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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Microsoft Migration Accelerator–Part 1


We just been granted access to test Microsoft Migration Accelerator (MA) in our lab environment. Currently it is in limited preview and our post today is subject to change when public release.

Let have a simple walkthrough on the Preview version of this product:-

Backend technology

It is using InMage (a company acquired by Microsoft on July 11, 2014), an innovator in the emerging area of cloud based business continuity.


Management Portal

A one stop multitenant portal which allow you to discover source and migrate the source to Azure.



Source machine can be

  • Vmware
  • AWS Cloud
  • Hyper-V
  • Physical Server


Workload should run on

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

How MA Works ?


Initially we thought by accessing the portal was the only step to migrate workload to Azure. However, we spent almost a day  to build the infrastructure (I’m work very slow and trying to learn as much as I can on MA). The following components are require to built before we can use MA:-

a) Master Target (MT)– VM on Azure, act as a target for replication. It is used as a target for replicating disk from source and also contains the retention data. Retention data is the log of prior changes allowing you to recover a VM to prior point in time or to a prior application consistent point. One Master Target can accommodate migration of 15 disks to Azure.

b) Configuration Server (CS)– VM on Azure. It provides user interface and feeds data from MT to MA. Regular synchronization happens between CS and MA.

c) Process Server (PS) – VM on-prem. Process Server facilitates communication between Mobility Service on source Enterprise and MT on Azure. It provides caching, queuing, compression, encryption and bandwidth management from itself to the Master Target

d) MA – multitenant portal. It allow you to discover source and migrate to Azure.

e) Mobility Service – an agent that is installed on each of the servers in source. It will capture data in real time enabling, sync selected volumes, filter all writes made to protected volumes, defining consistent bookmarks consistency points.

Our final setup screenshot on the integration between multiple components:-


Once the above components has setup, you can start by

1. Installing Mobility Services on source machine by using MA. It will push an agent into source machine.



After install Mobility Services, MA portal able to discover the applications installed on it. It can identify MS Exchange server, MS SQL server, FileServer, and SharePoint server farm.


You also can group source together before configure protection. MA simplify multi tier application migration to Azure. It will automatically orchestrates the startup order of application in Azure.


During configure Protection, you can start to protect the selected server by configure “Protect Option”. Define your replication policy (compression, encryption, master target, retention disk, retention range, etc)


It will perform the following 4 steps before creating protection job:- starting with Readiness check, then follow by configuration, prepare target and finally creating protection job.


We will stop here and will be posting Part 2 link soon after we’ve complete our testing.

Stay Tuned!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Microsoft Azure (IaaS) Cost Estimator Tool

Performing estimates on VM move to Azure is a challenge and some information is such bandwidth usage, transaction, etc is difficult to estimate. However, with Microsoft Azure (Iaas) Cost Estimator tool, we can easily scan VMM, Hyper-V Host, VMware or even physical server to collect information based on profiling duration and scanning frequency. It can run over a period of time and report resource consumption and align it to resources and VM sizes within Microsoft Azure.


As a consultant, we always need to do design and cost calculation and this tool come handy to assist us.

Here is an example, when we scan our environment when connecting to VMM.


Result after detected virtual machine from VMM. We can select which VM that we would like to move to Azure


Based on profiling and scanning frequency, it will give recommendation of VM spec when move to Azure


You can select different pricing model based on cost optimized, VM allocated and performance optimized. Each VM can be customize to select different VM sizing.

  • Cost Optimized (shown above): Calculates costs based on resources profiled during the length of the scan.
  • VM Allocated: Uses 100% of machines capacity (1:1 mapping of available resources or a close as it gets to an Azure VM instance) to calculate costs.
  • Performance Optimized: Calculates costs at a slightly higher level of compute than VM Allocated.


You can display costing based on Azure data center location. At this moment, the tool only cater for US datacenter. Therefore for other datacenter location, the tool still can provide good recommendation in term of resource consumption and VM sizes.


To download, click here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Azure Active Directory :- Access Panel Portal


The Access Panel is a web based portal that allows an end user with an organization account in Azure Active Directory to view and launch cloud based application to which they have been granted access by the Azure AD administrator.

Before access to portal, you’re require to install “Access Panel Extension” and at this moment only available for

  • Internet Explorer 8 or later
  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox browser

To access the portal, enter the url

You can view the different of Access Panel Portal video from below.

Azure Active Directory (Free)

Note:- Click [ ] to view in full screen mode


  • Only can view Application & User Profile
  • User Profile limited to change password
  • No Company Branding Page

Azure Active Directory Premium

Note:- Click [ ] to view in full screen mode


  • Able to View Application, Group, Approval and User Profile
  • User Profile able to change password, set multi factor authentication settings
  • Company Branding page

Friday, September 12, 2014

Video Azure Active Directory : Cloud App Discovery


Cloud App Discovery is currently under preview. It come handy when you would like to understand your organization application usage. Once identify application used, the app able to tell you that it is part of the supported SaaS application and you can decide to integrate with Azure Active Directory.

In order for this app to discover, you’re require to install an agent into your desktop/laptop. Then Microsoft Azure AD receives and analyzes logs. Finally it will display the result on the dashboard. Below is the video that I’ve captured based on my user app usage.

Note:- Click on [ ] to view in full screen mode.

An interactive Dashboard which provides an executive summary including:

  1. The total number of cloud applications discovered
  2. The total number of users using these cloud applications
  3. Top 10 applications discovered that can be pivoted by:

    1. Number of web requests to the application
    2. Total volume of data uploaded and downloaded.
    3. Number of unique users.
  4. Usage trends over a selectable duration of time for the top 5 applications discovered.