Sunday, May 24, 2015

Explore Cloud Storage with CloudXplorer

I've been working a lot with Azure Storage – creating some cool scripts/functions to demonstrate the use of Azure storage as well as managing my storage across several subscriptions. The lack of tooling has been a bit of a difficulty – the Azure Storage Explorer (on CodePlex: works, but I've found it pretty basic. And it fails to do a number of things for me (mainly remove old VHDs created during demos).

Today I found a new product: CloudXplorer, from ClumsyLeaf software. A commercial product (US$59, with larger numbers of licenses becoming cheaper per license). The product does, however both work across Azure Files, Amazon S3 and Google Storage! And it's fast.

After downloading and installing it you need to enter your storage account (and storage account keys) and then it looks something like this:


You can get the free trial from ClumsyLeaf's web site: It runs on Vista and above, and needs .NET 4. And, as I said, you need an azure, S3 or Google storage Tags: ,,

Friday, May 15, 2015

Managing Multiple Azure Subscriptions

Like many in the industry, I have multiple Azure subscriptions. When I create Azure resources, such as VMs, they are created in one of those subscriptions. However,  when I issue get-* cmdlets, such as Get-AzureVM, Azure only returns the objects in the 'current' Azure subscription, which can lead to some confusion (where did my VM go??).

Of course, when we look to making life easier for ourselves, we naturally turn to PowerShell. There is a cmdlet you can use to set a particular subscription to be the current subscriptions, which those Get-* cmdlets would then use. But that takes time – plus I seem never to remember the cmdlets and have to go discover the details.

To simplify things, I've written a short function that sets one of the subscriptions as current, which looks like this:

Function Set-CurrentAzureSubscription {
# Check minimum sub number
If ($subscriptionNumber -lt 0) {return 'Try again'}

# Get azure subs
$Subs = Get-AzureSubscription

# check the upper bound
If ($SubscriptionNumber -GE $Subs.count) {return 'try again'}

# set the sub as current
$Subs[$subscriptionNumber] |Select-AzureSubscription -Current
# and say so
"Subscription [$($subs[$subscriptionNumber].SubscriptionName)] set as current"

Set-Alias CAS Set-CurrentAzureSubscription

With this function and alias, I just type: CAS 0 to select the first subscription, and (in my case ) CAS 2 for the final one. Here's a look at using this:


As you can see, setting my current subscription causes Get-AzureVM to return different VMs! This function is now part of my $profile.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

And Another Azure PowerShell Release

The other day, I joked via twitter that if you blink, you would miss yet another new Azure feature. Well nearly! Just 6 days ago, I noticed (and tweeted) that there was a new release of Azure PowerShell. Excitingly, the version was 0.9.0. Lots of changes (a total of 469 separate commits) and loads of new cmdlets. Release 0.9.0 has 625 cmdle5ts and 83 aliases (in service management mode), and 336 cmdlets in Azure Resource Manager mode.

Well, just 5 days later, Microsoft released an updated version of the cmdlets – I am assuming this is a drop especially for Ignite. The new build, version 0.9.1, installs nicely over the earlier build. The new version has 8 additional cmdlets in service management mode, but a total of 448 cmdlets in resource management mode (or 112 new cmdlets!). The new MSI weighs in at 19.9mb!

The main thrust of both 0.9.0 and 0.9.1 have been to add new cmdlets to Azure Resource Manager mode.  This involves using Azure Templates about which is a subject for another blog post!

Veeam FastSCP for #Azure – a Cool Free Tool

Those nice folks at Veeam have just announced a new, cool, AND FREE tool to help you manage filestore on Azure VMs. As most of you will know, It's not particularly easy to get data into an Azure VM and back out. As Veeam's blog explains: there are ways to achieve this, but they do take work. Their new FastSCP tool enabled you to copy local files to Azure VMs and copy files in an Azure VM to an on-premises system.

The tool has some neat features. All copy operations are secure, with no need for separate encryption or VPNs. You can schedule the copy commands. The UI is wizard driven and very easy to use. FastSCP, which as I noted above is in beta, runs on Windows 7 and above and needs the .NET Framework 4, and PowerShell 2.0 or later. You can register for the download here:

One small thing: this tool copies files from and to VMs, it does not support copying files to Azure's Blob or File stores. It would be cool if the final version of FastSCP enabled that! Tags: ,,