Starting on Azure 300

So, I decided to go the Azure route and I’m starting into these questions. So far its a 50% blog rate with a lower rate of correct answers. I’m find that the things I understand conceptually the terms that I’m assuming they are using are backwards. This is fine though, at least I understand what they are talking about. The first time I started studying for the MCSA for Server 2012, I was absolutely clueless. I finding the material to be about hosting web apps and that’s not super-surprising but I would be interested to compare business cases with using Azure over AWS for eCommerce and so forth. Regardless of specifics such as that, there does seem to be a lot of networking and inter-connectivity issues to discuss. This excites me. What worries me is the amount of hands on click through type of questions I’m seeing. This worries me. I should be able to create a trail Azure sub and work through those though. Lots of maybes in that one though haha. I’ve also decided to start using the WordPress native text editor and host images on WordPress, foregoing Photobucket. I was very used to the way I was doing things but to be honest, this saves time. Photobucket does want 8 dollars a month to remove watermarks and I keep trying to pay that and they say I’m picking an invalid plan lol. Regardless, I’ll miss CoffeeCup. Its kind of fun to edit HTML and its a familiar way of doing things. I have to say, typing away and drag and drop on images is much easier. Links and so forth seem to be easier to do as well. Bulleted lists? Well, ill get to that. Anyway, lets dig into these questions and see how long this takes to find my self in a spot where I feel good about spending money on taking the test. Rough guess 1-2 months. Regardless, I really enjoy reading MSFT articles and love the feel of the new docs page so I’m happy to be here!

Ok, so right out of the gate something I should maybe have an idea on that I got wrong. I’m assuming that scale set is the same as configuration script but I need to look that up as well as generally find something that has this process outlined. As you can see they have put a link here with an article thats probably helpful but for starters I want to make sure I know what a configuration script is and what a VM scale set is

So, right away I’m seeing that you cant throw in a link on this editor without typing something in first? This fine but kind of odd. I’ll get used to it. Anyway, https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machine-scale-sets/overview ok so I’m missing something or there isn’t a way to change the label of the URL to a name rather than the link? Thankfully, I can click a switch to HTML to fix that: Virtual Machine Scale Sets Ok so maybe I opened my text editor, created the link, realized I could switch the entire paragraph to HTML and then copied and pasted the link haha. Anyway….

Azure virtual machine scale sets let you create and manage a group of identical, load balanced VMs. The number of VM instances can automatically increase or decrease in response to demand or a defined schedule. Scale sets provide high availability to your applications, and allow you to centrally manage, configure, and update a large number of VMs. With virtual machine scale sets, you can build large-scale services for areas such as compute, big data, and container workloads.

So basically its like a set of rules that govern an entire set of VM’s as opposed to having to define rules for each one. Now this is a huge benefit over using containers because I don’t think a container tech similar to that exists. Lets find out real quick!… Short answer, no. People are apparently running containers inside of machine scale set VMs though. So that’s, not really surprising and I understand the use case for having varying instances of databases or jboss or like Apache. So now lets look at a Configuration Script

configure script is an executable script designed to aid in developing a program to be run on a wide number of different computers. It matches the libraries on the user’s computer, with those required by the program before compiling it from its source code. As a common practice, all configure scripts are named configure. Usually, configure scripts are written for the Bourne shell, but they may be written for execution in any desired shell.

Well that’s cool, If you copy from a website, somehow it comes over as HTML and keeps the hyperlinks. Anyway, that’t not at all what I thought it was. I get lost when starting to consider code but basically it seems like its the bit of code that configures file mapping and allows executables to run with dependencies? I was thinking it would it hold information on how to set up VMs for some reason…

Welp, I think I may only get one question done today because I want to cover every thing I don’t know about, which is a lot. So lets start into the next thing:

Azure Resource Manager Templates, ok so I learned if you type out text you can highlight it and then click the link button and put the URL in that. So that’s exciting. Anyway,

With the move to the cloud, many teams have adopted agile development methods. These teams iterate quickly. They need to repeatedly deploy their solutions to the cloud, and know their infrastructure is in a reliable state. As infrastructure has become part of the iterative process, the division between operations and development has disappeared. Teams need to manage infrastructure and application code through a unified process.

