Knowing I’d have a bit of a vacation this winter, I wanted to get in a bit of reading. I decided to pick my books differently this year. Instead of just seeing whatever was at the top of the NYT list, or some cool looking sci-fi, I decided to let the Silicon Valley folks pick out my books. The list is a mixture of texts found on the lists of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others from a Business Insider article that gathered recommendations from many in the tech industry.Read More
Microsoft Azure provides the capability to use command line tools such as PowerShell without having it installed on your computer. This is accomplished via Azure Cloud Shell. Azure Cloud Shell can help you get working in Azure quickly on different platforms, or even from a loaner machine. There are many situations where you might not have your normally loaded computer, but you still need to work in Azure. Azure Cloud Shell can be quite handy.Read More
Meeting government security mandates can be challenging to say the least. It’s often a laborious and confusing process. A myriad of controls all need to be addressed and proven to assessors. Microsoft has assembled a collection of documents that assists Federal customers in understanding which security controls are inherited from Azure and which remain the responsibility of the customer.Read More
A few new images showed up on Azure. Looking through the images, one can now find images for both SQL Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 CTP. This is an excellent way to test the new software before going live with it in production. One note is that at the time of this writing, the only version of Windows Server 2019 that’s available is datacenter.Read More
The Dashboard theme in Azure can be changed. I didn't know this was possible until I came across a tweet by @msdev. I figured I'd pass this along and try to help spread the word for those who like to customize their experiences.Read More
I recently decided to try out the SoftNAS virtual appliance in my Azure account. The installation went as smoothly as any other Azure template install. All was good until I tried to login to the web interface. No matter what userid / password combination I tried, I could not get into the web admin GUI. Frustrated by this, I decided to do some digging.Read More
Subscribing to Microsoft Visual Studio Professional for 1 year is a great option for anyone considering putting time into Azure as a learning platform. The annual subscription for Visual Studio is $539 and includes $50 in Azure credits. Let that sink in for a second. Microsoft is giving away $600 ($50 x 12 months) worth of Azure for $539.Read More
When using MS Azure to create Infrastructure as a Service based solutions, choosing an appropriate server type is crucial to not only performance, but controlling costs. B Series Servers might be the right option for your workload.Read More
Sometimes you need a good set of icons to help create a design. I recently discovered just such a set and it's been a pleasant surprise in multiple ways. Not only are the images in this download available in Visio format, but SVG, PNG, and PowerPoint formats are also included.Read More
Slack, and the new wave of enterprise chat applications like it, show their value through integration with other tools. One of the most popular integrations is with GitHub. The Github app for Slack documents select GitHub actions in a Slack channel. With the actions logged in a Slack channel teams don't have to jump between tools to look for for status updates. Moreover, teams can search through Slack's logs for history related to commits, issues, pulls, etc. for a project.
The instructions for installing the App are located at https://get.slack.help/hc/en-us/articles/232289568-GitHub-for-Slack . I have attempted to walk through those same instructions an log my notes along the way.Read More
Amazon's AWS public cloud is often used by IT pros to test and prototype ideas on their own often replacing a traditional home lab setup. The ability to quickly spin up virtual infrastructure components and then shut them down after testing completes is a great help for exploring new ideas. Costs for AWS are based upon consumption. Customers "pay by the drink." Because the monthly bill is based on what's consumed, it's important to keep track of the costs.
Recently, I was confronted with a higher than usual monthly bill. I wasn't sure how it was possible as I hadn't used the service very much the previous month. Moreover, I always remember to shutdown unused servers.Read More
Git for Windows is a powerful tool for interacting with CI/CD pipelines. There are specific components that should be avoided during the installation when working with Amazon AWS’s CodeCommit service. More Specifically, the Git Credential Manager component should not be installed if you plan to use Git for Windows with Amazon's CodeCommit source code repository.
I ran into access denied errors a while back with Git and CodeCommit. I'd read the advice on Amazon's troubleshooting website (https://docs.aws.amazon.com/codecommit/latest/userguide/troubleshooting-ch.html) but to be honest, it didn't click with me. It wasn't until I had the errors and re-read the instructions, that it started to set in that I needed to reinstall Git and change the option.Read More
I usually access github from within Visual Studio Code. As such, when I start coding a new project, I often need a reminder, or a cheat sheet for how to connect Visual Studio Code to a Git repository. These notes are more for me than for anyone else, but I'm sharing them nonetheless.
- Create a directory on the local file system.
- Create a repo on Github.
- Select Clone "Clone or download" on Github, copy the link
- In Visual Studio Code, sect File -> Add Folder to Workspace -> Select the newly created directory
- Select Terminal Window
- In the window, type:
git config --global user.name <github userID> git clone <URL from github link copied earlier>
That should be all that's required. any newly created file should be available on github after stage/commit/push.
Slack is a collaboration tool that's well known among the DevOps and developer communities. It has been widely embraced due to the extensible nature of the app. In fact, it's safe to say that Slack is more of a platform than just a chat tool. Slack supports "bots" which are apps that can do all sorts of things, from answering simple questions, to deploying software.
Slack is used primarily by private organizations, however, government agencies have begun to test the waters. Slack is actively pursuing wider use by government customers. They recently posted a position on popular job board LinkedIn for a "Manager, Government Strategy" to work in Washington, DC. Specifically, the role is to "manage relationships with government accounts and help develop our government program at Slack " The posting can be read at this link (https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/manager-government-strategy-at-slack-577290692/). If Slack has their way, more government agencies will adopt it.Read More
I recently had an experience which underscored for me the power of AWS CloudFormation. My test lab is almost exclusively run in the cloud now. So when I need to demo things before discussing them with a customer, I build environments in AWS. One such environment was for SQL Server 2016. The original idea was to use Windows Server 2012 as the OS with SQL Server 2016 as the database platform. The customer recently decided that we should look at Windows Server 2016 as the OS instead.
I was able to adjust to the customer's request by altering two lines of code - one per EC2 instance. That's it! Just two lines of code, and I could redeploy the whole setup. The only lines that needed to be updated were the ones referencing the ImageId property. Previously, I would have built these servers in VMware workstation or Hyper-V and it would have taken a few hours. Now, it's just minutes.Read More
I recently created an Amazon EC2 CloudFormation template to automate the build out of a Windows Server with SQL Server pre-installed. The template came from an official Amazon/Microsoft ami in the Amazon Marketplace. Since this was for a simple proof-of-concept test, I wanted to use the t2.medium type, which I've used for various other projects. The t2.medium instance type usually provides a reasonable value in terms of price to performance. Upon execution of the CF Template, I noticed the template rolled back. When I looked for an error, it read "Microsoft SQL Server is not supported for the instance type 't2.medium'."
The error threw me for a minute, but then I ran a quick google search and it came back with a few hits. I wasn't the first person to hit this error. I found the page defining the Windows Server 2012 with SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition. That page can be found here (https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B01H4DL45A?qid=1518460124383&sr=0-1&ref_=srh_res_product_title) . The page lists all supported instance types. My favorite, the t2.medium was not among them. I instead chose to use the m4.medium, and the template ran to completion as expected. The moral of the story - always check the documentation.
At the time of this writing, the full list of supported EC2 Instance Types for Windows Server 2012R2 with SQL Server 2016 Standard is: