Windows Azure PowerShell June 2013 Update for IaaS and PaaS

The latest release of the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets has a huge amount of functionality for both Windows Azure Virtual Machines and significant improvements to Cloud Services.

Virtual Machine Updates

  • Virtual Machine Stop Billing Support
  • Endpoint Access Control List Support
  • Endpoint Support Improvements

Cloud Service Enhancements

  • Dynamically configure RDP per role or per service
  • Dynamically configure Diagnostics per role or per service

Virtual Machine Stop Billing

It was announced at TechEd today that in addition to the huge improvement of per-minute billing when you stop a Virtual Machine you will not be charged. This functionality was exposed in PowerShell as well in the Stop-AzureVM cmdlet. One caveat I want to mention is if you stop the last VM in a deployment you will lose your deployment’s virtual IP address. If you want to stop the last VM but not lose your IP a new switch has been added -StayProvisioned. Stop-AzureVM will prompt you with a warning if you try to stop the last VM (with -StayProvisioned you will continue to be billed).

Virtual Machine Endpoint Access Control Support

A significant improvement in the security of virtual machines is the ability to lock down an endpoint so that only a specified set of IP addresses can access it.

To specify ACLs during or after deployment from PowerShell you create a new ACL configuration object using New-AzureAclConfig and then modify it with Set-AzureAclConfig. The created ACL object is then specified to the *-AzureEndpoint cmdlet in the -ACL parameter.

Example – Setting an ACL for SSH

$acl = New-AzureAclConfig 

Set-AzureAclConfig -AddRule Permit -RemoteSubnet "" -Order 1 `
                            -ACL $acl -Description "Lock down SSH"

Get-AzureVM -ServiceName mwlinuxsvc1 -Name mwlinux | 
    Set-AzureEndpoint -Name ssh -Protocol tcp -PublicPort 22 `
                      -LocalPort 22 -ACL $acl | 

Virtual Machine Other Endpoint Improvements

It is not a well known fact that prior to this release it was not possible to perform an update on a load balanced endpoint set. The underlying API would not actually support it. In this release a new API was added that allowed for the direct modification of a load balanced endpoint set.

To support this in PowerShell a new cmdlet called Set-AzureLoadBalancedEndpoint was added.
This cmdlet supports modifying a load balanced endpoint for operations such as changing health probe settings or port settings. Best of all this cmdlet can be called directly against this service and doesn’t require updating each individual endpoint.

Example of enabling an http health probe on an existing load balanced endpoint.

Set-AzureLoadBalancedEndpoint -ServiceName $svc -ProbeProtocolHTTP `
                   -LBSetName "lbweb"  -ProbePath "/healthcheck" `
                    -ProbePort 80

Finally, a flag for enabling DirectServerReturn has been enabled on Add/Set Endpoint cmdlets. This flag allows you to enable DirectServerReturn on certain endpoints which in turn allows the server to respond directly to the client instead of funneling the response back through the load balanced.

Cloud Services – Enabling RDP and Diagnostics on Demand

A new concept called “Cloud Service Extensions” was recently added which allows certain code to be executed after a Cloud Service has been deployed. Currently, the only two extensions that have been published to date are RDP and Diagnostics.
The power of the extensions model is you do not have to repackage your application to enable/disable functionality like RDP and Diagnostics it can be done after the fact.

Both cmdlets support a -Role parameter which allows you to selectively enable or disable the extension.

Example of enabling RDP for all roles

$cred = Get-Credential 
Set-AzureServiceRemoteDesktopExtension -ServiceName $svc -Credential $cred

Example on removing RDP from all roles

Remove-AzureServiceRemoteDesktopExtension -ServiceName $svc 

A few things about the Cloud Service Extension architecture. The above example sets a default RDP configuration. So all roles will have the same user name / password. If you then called the cmdlet on an individual role the role would get its own settings. This is interesting when you remove the role specific settings because the default settings will still apply.
The cmdlets are smart enough to warn you of this behavior on use.

The other cmdlet that has been added is the Set-AzureServiceDiagnosticsExtension. It works exactly the same way but accepts a wadcfg.xml file that can configure diagnostics logging on the role or roles.

One final caveat – the RDP and Diagnostics extensions are not compatible with the legacy RDP and Diagnostics plugins that ship in the SDK. To take advantage of this dynamic behavior you will first need to remove the legacy plugins from your application and redeploy.

My Last Release 😦

Sadly, this is the last release that I will have direct involvement in as I accepted a new job outside of Microsoft working with an outstanding Microsoft and Windows Azure Partner – Aditi. However, I will still continue to stay in tune with the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets and blog religiously about them (and email bugs and feature requests!).

The WA PowerShell/Runtime team is outstanding and I expect some great things from them going forward from the PowerShell and Service Management API front (hopefully, some powerful new Cloud Service Extensions will make their way out of Redmond as well)!

Set-AzureStorageAccount incorrectly sets Geo-Replication States

There has been a bug identified in the Set-AzureStorageAccount cmdlet that could inadvertently enable or disable your storage account geo-replication settings.
Those who have used this cmdlet should check the geo-replication for their accounts in the Azure Portal immediately.

Note: For more information on Geo-Replication in Windows Azure Storage please visit the following post:

Scenario 1: Changing the label or description of your storage account without specifying -GeoReplicationEnabled will disable geo-replication

PS C:\> Set-AzureStorageAccount -StorageAccountName mwweststorage -Label “updated label”

StorageAccountDescription : 
AffinityGroup             : 
Location                  : West US 
GeoReplicationEnabled     : False
GeoPrimaryLocation        : West US
GeoSecondaryLocation      : 
Label                     : "updated label"
StorageAccountStatus      : Created
StatusOfPrimary           : 
StatusOfSecondary         : 
Endpoints                 : {,, 
StorageAccountName        : mwweststorage
OperationDescription      : Get-AzureStorageAccount
OperationId               : 8dc5e76c-e8ac-460f-a76c-5a0c6f96e2c6
OperationStatus           : Succeeded

Scenario 2: Setting geo-replication to disabled in your storage account via PowerShell will actually enable it.

PS C:\> Set-AzureStorageAccount -StorageAccountName mwweststorage -GeoReplicationEnabled $false -Label “disabled geo replication”

StorageAccountDescription : 
AffinityGroup             : 
Location                  : West US 
GeoReplicationEnabled     : True
GeoPrimaryLocation        : West US
GeoSecondaryLocation      : 
Label                     : "disabled geo replication"
StorageAccountStatus      : Created
StatusOfPrimary           : 
StatusOfSecondary         : 
Endpoints                 : {,, 
StorageAccountName        : mwweststorage
OperationDescription      : Get-AzureStorageAccount
OperationId               : 8dc5e76c-e8ac-460f-a76c-5a0c6f96e2c6
OperationStatus           : Succeeded

Mitigation Strategy:

  • From PowerShell
  • To enable: Pass GeoReplicationEnabled $true
  • To disable: Do not pass GeoReplicationEnabled
  • From the Windows Azure Management Portal
  • Click on your Storage Account
  • Click on Configure
  • Verify the geo-replication configuration

What are we in the Windows Azure PowerShell Team(s) doing about it?

We will be releasing an updated version of the current release (0.6.13) to include a fix in the Set-AzureStorageAccount cmdlet in the very near future.
This will be a BREAKING CHANGE. Note: We have determined a solution that will not be a breaking change.

Update – 4/23/2013

The Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets have been updated with this fix. Please download the latest and verify your Storage Account settings.

Windows Azure PowerShell Updates for IaaS GA

With the release of Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks into general availability the Windows Azure PowerShell team has been working feverishly to provide an even more powerful automation experience for deploying virtual machines in the cloud.

Remote PowerShell on Windows Azure – Automating Virtual Machines

One of the key requests we have heard from customers is to go beyond the current capabilities of automated infrastructure provisioning and allow the user to bootstrap a virtual machine as part of a fully automated deployment.

With this release we are announcing that Remote PowerShell will be enabled by default on Windows based virtual machines created with the latest version of the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets.

Enabling Remote PowerShell allows a user to create a virtual machine and on boot immediately launch a script to bootstrap whatever configuration is desired. This could be installing and configuring Windows Roles and Features all the way to downloading and deploying an application or website. Authentication is over SSL for security and you can use your own certificate or we can even generate one for you. In addition to the bootstrapping abilities Remote PowerShell allows you to write powerful scripts for remote management and automation that can be ran at any time after the virtual machine is booted. The same scripts you use to manage your on-premises servers will work with your servers in Windows Azure. Of course, we do provide a switch to disable this functionality on boot if Remote PowerShell is not desired.

Installing Windows Server Features Automatically

In the example below the new -WaitForBoot parameter is used with New-AzureVM. This switch tells the cmdlet to wait for the virtual machine to be in the RoleReady (booted) state before continuing execution. Once the virtual machine is ready the script calls the Get-AzureWinRMUri cmdlet to retrieve the connection string to execute a remote script against the virtual machine. The script block passed to Invoke-Command installs the Web-Server IIS and the related management tools.

