Azure Azure Stack Configuration Testing

Azure Stack – Deploy Azure Stack on Azure VM

Bildergebnis für Azure stack

At Ignite 2018 a couple of weeks ago, I got the feeling that Microsoft is getting really serious about their hybrid cloud strategy. It may sound strange or weird, because Microsoft always used the terms hybrid cloud and announced tailored products. But in the past years, I wasn’t really sure that Microsoft will hear the business out there and realize that there is not only a public cloud scenario like Azure. Instead the real-world scenario is going to be more a mix between on-premises and public cloud workloads. Microsoft’s hybrid cloud scenario works like this…

…in other words there are workloads running in Azure and also workloads running on-premises. The technology to have Azure workloads running on-premises is known as Azure Stack. Microsoft calls it the extension of Azure. Azure Stack provides the same consistent experience like Azure e.g. APIs, ARM etc. so you can deploy your resources either to Azure or Azure Stack. Because of the massive scale of Azure it will not be possible to provide all Azure services on Azure Stack, but Microsoft is working hard to get the most requested services on Azure Stack.

As I mentioned before, this year I got the feeling, that Microsoft is really serious about Azure Stack and therefore it is time to play around with it. Well, it seems a good idea, but can you afford Azure Stack? Even in its smallest size? Probably not, Azure Stack will cost too much to have it in your basement as a playground. Therefore, we need to find a way, to get some hands-on. Luckily we are able to install Azure Stack in an Azure virtual machine. Azure Stack was announced in 2015 as a successor of Windows Azure Pack. Azure Stack is available as a free software kit for development and testing purposes, which is called Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK). This means you get a bunch of software which you can install on a properly sized piece of server and then you get an Azure Stack for testing.  I am just not a big fan of buying hardware, just to play around with ASDK. So, I was searching for some nested virtualization scenario to run Azure Stack Development Kit in an Azure VM. I found couple of sources on the internet which tried the same thing, but most of which had issues like bluescreens or were outdated.

The best way to install the latest version 1808 of ASDK is using the ARM deployment by Yagmur Sahin https://github.com/yagmurs/AzureStack-VM-PoC . In this post I want to make you aware of this option and also provide you some details how to do it.

First navigate to  https://github.com/yagmurs/AzureStack-VM-PoC and then you need to click on the “Deploy to Azure” button…

image

…the template will pop-up and request some input…

image

In my case I had chosen the following parameters…

3

One thing you have to be aware is, that the hardware requirements are pretty high and the template already has some fixed values to match the requirements. What does that mean? The template will deploy at least a 16 core, 128 GB memory machine having premium SSD deployed as you can see in this screenshot…

image

Having this sort of VM running in Azure for one month will cost about $1600-$1800, or in other words ~$60 per day! Make sure you always shutdown your machine if you don’t need it.

After you provided the parameters to the ARM template the deployment starts…

2

…the deployment and download of the Azure Stack Development Kit takes about 30-40 minutes. After that we are able to login into the virtual machine and run AAD_Install-ASDK.ps1 script (shortcut on the desktop) if you want to connect Azure Stack to your Azure AD or if you want to use the ADFS scenario click on ADFS_Install-ASDK.ps1 on the desktop….

image

I was eager to connect Azure Stack to my Azure Active Directory so I launched AAD_Install-ASDK.ps1. This will run a PowerShell window asking some required input…

5

After a couple of minutes I needed to provide the credentials to my Azure Active Directory tenant login…

image

…after this step it takes about 6 hours to install Azure Stack completely and configure everything properly. Be aware, that the VM will restart and the host will join the locally installed Active Directory azurestack.local….

7

In order to login into the virtual machine, you need to use the newly created account azurestack\azurestackadmin…

image

After a successful installation, launch the Azure Stack Admin Portal using the shortcut created on the desktop…

image

…you will be prompted to provide a login for your Azure Active Directory. In my case I logged in using the AAD administrator…

image

…and launching the tenant portal will look like this…image

If you run into issues and the portals does not appear, make sure all virtual machines are started in the cluster manager…

image

…if they appear as stopped, start them all and wait 5-10 minutes and try again.

I hope you will be able to explore Azure Stack in an inexpensive and successful way Smile. The nice thing about this approach is, even if you do not deploy Azure Stack Development Kit in Azure, the provided scripts and configurations will provide you with some useful guidance. This can be helpful if you want to use your on-premises hypervisor instead of Azure.

Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.