Azure Stack TP3 Receives an Update Enabling PaaS, Multi-Tenancy and New Deployment Process

 

For those thinking that there was nothing else coming up for Azure Stack TP3 and we only needed to wait for GA, Microsoft released an update for the preview which enables Azure PaaS services. These new services enabled are: Azure App Service and Azure Functions.

Additionally, SQL and MySQL platforms receive updated versions, there were some minor but important changes in the deploy process (see below for details) and some other stability improvements.

azurestacktp3update

Here’s a summary about Azure Stack TP3 refresh (for what was new with the initial TP3 release, please review the following: “Azure Stack TP3 is Here! And with Pricing”):

  • Azure App Service enabled. This service allows a true DevOps environment to build and manage hosted applications in the Azure environment. This update includes the possibility to include web apps, API apps and mobile apps.
  • Azure Functions. This is the serverless scenario for your apps and services, where you don’t need to worry to deploy virtual machines, network or any other component, the Azure platform provides what’s necessary for organizations to run the code for your application. These functions have several benefits, like running a specific code when an event is triggered or in a specific time frame.

azurestacktp3update01

  • Multi-tenancy support. You can use ADFS to trust other domains and provide service to those domains.
  • Updated versions for SQL and MySQL database services.
  • Reduced RAM consumption for IaaS. The VMs used in an IaaS scenario will consume less AM in the platform.
  • For SQL VMs in IaaS, additional management functions and SQL metrics.

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  • Updated deployment process for Azure Stack TP3. More details below.

 

Updated Deployment Process and Some Gotchas

The overall process to deploy Azure Stack stays similar as the initial Technical Previews (more info here: “Yada Yada Cloud: Azure Stack, what’s your story?”); but there are a few additional steps to consider and avoid deployment issues.

Here’s an updated step-by-step process to deploy Azure Stack TP3 with the new update:

1. Confirm that you meet the requirements. You can also use the Deployment Checker for Azure Stack to confirm your requirements.

2. Download Azure Stack Technical Preview, accessing this link.

3. If you already have Azure Stack implemented, remove all partitions of the four drives and start with a clean installation.

4. Extract Azure Stack files and copy the CloudBuilder.vhdx file into the C:\ drive.

5. Download the Azure Stack TP3 support files using PowerShell script.

# Variables
$Uri = ‘https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/AzureStack-Tools/master/Deployment/’
$LocalPath = ‘c:\AzureStack_SupportFiles’
# Create folder
New-Item $LocalPath -type directory
# Download files
( ‘BootMenuNoKVM.ps1’, ‘PrepareBootFromVHD.ps1’, ‘Unattend.xml’, ‘unattend_NoKVM.xml’) | foreach { Invoke-WebRequest ($uri + $_) -OutFile ($LocalPath + ‘\’ + $_) }

6. Run the PrepareBootFromVHD.ps1 script (confirm required parameters). Reboot will be required since the machine will boot into the VHDX.

.\PrepareBootFromVHD.ps1 -CloudBuilderDiskPath C:\CloudBuilder.vhdx –ApplyUnattend

7. Execute the “Install Azure Stack POC” PowerShell. Here’s one of the examples using one Azure Active Directory:

cd C:\CloudDeployment\Setup
$adminpass = ConvertTo-SecureString “<LOCAL ADMIN PASSWORD>” -AsPlainText -Force
$aadpass = ConvertTo-SecureString “<AAD GLOBAL ADMIN ACCOUNT PASSWORD>” -AsPlainText -Force
$aadcred = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential (“<AAD GLOBAL ADMIN ACCOUNT>”, $aadpass)
.\InstallAzureStackPOC.ps1 -AdminPassword $adminpass -InfraAzureDirectoryTenantAdminCredential $aadcred

8. Activate administrator and tenant portals. This is an important and new step, if the portals are not activated, only the administrator will be able to use the portals.

For the administrator portal, navigate to https://adminportal.local.azurestack.external/guest/signup, read the information, and then click Accept.

For the tenant portal, navigate to https://portal.local.azurestack.external/guest/signup, read the information, and then click Accept.

9. Connect to the Azure Stack POC using RDP or VPN, following the guideline: “Connect to Azure Stack”.

 

One could guess this latest update will be the last one before General Availability, but without confirmed date of release yet besides the mid-2017 comment, it would not surprise if we can have additional features showing up in TP3 and closer to GA functionalities. Microsoft stated that there will not be a Azure Stack TP4 release.

For more information about Azure Stack GA features: “Azure Stack: What should we expect for General Availability (GA)”.

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