Saturday 9 September 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - Deploy Azure Stack TP3 on Single POC Node - Part 5

Hello Everyone,

So far in previous posts, You have learned about Azure Stack, it's architectures with VM Roles, prerequisites & how to prepare ASDK Kit for installation. In this post, I will show You how to install Azure Stack on single node for POC environment. 

PART 1: Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction!

PART 2: Microsoft Azure Stack - Deployment Architecture with VM Roles!

PART 3: Microsoft Azure Stack - ASDK Deployment Prerequisites!

PART 4: Microsoft Azure Stack - Configuring Prerequisites & Preparing ASDK Kit "CloudBuilder.vhdx"!

Let's see how to install ASDK Kit on single node...


As shown in my previous post, once You prepare the Azure Stack Kit (CloudBuilder.vhdx), it will boot the server in Azure Stack Operating System (means Server will be dual booted configured). 

Now, post booting-up in Azure Stack OS, You have to run Azure Stack prerequisite checker again to see if all prerequisites are in place so open "Windows PowerShell ISE" console as an Administrator,  open ASDK-Prechecker file (See previous post for link to download prechecker file) & execute it as shown below:

Click Run once:

Type "2" & Click Enter:

All prerequisites passed successfully:

Now run "asdk-installer" file. Go to the path where You copied this file (NOTE: Earlier it was copied in C: Drive which after booting-up in Azure Stack OS will change to some other drive letter like D:\ drive) & run the "asdk-installer" file:

Click on Install:

Provide Identity Provider (ADFS or Azure), I have installed using ADFS:

Select Network Interface (NOTE: Only 1 NIC should be enabled & all other NIC should be disabled as mentioned in prerequisites in previous post):

Provide IP Address for BGPNAT01 VM Role:

Once all prerequisites are verified, Click Next:

Click Deploy:

Installation will start & Server will also be rebooted once AD installation gets completed & server is joined to AD:

Once Server is joined to AD (azurestack.local) & rebooted, login to Server using Account: "azurestack\AzureStackAdmin" to monitor the complete installation progress.

NOTE: Installation will take upto 8+ hours to complete all configurations.

Total steps to be configured during installation is 241.

Once installation is completed, You will see below status in powershell console:

Once installation is completed, You must change the AzureStackAdmin password expiry date to 180 Days or more in Group Policy so open Group Policy Management console by typing "gpmc.msc" in Run Window & click enter.

Expand to below path as mentioned in screenshot, right click on MemberServer & Click Edit:

Group Policy Management Editor console will open. Expand to path:

Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Windows Setting -> Security Setting -> Account Setting -> Password Policy:

Right Click on Maximum Password Age, Click on Properties & set password Age to 180 Days as shown below:

This is all done.

Open below URLs:

Admin Portal: https://adminportal.local.azurestack.external/

Provide Credentials:

User Name: AzureStack\AzureStackAdmin

PWD: Password which You provided during installation.

Below will be Your default Admin Console:

For Tenant portal, same credentials will be used & below is the link:


This is all about Azure Stack Installation on Single Node for POC Environment. In my next post, I will explore both Admin & Tenant Portal consoles overview. Later, I will explore about creating offers, plans, services etc.

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Sunday 27 August 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - Configuring Prerequisites & Preparing ASDK Kit "CloudBuilder.vhdx" - Part 4

Hello Everyone,

In my previous posts, I had explained about Azure Stack & all required prerequisites for it's deployment. In this post, I will explain about ASDK prerequisites configurations & prepare ASDK Kit for deployment.

PART 1: Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction!

PART 2: Microsoft Azure Stack - Deployment Architecture with VM Roles!

PART 3: Microsoft Azure Stack - ASDK Deployment Prerequisites!

Let's start with configuring prerequisites... 


Below are Some basic configuration which should be completed & checked before You start preparing ASDK Kit "CloudBuilder.vhdx":

Disable Firewall:

Disable UAC:

Open control panel-> User Accounts-> Change User Accounts Settings & Disable:

Set PowerShell execution to RemoteSigned or Unrestricted by running below command:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted:

Enable Remote Desktop & Disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration:

Open Server Manager-> Local Server:

Network Configuration:

Make sure only 1 NIC should be enabled, all other NIC should be disabled & Internet Access is providing:

NOTE: Port 80, 443 & 123 (TCP/UDP) are required. Refer prerequisites in PART 3!.

Disk Configurations:

Make Sure to have 5 Physical Disks with below configurations:

  • OS Disk: 200 GB
  • Data Disk: 250 GB each minimum.

Make sure that disk should be initialize & online but no volume should be created.

NOTE: Refer prerequisites in PART 3! for more details on support disk configurations.

Driver Update:

Install all required OEM drivers on Server & QLogic Drivers. You can download QLogic drivers from below link:

Other Prerequisites to be checked:

  • RAM should be 96 GB\
  • Processor should be dual-socket with total 12 cores or more.
  • OS should be Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher.


Click on below link to download ASDK Kit:

You need to provide required information to download kit & on next page, it will prompt the download link:

Build Version 20170627.1 is ASDK TP3 Kit.

Click on Browse to provide the local path where You want to store the downloaded file & the click download:

Once download completed, Click on Run to extract the files:

Accept License Agreement & Click Next:

Click Next:

Provide Destination Path where You want to extract required files & click Next:

Click Extract:

Once done, You can see "CloudBuilder.vhdx" file in extracted folder:

Copy & Paste the "CloudBuilder.vhdx" file directly to "c: drive":


Before preparing CloudBuilder.vhd file for deployment, run the Pre-checker script to check if all prerequisites are completed. You can download the Pre-checker script file from below link:

This script should be run 2 times: Before preparing deployment kit & after preparing development kit. When You will run the script, it will ask if running before or after booting the provider VHDX file (CloudBuilder.vhdx).

Open PowerShell ISE Console, open & execute the downloaded script:


Once all tests are passed, You can proceed to prepare Provider VHDX file.

Open the elevated PowerShell prompt & run the below script to get the ASDK Installer file:

"# Variables
$Uri = ''
$LocalPath = 'c:\AzureStack_Installer'
# Create folder
New-Item $LocalPath -Type directory
# Download file
Invoke-WebRequest $uri -OutFile ($LocalPath + '\' + 'asdk-installer.ps1')"

ASDK Installer File will be downloaded in "C:/AzureStack_Installer" folder:

Open the ASDK Installer Path in PowerShell & Run the "asdk-installer.ps1" file:

Microsoft Azure Stack Development Kit console will open. Click on Prepare Environment:

Provide "CloudBuilder.vhdx" path which was directly copied to C Drive, Select Add Drivers box & provide the folder path where You saved all drivers:

Configure required settings:

NOTE: Password should same as of Local Administrator Password, same password will be used for Azure Stack Accounts.

Select the Network Interface which will be used for complete deployment, rest all other interface should be disabled:

Provide Azure Stack Host IP Details & Click Next:


IP Address should be mentioned with x.x.x.x/24 format. example:

DNS Server IP will be same IP as of host because all Roles & Features like DNS, Hyper-V, Failover cluster etc are already installed on Azure Stack Provider VHDX file. DNS IP will be same as 

Click Next once validation is completed:

Once the "CloudBuilder.vhdx" file will be prepared successfully, You have to Reboot the Server. Later, it will boot in Azure Stack VHDX file:

NOTE: Restarting the server will take approx. 30 mins or more. Make Sure You have ILO Access to server or direct access to server if in case the server is not reachable through assigned IP. By default, it should connect via RDP once rebooting gets completed but in some case if server is not reachable via RDP due to any wrong configurations like drivers not updated or any other reason, You have to connect server via ILO access or direct access only.

