How to migrate Azure Managed Disk to different subscription and region – Part II

On the previous post I describe what need to do to move Azure Managed Disks between subscriptions and after that between regions (see link HERE). Although I didn’t explore the steps mention to move between regions.

Here are the step-by-steps of each stage, mention on the previous post, of how to move the Azure Managed Disk between Azure Regions:

1. Stop the virtual machine from migrating

1. Navigate to the Azure portal (https://portal.azure.com)
2. Click Virtual Machines on the left-hand menu, then select the virtual machine to be migrated
3. Click Stop

2. Enable the Export function to generate a single URL containing the VHD of the managed disk to migrate

1. On the selected virtual machine, click on Disks

2. Select the managed disk that you want to migrate

3. Click Export

4. Click on the Generate URL button

5. Copy this unique URL pointing to the target VHD file to the Notepad or any other clipboard.

3. Create a storage disk in the target region of the new subscription

1. So now, we need to create a storage account in the target region on the target subscription

2. Create a Container (folder) containing the VHD file to use and retrieve the connection information to that storage account:

2.1. On the Azure portal, select All Services.
2.2. Scroll to storage, and then select storage accounts
2.3. On the Storage Accounts window, click Add
2.4. Select the subscription in which you want to create the storage account, as well as the target resource group
2.5. Enter the name for your storage account
2.6. Select the location of your storage account (target region)
2.7. Leave all other fields to their default value
2.8. Click Verify + Create to review your storage account settings and create the account.

3. After the storage account is created, click Blob on the container

4. On the Name field, type VHDs

5. Click the OK button to confirm. This folder will contain the VHD file copied to the new region.

6. Click VHDs and then select Properties

7. Copy the URL to the Notepad (example: https://tempmanagedisk.blob.core.windows.net/vhds)

8. Click access keys and copy the Key1 key to the Notepad.

4. Use the AzCopy command from an Azure virtual machine (this option will decrease the copying time) to copy the data (VHD file) from the managed disk to a storage account created in the target region of the new subscription

AzCopy is a command-line utility designed to copy data from/to an Azure Blob, to a file or to a Table using simple commands with optimum performance. You can copy data between a file system and a storage account, or between storage accounts.

To start, you need to download and then install the latest version of the AzCopy utility from the following link aka.ms/downloadazcopy on a Windows virtual machine hosted in Azure. This was the way that I found to speed up the process of transferring the data between managed disks.

So, let start with the steps to copy the data:

1. Run a command prompt from the Azure virtual machine

2. Select the C:\Program Files (x86) \microsoft SDKs\Azure\AzCopy Directory (the utility does not modify the path).

3. Type the command to copy the data from the source managed disk to the target storage account previously created in a target subscription:
        azcopy /source:”<URL_FROM_VHD>” /dest:”<URL_VHD_DESTINATION>” /destkey:”<KEY1>”

5. From the VHD in the storage account, create a managed disk

After the copy is completed, we need to create a managed disk from the VHD copied.

1. Click All services

2. Select disks and Add

3. Enter the name of the managed disk to be created from the VHD file copied to the Storage account

4. Select the target subscription, the target resource group, and especially the target region

5. From the source Type drop-down menu, select Storage Blob, and then click the Browse button

6. Select the target storage account

7. Select the VHDs container

8. Select the copied VHD file and then validate by clicking the Select button

9. Finally enter the size in GiB and then click the Create button.

6. From the previously managed disk created, recreate a virtual machine

Now that the managed disk is on a different region and subscription, the final step is to create a virtual machine from the managed disk.

1. On the Azure Portal, navigate to Disks

2. Click on the managed disk that was created

3. Create a virtual machine

4. Follow the steps to create the virtual machine.

With these 6 steps, we copied a managed disk from an Azure virtual machine from region A to region B of another subscription, and then recreated the virtual machine.

Finally, be aware that it is possible to enable migration of managed disks between 2 subscriptions from the Azure portal GUI, but this method does not allow you to change the region of the virtual machine (thus the managed disk) and is only valid if the source virtual machine is not backed up.

To enable this feature, run the following 2 commands from a PowerShell Azure window and the source subscription:

Register-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName ManagedResourcesMove -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Compute

Register-AzureRmResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Compute

Cheers,Marcos Nogueira
Azure MVP
azurecentric.com
Twitter: @mdnoga

How to migrate Azure Managed Disk to different subscription and region – Part I

On a recent project, I was asked to help move some virtual machines from a MSDN Subscription to a CSP subscription. With this move, we use the opportunity to consolidate on a different region as well. This last aspect makes the move a little more complex that was described on the Move resources to new resource group or subscription documentation.