A PowerShell scripter could easily extend this script to automatically deploy a custom web application or service with just a few additional lines of code.

Installing Windows Features using Remote PowerShell

# Using this script installs the generated cert into your local cert store which allows 
# PowerShell to verify it is communicating with the correct endpoint. 
# This REQUIRES PowerShell run Elevated
. "C:\Scripts\WAIaaSPS\RemotePS\InstallWinRMCert.ps1" 

$user = ""
$pwd = ""
$svcName = ""
$VMName = "webfe1" 
$location = "West US"

$credential = Get-Credential 

New-AzureVMConfig -Name $VMName -InstanceSize "Small" -ImageName $image |
                Add-AzureProvisioningConfig -Windows -AdminUsername $user -Password $pwd |
                Add-AzureEndpoint -Name "http" -Protocol tcp -LocalPort 80 -PublicPort 80 |
                New-AzureVM -ServiceName $svcName -Location $location -WaitForBoot 

# Get the RemotePS/WinRM Uri to connect to
$uri = Get-AzureWinRMUri -ServiceName $svcName -Name $VMName 

# Using generated certs – use helper function to download and install generated cert.
InstallWinRMCert $svcName $VMName 

# Use native PowerShell Cmdlet to execute a script block on the remote virtual machine
Invoke-Command -ConnectionUri $uri.ToString() -Credential $credential -ScriptBlock {
    $logLabel = $((get-date).ToString("yyyyMMddHHmmss"))
    $logPath = "$env:TEMP\init-webservervm_webserver_install_log_$logLabel.txt"
    Import-Module -Name ServerManager
    Install-WindowsFeature -Name Web-Server -IncludeManagementTools -LogPath $logPath

Contents of InstallWinRMCert.ps1

function InstallWinRMCert($serviceName, $vmname)
    $winRMCert = (Get-AzureVM -ServiceName $serviceName -Name $vmname | select -ExpandProperty vm).DefaultWinRMCertificateThumbprint

    $AzureX509cert = Get-AzureCertificate -ServiceName $serviceName -Thumbprint $winRMCert -ThumbprintAlgorithm sha1

    $certTempFile = [IO.Path]::GetTempFileName()
    Write-Host $certTempFile
    $AzureX509cert.Data | Out-File $certTempFile

    # Target The Cert That Needs To Be Imported
    $CertToImport = New-Object System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates.X509Certificate2 $certTempFile

    $store = New-Object System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates.X509Store "Root", "LocalMachine"

    Remove-Item $certTempFile

Image and Disk Mobility

Windows Azure is an open computing platform and allows for the movement of your virtual machine disks between on-premises and the cloud. There are two optimized cmdlets that enable either you to upload your VHD or download it.

Uploading a VHD

The first example shows how to upload a VHD to Windows Azure. This can be a bootable OS disk or simply a data disk (remove -OS Windows for data disks). After Add-AzureDisk is called you could use the New-AzureVMConfig cmdlet or the management portal to provision a virtual machine that boots off of the uploaded VHD.

$source = "C:\vmstorage\myosdisk.vhd"
$destination = "https://<yourstorage>"

Add-AzureVhd -LocalFilePath $source -Destination $destination -NumberOfUploaderThreads 5
Add-AzureDisk -DiskName 'myosdisk' -MediaLocation $destination -Label 'mydatadisk' -OS Windows 

Downloading a VHD

Not only can you upload a disk to Windows Azure but it is also easy to download a VHD as well! The example below shows how you can save a VHD to the local file system ready to run on a Hyper-V enabled system. (Note: a virtual machine should not write to the VHD at the same time you are trying to download it).

$source = "https://<yourstorage>"
$destination = "C:\vmstorage\myosdisk.vhd"
Save-AzureVhd -Source $source -LocalFilePath $destination -NumberOfThreads 5 

VMDK Conversion and Migration to Windows Azure

If you have VMWare based virtual machines that you would like to migrate you can use the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter Solution Accelerator to convert the disks to VHDs and then use the Add-AzureVHD cmdlet to upload the VHD and create a virtual machine in Windows Azure from it.

