Red Hat Enterprise Linux images are now available on Azure Marketplace

RHEL on Azure As of February 2016, Red Hat Enterprise Linux images are available on Azure Marketplace. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a Linux distribution developed by Red Hat and targeted toward the commercial market. It is the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. With Microsoft being part of the Red Hat Certified Cloud & Service Provider program, it’s now easy to run Red Hat Linux solutions on Azure. To see which RHEL Azure marketplace images are available in a specific Azure region use the following Azure PowerShell commands:

###############################################
# Lookup available RHEL images
###############################################

## Define variables
$Location = "eastus"
$PublisherName = "RedHat"
$OfferName = "RHEL"

###############################################

## Find all RHEL skus in above region
Get-AzureRMVMImageSku -Location $Location -Publisher $PublisherName -Offer $OfferName

## Find all RHEL images for specified sku
$Sku = "7.2"
Get-AzureRMVMImage -Location $Location -Publisher $PublisherName -Offer $OfferName -Sku $Sku 
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Delete Azure Resource Manager VM and its disks

Deleting an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) VM does not automatically delete the disks of that VM. Below is a simple Azure PowerShell script that will delete the VM and its disks based on the settings specified in the variables section.

Delete ARM VM and its disks

###############################################
# WARNING: Deletes ARM VM and its disks
# Use at your own risk!
###############################################

## Define variables
$vmToDeleteName = "vm"
$vmToDeleteResourceGroupName = "rg"
$vmToDeleteStorageAccountName = "sa"

###############################################

## Delete VM
Remove-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName $vmToDeleteResourceGroupName -Name $vmToDeleteName -Verbose

## Find VM disks to delete
$storageContext = (Get-AzureRmStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName $vmToDeleteResourceGroupName -Name $vmToDeleteStorageAccountName).Context
$storageBlob = Get-AzureStorageBlob -Context $storageContext -Container "vhds"
$vhdToDeleteList = $storageBlob | Where-Object{$_.Name -match "$vmToDeleteName"}

## Delete disks
foreach($diskName in $vhdToDeleteList.Name) { Remove-AzureStorageBlob -Blob $diskName -Container "vhds" -Context $storageContext -Verbose }
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Delete Azure gateways and connections in Service Management (ASM) / Classic subscription using PowerShell

If you ever had to delete an Azure Service Management (ASM) subscription, also known as “Azure Classic” subscription, you are probably familiar with the daunting task (especially if you are using the Azure portal) of having to delete all Azure objects before you can successfully close out the subscription. Included below is the simplest version of the script to delete the Azure gateways and gateway connections.

Delete Azure Gateways and Connections in Service Management (ASM) / classic subscription using PowerShell

After the gateway connections and gateways are deleted the Virtual Networks (VNets) can then be deleted in the Azure Portal.

##########################################################################
# WARNING: This script deletes Azure resources from current subscription
# Use at your own risk!
##########################################################################

## Delete all gateway connections
$GWConnection = Get-AzureVirtualNetworkGatewayConnection
ForEach ($GW in $GWConnection) {
Remove-AzureVirtualNetworkGatewayConnection -GatewayId "$($GW.VirtualNetworkGatewayId)" -ConnectedEntityId "$($GW.ConnectedEntityId)"
}

## Delete all gateways
$Gateways = Get-AzureVirtualNetworkGateway
ForEach ($GW in $Gateways) {
Remove-AzureVirtualNetworkGateway -GatewayId "$($GW.GatewayId)"
}
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Delete all resource groups from an Azure Resource Manager subscription

Cleaning up an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) subscription is fairly straightforward, as deleting the Resource Groups will delete all Azure objects contained therein. So if you need to cleanup your lab subscription after a particular deployment, here are a couple of Azure commands that will do so.

Delete all resource groups from an ARM subscription

########################################################################
# WARNING: Deletes all Azure resource groups
# Use at your own risk!
########################################################################

## Delete all Azure resource groups
Get-AzureRmResourceGroup | Remove-AzureRmResourceGroup -Verbose -Force
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Delete all Cloud Services, VMs and their disks in Azure Classic subscription

This is a cleanup script to delete all Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and their disks in an Azure Service Management (ASM), also know as Classic subscription. This is very useful when cleaning up your lab, or when having to close a subscription which requires deleting all resources from it beforehand.

