Posts Tagged ‘azure’

Upcoming ModernBiz Classes


Thanks to all who joined me during the last ModernBiz sessions. It was whirlwind trip, from Vancouver to Edmonton, Montreal and Mississauga. I loved meeting all of you. In April, we do it again but instead of focusing on Azure as Infrastructure as a Service, we will be looking at allowing your clients to connect from anywhere, anytime securely. This includes Intune (great solution), Rights Management and Azure Active Directory Premium, all bundled together under EMS.  We’ll also be showing you the new Azure Remote App! I was playing with the new template last week, Coffee Cup video is coming, and it’s awesome.

Here are the dates and registration links for upcoming sessions:


Calgary + Bonus…details upcoming



By popular demand we are running ModernBiz: Cloud for SMB monthly at the Mississauga office.

Hope to see you there.


Categories: azure Tags:

Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

As most Azure Certof you know, a lot of my day is spent around Azure. I started using Azure several months before I joined Microsoft via an agency. After a good two years of becoming familiar with Azure, I decided to write 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions. I’m not going to lie, it was hard, really hard, and time-consuming. It’s been a long time since I have heard my heart pounding that loud after clicking the “submit” button. Luckily (and yes, I think there was some luck or good guesswork) I passed. It was a great way to end the year!


Of course I can’t tell you what was on the exam, but I can advise you to be familiar with every study objective:

Exam Objectives 70-533

I think I have been lucky regarding my last several exams, as I have only had to write the upgrade exams; but that has also been a downfall. Everyone keeps telling me the new exams are Powershell heavy, but until this exam, I’ve been able to get by with my limited PowerShell knowledge. All I can say is know your PowerShell, not only for exams but for all MS solutions. I do love PowerShell and I know I have to use it more now that I have completed this exam. I always recommend PowerShell in a Month of Lunches as a great way to learn PowerShell.

My only other challenge was my lack of development. I really struggled with the web and cloud services objectives and my mark reflected those weaknesses.

Here’s a list of the resources I used to prepare for the exam:

Azure for IT Professionals

In-person events and other resources

Now onto 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions – once the exam is out of beta and I find some free time (that objective will be harder than the exam!). For those of you looking for study materials for this exam, Keith Mayer has a great study guide.

Let us know how your studying is going, and please feel free to join me at a ModernBiz session at a local MS office!

Categories: azure, certifications Tags: , ,

Getting to the Cloud the Right Way: Azure

Azure, Azure, Azure . . . that is where I spend most of my time lately. At the end of the 2014, I even wrote and passed exam 70-533, Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions. I’ve been playing with Azure for about two years, and I was first introduced to it a year before I started with Microsoft. No one is paying me to say this, but I love Azure!!! My favourite features are its flexibility and efficiency, and I get excited when a new feature comes out – and even more excited when I get to jump head first into that feature. Unfortunately I don’t get to play with all the functionality, which does frustrate me, but there are only so many hours in a day.

As Azure is becoming a viable option for the SMB market, IT pros are finding that it can be overwhelming at first. There are a lot of questions Azure beginners have, such as “where do I start?” “how do I do this?” and “what about that?” Or “I did this, but why isn’t it working correctly?” and the common statement “I didn’t know I had to do it that way.”

To help you become more familiar with Azure, Microsoft has several resources available for you.

1. Channel 9 – the ultimate resource for Azure. I highly recommend these well-recorded training videos.

2. Microsoft Virtual Academy – additional training videos not only on Azure, but everything else MS.

3. Microsoft Partner Network – your one-stop-shop to see what events MS is hosting, and how MS can help you for marketing, training, events, etc.

4. In person events – come spend a day with me! I’ll be in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, and Mississauga providing hands-on Azure training.

Mississauga Dates:

5. Expert Series – a bi-weekly series aimed to provide you with detailed technical assistance for your Azure business opportunities.

6. Azure Coffee Cup Series – quick Azure how-to videos demonstrating how to setup the most common services in Azure. Each video is conveniently about as long as it takes to consume your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any further assistance. You can contact me at asksmbca at

Categories: azure Tags: , ,

Backing Up to Azure…it’s not that bad

I’m continuing on my Windows Server 2012 Essentials kick this week. I know R2 was released last week, but the procedure is basically the same. I’ll update this post with the R2 instructions in the coming weeks.

We all know we should be doing off-site backups as part of our backup routine; see 3-2-1 Now Backup for more details about a backup strategy for your small business. And as I write this, I’m thinking, when was the last time I performed an offsite backup? Yep, it’s been awhile, because it’s a manual process and I will “get around to it”. Unfortunately, I see this too often at my clients as well, and for the same reason. It’s a manual process and it get puts on the back burner. Luckily, Microsoft made this an automated process in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, so we don’t have to think about it and if the unthinkable did happen, the data is safe on the Azure servers. Azure is Microsoft’s hosting platform. For more details about the features of Azure, see

Now on to the how-to. Please note this is long, and contains screen shots to help you step through this process.

I started by creating an account on Azure. Go to and sign up for an account. Once your account has been created you will need to enter the Portal and create a recovery vault in the Recovery Services module.

Launch the Dashboard from your server.


Click Add Ins and then Integrate with Windows Azure Online.

Add Ins

You will be taken to the Azure website.

Azure SignUp

Follow the instructions to create an account.

Azure Log On





Once your account has been created, click on the Portal link then create a Backup Vault in Recovery Services.


Once the vault has been created, your account will look similar to this:

Backup Vault

Double clicking the name of your vault (you assigned this name when you created the vault) will display the details about your vault, including the server it’s connected to.

Vault Info

At this point you can now start connecting your Windows 2012 Server Essentials to Azure.

Click on Step 2 Download agent. This will install the connector. Add the Online Backup tab on your server Dashboard. Follow the prompts to install the add in.

Add Ins

You will also have to copy your server certificate to Azure backup. To do this, access the Azure Online backup from the new Online Backup tab on the Dashboard. Click the copy button beside the certificate path.


Switch back to your Online vault and select Manage at the bottom of the window.

Certificate Management

Click the Browse for file link and then “paste” the data from the previous copy. The certificate will be added to the vault. Your server is now registered with the Azure online backup.

If you have made it this far, hang in there a few more steps and we can setup the backup.

You can now register the server with the online backup from the Online Backup tab.


Fill in the dialog boxes if necessary.


You are now required to come up a long passphrase. It took me 3 tries to come up with one long enough. You can reset your passphrase if you forget it, like I have.

After a few more dialog boxes your server will be registered.


We can now finally start backing up our server to Azure! Yes, it’s been a long procedure to this point. I promise it gets easier now.

To configure our Online Backup either click the icon in the completed registration window (above) or select the Online Backup tab from the server Dashboard.

Select the appropriate files/folders for your backup.


Then, how often you want the server to be backed up.

date and time

Next, pick your retention policy.


You now have the option to configure how much bandwidth the backup can use.


Your server will now prepare your backup.

azure 36

Finally…we have successfully configured the online backup!

azure 37

Before we finally say it’s complete, I would suggest you start a backup and verify the server is backing up to Azure.

I have to admit this process took some time, but I think that was more my inexperience with Azure than with either product. The first time I setup Office 365 it took longer than I thought, now I can do it with my eyes closed.

Trust me, this will be worth the time and effort. If the unthinkable does happen, the company data, the heart and soul of the organization, is kept safely off-site and can be easily retrievable.

Categories: backups Tags:
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