This is all about how to prepare provider VHDX file for Azure Stack Deployment. In my next post, I will show, post configurations once server is booted-up in Azure Stack VHDX file & ASDK deployment steps.

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Thursday 17 August 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - ASDK Deployment Prerequisites - Part 3

Hello Everyone,

In my previous post I have explained detailed HLD architecture for ASDK with all VM Roles. In this post, I will explain all prerequisites which needs to be configured before deploying ASDK deployment kit.

Microsoft document also shares same prerequisites but there are some key points which I noticed during deployment which must be highlighted & shared with You all.

PART 1: Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction!

PART 2: Microsoft Azure Stack - Deployment Architecture with VM Roles!

Let's start understanding ASDK Deployment architecture with LLD architecture for single node POC environment. 😊😊


For better understanding, I have created a LLD diagram for ASDK Prerequisites which will help in understanding all requirements for Azure Stack single node POC Server deployment. Microsoft also shares same prerequisites in ASDK Prerequisites document (CLICK HERE: Azure Stack Deployment Prerequisites) but I have mentioned some key points which I noticed during deployment which must be noted during deployment.

Below are the Key Prerequisites:


Dual-socket with total 12 cores or more must be available.


96 GB or more.


Total 5 Disks are required:

  • OS Disk: Min. 200 GB 
  • Data Disk: Min. 4 Disks each with 250 GB.

  • Remote SAN Storage is not supported.
  • Partition from single disk into 4 is not supported.
  • As per Microsoft, min 4 Data Disks are required but 3 Data Disks can also be used - Testing with 3 Data Disks is not done by Microsoft so I will recommend to use min. 4 Data Disks only.
  • All disks should be of same type (All SAS or All SATA) 
  • No MPIO is supported for SAS Type disks so use single path only if using SAS Type disks.
  • Configure disk with RAID-0 single path.
  • Do not create Volumes for Data Disk - Just keep disk online & initialize disks. If you create volumes the deployment process will get fail at storage pool configuration step.


Only 1 NIC should be used with /24 network segment, all other NIC should be disabled because it will use only 1 NIC.


  • Make sure You have access to the server via ILO or physically in Data-center because during configuration, network connection may get lost. This usually won't happen if all configurations are done correctly.


Update all required OEMs drivers & keep driver files in local drive because drivers will be used post preparing "Cloudbuilder.vhd" file & before installing ASDK setup.


Internet Access is required.

NOTE: Internet access through web proxy is not supported. If using DNS for Internet Access then make sure to provide the same in DNS Forwarder else during deployment when configuring network, Internet connectivity will be lost & deployment will get failed. I will show the same in deployment process blog post.

Required Ports:

  • 80/443 TCP – Internet Access
  • 123 TCP/UDP – Time sync with “” server over internet. Make Sure it should be open with all assigned IPs or should connect via server name as mentioned. 

NOTE: 123 Port is only required if You don’t provide Your on-premises NTP Server details during preparation of "Cloudbuilder.vhd" & want to sync it with Internet Time Server.


Don't use below subnets because these are reserved by Microsoft ASDK setup for different purposes:


  • Operating System should be Windows Server 2012 R2 or more. ASDK Kit (Cloudbuilder.vhd) uses Windows Server 2016.
  • Download Deployment Checker Powershell script (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!) & run the script before preparing the Cloudbuilder.vhd file & after booting the server in Azure Stack file (Cloudbuilder.vhd). This will explain if any prerequisite is missing before proceeding to install setup.
  • Azure Subscription Credential with Administration rights - If deploying using Azure AD account then it is required else You can't proceed further & if deploying using ADFS, it is not required as per Microsoft. (NOTE: When I deployed usinng ADFS, it asks me to provide Azure Credentials for authentication purpose. My azure credentials don't have administration rights but it proceed further with after providing the same. 😲😲😲)

This is all about ASDK prerequisites, I will update if any changes are required further. 

In my next post, I will show How to configure & test all ASDK Prerequisites with screenshots.

