Not quite yet…

So the other day I said that I was moving this blog to Azure.  I have tinkered with that, and am actually making a little progress.  (This happens when you put little effort/time into something).  I decided to bring it back up where it was in order to do an easier transfer of the image content.  We shall see how that works out.  Wish me luck…

Migrating to Azure

So, at the time of this writing, my blog is down.  If you are reading this, then I must have succeeded in migrating it to Azure for hosting.  If I didn’t succeed, maybe I will be the only one who reads this.  I am an “on again/ off again” blogger, so anything is possible.

I have until a few months ago, hosted this blog on a server running on infrastructure at my employer.  I do that, because it is a good price (free) and because I mostly talk to myself in this blog anyway. 

There is a fairly simple “how to” on creating a WordPress site in Azure.  I am following this post to create a temporary site to test with.  If all goes well, I will do a test migration to this and then do it again to a “production” instance.

So far so good:


Open Live Writer

Since it first came out, I have been a fan of what was “Windows Live Writer”.  It was probably one of the simplest, and friendliest tools that came from Microsoft in the Windows Live time frame (in my opinion).   I recall coming across something a while back that reference an update to Live Writer, and today I actually downloaded it.

This post was written with “Open Live Writer”.  Cool right?


Express Route Provisioning Error


We have recently decided to invest in an Express Route circuit for Azure.  It is supposed to be helpful with Azure and Office 365.  There are two ways to provision the ExpressRoute circuit.  Both require PowerShell.

There is the classic:

And there is the Resource Manager:

Here is the note about those options:

Resource Manager: This is the newest deployment model for Azure resources. Most newer resources already support this deployment model and eventually all resources will.

Classic: This model is supported by most existing Azure resources today. New resources added to Azure will not support this model.

This seems to indicate that using Resource Manager is the right way to go long term.

The problem (for me currently) is the documentation isn’t quite where I think it should be.  If you try to run the commands to setup Express Route and ask for detailed help, you get little if any helpful information. 

One item that kind of bothers me.  When you request the service provider information using the “Get-AzureRmExpressRouteServiceProvider” command, the results are not as informative as they need to be.  I say this because the results look like this:

Name              : Verizon
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

Name              : Vodafone
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

Name              : Zayo Group
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

From that you are supposed to then run a command (per the documentation) that looks like this:

New-AzureRmExpressRouteCircuit -Name "ExpressRouteARMCircuit" -ResourceGroupName "ExpressRouteResourceGroup" -Location "West US" -SkuTier Standard -SkuFamily MeteredData -ServiceProviderName "Equinix" -PeeringLocation "Silicon Valley" -BandwidthInMbps 200

The problem is the previous results don’t give you the PeeringLocation.  All of them come back as “null”.  I looked at the sample output from the “Classic” process and picked the location that seemed to make the most sense.  The command finished so I assume that it worked correctly. 

StorSimple Virtual Appliance

I have been interested in StorSimple for some time, but haven’t actually used it before.  Recently, Microsoft announced a virtual appliance preview.  It looks pretty interesting and I have a test scenario where I want to use it.  If my testing goes well, I may expand my use of it. 

The documentation on it is pretty intimidating, since there are 15 PDFs to help you get started.

It is supported running on VMware and Hyper-V, and use cases are:

  • File Server – User file shares or Department file shares
  • iSCSI Server – Small SQL databases or User home folders

My initial test will be as a small departmental file share.

2015 Blog Report

Well, I didn’t hit the number I was hoping to hit.  I made it to 162, and I was hoping to make it to 175.  Maybe by the end of 2016?

Since this is a WordPress site and I use Jetpack here is a nice little report provided with no effort on my part:

Shrinking volumes

Sometimes, I find it useful to shrink volumes.  This happens about once every 2 or 3 years.  Since I do it so infrequently, I have to look it up every time.

In my experience, while you can do it from the GUI, it isn’t always successful.  Also, I have not ever seen it work to try and shrink it by the complete amount that is available to shrink.  My experiences are related to very large (larger than 1 TB) volumes.

To shrink via the command line, at an elevated prompt, do the following:

Diskpart – this is the disk management CLI

List volumes – this is the diskpart cmd that gives you a list of volumes (not to be confused with the list of disks

select volume <#> – this is how you select the volume that you want to work on, i.e. “select volume 2

shrink querymax – this tells you how much space can be trimmed off the volume.  There are several factors that affect this, but the primary things are how big the volume is to begin with, and where on that volume the un-movable system files  are located.

shrink desired=<size in MB> – this tells the volume to shrink by the amount of space given in MB.  I.e. “shrink desired=102400” will shrink the volume by 100GB.

shrink minimum=<size in MB> – this tells the volume to shrink by the amount specified, but only if it can shrink by that amount

You can use the minimum and desired together if you want.  You can also add a “NOWAIT” so that the prompt returns and you don’t have to wait to see the results.

Don’t instal build 10547

I have been very happy with the Windows 10 builds.  Most of them have at least been “no visible change” for me.  Build 10547 however, was not like that.

I had heard of some issues with that build from one of my co-workers, but nothing specific enough to not make think it was other than an anomaly.  However, when I installed the build, I was very unhappy. 

First, I rarely shut my machine down.  I had to do a hard shutdown 3 times on my machine after installing Build 10547, because the screen was black and only the mouse pointer was visible.   After I was able to get into the machine, the network adapter wasn’t working.  It has worked fine for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and every other build of Windows 10.  I kept getting activation errors for Office programs.  after 2 hours, I finally had to revert to the previous build. 

Build 10550 is supposed to have addressed some of these issues.  Cross your fingers.

Blog Status

When I got back on the Blog wagon, I intended to write more posts, and even came up with a list of topics that I wanted to write about.  So far I am not doing so well on that.  The last couple of posts that I wrote had to do with SharePoint, which wasn’t even on my list.  There has been a little bit of work on the topics I intended, but I haven’t done as much as I would like.  And I have definitely not done as much blogging as I intended (hoped) by this point.

A status update on my post count…  I am up to 159 (160 when this posts).  I get a few hits here and there on my random PowerShell contributions.  I still get a lot of hits on my DPM posts.  I don’t actually use DPM anymore (we use a third party hosted solution, not because there was any problem with DPM).  I get hits on some of my Hyper-V posts and a few other storage posts. 

My list included improving my management skills.  Maybe I should blog a little more about my experiences in that regard.

Security Token Service

Had a bit of a scare during a maintenance window.  Ran some updates on our SharePoint farm and after that one of the sites wasn’t coming up.  Kept getting a 503 error.  When I checked the event log, I found this error message:

An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: The HTTP service located at http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc/actas is unavailable.  This could be because the service is too busy or because no endpoint was found listening at the specified address. Please ensure that the address is correct and try accessing the service again later..

A quick search led to this article, and when I checked the AppPools, they were all stopped.

Starting the AppPools fixed the problem.