The migration of resources between different or within the same subscription is relatively simple in Azure but does not apply to all resources. And unfortunately, these VMs were configured with managed disks, supporting the operating system and the data of the virtual machines are not part of it, at least at the time I write these lines.

The following link lists the services that can be moved, as well as those that cannot, such as managed disks: Move resources to new resource group or subscription

From the link above, in a few PowerShell lines, it is possible to migrate a managed disk from a subscription A to a B subscription, although within the same region. The New-AzureRmDiskConfig command provides the -Location parameter, which must specify the same source and target membership region. Here is the code used:

###SETTING THE VARIABLES###
#1#SOURCE OF MANAGED DISKS##
#Provide the subscription Id of the subscription where managed disk exists
$SourceSubscriptionId='<SOURCE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID>’
#Provide the name of your resource group where managed disk exists
$SourceResourceGroupName='<SOURCE_RESOURCE_GROUP>’
#Provide the name of the managed disk
$ManagedDiskName='<NAME_MANAGED_DISK>’
#2#TARGET DESTINATION OF MANAGED DISKS##
#Provide the subscription Id of the subscription where managed disk will be copied to
#If managed disk is copied to the same subscription then you can skip this step
$TargetSubscriptionId='<TARGET_SUBSCRIPTION_ID>’
#Name of the resource group where snapshot will be copied to
$TargetResourceGroupName='<TARGET_RESOURCE_GROUP>’
###SCRIPT###
#Provide the credentials to the Azure Portal
Connect-AzureRmAccount
#Set the context to the subscription Id where Managed Disk exists
Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId $SourceSubscriptionId
#Get the source managed disk
$ManagedDisk= Get-AzureRMDisk -ResourceGroupName $SourceResourceGroupName -DiskName $ManagedDiskName
#Set the context to the subscription Id where managed disk will be copied to
#If snapshot is copied to the same subscription then you can skip this step
Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId $TargetSubscriptionId
$DiskConfig = New-AzureRmDiskConfig -SourceResourceId $ManagedDisk.Id -Location $ManagedDisk.Location -CreateOption Copy
#Create a new managed disk in the target subscription and resource group
New-AzureRmDisk -Disk $DiskConfig -DiskName “testpp06” -ResourceGroupName $TargetResourceGroupName

As you probably thinking, the initial goal is complete, although we need to move the VMs to a different region. In this case, we just achieved the first part, because the managed disk was copied from the subscription A to the subscription B, but not in another region.

After a few tests, this is the method that I use. I’m sure that you will find other methods, but I found this very simple for this case. In the future post, I might script these steps, for automation purposes.

  1. Stop the virtual machine to migrate
  2. Enable the Export function to generate a single URL containing the VHD of the managed disk to be migrated
  3. Create a storage disk in the target region of the new subscription
  4. Use the AzCopy command from an Azure virtual machine (this option will decrease the copying time) to copy the data (VHD file) from the managed disk to a storage account created in the target region of the new subscription
  5. From the VHD in the storage account, create a managed disk
  6. From the previously managed disk created, recreate the virtual machine

Cheers,Marcos Nogueira
Azure MVP

azurecentric.com
Twitter: @mdnoga

Unresponsive Azure VM

Another day I was at one of my costumers, and a system engineer come to me asking me if I could help him troubleshoot an issue with an unresponsive Azure VM. I love this moments, specially when I can always learn new ways that users are using Azure.

OK, lets move to the issue. Here is the list of issues that he reports to me:

  • No RDP into VM
  • VM not “pingable” from the network (either on prem or on Azure)
  • Remote PowerShell not available

Usually when this kind of issues happen, I always recommend to redeploy (see picture below).

But what does the redeploy on an Azure VM does to fix the issue. Sometimes the VM running on the host/node on Azure, get “stuck” on a state that makes the VM seems inaccessible from the network, although from the monitoring the VM is still running. By redeploy the Azure VM, you are redeploying the VM on another host/node in the same Azure datacenter.

What this mean? Means that Azure will shutdown automatically your VM, move it to another host/node available with the capacity to run and then power it back. All of this process will retain the configuration, the resources associated and the disks.

How to redeploy an Azure VM

You have to option, either through the Azure Portal or through PowerShell

Azure Portal

  • On Azure Portal, navigate to the VM. Down on the left under Support + troubleshooting area, you will find the Redeploy.

  • When you select Redeploy, it will appear a page explaining what will happen. Then click Redeploy
  • After that you will see the status the VM changing to Updating. When the status change to Running the redeploy is finish and now you can access the VM.

PowerShell

If you want to use the Azure Cloud Shell or the PowerShell on your machine the command is the same.

