Adding an Azure Subscription in VMM

Since VMM 2012 R2 (update rollup 6), you can add Azure subscription to VMM and perform basic actions on Azure IaaS VMs.Both VMM 2012 R2 and VMM 2016 support only classic Azure VMs and you may find that even Management Portal button in the VMM console still points to an old Azure portal ( which is no longer available.

VMM 2016 doesn’t bring any new changes to this feature and provides the same functionality for Azure VMs management through VMM console. However, VMM 1801 (the latest version available in semi-annual channel)  introduced a support for ARM-based VMs and region specific Azure subscriptions.

So, you can manage both classic VMs and ARM-based VMs using Azure AD Authentication or management certificates in VMM 1801. In this article, we will cover how to manage classic Azure VMs from VMM 2012 R2/2016, and then we briefly discuss new changes in VMM 1801 release.

What do you need?

  •  The console computer where this feature will be installed must have connectivity to the Internet in order to connect to the Azure Subscription
  • An active Azure subscription. For example, I’m using the one which goes with my MSDN subscription. You can also use a free Azure subscription.
  • You must be at least a Service Administrator for the Microsoft Azure Subscription being added. For example, I’m an owner of my subscription and no actions needed.
  • Microsoft Azure Subscription must have a Management Certificate associated with it in order to allow VMM to use the service management API in Microsoft Azure (will complete this later in this post)
  • The certificate needs to be present in the Current User \ Personal store of the computer running the VMM console. (will complete this later in this post)
  • The Management Certificate that is associated with the Azure Subscription must be present in the local certificate store on the computer that the wizard is being run on (will complete this later in this post)

How to do it?

  • On the VMM Server, open PowerShell with administrative privileges, and run the following to request a new self-signed certificate and add it to Personal store :
#This password will be used for PFX file
$pass= ConvertTo-SecureString -String "P@ssw0rd1" -AsPlainText -Force 

#New self-signed certificate
$cert = New-SelfSignedCertificate -FriendlyName  -Subject -CertStoreLocation "Cert:\CurrentUser\My" -Type Custom -KeyExportPolicy ExportableEncrypted -KeyLength 4096 -KeySpec KeyExchange

#Export PFX (if you plan to connect from another machine, import this PFX to the Personal store on your computer)
Export-PfxCertificate -Cert $cert  -FilePath C:\Cert\AzuretoVMM.pfx -Password $pass

#Export CER file which will be uploaded to Azure
Export-Certificate  -Cert $cert  -Type CERT -FilePath C:\Cert\RLVMM.cer
  • In the Azure Portal, go to Subscriptions –> Management Certificates and select C:\Cert\RLVMM.cer to upload. Once uploaded, copy your subscription ID as shown in the picture:

add azure subscription_1

  • Switch back to the VMM Console, navigate to VMs and Services and right click on Azure Subscriptions and select Add Subscription; type a display name of the subscription, paste Subscription ID and select the certificate that has been already added to the Personal store (VMM console automatically discovers all eligible certificates). If no certificates are shown, check certificates and their thumbprints in the Personal store (certmgr.msc)

add azure subscription_2

Note: Certificates and subscription setting information is stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER and is per login specific. This means that subscriptions that are added are visible on a per-machine, per-login basis.

  • Verify that new subscription has been added. If you have classic VMs running under the subscription, you will see a list of such VMs in the VMM.

As you can see in the following screenshot, actions are limited to Start, Stop, Shut Down, Restart and Connect via RDP


Note: Public and Internal IP addresses as well as VM size and other information is shown on the details pane

  • Repeat the same steps to add another subscription if needed.

What’s new in VMM 1801?

Unlike VMM 2012R2/2016, VMM 1801 supports management of Azure subscriptions and ARM-based VMs (which are the default in Azure now) through Azure Active Directory and region-specific Azure subscriptions. (namely Germany, China,  US Government Azure regions). VMM 1801 has also updated Azure Subscription wizard and now you can select between two authentication types: certificate-based or Azure AD-based. If Azure AD is selected, you don’t need to create and upload the certificate to Azure. Otherwise, use the steps above to integrate VMM 1801 with Azure using management certificate authentication.