Copying a VHD across Windows Azure Regions

# Source VHD (West US)
$srcUri = "http://<yourweststorage>"      

# Target Storage Account (East US)
$storageAccount = "<youreaststorage>"
$storageKey = "<youreaststoragekey>"

$destContext = New-AzureStorageContext  –StorageAccountName $storageAccount `
                                        -StorageAccountKey $storageKey  

# Container Name
$containerName = "vhds"

New-AzureStorageContainer -Name $containerName -Context $destContext

$blob = Start-AzureStorageBlobCopy -srcUri $srcUri `
                                   -DestContainer $containerName `
                                   -DestBlob "testcopy1.vhd" `
                                   -DestContext $destContext   
$blob | Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState 

Enhanced Security -AdminUserName is required for Windows (Breaking Change)

In order to protect you from unwanted attacks from connections attempting to use the dictionary on your password, we have made it mandatory to supply a username.
This change affects the New-AzureQuickVM and the Add-AzureProvisioningConfig cmdlets used for VM creation. Each will have a new –AdminUserName parameter that is now required.
Make sure you can remember it but do not use obvious names like Administrator or Admin.

High Memory Virtual Machine Support

The latest version of the WA PowerShell Cmdlets now support the new higher memory SKU sizes of A6 and A7 for larger workloads. For more information about Windows Azure compute sizes see the following:


Managing Availability Sets on Deployed VMs

We have also added the ability to specify availability set configuration for groups of virtual machines for highly available configurations. Previously, this could only be set at deployment time or post deployment from the Windows Azure Management Portal. For more information on availability sets see the following article:

Get-AzureVM -ServiceName "mywebsite" | Where {$_.Name -like "*web*"} | 
    Set-AzureAvailabilitySet -AvailabilitySetName "wfe-av-set" |

Wrapping Up

I hope you are excited about the new features in the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets. If you would like to try this yourself you will need a subscription, to download the WA PowerShell Cmdlets and a short read on getting started.

Michael Washam
Senior Program Manager – Windows Azure

Speaking at MMS 2013

If you will be attending MMS 2013 next week in Las Vegas and want to learn more about automating the cloud with the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets please stop by my session!

WS-B311 Take Control of the Cloud with the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets

In this session you will learn how to tame the simplest to most advanced Windows Azure deployments with the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets. Automate repetitive tasks and learn how build advanced reproducible deployments so you can save time and money while working in the cloud. The presenter will cover dev-ops scenarios with Virtual Machines and Cloud Services in this demo packed session.

Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets Now Supports Storage!

The Windows Azure Storage team has delivered an outstanding set of PowerShell cmdlets for managing and using storage from PowerShell.

The new abilities include the ability to create and manage containers and blobs which includes the ability to asynchronously copy blobs (across storage accounts and across regions!).

A quick example of how to kick off async blob copies is below. The cmdlets were designed to allow multiple blob copies to start and then to monitor the results at a later time. This allows the end user to take advantage of the async nature of the APIs instead.

Import-Module Azure
Select-AzureSubscription mysubscription

$destContext = New-AzureStorageContext  –StorageAccountName $storageAccount `
                                        -StorageAccountKey $storageKey

New-AzureStorageContainer -Name $containerName

$blob1 = Start-CopyAzureStorageBlob -srcUri $srcUri1 `
                                 -DestContainer $containerName `
                                 -DestBlob $fileName1 `
                                 -DestContext $destContext 

$blob2 = Start-CopyAzureStorageBlob -srcUri $srcUri2 `
                                 -DestContainer $containerName `
                                 -DestBlob $fileName2 `
                                 -DestContext $destContext 

$blob3 = Start-CopyAzureStorageBlob -srcUri $srcUri3 `
                                 -DestContainer $containerName `
                                 -DestBlob $fileName3  `
                                 -DestContext $destContext 

$blob1 | Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState 
$blob2 | Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState
$blob3 | Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState

The output of the Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState cmdlet is below:

CopyId            : 60a3c559-14f4-4b37-ae2b-80755fc072c4
CompletionTime    : 3/27/2013 10:33:29 PM +00:00
Status            : Success
Source            :
BytesCopied       : 32212255232
TotalBytes        : 32212255232
StatusDescription : 

CopyId            : 0c665b44-aa33-47db-8367-b00aa450ed78
CompletionTime    : 3/27/2013 10:33:30 PM +00:00
Status            : Success
Source            :
BytesCopied       : 32212255232
TotalBytes        : 32212255232
StatusDescription : 

CopyId            : d425fae7-c9ba-4816-a81e-d0ded84baa75
CompletionTime    : 3/27/2013 10:33:31 PM +00:00
Status            : Success
Source            :
BytesCopied       : 32212255232
TotalBytes        : 32212255232
StatusDescription : 