Delete all Cloud Services, VMs and their disks

########################################################################
# WARNING: This script deletes all Cloud Services, VMs and their disks
# Use at your own risk!
########################################################################

## Delete all cloud services and their deployments
Get-AzureService | ForEach-Object {
Remove-AzureDeployment -ServiceName $_.ServiceName -Slot Production -DeleteVHD -Force
Remove-AzureService -ServiceName $_.ServiceName -Force
}
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Delete all images in the Azure subscription using PowerShell

Yet another simple clean up script. If using your own images in a large scale Azure deployment, at some point one may need to clean up the storage accounts as you are paying for storing those image disks. This script will find and delete all images in your subscription.

Delete all images in the Azure subscription

########################################################################
# WARNING: Deletes all images in the Azure subscription
# Use at your own risk!
########################################################################

## Find and delete all Azure images
Get-AzureVMImage | Foreach-Object {Remove-AzureVMImage –ImageName $_.name –DeleteVHD}
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Set Azure Classic VM IP address to static using PowerShell

If you are not tracking or manually managing the assignment of IP addresses to the Virtual Machines in your Azure Service Management (ASM) / Classic subscription, here is a simple script that can be included as part of your post-provisioning process to make the IP address automatically assigned to the VM a static one. Please note that the VM will be restarted during this process.

Set Azure Classic VM IP address to static

########################################################################
# Make VM's IP address static
########################################################################

## Define variables
$svcName = ”cloud”
$vmName = ”vm”

########################################################################

## Set IP address to static
$CurrentIP = Get-AzureVM -ServiceName $svcName -Name $vmName | Select-Object *IP*
$VMtoChange = Get-AzureVM -ServiceName $svcName -Name $vmName
Set-AzureStaticVNetIP -VM $VMtoChange -IPAddress $CurrentIP.IpAddress | Update-AzureVM
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Delete all unattached disks in Azure subscription using PowerShell

If you previously deleted Virtual Machines forgetting to delete their disks — the following script will find all disks that are not attached to VMs in your current subscription and delete them. Like any other deletion script — use this with caution, as once the disks are deleted they can’t be recovered.

Delete all unattached disk in Azure subscription

########################################################################
# WARNING: Deletes all unattached disk in the Azure subscription
# Use at your own risk!
########################################################################

## Find and remove unused Azure disks
(Get-AzureDisk).Where({ !$PSItem.AttachedTo; }).ForEach({ Remove-AzureDisk -DiskName $PSItem.DiskName -DeleteVHD; });
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Baud Labs 2013-2014 traffic count, visitor statistics, and latest trends

Alexa Internet, a provider of commercial web traffic data, assigns Baud Labs a global rank score of 684,951 and in the U.S. my blog currently ranks at 286,508. Alexa Traffic Rank is a rough estimate of this site’s popularity. The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to this site and page views on this site over the past 3 months. The site with the highest combination of visitors and page views is ranked #1.

How_popular_is_baudlabs

StatCounter legendI think the last time I blogged about visitor stats was back in August of 2013. Back then this blog had about 100 uniques (unique visits) per day. These days traffic is about ten times that. Hard to believe that this is only a year since. As I promised before to always give away the secret recipe for the sauce, I will make public some of the latest trends and visitor stats.

StatCounter_graph_monthly_bar_lastyear_2014

The StatCounter bar chart above depicts last year’s month by month page views, unique and returning visits. A more clear picture is provided by an area graph below depicting the same values.

StatCounter_graph_monthly_area_lastyear_2014

As mentioned previously in my post “How to get better Google ranking and improve SEO by configuring WordPress permalink settings“, back in May of 2013 is when I made changes my blog’s permalink structure, which then prompted Google to re-index the site. Visitor traffic has grown exponentially since then. This year’s numbers show more organic growth.

StatCounter_graph_monthly_bar_currentyear_2014

Just to clarify — that is not a drop off in visitor count in December. It’s only the beginning of the month and the December 2014 numbers are not in yet. I will try to publish these next year.

StatCounter_Recent_Visitor_Map

As you can see from the map above, Baud Labs currently enjoys a worldwide audience, but the majority of visitors are still from the United States. Also, there are no surprises that Google is winning the Search Engine Wars. Here is a sample of some random hourly traffic.

