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Posts Tagged ‘Windows Azure’

High level features of Azure Machine Learning

Hi All

 

In our previous article we “Starting with Azure Machine Learning” we created a free Microsoft Machine Learning account. If you haven’t done that, please create your own free ML account so you can practise and understand this article further. If you have an account already created and we are all good to go.

 

Azure Machine Learning Studio is a GUI-based integrated development.

 

Our next step is to understand very high level Azure ML options. Below are high level feature in Azure ML followed by understanding of each high level feature:

 

Projects: As you can see in the screenshot, Projects is a newly added feature to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning. An individual can work on multiple dataset, Notebook and experiment for different clients/projects. Unless we use a proper naming convention, it was difficult to understand which dataset is associated to which project/client. To resolve this issue, Projects was introduced so that we can consolidate all information related to single project in same location. I would say Projects was a very small change to Azure ML but it has a very big Impact.

 

Experiments: This is the brain and heart of Azure ML. Experiments is where we create new models and train our model on smaller data. We can iterate on our model design, editing the experiment and running it until it gives us the results we looking for. Experiments in Azure ML is a showcase for simple experiments that make it easier for someone who wants to start exploring machine learning, through datasets. We would be spending nearly 70 % of our time in Experiments by using different features like data format conversions, data input and output, feature selection, etc. Below is screenshot of same:

 

Web Services : When our model is ready, we can publish it as a web service so that others can send it new data and get predictions in return. This is a very important feature in Azure ML and we will discuss a lot about this feature in our upcoming articles.

 

NoteBooks : As you can see in the screenshot, Notebooks is a newly added feature to Microsoft Azure Machine Learning. As we have already seen and discussed, Azure ML is GUI based, drag and drop simple to use ML platform however we have lot of other platform which are non GUI base. Azure ML Notebooks is create to encourage those who still want to continue writing code. We can create a machine learning model in a notebook by writing the code and implementing the machine learning API.

 

Datasets: The first and the foremost thing we need in Machine Learning is data. Azure ML offers several sample datasets which are part of Machine Learning Studio. We ca use it or we have option to import data from many sources like from our local machine. Very common dataset formats are GenericCSV, Attribute-Relation File Format (ARFF), GenericTSV, DataTableDotnet, etc

 

Trained Models : We can say that trained Model is a part of web services. When our model is ready, we can publish it as a web service so that others can send it new data and get predictions in return. Similarly, I can use this trained models for my other dataset without publishing it and use it within same workspace. This is a very important feature in Azure ML and we will discuss a lot about this feature in our upcoming articles.

 

Settings: Workspace name, storage, account information, users, data gateways and Authorization tokens are options available in settings. This is just like any other settings available in applications.

 

I will explain uses of each and every High level feature and talk more in details about them in my upcoming articles.

 

Happy Learning!!

Starting with Azure Machine Learning

Hi All,

 

Today we create a Machine Learning account and will have a glance of very basics of Microsoft Machine Learning. Well machine learning in general helps to predict things based on its learning from data provided, for instance the weather, route you around traffic jams, and display personalized ads on your web pages. Throughout my upcoming articles we will learn how to use Azure machine learning in order to create, deploy, and maintain predictive solutions.

 

I will try to share my experience with Machine Learning data which issues I faced, solutions we used to resolve our issues. My aim to publish as many articles as possible to share everyday problems and solutions I go through and help you if you face same issues or similar issues with your experiment. So let’s get started with an experiment and ML.

 

To start with, we will create a free Microsoft Machine learning account. How do we create the same follow below steps:

  1. Create a new Microsoft live account from URL https://signup.live.com/
  2. Browse Site https://studio.azureml.net/
  3. Click on “Sign up Here
  4. Select “Sign In” which says “Free Workspace”.
  5. Once you Sign in with your account, you will have a Free Azure ML subscription ready to use.

 

So congratulation, you now have a Microsoft Azure Machine Learning account created with just 5 simple steps and less than 10 mins.

Advantages of this account is:

a.  Currently this is a life time free account from Microsoft

b. You get free 10 GB of storage space which can be used for data processing.

c. You get R and Python scripts support

d. You will Predictive web services support

 

Now, I would like you to go through below options like Project, experiment, Web services, etc to understand what they are. I will go through all of them one by one and explain each one of them in detail in my upcoming articles.

