionalities within Sentinel including Machine Learning, queries, and automation.

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Importing Schedules for Beekeeper Patching Automation Software

Written by John Hann on Thursday, April 4th 2019 — Categories: Patching, Datacenter Automation, Beekeeper Software, Documentation

This blog series shows you how to quickly import vital components for configuring and scheduling your patches using Beekeeper automation. Last week we looked at how to import data, this week we will demonstrate how to import a schedule for your patches.

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Importing Data Into Beekeeper Patch Automation Software

Written by John Hann on Tuesday, March 26th 2019 — Categories: Software, Patching, Datacenter Automation, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Beekeeper Software, Documentation

When you enter data into Beekeeper Patching Automation, you use the UI to add servers groups, Windows Failover Clusters, and Exchange DAGs.  Then, you assign validation tasks to these server groups or clusters.  To create the execution job, you assign the server groups or clusters to a schedule.  This can be time consuming.

I have created PowerShell scripts to do these tasks.  In a series of blog posts, I will share these PowerShell scripts and go over their usage.

The first PowerShell script will export servers from an SCCM collection into a CSV.  Then another script will import that CSV to create the appropriate Application groups, Windows Failover Clusters, or Exchange DAGs.

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Implement Cloud Tagging to Simplify Automation and Administration

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, March 21st 2019 — Categories: Azure, Multi-Cloud, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, IT Operations, VMware

Whatever your cloud or virtualization platform of choice, you can implement tags on your resources in order to easily apply configuration changes or search by group.

As multi-cloud environments continue to become more and more popular and your virtual servers, storage, and associated components sprawl across various providers, efficient governance becomes even more critical.

By implementing a cloud resource tagging policy, you lay the groundwork to consistently apply automated or manual actions relating to allocation, reporting, chargeback, compliance, security, patching, software installation, and even decommissioning or scaling resources when required.

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Infrastructure as Code: The Cornerstone for DevOps & Multicloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, March 6th 2019 — Categories: Multi-Cloud, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Modernization, IT Operations

One key concept to master when dealing with cloud, containerized, or otherwise software-defined infrastructure is Infrastructure as Code. This may seem strange at first. After all, your code runs on top of infrastructure, right?

Infrastructure as code (IaC) works in practice by managing your computing resources — virtual machines, storage, networking, and all the associated policies for security and such — in the same manner as you treat your code. This packages everything necessary for your application, from the code and assets to the underlying infrastructure itself, together into what works functionally as a single deployment.

Just as DevOps combined development and operations into one entity, IaC combines code and infrastructure as one.

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Run a Custom Script on an Azure VM When A Log Analytics Alert Is Triggered

Written by Gabriel Mora on Tuesday, February 12th 2019 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud, Azure, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, IT Operations

Sometimes you want to trigger a specific action when something is detected by one of your alert rules inside of Azure. If you want to immediately remediate the specific issue you are facing normally you would have to login to the machine once you receive the alert, but by using an Azure Automation account you don’t have to take any additional steps to fix whatever threw the alert — just create your script and leave it to run whenever the alert is triggered. As simple as that.

This works perfectly when you need to resolve a common issue with a trusty PowerShell script that you have often used. This method will save you time and effort; you can rest assured that the issue is being taken care of with the help of a Custom Script Extension.

Running a custom script on a specific machine when an alert is triggered in Log Analytics is quite easy. Here are the following steps you need to follow to achieve this.

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The Easiest Targets for Cloud Automation

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, February 1st 2019 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud, Azure, Multi-Cloud, Patching, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Disaster Recovery, IT Operations, VMware

Cloud-native automation and orchestration tools make IT administration easier — at least once you know what you’re doing. While there is also some concern among the ranks of cloud technicians that automation could lead to job losses, by mastering the tools available you make yourself more valuable, while also finding and executing on efficiencies. Cloud automation is a win-win.

But where should you begin when it comes to automating your cloud environment? There are many moving parts in an enterprise cloud deployment, even within specific application clusters.

These are the three easiest targets for automation and orchestration.

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