Azure Insights: Virtualizing domain controllers; Azure VMs; CI/CD; Azure Architecture Center; Azure AD on-prem orchestration

July 11 2019

This week, Azure pros share their insight on virtualizing domain controllers, suing PowerShell to copy files to an Azure VM, continuous integration-continuous deployment with Azure Pipelines and more.

Virtualizing domain controllers

On The Things That Are Better Left Unspoken, Sander Berkouwer argued in favor of virtualizing domain controllers with Azure Active Directory. Aside from being increasingly mainstream, virtualization saves costs compared to physical domain controllers. Virtualization is fully supported after Windows Server 2012, with a variety of approaches using VMware Sphere or Microsoft Hyper-V.

The distributed nature of the Active Directory database also adds to the virtualization-friendliness of Active Directory. Scale-out is the preferred method to increase Active Directory performance, not scale-up (except perhaps for the Domain Controller holding the PDC emulator FSMO role…). Just add small-sized VMs to the virtualization platform and Active Directory is again ready to go.

The minimum 1 TB disks standard on physical domain controllers are also "overkill" given that most Active Directory databases can be cached within an 8 GB RAM rack server.

Using PowerShell to copy files to an Azure VM

Microsoft senior cloud advocate, Thomas Maurer, blogging independently, explored how to copy files to an Azure VM with PowerShell. The remoting process works with Windows and Linux VMs for PowerShell 5.1 or PowerShell 6. He shared a command that allows remoting to a single VM or all machines. PowerShell Remoting over SSH or PowerShell 6 are needed to copy from macOS or Linux to Windows.

Maurer strongly recommended using HTTPS and just-in time VM access within Azure Security. The system lets users copy files over VPN or public internet. Before beginning the process users need to configure Network Security Groups, allowing port 5985 or 5986 access for either HTTP or HTTPS.

Continuous integration automation with Azure DevOps

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