 

Happy Learning!!!!

 

Reference : https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/43800.starting-with-azure-machine-learning.aspx

SharePoint 2016 Farm configuration issue on Windows Azure Virtual Machine

Hi All,
I hope you all know that now we can create a SharePoint 2016 VM on Windows Azure. In case you have not tried it yet, you can follow below:

Select New on Windows Azure > Compute > Virtual Machine > From Gallery > Select SharePoint from left hand navigation > Select SharePoint Server 2016 IT preview
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While I was working with this VM, I came across an issue where I was unable to configure a SharePoint 2016 farm using the SharePoint 2016 VM created in Windows Azure using one of their template. I found that root of issue was Active Directory. SharePoint cannot work without active directory and not everyone using Azure creates a VM with AD in Windows Azure itself. If you plan to create an AD forest in Azure and then add SharePoint 2016 VM to that domain, please follow my article:

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2015/02/09/creating-a-lab-on-windows-azure.aspx

 

If you are planning to use this VM only for learning purpose then you may want to create a SharePoint farm without Active Directory. Unlike previous versions of SharePoint, you cannot use Single Server install model to create a SharePoint farm without Active Directory or without installing SQL server.

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To overcome this issue you need 1st install SQL Server and then use below PowerShell command to configure your SharePoint farm. You can download SQL server from below link

https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=42299 

 

Once SQL server is installed and your local admin account has access to SQL server, you can use SharePoint PowerShell to create tour SharePoint 2016 Farm.
1. Open SharePoint PowerShell as Admin
2. You may want to type below command and provide actual values. When you execute the command, you will be requested for credentials of your local admin account you used while creating this Virtual Machine.
New-SPConfigurationDatabase -DatabaseName “SP2016_config” -DatabaseServer “Name of SQL Server” -Passphrase (ConvertTo-SecureString “Sharepoint@2016” -AsPlainText -force) -LocalServerRole SingleServerFarm -FarmCredentials (Get-Credential)

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Note: I have observed that when people try to copy paste such commands, hyphen(-) sign does not work, so remove and add these sign again in whole command.

Once above command is executed successfully without any issue, you can execute SharePoint PSconfig wizard and complete SharePoint farm configuration.

Hope this will help you.

 

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure – Install SQL, SharePoint. etc. labs as part of this domain

  • Install SQL, SharePoint. etc. labs as part of this domain

Once we are confirmed using script we are able to add new Virtual Machine to domain, we can use the ready to use SharePoint, SQL, etc. VM’s as part of our Lab environment. Let’s see an example of SharePoint server.

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select “Virtual Machines” from left menu and select “Create a Virtual Machine”

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  1. Under “Virtual Machine” select “From Gallery”

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  1. On the Choose an Image screen select SharePoint server 2013 Trial. This trial works for 180 days.

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  1. Type the Machines necessary details like Hardware configuration, Machine name, username and password
  2. Now we have an important step in the process. Select the DEMONETWORK you created in Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network. Make sure our Virtual network name is selected in Virtual Network Subnet. Click on Next

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  1. Now comes the most important step, we need to select Custom Script on this page and select the Join.ps1 script we just created. Click Finish

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  1. Now you can see that even SharePoint server is ready within few minutes
  2. Advantage here is that you have a single credential stored on Active directory using which you manage all the Virtual Machine and work on your lab.
  3. Below you can see that I have created SQL server, SharePoint server and started using them in just couple of minutes.

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure – When creating a new server it should be part of this domain

We are nearly done with our Domain related activities. Now we need to make sure that all the Virtual Machines we create are part of same Active Directory. This will help us to manage the server and users in domain. In number of Demos we need a domain (AD), so we have met the most important pre-requisites.