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Wednesday 2 August 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - Deployment Architecture with VM Roles - Part 2

Hello Everyone,

This post is to explain single node deployment architecture for Azure Stack Development Kit & default VM Roles which are created during ASDK Deployment.

Let's start with Azure Stack HLD Architecture for Single Node deployment...


Azure Stack Development Kit Architecture shown below is High Level Design (HLD) where I have shown how ASDK & all VM Roles will be deployed on Physical Host.

Detailed Low Level Design (LLD) will be explained in next post where I will explain detailed requirements for deploying ASDK.

ASDK HLD Architecture:

As shown in above diagram, I have shown a Physical Host where You will deploy Windows Server 2016 OS & later You will download ASDK File on the server. 

Once Download is completed, You need to prepare Azure Stack OS named as "Cloudbuilder.vhdx" using ASDK Installer file. During ASDK OS preparation, You have to provide some required information & later need to reboot the server.

Now, once reboot is started, Your server will have dual booted means it will run with 2 Operating Systems - Windows Server 2016 OS (which is installed first on physical host) & Azure Stack OS (Cloudbuilder.vhdx file is attached to Physical Host).

Now, Boot Order will by default change to Azure Stack OS (Cloudbuilder.vhdx) which is also running with Windows Server 2016 OS.

This Azure Stack OS has required roles & features installed like Hyper-V, ADDS, DNS etc

Once You login in Azure Stack OS, You need to install ASDK again using ASDK Installer which will later deploy all VM Roles & configure networking roles.

In my upcoming posts, I will explain about installation process step by step with screenshots. 😉😉  


ASDK is deployed only on single physical node. This can be used only for testing or development environment (NOT FOR PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT) where You can create, deploy & evaluate Azure Stack services & have self-service portal experience. 


Azure Stack ASDK provide services with certain pre-defined Virtual Machine Roles which cannot be modified & cannot not be connected through RDP or console. These are also known as Management VMs where You cannot configure or do any changes.

You have to use only Azure Stack Admin Portal where You can create & manage Your services which You want to evaluate. Tenants will use offered services through Tenant Portal.

NOTE: These all VM Roles are already described on Microsoft Azure Stack Document Site as well.

Below are the default Azure Stack Management VM Roles which control all management services:

This is all about Azure Stack Development Kit HLD Architecture with default VM Roles.

In my next post, I will explain ASDK Prerequisites with LLD Architecture in details.

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Tuesday 1 August 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud) - Blog Series

Hello Everyone,

This page will display complete blog list on Microsoft Azure Stack.

All upcoming post's link for Azure Stack will be updated below.


Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction - Part 1!


Microsoft Azure Stack - Console Overview (Admin & Tenant Portals) - Part 6! 

Microsoft Azure Stack - Creating Services, Plans, Offerings, Tenants - Part 7!

Microsoft Azure Stack - Tenant Experience on subscribed services - Part 8!

and, many more...

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Saturday 29 July 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction - Part 1

Hello Everyone,

Today, I am starting a new Blog Series on new Microsoft upcoming Product - AZURE STACK (Hybrid Cloud Platform). 

This post is an introduction about Azure Stack which describes below key points:

  • What is Azure Stack?
  • Comparison with Azure?
  • What are Key Features?
  • What services You can build on Azure Stack for Your customers?


Many people get confused between below Microsoft Clouds Terms so use correct name:
  • Windows Azure Pack (WAP) - Private Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure - Public Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure Stack - Hybrid Cloud

Let's start with Introduction about Azure Stack...


Microsoft Azure Stack is an Hybrid Cloud Platform where You can offer Microsoft Azure Services from Your own Datacenters to Your customers. In very simple term, It is like deploying Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud) in Your own datacenter - With some Core Azure Services, not all Azure Services.

Azure stack is a fully integrated system with IAAS & PAAS functionalities. You won't have any control over it's hardware, only You will create & manage all services using Azure Stack Admin Portal. Azure stack use hyper-converged hardware with in-built hyper-converged storage. 