StatCounter_Search_Engine_Wars

It is a very good idea to develop and test websites that will work well for all screen resolutions. But of course there is always that perfect resolution where your website will always look its best and you could consider optimizing to suit the majority of your visitors. Screen resolution stats can help with that decision. Below are stats from recent visitors.

StatCounter_Screen_Resolution_Stats

You can get a ‘good feel’ for the technical and organization background of your users based on the versions and types of operating systems they are using. Below are stats from recent visitors.

StatCounter_Operating_System_Stats

Does your website make heavy use of JavaScript? Are you alienating some visitors by not having your website completely accessible without using JavaScript? Based on the stats for my blog — it does not seem so.

StatCounter_barchart_JavaScript

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Random thoughts on web design, social media, startups and Internet technologies in 2014

While not quite my year in review post, I did want to share some of the experiences and thoughts accumulated over 2014 in regards to the Internet state of things. I was prompted to post this after a coworker forwarded me Christopher Mims’ article “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It” which appeared in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on November 12, 2014.

In the article Christopher states that: “On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.” I will assume that these numbers are true, but will suggest that this has to do with the fact that the screen size and resolution of the previous generation of smartphones were not that great at rendering web pages. Until now that is. [I will admit my bias here, in that I have never bought a mobile app. Lately I even removed most apps from my devices with the exception of the apps I use everyday (GasBuddy as an example) and Apple/Google native functionality and features apps.]

For a while tablets with their larger screens were all the rage, so numerous companies went ahead and spent their resources on developing tablet apps. Oh how a misguided an effort this was. Now that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are here, along with the latest generation of Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus Android smartphones, the tablets have been left by the wayside. Well not quite. How funny it is that the hottest selling tablet today is Microsoft Surface 3 Pro, which runs Windows 8.1 and thus able to run any legacy Windows application.

iPhone_6vs5_large

In any case, the latest generation of smartphones offer monitor level resolutions and much larger screens, so the web browsing experience has definitely improved. Which brings me to another happy matter – the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML5 standard has been finally ratified in October [2014]. It promises to bring the web browsing experience into the current century, keeping in mind that HTML 4 was standardized back in 1997.

wp-watermarkAnother reason for celebration is the release of WordPress 4.x. I am a great fan of the WordPress publishing platform and use it for this blog and other websites. Kudos to Matt Mullenweg and the folks at Automattic for developing it into the mature content management system (CMS) we see today. On that same note – love the JetPack plugin. Keep up the good work!

While reading the WSJ, I also checked out “New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs” article from a couple of days ago. I am always fascinated with the social media phenomenon, especially in the respect of how much faith and value others have decided to place in it. We all have heard stories about people and companies increasing sales by using social media. But I also heard similar stories about people who used eBay, Craigslist, Google, or simply put up a website for a business that never had one before. To me this is just a trend of the times with diminishing future returns. From what I have seen in general — the quest for Facebook Likes never pays off. And by the way no one should be surprised that Facebook at this point will attempt to monetize its millions of users. After all it’s a business!?

Yahoo! is still struggling. I still use Flickr and Tumblr, which they now own, and they made money on Alibaba. Other than that I am not clear on what their plans for the future are. Looks like they are trying to get back into search, which is by far the most profitable technology on the Internet today. Just look at Google. Other than YouTube, which is also monetized through ads, none of their other ventures have made any significant profit to date.

MS_Surface_Pro3_large

Microsoft is trending up again. Like they have done many times before, they “pivoted” their business and now fully embrace the latest technologies like cloud computing (Azure and Office365). Office is now everywhere including on iOS and Android, which is a move to corner the market, so lookout Evernote. Surface Pro 3 is arguably the best laptop/tablet you can buy this holiday season. Windows Server 2003 is end-of-life (EOL) next year, which means another spending surge by corporate customers trying to beat the deadline and upgrade to a current version of the server OS.

While there many different opinions and arguments on whether we are in another tech bubble – I suspect we are. Over the past year I met many folks in the startup space. While some have no business running a business or being employed in the technology field, about half tend to exhibit actual business savvy and the necessary technical skills, and yet most are striving to build the next Facebook, which begs a question on how wise is it to model a startup on what is clearly an unprofitable business? Unfortunately most startups today do not have a monetization strategy. “If you build it they will come” approach seems to be the trend. No one seems to worry whether “they” will pay after “they” arrive.

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