 

  1. You need to copy below script into a notepad and save it as join.PS1

///// SCRIPT START HERE   ////

 

$domainName = “type domain name here e.g. demo.com. It should be in quotes”

$username = “type domain\username e.g. demo\user1. It should be in quotes”

$password = “type password of above user e.g. 213@jjj. It should be in quotes”

$securePass =  ConvertTo-SecureString $password -AsPlainText -Force

$cred = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($username, $securePass)

Add-Computer -DomainName $domainName -Credential $cred -Restart –Force

////// SCRIPT END HERE   ////

 

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select “Virtual Machines” from left menu and select “Create a Virtual Machine”

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  1. Under “Virtual Machine” select “From Gallery”

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  1. On the Choose an Image screen select “Windows server 2012 R2” and select Next
  2. Type the Machines necessary details like Hardware configuration, Machine name, username and password

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  1. Now we have an important step in the process. Select the DEMONETWORK you created in Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network. Make sure our Virtual network name is selected in Virtual Network Subnet. Click on Next

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  1. Now comes the most important step, we need to select Custom Script on this page and select the Join.ps1 script we just created. Click Finish

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  1. You will observer that your machine will reboot during the initialization process.
  2. Now when the machine is created, Open Server Manager and you will observe it is already part of Demo domain. On the domain controller in “Active Directory users and computers” you should be able to see the newly added

 

Note: In some rare scenario, the new computer may not get added to the domain. In that case, please run above PowerShell command line by line and the computer would be added to domain.

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure – Continue

  • Update Domain setting on Virtual Network and bind it to Private IP on DC

So far we have created a Virtual Network and a Domain controller in that Virtual network. I hope this process was simple enough for you to follow. It is very important that Domain Controller and DNS have a static IP address so that all other machines know whom to contact to authenticate and resolve computer name. Now we need to make sure that our domain controller has a static IP address and then assign it to DNS on Virtual Network. To do so we will follow below steps:

 

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select Virtual Machine from left Menu
  3. Select the Virtual Machine we just created and click on Connect at bottom
  4. Now RDP to the Virtual Machine we created as a Domain Controller
  5. Open Windows PowerShell and run command “IPConfig”. Make a note of IP address
  6. Click on Start and Open DNS manager. Expand Computer name > Forward Lookup Zone > Demo.com > Make sure Ipconfig and DNS has same IP address.

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  1. Make sure you are connected to Azure PowerShell account by following steps we discussed in section “Connect to your Azure Subscription using PowerShell”
  2. Run command “Get-AzureVM”. You should be able to see your Azure Virtual Machine name, make a note of same

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  1. Run below command in Azure PowerShell

Get-AzureVM -ServiceName “Service name from Get-AzureVM command” -Name “name from Get-AzureVM command”| Set-AzureStaticVNetIP -IPAddress “10.0.0.4” | Update-AzureVM

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  1. Now the system will get restarted and a Static IP will be assigned to same. We need to update the same IP in the Virtual Network we created in Azure.
  2. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  3. Select “Network” from left pane > Select the “Demo Network” we created > Click “Configure” on top.
  4. Update the IP Address of Domain Controller and Domain name. E.g. demo 10.0.0.4. Click on Save at bottom to save these changes

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure – Continue

  • Create a server on Azure in the Virtual Network

If you have worked on Hyper-V or any other Virtual server environment, this process is pretty simple for you. Here we will create our Virtual Machines. First machine would be our Domain Controller also known as DC. This server manage DNS, AD Users, etc. and normally the 1st and most important server in a company.

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select “Virtual Machines” from left menu and select “Create a Virtual Machine”

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  1. Under “Virtual Machine” select “From Gallery”

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  1. On the Choose an Image screen select “Windows server 2012 R2” and select Next
  2. Type a unique name for the Virtual Machine. Select a username and password which you will never forget.(Selected a Low configuration because I won’t be using it much)

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  1. Now we have the most important step in the process. Select the DEMONETWORK you created in Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network. Make sure our Virtual network name is selected in Virtual Network Subnet. Click on Next.

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  1. Now Select Finish.
  2. Once the Machine is created, you will get a Connect button at bottom of screen.

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure – Continue

  • Create a Virtual Network in Azure.

Now let’s create a Virtual Network in Azure like we do in our Hyper-V servers. We need this Virtual network so that all the new and old Machine are in same IP range and can communicate with each other. You don’t need to be a Networking expert to do so. Just follow steps mentioned below.

