For anyone trying to acquire Azure AD Basic Licenses for a tenant other than your default corporate tenant within an Enterprise Agreement (think o365 here), you might just be out of luck. In working with Microsoft we’ve figured out that effectively nobody within their organization fully understands how to both sell the licenses, as well as support them. Numerous premier cases and discussions result in the resounding confirmation that those licenses are just not meant for anyone.

Under the covers, the issue is simply that licenses for Azure AD are assigned to an Agreement Number (AN). That AN is then assigned to a tenant in Azure AD. And here is the kicker… One AN cannot be assigned or shared between tenants. But how do you get an AN? Well simple, you just have to go back through the license process… well not so simple. Getting those agreements set up is like an act of congress. Not to mention, if you work for a company that has a legal department, you have just commited yourself to a fine dining experience with some lawyers. All to no avail… you see, my belief is that Microsoft doesn’t actually ‘want’ to sell these things. If they did, they wouldn’t be one of the only components of Azure that do not work like a consumptive service. DevOps mentality shattering, 1990’s style ordering is it’s preference. That’s right, no button to purchase, but you can pick up the phone and call third party distributor! Taste’s like modern, no?

So what do you do?! If you are wanting to use Azure AD as an auth store, maybe for a cloud application, what are you to do?

Enter, Azure AD B2C… the thing that takes Azure AD, mucks with it’s license setup and associates it to a subscription with duck tape and bailing wire. I have this believe that before Azure AD changed ownership inside Microsoft that the original group thought up Basic Licensing, and the new group through up B2C. Just an observation from the outside world. Seriously, why would we have a half baked product license for the old one that has no automated order process, replaced by a kind-of-new-kinda-old one that removes it and makes it consumptive?

Either way, both need some serious attention from the user experience department. Azure AD and Azure AD B2C both feel and act like an afterthought… a monster created by a mad scientist using spare body parts.

/Rant

One of the issues that has existed with Azure as a cloud service provider was the simple lack of any access to the console. While it is understood the need for that access is rare, it is a valuable diagnostic tool for when the state of your system falls on its face. Other cloud providers give access to the console not only for diagnostic processes, but also for operational use. But Azure has been left in the corner. That is until now! BootDiag

Microsoft has enhanced Azure to allow for “boot diagnostics” which gives the tenant user the ability to see one of two things.

  • If running linux, the serial output stream is collected and displayed. LinuxBoot
  • If running windows, the console screen is captured and displayed. WindowsBoot

This is not a perfect offering, in that it is only “view” access to the consoles. It is, however, a great step forward from what we used to have access to.

So how does one actually start using this offering? It’s quite simple, but it does require a configuration change to any VM that you want to enable the functionality on.

  • You can start by simply going into the Azure Preview Portal.
  • After you sign in, navigate to a VM you want to enable functionality on.
  • If you have not enable diagnostics on this VM, you will be required to do that. Navigate to “Diagnostics” and enable it, giving it a storage account, and selecting the diag options you want before clicking save. NoBootDiag
    • You can actually complete enabling the diagnostics and boot diagnostics in this one step. Just be sure you select “boot diagnostics”. EnableBootDiag
  • If you have enabled diagnostics already o this VM, you can go into “Diagnostics” and tick “Boot Diagnostics” to enable that functionality. If you go into “Boot Diagnostics” without it enabled, it will allow you to enable it as well.

Pretty simple… Now reboot your VM and you should start to receive collected information in the “Boot Diagnostics” screen.

#Salutations! So after much delay, I’ve sat down and worked on my site a bit. But… never content with good things, I decided to do another migration.

You see, I’ve contributed a few document fixes to the Microsoft IOT project on GitHub, and through that was exposed to JekyllRB. To put it simply, I was struck by the concept and decided to change my entire site over to it.

So as you see now, I’ve moved from WordPress to Jekyll. Storing my site’s data in GitHub, and using Travis-CI for continuous integration and testing.

This will be a fun and intersting ride… and I’ve even though of bringing the idea of content creation in markup to my work for the documentation I build. Write it in markup, track it in Git, and compile it to the formatted document. Mmmm tasty.

Fireworks

As we bring in 2015, and time seems to march onward ever so strongly, I say to you… Happy New Year!

In case you noticed, it was July 2012 when I last posted. I may have some other pages kept current, but still that’s a long time.

I plan to do some more dumps on here in the future. So keep an eye out, and hello again!