The complete list of storage cmdlets are below:

  • Get-AzureStorageContainerAcl
  • Get-AzureStorageBlob
  • Get-AzureStorageBlobContent
  • Get-AzureStorageBlobCopyState
  • Get-AzureStorageContainer
  • New-AzureStorageContainer
  • New-AzureStorageContext
  • Remove-AzureStorageBlob
  • Remove-AzureStorageContainer
  • Set-AzureStorageBlobContent
  • Set-AzureStorageContainerAcl
  • Start-CopyAzureStorageBlob <- will likely be renamed to Start-AzureStorageBlobCopy
  • Stop-CopyAzureStorageBlob <- will likely be renamed to Stop-AzureStorageBlobCopy

Optimized Windows Azure IaaS Disk Mobility with Save-AzureVhd

In the most recent Windows Azure PowerShell update we have introduced a new cmdlet called Save-AzureVhd to complement Add-AzureVhd.

Save-AzureVhd provides an optimized download experience where it uses the underlying Page blob APIs to only download written bytes. In other words if you have a 1TB VHD but only have a few GB of data written to it the cmdlet will only download the 2-3GB of data. The cmdlet writes the disks as fixed disks on the local disk so you will of course need the full disk size (1TB in this example) on the local storage location.

Here is a quick example to get you up and running:

# Select correct subscription - ensure CurrentStorageAccount is set!
Select-AzureSubscription mysubscription

# Source VHD Location
$source = ""

# Target VHD Location
Save-AzureVhd -Source $source -LocalFilePath "d:\LocalStorage\myosdisk.vhd"

I’m working on another code sample to download the disks of an entire VM for an offline backup. I’ll post it as soon as it is ready 🙂


Office 365 “Access denied by Business Data Connectivity” connecting to SQL Server / Azure

I haven’t wrote a blog post on SharePoint in awhile but this one seemed worthy of the effort.

I’ve been experimenting with Office 365 lately and all I wanted to do was add a connection to a Windows Azure SQL Database and surface it up as an external content type.

There is of course no straightforward documentation on how to do this but plenty of content advising that you can. I walked through the motions of creating a DB. I then went into the secure store and created a Target Application ID (Removing from User Name and Password) and then set the user name and password (a separate step).

Next I loaded SharePoint Designer (why? because I couldn’t find NEW External Content Type button anywhere else) and created a new external content type. I selected the appropriate Application ID and tried to connect and was met with the ever so useful error:  “Access denied by Business Data Connectivity”

I’ve searched for quite a while and the most common resolution is someone saying that you cannot connect to SQL Azure directly and to use WCF wrapper or some 3rd party product.

I hate writing wrappers for things that should be simple so I kept looking. I finally tracked it down and I’m blogging about it so I can look it up later when I forget and hopefully help someone else 🙂

Step 1:

In the SharePoint admin center click BCS then Manage BCS Models and External Content Types

Step 2:

Select Set Metadata Store Permissions

Step 3:

Add your user account and select appropriate permissions.

You will now be able to complete creation of the external content type. You will need to come back in here and use the Set Object Permissions once it is created..

Hope this helps!

New Role within Microsoft

I have a new job! 🙂

As of 1/28/2013 I will move over to the Windows Azure Runtime team as a Senior Program Manager. So instead of just talking about how great Windows Azure is I’ll have the opportunity to make it even better.

My initial focus will be on the Developer and IT Pro client experience. This will mean a lot of work focusing on Cloud Services(PaaS) and Virtual Machines(IaaS) usability and functionality. The first order of business is building improving upon the command line and SDK experience for our compute options.

I’m very open and interested in feedback so please let me know how I can help 🙂

Michael Washam
mwasham at

How to provision a Linux VM in a VNET with PowerShell

Getting Started Links

# From Get-AzureVMImage 
$img = 'b39f27a8b8c64d52b05eac6a62ebad85__Ubuntu-12_04_1-LTS-amd64-server-20121218-en-us-30GB'
$user = 'somelinuxuser'
$pass = 'somelinuxpwd!'
$vnet = 'HybridVNET'
$ag = 'WestUSAG'
$svcname = 'mylinuxsvc1' 

New-AzureVMConfig -Name 'linuxfromps1' -ImageName $img -InstanceSize Small |
	Add-AzureProvisioningConfig -Linux -LinuxUser $user -Password $pass |
	Set-AzureSubnet -SubnetNames 'AppSubnet' | # Optional 
	New-AzureVM -ServiceName $svcname -VNetName $vnet -AffinityGroup $ag