Set-AzureRmVM -Redeploy -ResourceGroupName “<RESOURCE_GROUP>” -Name “<VM_Name>”

Cheers,

Marcos Nogueira
Azure MVP

azurecentric.com
Twitter: @mdnoga

Serial Console access on Azure Virtual Machine

Finally come the day that Microsoft was able to announce this feature. Accessing the serial console on an Azure VM is a huge step forward. But why is so important? It’s huge! Sometimes when our friend Mr Murphy comes and makes everything goes south, you are in a certain way limited on the diagnostic tools that you have, to troubleshoot the cause of that machine is not booting. Have access to the boot of the server (Linux or Windows) is crucial at this time. Serial Console access will end those day of redeploy a VM using the same disk, when this option is viable, off course. You can see the announcement here.

But let’s dive into the Accessing the Serial Console. On each VM that you have running on Azure, under the SUPPORT + TROUBLESHOOTING, you will find the Serial console (preview).

When you click on that, automatically start to connect to the Serial Console of that VM.

After a few seconds, finishes the connection. And show me this screen. But I can’t do anything.

If you scroll up, then some light at the end of the tunnel. OK, I need to enable the SAC (Special Administrative Console) on the server.

To access the Serial Console on the server you need the enable it. To enable, just follow the steps below:

  1. Connect to your VM through RDP (in this case a Windows VM)
  2. Open the cmd with elevated (administrative privileges)
  3. From the cmd prompt run the following commands
    bcdedit /ems {current} on
    bcdedit /emssettings EMSPORT:1 EMSBAUDRATE:115200
  4. Reboot the VM

And then, you have access to the serial console of your server.

Cheers,

Marcos Nogueira
Azure MVP

azurecentric.com
Twitter: @mdnoga

Instant Recovery Point and Large Disk Azure Backup support

With everything that happens on Azure, and following what has been announced of the increase of the size of the disk in Azure, from 1TB to 4TB, the only missing part of this was the support of Azure Backup to be able to backup and recovery those volumes.

But what changed? Today the Azure Backup job consist of the Two phases:

  1. Taking a VM snapshot
  2. Transferring the VM snapshot to Azure Backup Vault

So, depending how many recovery points you configure on your policy, it will only be available a recovery point when both phases are complete. With the introduction of Instant Recovery Points feature on Azure Backup, a recovery point is created as soon as the snapshot is finished. That means that you RPO and RTO can be reduced significantly.

You can use the same restore flow on Azure Backup, to restore from this instant recovery point. For this you can identify the recovery point from a snapshot in the Azure Portal, using the Snapshot as a recovery point type. Once the snapshot is on the Azure Backup Vault, the recovery point type will change to Snapshot and Vault.

By default, the snapshots are retained for 7 days. This will allow you to complete restore way faster, from these snapshots and at the same time, reducing the time required to copy the backup from the vault to the storage account where you want to restore.

Instant Recovery Point Features

Please note that all the features are not yet available, this is still on preview

  1. Ability to see snapshot taken as part of backup job to be available for recovery without waiting for data transfer to complete.Note: that this will reduce the wait on snapshot to be copied to vault before triggering restore. Also, this will eliminate the additional storage requirement we have for backing up premium VMs.
  2. As part of above feature, we will also enable some data integrity checks. This will take some additional time as part of backup. We will be relaxing these checks as we move and so it will reduce backup times.
  3. Support for 4TB unmanaged disks
  4. Ability to use original storage accounts (even when VM has disks are distributed across storage accounts). This will make restores faster for a wide variety of VM configurations.Note: this is not same as overriding the original VM.
  5. Ability to do above things for managed disks.

 

Is important to know that when you enable this feature you will notice the following:

Since the snapshot are store on the Azure Backup vault, to reduce the recovery point and reduce the restore time, you will see some increase on the storage cost, corresponding to the snapshots that are store for 7 days (if you go with the defaults).

When you are doing a restore from a snapshot recovery point for a Premium VM, you will might see a temporary storage location being used while the VM is created, as part of the restore.

Once you enable the preview feature, you can’t revert, that means you can go back and all the future backups will use this feature.

If you have the VMs with Managed Disks, this feature is not support yet. Although if you have VMs that are using Managed Disks, is supported, but they will be using the normal backup (the Instant Recovery Point will not be used, in this case). Virtual Machines migrations from unmanaged and managed are not supported.

If you want to try this feature, run the following commands:

  1. Open PowerShell with elevated privilege
  2. Login to your Azure Account
    Login-AzureRmAccount
  3. Select the subscription you want to enable the Instant Recovey Point feature
    Get-AzureRmSubscription –SubscriptionName “<SUBSCRIPTION_NAME>” | Select-AzureRmSubscription
  4. Register for the preview
    Register-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName “InstantBackupandRecovery” –ProviderNamespace Microsoft.RecoveryServices

 

Cheers,

Marcos Nogueira
Azure MVP

azurecentric.com
Twitter: @mdnoga