To enable Azure AD-based authentication, you need to create AD Application using Azure Portal. Use the following step to create the AD Application:

  • Click on Azure Active Directory, go to App Registrations and click on New Application Request, then type an app name (for example, VMM1801) and sign-on URL (I used “fake” – and it works. You can change it later)
  • Go back to App Registration, switch to All Apps and copy the Application ID of the app you have just created.
  • In the Application properties, click on Settings, and then Keys; provide key description and duration, and click on Save; copy the key value

add azure subscription_5

  • In the Azure Portal, go to Properties of Azure AD and copy the Directory ID
  • Assign application to Classic Virtual Machine Contributor and Virtual Machine Contributor roles (Subscription – Access Control (IAM) – Add)
  • Open VMM Console and press Add Subscription, paste Subscription ID, Application ID, Directory ID and Key Value to the corresponding fields as shown in the screenshot:

add azure subscription_4

Note: Using Select Azure cloud drop-down list you can choose Azure reqion (Public, China, Germany or Government)

Once subscription is added to VMM, you can manage both classic and ARM based VMs in VMM 1801:

add azure subscription_6

Note: you might have noticed that instead of Shutdown action VMM 1801 offers Stop and Deallocate which is more preferable for Azure VMs. Also, MS fixed Management Portal button and now it’s linked to 🙂

That’s it. I hope this post will be helpful for someone Улыбка.

Disaster recovery for Azure IaaS VMs

Every organization needs a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)  strategy to keep data safe and react to unplanned or planned outage in the best way. Azure Site Recovery (ASR) significantly simplifies these processes providing replication, failover and failback functionalities for your major IT systems.

azure site recovery for azure vms_6

ASR can be used in the following scenarios:

  • VMware VMs replication to Azure w/CSP (uses InMage Scout software)
  • Physical servers to Azure (uses InMage software as well)
  • VMware VMs/Physical servers to a secondary site (through InMage Scout)
  • On-premises Hyper-V VMs without VMM to Azure (Hyper-V Replica inside)
  • On-premises Hyper-V VMs with VMM to Azure (Hyper-V Replica inside)
  • On-premises Hyper-V VMs with VMM to a secondary site (Hyper-V Replica inside)
  • Multi-Tier applications (uses SQL AlwaysOn AG, for instance)

But yesterday Microsoft officially extended this list by adding possibility to replicate Azure IaaS VMs running on Windows/Linux to another region within the same geographic cluster.

Now, you may ask, why we need this if Azure already provides high-availability and reliability for every business critical workloads. Official statement says that it’s required by ISO 27001 and it’s compliance requirements.

Furthermore if you’d like to be able to completely meet BCDR strategy in the event of disaster and you are not happy with built-in Azure protection features – new option can also help (seamless failover and failback between different regions to keep RTO/RPO very low)

TIP: the following demo was done with public preview version. Currently, this feature is GA and might be some things are bit changed

azure site recovery for azure vms_1


As usual, you need to create ASR vault  and enable replication for workloads. You should place ASR Vault at the TARGET location/region to make it work (wizard also checks it automatically).

It’s simple..if source location is down, ASR vault and resource groups will be also offline and your BCDR strategy will be failed –> ASR vaults should be always in the target region

I‘m using ASR created in UK West region and my workloads are running in West Europe DCs. Regions are in the same geographical cluster (Europe).

TIP: new managed disks and VMs scale sets are not supported + temporary disks always excluded from replication

azure site recovery for azure vms_3

You don’t need to prepare target infrastructure. ASR does almost all “dirty”” work by itself (network mapping, target networks/groups and storage/cache accounts + availability sets if they are in use in the source region) Continue reading “Disaster recovery for Azure IaaS VMs”