Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Automic Blog, Elizabeth White, Dalibor Siroky, XebiaLabs Blog, John Katrick

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Silverlight, @CloudExpo

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Step-by-Step: Connect System Center 2012 App Controller to Windows Azure

Setting up System Center App Controller to drive Windows Azure

The article I’m writing for part 13 our “31 Days of Servers in the Cloud” series involves using App Controller to create a virtual machine.  But to do this, you first need to connect and associate App Controller (a component of System Center 2012) with your Windows Azure subscription.

So in today’s Part 12, as a preliminary document for part 13, in this article I’m going to show you how to connect App Controller to your Windows Azure account.

To do this, we need to have a few preliminaries in place:

  1. You have a Windows Azure subscription, and have requested the ability to preview the use of Windows Azure virtual machines.  (If you don’t have an account, you can start a free 90-day trial HERE.)
  2. You have System Center 2012 App Controller installed.  (Download the System Center 2012 Private Cloud evaluation software HERE.) 
    NOTE: In my examples I’m using System Center 2012 SP1 App Controller, which at the time of this writing is available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers and volume license customers only; but will very soon be generally available.  I will update this blog post as soon as that happens.

Connect App Controller to your Windows Azure subscription
To make this happen, you first have to have a management certificate in place.  This makes up the bulk of the complexity involved.  It must be a management certificate that has a key length of at least 2048 bits and resides in the Personal certificate store.  To make this all work, you’ll need both a .cer file, which is the exported certificate that you’ll upload as the management certificate in Windows Azure, and a.pfx (personal information exchange) certificate file that you’ll  use to connect App Controller to your Azure subscription.  You can create this self-signed certificate easily in one of two ways:

  1. If you have Visual Studio installed, you can use the makecert command from the Visual Studio command prompt to create the certificate and at the same time create the exported .cer file that you can upload into Azure.   Ore…
  2. More likely if, like me, you’re not a developer, you’ll use IIS (Internet Information Services) to create the self-signed certificate.  Add IIS either as a role to a Windows Server, or even as an to Windows 8.

For my example, I’m going to use IIS that I’m going to install on Windows 8.

Install IIS on Windows 8
In the “Turn Windows features on or off” section of the “Add or Remove Programs” (just search from your Start Screen), add the IIS Management Console feature:

image_thumb[2]

Generate the Self-Signed Certificate
Once installed, open up the IIS Manager.  Double-click on “Server Certificates”, and then in the Actions pane on the right, select “Create Self-Signed Certificate”.

image_thumb[5]

Give your certificate a friendly name that you’ll recognize later, and click OK.

Export the .pfx File
Next, we need to export the new certificate as a .pfx file.  (This is the file we’ll later use to connect App Controller to our Windows Azure subscription.)  You can create this from IIS Management as well.   With your new certificate selected, click export in the Actions pane.  Choose a file name and destination for the file, set a password, and click OK.

image_thumb[7]

Once this is done, and if you have no further use of IIS on your Windows 8 machine, you can remove it just as easily as you added it.  You won’t need it for anything more here.

Generate the .cer file.
Now we need a .cer file – the exported certificate that we will upload into our Windows Azure subscription.  The certificate we just created is in the Local Computer certificates store, so we could either need to use MMC and the “Certificates” snap-in to get to and export the certificate from there, OR we could import the .pfx into the personal certificate store and then export it from there.  I’ll describe the latter..

Run certmgr.msc as a quick way to open up MMC connected to the current user’s certificate store, and navigate to Personal –> Certificates

image_thumb[11]

Right-Click on Certificates, and under All Tasks, select Import…

In the Certificate Import Wizard, click Next, and then browse to and select your recently created .pfx file.  (NOTE: You’ll have to change the file type you’re looking for to include .pfx files in order to see it as you navigate)

image_thumb[10]

Click Next.

Enter the password you used to secure your .pfx file, and click Next.

Leave the Certificate Store as the Personal store.  Click Next, and then click Finish to complete the import.

Now in the list of your certificates in the personal certificate store, you should see a certificate that contains a friendly name you used earlier (in my case it’s “MyAzureMgmtCert”).   Right-click on your certificate, and under All Tasks, select Export.

Just use the defaults through this wizard, browse to a location for and name your certificate:

image_thumb[17]

Click Next and then Finish.

Okay.  Now you have both the .pfx and the .cer files you’ll need to connect App Controller to Windows Azure.

Upload the .cer to Windows Azure.

In the Windows Azure portal, at the bottom left, select Settings, and then click Upload.

image_thumb[15]

Browse to and select your .cer file:

image_thumb[19]

Click the Check Box, and in a few seconds you should see a notification telling you that your upload is successful.  You should also see your certificate added to the list of management certificates

Connect App Controller to Windows Azure
Before we make the connection, we’ll need to have our Windows Azure Subscription ID.  The subscription ID is a long set of numbers, formatted to look something like this: 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000

You can get this a number of different ways.

  • If you have any storage defined or any virtual machines created, you can select them and see the subscription ID on the bottom right of the “quick glance” information.
  • If you have Windows Azure PowerShell installed and connected to your subscription, you can simply run the “Get-AzureSubscription” cmdlet to see the Subscription ID.
  • Or most easily since we’ve just uploaded one, you can see the subscription ID as one of the columns in our list of management certificates.

Copy the subscription ID to the clipboard.

Now we’re ready to open up App Controller and log in as your administrative account.

In the Overview pane, under Public Clouds, click “Connect a Windows Azure Subscription

image_thumb[21]

Paste your subscription ID into the appropriate field, browse to and select your .pfx certificate file, enter the password, and give your connection a name and optional description.

image_thumb[23]

Once you click OK, you should soon see that you have a Windows Azure subscription connected.  If you had any virtual machines or services running in Windows Azure, you’ll be able to see those represented here also.

image_thumb[25]

And that’s it!  You’re connected!

Now you can do really cool things like using App Controller to create Virtual Machines in Windows Azure.

---

I hope you found this useful!  If you have any questions or comments, please add them to the comments and we can discuss them.

More Stories By Kevin Remde

Kevin is an engaging and highly sought-after speaker and webcaster who has landed several times on Microsoft's top 10 webcast list, and has delivered many top-scoring TechNet events and webcasts. In his past outside of Microsoft, Kevin has held positions such as software engineer, information systems professional, and information systems manager. He loves sharing helpful new solutions and technologies with his IT professional peers.

A prolific blogger, Kevin shares his thoughts, ideas and tips on his “Full of I.T.” blog (http://aka.ms/FullOfIT). He also contributes to and moderates the TechNet Forum IT Manager discussion (http://aka.ms/ITManager), and presents live TechNet Events throughout the central U.S. (http://www.technetevents.com). When he's not busy learning or blogging about new technologies, Kevin enjoys digital photography and videography, and sings in a band. (Q: Midlife crisis? A: More cowbell!) He continues to challenge his TechNet Event audiences to sing Karaoke with him.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...