It’s all about AUTOMATION!–New Continuous Series

Starting from today, I will be continuously exploring ways that I can automate certain manual process that is revolving around our day-to-day life which we didn’t notice that by spending perhaps an equivalent amount of time; we could then increase in Productivity, Efficiency and most importantly saving lots of time!

There was once I saw an article on LinkedIn where there is an image that really storm through my mind right now. The image depicts two guy trying to move a crane of stuffs without any wheels and another guy who came to offer them a pair of wheels to help lighten their load. The replies from the guys that are working is, “I am busy, I have no time for this.”

This directly portrait the kind of life we are heading, there are people who are working aimlessly everyday trying to get things done which has been assigned to them but we never ever had any time or opportunity to look at how we can improve ourselves.

While there is no one way that we could automate certain process, the following will just be some of the primary tools/methods that I will work with.

  • PowerShell
  • C#
  • SSH
  • Telnet
  • Putty

Cheers! Stay tuned…

Milton Goh

SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Feature

The above mentioned feature have been out in the market since the launch of SQL Server 2012. There is one thing that I like about this feature is that it allows me to have a group of SQL Server hooked out replicating the data continuously without having Shared Storage in the Windows Server Failover Clustering mode.

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I spent just yesterday getting two of the SQL Server up and running; configured with AlwaysOn Availability Group. The whole configuration process isn’t complex at all and I felt this is much safer when the “Primary” database goes offline or it is being intentionally pulled out of the availability group for maintenance.

Notice in the second picture, I have my newly created database “NerdReservation” in the “Synchronizing” mode, similar to the Replication that we used to deploy in SQL Server 2008 without the Failover Cluster feature installed. In the AlwaysOn High Availability, we are always to see all the Replicas that is currently connected to the main database server or the parent server.

This really made things so much neater now.

For the installation process, the Canadians IT Pros did a good write-up here.

For the overview of the AlwaysOn Availability Groups, here is a good one.

Cheers.

Regards,
Milton Goh

System Center Universe Asia Pacific 2014–I’m Attending!

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It’s less than 30 hours to System Center Universe Asia Pacific 2014 in Kuala Lumpur! I am so excited about this as I will be expose to hearing from the real System Center experts from all over the world!

This conference come just in time as I am just been tasked to explore in detail about System Center Service Manager.

If you are there and you see me, just say hi to me!

Cheers!

Regards,
Milton Goh

Windows Azure Web Site Backup / Restore Feature

Today, I had the chance to test drive one of the new Windows Azure features that is announced by Scott Guthrie on 20th Feb 2014 – Web Site Backup Restore.

The target I have chose is this blog that you are currently reading. I have this WordPress v3.8.1 updates pending on my dashboard for a longest while and I dare not make any upgrade as I am worried it will messed up the stuffs such as the Widgets that I am currently using and comfortable with. Therefore, with this new feature released, it boosted my confidence and prepare me for my this and future upgrades.

There are lots of advantage of having this feature that is built directly into Windows Azure which makes things so much easier! Let’s dive into my usage process…

  • Let’s login to the Windows Azure portal and see what’s newly added… As shown, you will see “BACKUPS” tab and it is still in the PREVIEW stage. As usual, the way how things works may change when it goes to General Availability (GA).

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  • So one of the requirement to make use of the Web Site Backup Restore feature is that the Web Site needs to be on Standard mode. So while mine is on Shared, I will have to make the change to take advantage of this feature.

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  • This part is rather weird, Windows Azure may have made a mistake. I was previously configured to use Shared mode and it detected that I am on Free mode instead. So why am I paying all these while? Sad smile

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  • After doing the switching, let the game begins. So there is an option for you to create Automated Backup just like any hosting company that you have on that backup your files in case you have overridden any of the files to make the whole web site invalid. I am not going to toggle between this option since this will be an one-off each time I wants to do a major upgrade for my site. It will serves as a good feature to make sure all files are backed up before making changes in the production environment.

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  • Next, just head all the way below and you will see two button of which one is “RESTORE NOW” and the other is “BACKUP NOW”. Very clear-cut explanation of what it does.

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  • Oops! It prompted me with an error because I did not select any container to store the backup job. So it is linked to the Windows Azure Storage Account.

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  • After making the selection, I clicked on “BACKUP NOW” again and there it goes… A beautiful message will appear at the top to tell you the backup job has started…

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  • It took just a little while to do the Backup of the Web Site probably because the size that my blog is using isn’t huge.

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  • So in Scott Guthrie article, it says that it will backup all the associated resources such as databases. However, since my MySQL that is used along with my WordPress is hosted with ClearDB so it is not linked with Windows Azure.

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  • When we are done with Back Up, we will need to see the Restore feature in terms of contingency. This is the simple feature that I feel that have been designed so well. It comes with two option:

1) Current Web Site

2) New Web Site

As you can see, it even suggest to you with a prefix “restore” to just another Windows Azure Web Site that is automatically loaded with the Free mode.

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I feel that this feature is good is because, many of the developers out there that in order to save time on development, they usually upload to the Production environment directly. Therefore, this gives us, the developers to backup and restore the site onto Windows Azure to create the Staging or Development environment.

Cheers.
Milton Goh