Modern apache authentication with Azure AD



One of the key topic areas for us at the moment is modernizing our applications - in most cases this is trying to move to more cloud native architectures like PaaS. However another aspect of this is dealing with the authentication process for applications - over time we (as most other companies will have) have built up a huge array of different authentication mechanisms (and authorization - but I'll ignore that for now). Users have (more...)

Some MySql/zabbix findings



This past week I've been looking in to creating some reports out of our zabbix database that we host in an Azure MySQL PaaS service (i.e. a proper PaaS where everything is managed via a web gui/api calls - there is no 'server' that can be logged in to - at least not by end PaaS consumers).

Now my MySQL experience is pretty limited - I've installed it in the past and run some (more...)

Monitoring java app servers (Tomcat) with Zabbix



This past week we've been trying to enhance our monitoring of java application servers (in our case Tomcat) using zabbix. This actually proved to be a lot more fiddly than we had hoped - and actually this is largely due to two reasons:

1) The documentation is not clear on the architecture
2) The error messages are somewhat misleading

Let me start off by talking about the first point - from the docs I have (more...)

Azure metadata service





I discovered this purely by chance this week and thought it would be useful to share.


Seems there is some functionality in Azure that lets you extract some information about the VM (that is not directly available on the VM itself) from the Azure platform itself - it's easier to explain what I mean by a simple example


If i'm logged in to a VM I have no way of knowing what type/size of VM (more...)

Azure AKS and the quest for a PaaS ftp server



Bit of a longer post this one as this took me ages to get working and involved me having to try to learn lots of new stuff to the level where i could make it work.....(without really truly understanding a lot of it - so if there are mistakes don't be surprised)

So what was i trying to do? - well we still receive some files from external 3rd parties via ftp, these should (more...)

Azure storage – Schrödinger’s cat


Anyone remember Schrödinger's cat - the 'thought' experiment from the 1930's that pondered if the cat was alive or dead - well I'm not going to go into that but just use it as a pointless premise to have a picture of a cat. If the picture shows, then the cat is alive, if it doesn't then the cat is dead.

Now thats set a little backstory on to the technical point i want to (more...)

logic apps inserting to an ‘on premises’ database



Logic apps are one of the nicest features I've discovered so far in Azure - they allow application logic to be built very simply without really having to do 'proper coding'. The one downside is that these are only available as public endpoints (which is great for many use cases) but in my example case i wanted to run a logic app that could put some data back into an on premises database - by (more...)

Azure VM extensions



VM extensions allow you to install additional software/features into your VM without having to actually log on to the VM to do that.Whilst looking into it this past week i realised there are a lot more available than i had realised.

If you go to the extensions blade in the portal you see a few listed (see screenshot below) and i had kind of thought that this was it.

These seem to be more (more...)

Cross workspace reporting in log analytics



We had some consultants in last week talking about many different Azure topics - one of the things i mentioned was that it was really annoying that there seemed to be no way to report across multiple log analytics workspaces from a single point - take the example that i have some data in one workspace that also has some related data in a dashboard i want to built in a completely different workspace - (more...)

Using powershell in cloud shell to show windows licences



Now I'm no powershell expert , i would describe myself as a beginner but I'm able to re-use concepts from other scripting tools/languages to build what i want to do (i'm still not sure if powershell is a scripting or programming language sometimes - it seems a bit of a mash up of lots of things). Anyway one of the things i do find frustrating when building things is that it often needs extra modules, (more...)

Azure AD Domain Services (AADDS) – some thoughts



I thought i'd share some thoughts on 'domain services' inside Azure - some good things and some bad following on from our implementation and now we have got to know some of its benefits and limitations.

For those of you from a non AD background (which was me until very recently) you are probably only aware of the domain as something you log in to with your corporate username/password - you know machines are 'joined' (more...)

Azure billing data in OMS – who needs 3rd party tools…….



We've been looking into getting better control over our spending in Azure - as many of you may have found it's very easy to start spending a lot more than you intended - and this is true of all cloud providers - resources are so easy to add they get forgotten about or oversized or aren't shut down when not in use and the costs can really rack up.

Microsoft do offer some ways to (more...)

Writing your own custom log messages to OMS



I'm still trying to get my head round the whole OMS topic and how it really fits into our azure management/monitoring framework. As part of working that out I've today been working out how to add my own custom logs which i could then make sure of to do nice graphs and possibly build alerts off.

Largely what i did was based off this example from Stefan https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/stefan_stranger/2016/09/05/using-the-http-oms-data-collector-api-for-real-world-scenarios-part-1/

I had trouble though (more...)

Auditing Azure operations



It was highlighted this week the importance of knowing who does what through the Azure framework - an item (a storage account) had been removed and we needed to know who had done that and when.

Helpfully this is provided out of the box and all operations are automatically logged (whether they come from the portal, powershell, rest api's or any form of interaction with Azure). To access this information we just need to navigate (more...)

Adios DBA, Hello Azure



This post has been a while coming, from some of my posts over the past few months you may have detected a change in direction somewhat - there's still been the odd Oracle thing in there but a lot of other seemingly more random stuff - much of which has been focused around Azure in one form or another.

This reflects a change in career direction for me which i really wouldn't have imagined 18 (more...)

Anyone can be a developer – logic apps from Azure



As we go further and further down the rabbit hole that is Azure it becomes more and more apparent how good the platform is. However logic apps takes that to a whole new level - anyone can develop useful code with this - it's amazing (and this is coming from a very cynical 20 year DBA veteran....).

To demonstrate this i am going to show a simple example of what it can do - (more...)

Text me baby…..



This week I've been looking into the possibility of getting our monitoring system(s) to be able to send SMS alerts in the event of really critical problems - to try and prevent business outages or at least get us alerted ahead of the game before the business calls us out to tell us something isn't working.

In the olden days (pre 2018...... - seriously pace of change in IT at the moment is crazy) out (more...)

Best plsql function ever…..?



Total clickbait title i know and this isn't likely to be the best formatted you'll ever see or the one that has the cleverest use of objects/arrays (i'll leave that to the real experts like Steven) but this is probably the function that i've developed i've been most pleased with - it pulls together a few features used be me in the past - namely:

1) Rest calls from plsql
2) clobs within plsql
3) (more...)

Doing stuff in Azure via REST



So the journey into Azure continues - today I've been looking into how we can call the REST api that Microsoft provide in Azure so we can understand how it works and see what it can be used for.

There is a possibility we want to programaticaly do things in azure from code so i want to see how the mechanics of that could work.

In this simple example I'm just going to use a (more...)

Helping hell freeze over….



With Microsoft's embrace of all things open source since Satya took over the helm more and more strange things seem to be possible.

This week i wanted to install the azcopy utility on linux to enable rapid copying of files to azure storage so i went about doing it - the first step to make this possible is to install dotnet for linux (yes you did hear that right).

Now we have a really old (more...)