Enable Azure Hybrid Benefit with Azure Resource Manager (ARM)

In Azure, you have the option to bring in your own licenses (Azure Hybrid Benefit). If you deploy a virtual machine using Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates, this option is not enabled by default. Certainly for test environments, demos, but in many cases also production environments, you want to enable this option.

By adding the line below to your ARM template, the Azure Hybrid Benefit is enabled.

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Remove DVD drive on Azure virtual machine

When you deploy a new virtual machine, for example Windows Server 2016/2019 or 2022, you’ll get the C: drive with the operating system, the D: drive for the TEMP storage (most of the VM types) and a DVD drive.

The DVD drive is not needed in some situations, for example on domain controllers. This type of servers you want to harden the security as much as possible. So, for domain controllers we’re deploying in our customer environments, we want to disable the DVD drive.

We run the following command when deploying new domain controllers in Azure.

## Disable DVD drive
Set-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\cdrom -Name Start -Value 4 -Type DWord

After this step, reboot the server and your DVD drive is gone!

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Error: ‘User failed validation to purchase resources’ when deploying a virtual machine

Today I’ve deployed a new virtual machine within Azure using the Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition Preview Marketplace image. After running my Powershell script, I received an error:
’User failed validation to purchase resources. Error message: ‘You have not accepted the legal terms on this subscription: …..’

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So, let’s take a look at the legal terms, also using Powershell. I’ve used a couple of variables.

$azureVmPublisherName = "MicrosoftWindowsServer"
$azureVmOffer = "microsoftserveroperatingsystems-previews"
$azureVmSkus = "windows-server-2022-azure-edition-preview"
$Version = "latest"


Get-AzMarketplaceTerms -Publisher $azureVmPublisherName -Product $azureVmOffer -Name $azureVmSkus

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As you can see, the legal terms are not accepted yet!! With a small Powershell command, we can accept the legal terms.

Get-AzMarketplaceTerms -Publisher $azureVmPublisherName -Product $azureVmOffer -Name $azureVmSkus | Set-AzMarketplaceTerms -Accept

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Now you’re good to go!!

Use Azure Bastion to access your virtual machine in Azure

As most of you know, it’s possible to provide a virtual machine in Azure with a public IP address. This IP address can then be used to build a connection to, for example, RDP or SSH.

This way of connecting takes place over the Internet, which entails a great security risk. In many environments we see jumpbox or stepping stone servers, which are placed in the DMZ. These servers can be accessed from the Internet, and from these servers a connection can be made to a server or multiple servers on the internal network.

Such an arrangement is not safe, unmanageable and vulnerable. Azure Bastion is a great addition to facilitate a secure connection to a virtual machine in Azure. Azure Bastion integrates into the Azure portal, requiring multi-factor authentication. The virtual machines do not need to have a public IP address, so they are not accessible directly from the Internet.

Azure Bastion is a fully managed, autoscaling and hardened PaaS service, to provide you secure RDP and SSH connectivity. Het is eenvoudig te configureren in slechts een aantal stappen. Door gebruik te maken van virtueel netwerk peering, is het mogelijk om Azure Bastion eenvoudig toe te voegen aan een bestaande configuratie in Azure.

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  1. Configure a new virtual network for Azure Bastion
  2. Create a new subnet named ‘AzureBastionSubnet’ required for Azure Bastion
  3. Configure virtual network peering to your other networks
  4. Create an Azure Bastion host
  5. Login in the VM through the Azure portal using Azure Bastion
  6. See the list of active sessions in the Azure Bastion Host properties

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Now you can securely connect through Azure Bastion to a virtual machine running RDP or SSH. As you can see, the virtual machine I’m connecting to has no public IP address, only a internal IP address.

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Improvements to Azure VM backups are now available

Azure Backup now has even greater support and functionality for Azure VM backups:

  • Azure Backup is introducing restoring Unmanaged VMs/Disks as Managed VMs/Disks to provide the benefit of Managed disks for customers who are currently backing up their unmanaged disks.

For more details, please read our documentation

Restore virtual machine

  • Azure Backup now supports Replace existing disks as an option for VMs that have Managed Service Identities (MSI) Both User assigned Identities and System assigned Identities.

For more details, please read our documentation.

All the above features are generally available in all Azure regions.

Enable Azure Accelerated Networking

Azure Accelerated Networking is a new option for Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Virtual Machine (VM) on the NIC level providing several benefits by enabling single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) to a VM, greatly improving its networking performance. This high-performance path bypasses the host from the datapath, reducing latency, jitter, and CPU utilization, for use with the most demanding network workloads on supported VM types. You would typically use this feature with heavy workloads that need to send or receive data at high speed with reliable streaming and lower CPU utilization. It will enable speeds of up to 25Gbps per Virtual Machine. Best of all, it’s free!

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How to Enable Accelerated Networking:

You can enable this feature during initial creation of the VM, on the networking tab, you will see “Enable Accelerated Networking”. If you are unable to enable, then it is not compatible on your chosen Azure VM size. If you need to enable this feature after VM creation you will require to do so through powershell as it is not yet supported in the portal. You can do this simply with the below commands after deallocating the Virtual Machine.


Login-AzureRmAccount
$nic = Get-AzureRmNetworkInterface -ResourceGroupName “YourResourceGroupName” -Name “YourNicName”
$nic.EnableAcceleratedNetworking = $true
$nic | Set-AzureRmNetworkInterface

Then proceed to start the Virtual Machine and Accelerated Networking will be enabled.