To meet these challenges, you can automate deployments and use the practice of infrastructure as code. In code, you define the infrastructure that needs to be deployed. The infrastructure code becomes part of your project. Just like application code, you store the infrastructure code in a source repository and version it. Any one on your team can run the code and deploy similar environments.

To implement infrastructure as code for your Azure solutions, use Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates. The template is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file that defines the infrastructure and configuration for your project. The template uses declarative syntax, which lets you state what you intend to deploy without having to write the sequence of programming commands to create it. In the template, you specify the resources to deploy and the properties for those resources.

Oh, look at that, transform to quote. Anyway, “Teams need to manage infrastructure and application code through a unified process” while this is not wrong it shuffles server admin roles to the dev team. How do I feel about this? Doesn’t mater because its cloud based and its correct and dorks that run shops where the high and mighty admin is the sole proprietor of a bit of hardware is kind of annoying. If it was a localized issue with like a physical NLB or a firewall, I could understand concern. However getting that into the hands of the people the are managing the applications is best practice. Not that anyone asked me. Which leads me to wonder what it is I’m studying or why. Tip: if you know how to manage AD servers, you can spin up instances of those and then your the person that needs to be managing those.

So we may as well cover these other two things on this. Was hoping to get about 10 slides done today but as you can see there’s a rather vast skill set that I need to cover and I find it better to write the book and do my own research rather than sitting down with the latest edition of Azure Lighthouse haha… so Automation account! whats that!

Azure Automation Account

Azure Automation delivers a cloud-based automation and configuration service that supports consistent management across your Azure and non-Azure environments. It comprises process automation, configuration management, update management, shared capabilities, and heterogeneous features. Automation gives you complete control during deployment, operations, and decommissioning of workloads and resources.

Basically desired state configuration cross platform between on prim, off prim Linux and Windows systems. No mention of ‘account’ but this sounds expensive when you throw that in. As if it doesn’t come with the service normally. But holy shit is that cool.

Azure Policy

Azure Policy helps to enforce organizational standards and to assess compliance at-scale. Through its compliance dashboard, it provides an aggregated view to evaluate the overall state of the environment, with the ability to drill-down to the per-resource, per-policy granularity. It also helps to bring your resources to compliance through bulk remediation for existing resources and automatic remediation for new resources.

Common use cases for Azure Policy include implementing governance for resource consistency, regulatory compliance, security, cost, and management. Policy definitions for these common use cases are already available in your Azure environment as built-ins to help you get started.

Alright, not super interesting but the amount of finite detail that you can get over an environment with Azure is insane. I really like this product and I’m only one question into this study! So much adventure to be had! There is obviously a lot more detail to go into on each of these topics but I think starting into figuring out that they exist is a good place to start. Anyway, thats all for today. Oh wait, we didn’t cover the link in the question did we? Haha I guess we should do that! Shit, it looks like my saved test crapped out. That’s never happened before. Sometimes it randomizes when you restart which is a total pain in the ass but whatever. I’ve got about 10 questions to cover.

Tutorial: Install applications in virtual machine scale sets with an Azure template

When you define a virtual machine scale set with an Azure template, the Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachineScaleSets resource provider can include a section on extensions. The extensionsProfile details what is applied to the VM instances in a scale set. To use the Custom Script Extension, you specify a publisher of Microsoft.Azure.Extensions and a type of CustomScript.

The fileUris property is used to define the source install scripts or packages. To start the install process, the required scripts are defined in commandToExecute. The following example defines a sample script from GitHub that installs and configures the NGINX web server

So basically, you create the scale set, probably helpful to know what that is first, point to a github repo (or where ever your install files are, assuming you can use docker cmds in this too? like get-docker). Man, also super cool thing to look at that actually excites me for some reason. This is so much more fun than Security+, let me tell you! This stuff is like new functional tech that you can build things with! One thing to note, it says to edit the extension profile before creating the Azure scale set.

Ok, for real this time. Now that we have things arranged logically rather than randomly and have a picture of things covered in this, one slide. I think we are done for the moment. I’ll be blogging later about the other 10 slides. We may even cover a few of them twice, depending on what happens but I’ll get through this. Looking like it may take more than 1-2 months but who knows! I want to actually learn this stuff and I like reading MSFT docs like a big fucking weirdo haha

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