You can deploy Microsoft Azure Stack in Your own premises environment using Azure Stack Development Kit for POC purpose on single node which is available to download. For evaluating purpose, Microsoft has provided Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!). This can be deployed only on single node & can not be used for production purpose.

How it is Hybrid Cloud Platform?

Microsoft provide both options to You to deploy Azure Stack in Your environment - either using Azure Active Directory or using on-premises Active Directory Federation Service. While deploying Azure Stack Development Kit, It ask the Identity Provider (Azure Cloud or ADFS). If You deploy using Azure Cloud Identity Provider, You can have all Hybrid functionalities available.


With evaluation development kit, You can deploy using either Azure Cloud or ADFS but not both, means if You deploy using ADFS then Later You cannot add Azure Cloud account to use hybrid functionalities & if You deploy using Azure Cloud, You cannot remove account later to use only ADFS within Your on-premises identity. Only option will be to deploy from beginning...😒😟 

Also, Evaluation period is for life time with only single node deployment but cannot be used for production environment.

With single node POC deployment kit, You can evaluate all possible services which will be used for production environment.


There is no such big difference between Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud) & Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud). Both provides similar functionalities with difference in service offerings & managed services control.

Below are the key comparison between both:


Many viewers may have query: What is the difference between Windows Azure Pack (Private Cloud) & Microsoft Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud)?

There is a very big difference between both clouds. 

Windows Azure Pack use System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manage complete infrastructure whereas Azure Stack has built-in Azure Resource Manager (Same as of Azure - Public Cloud) to manage complete infrastructure, there is no role of System center components in Azure Stack.

Windows Azure Pack is limited to only IAAS services & don't have such capabilities to provide cloud based PAAS Services which are highly integrated with each other whereas Azure Stack is fully integrated system with hyper-converged hardware & storage environment which is capable of providing both IAAS & PAAS Services with latest cloud based applications & web based services.

Managing hardware, WAP Components & other resources in Windows Azure Pack environment is difficult as compared with Azure Stack because Azure Stack used predefined certified & well integrated hardware which cannot be controlled or changed by any Administrator. You don't have control over hardware in Azure Stack thereby reduces manual configuration issues in environment. 

Microsoft announces certified OEMs for Azure Stack Hardware partners which You can SEE HERE!


Below are the key features which Azure Stack provides:


  • ADMINISTRATOR (Cloud Operator) - This user have full control of Administrator Portal which create all services, roles, plans, quotas, pricing, monitor & manage capacity & responds to alerts.
  • TENANT - These users are the customers which have an self-service control experiences & uses all subscribed services.


  • ADMINISTRATOR PORTAL: This portal is for Cloud Administrators to create & manage services.
  • TENANT PORTAL: This portal is for Tenants to have self-service control experiences to use their subscribed services.


  • AZURE ACTIVE DIRECTORY: This is cloud based multi-tenant identity provider which enables hybrid functionalities for tenants.
  • ADFS: This can be used where You don't want hybrid functionalities & want to use Azure Stack as Your private cloud environment with both IAAS & PAAS Services for Your customers.


Also known as Heart of Microsoft Azure & Microsoft Azure Stack. This manages completed infrastructure including Resource Groups, Resource templates & Resources Providers (Compute, Storage, Network, Security, etc).


You can control on access for services based on User's Roles using RBAC feature. Based on defined roles, users can have access to services. 


You can create Regions, Services, Plans & Offers as per Your environment which Tenants can use by subscribing them. Tenant can subscribe for multiple offers & plans as per their need.


Azure Stack provides some services of Azure, not all. Below are the key services which are available by default:

This is all about Azure Stack introduction. In next post,  I will explain about how Azure Stack Architecture will looks like & what all VM Roles are deployed through Azure Stack Development Kit.

Later, I will explain prerequisites & deployment steps for Azure Stack TP3.

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