 

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select “Network” from left hand menu > Select “New” on left bottom corner
  3. Now in the Menu select “Custom Create”
  4. Now type the network name and select the data center for that network(note all computers should be in the same datacenter)

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  1. For now we will keep this DNS server empty (We should have our Domain controller DNS IP here. Our DC is not yet created so we keep it blank). Click on Next

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  1. On “Virtual Network Address Spaces”, provide name of your network and Subnet count (I won’t have more than 256 machines so selected same). Click on “Add Subnet”. Click on Finish

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Here we have our Virtual Network created. Note this Network will then be used while creating our Virtual Machine. The very first machine we will create is our Domain controller. Once the domain controller is created we will update it in DNS server records used above.

Creating a Lab on Windows Azure

Recently when I got access to Azure I wanted to create my lab on Azure which took me days to figure out the process. It is similar to what we do on our Hyper V machines but a bit complex in nature because we are working on cloud

 

We follow the same process on our local machine to create a Lab environment but normally we are short of resources like  Disk Space, RAM, CPU which is the taken care by Azure. Biggest dis-advantage for our local system environment is when you buy these resources, you don’t use it all the time which we have already paid for. In Azure we pay only when you use it.

 

Today we will understand how we can create our own Lab environment on Windows Azure. The whole process is lengthy to explain so I have divided it in 8 different parts listed below. Hope you will enjoy learning it.

 

  • Connect to your Azure Subscription using PowerShell.
  • Create a Virtual Network in Azure
  • Create a server on Azure in the Virtual Network
  • Create a new domain
  • Update Domain setting on Virtual Network and bind it to Private IP on DC
  • When creating a new server it should be part of this domain
  • Install SQL, SharePoint. labs as part of this domain
  • Troubleshoot common issue during this process

 

 

  • Connect to your Azure Subscription using PowerShell

You cannot create your lab with just Azure User Interface. It’s said that “Well planned is half done”. So let’s plan and prepare our self with Azure PowerShell.  Go to below link and download Microsoft Web Platform installer.

 

  1. You can use it download and install Azure PowerShell

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  1. Once the PowerShell is downloaded and installed, we will get below message

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  1. Now we will download the Azure Setting file to connect to our Azure subscription. In the Azure PowerShell, type below command.

Get-AzurePublishSettingsFile

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  1. Once you login to your Azure website, you will get a file named “Visual Studio Premium with MSDN-date-credentials.publishsettings”.

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Note: File name may change based on your subscription. Save it to a secure location. This file contains secure credentials and additional information about subscriptions that you can use in your Azure environment.

 

  1. Now Import the Azure Settings file to PowerShell. Run “Import-AzurePublishSettingsFile” and then type path of the file we just downloaded as shown in below image.

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  1. To check Subscription details run below command

Get-AzureSubscription

Create a Active Directory Forest on a Windows Azure VM

  • Create a new domain

Now let’s configure this server to be a Domain Controller. As discussed earlier Domain controller manage DNS, AD Users, etc. and are normally the 1st and most important server in a company.

 

  1. Login to your Azure Subscription Portal site https://manage.windowsazure.com
  2. Select Virtual Machine from left Menu
  3. Select the Virtual Machine we just created and click on Connect at bottom
  4. Now RDP to the Virtual Machine we created and click on Server Manager

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  1. Select Manager > Add Roles and Features

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  1. Select “Next” on Installation Type screen

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  1. Select “Next” on Destination Server screen

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  1. Check Box “Active Directory Domain servers”

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  1. Click on “Add Feature” on pop-up screen

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  1. Select the check box “Restart the destination server if required” > Click OK

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  1. Once it is installed, Click on Close

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  1. Open the Server Manager again, Click on Flag at top and select “Promote this server to a Domain Controller”

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  1. Select “Add a New forest”, type domain name
  2. Type the DSRM password and click “Next” (Note: this is required when you try to recover your active directory)

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  1. Now you will have to select your domain name. For example. Demo.com
  2. The NetBIOS Name screen will remove .com and you will see only demo.
  3. Select the Default location of installation and click “Next”
  4. Click on “Install”

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  1. Once the Computer is restarted, your Domain Controller would be ready.

Note: From now on when you logon to server you need use your domain name along with username we just created to authenticate to server. Example: demo\user1