Thought Provoking, Ideas & Ramblings.

Find the latest business insights, technical solutions and opinions from our team.

Pimp my VS Code

Those who know me, know that I have a keen interest in software tools and exploring the various different ways that people use them. I take great joy in exploring custom or 3rd party plugins and add-ons to get the most out of the tools I use every day. From OS automation tools (like BetterTouchTool) […]

Oils ain’t Oils and Neither are Calculators.

Some of you may remember the Castrol oil commercials on Australian television throughout the late 1980’s where they claimed than not all oils are created equally.  – If not indulge yourself in 43 seconds of nostalgic cinematic genius. 1988 CASTROL GTX2 Oils Ain’t Oils Such is true with cloud pricing calculators. Whilst these are invaluable […]

cloudstep – The value proposition for consulting firms.

Cloudstep is a tool for consulting firms, built by a consulting firm. It makes it easy to capture existing capital and operational IT expenditure for an organisation and make accurate comparisons against alternate IT delivery options. We built cloudstep to make it easy to sell consulting engagements for professional services focused around cloud migrations. Build […]

Welcome 2020ne – “are we there yet?”

“are we there yet?…. are we there yet?….” In vacations past, this was the back seat cry heard by many young parents as they sought the refuge of a far-away campsite or holiday house in search of some peace and quiet after a hectic and busy year.  Clearly, 2020 was no normal year and it […]

Disable-CsAdForest – “Cannot remove the Active Directory settings for the domain due to ‘FE’ still being activated”

I’ve spent 15 years deploying on-premises versions of Microsoft Unified Communications, namely OCS, Lync & Skype for Business. During that period I did a lot of installations, but never had I done a full removal of the product. I guess that speaks to the usability of Microsoft Voice solutions. Once your in, the years just […]

Understanding Undocumented ARM Oddities

Over the past year I’ve been working pretty heavily with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates to create safe, reusable and consistent deployments of virtual infrastructure. When producing ARM templates, it’s important to understand what resource types are available, and what values to use in your template. I always use the Azure Template Reference to understand […]

Undocumented ARM Oddities – .Net Core App Services

Every once in a while, when working with ARM templates you come across something that is missing from the official Microsoft ARM template reference. In my case yesterday, I was looking to update the configuration of an Azure App Service to use the DotNetCore stack (rather than .NET 4.8). While I initially thought this would […]

Azure Bastion – Unable to query Bastion data.

I’ve recently setup Azure Bastion to give external users/vendors access to resources via RDP or SSH following these instructions: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/bastion/tutorial-create-host-portal The key permissions outlined in the prerequisites at point 3 are: A virtual network. A Windows virtual machine in the virtual network. The following required roles: Reader role on the virtual machine. Reader role on […]

Get all restore points for an Azure VM

Getting restore points out of Azure can be like getting blood from a stone. The portal likes to always set a custom filter showing only ~90 days and your Powershell cmdlet only allows for a 30 day interval for retrieval dates. When running ‘Get-AzRecoveryServicesBackupRecoveryPoint’ you get the following: Sigh.. I just want all my restore […]

Azure Application Insights – No Client Source IP Address

Working with one of your customers this week who is implementing Azure API Management alongside their web applications. We are funnelling all the request logs into an Application Insights services to manage visibility of the end-to-end transaction data. We noticed that all the client GET requests had ‘0.0.0.0’ in Client IP Address. Request Properties Value […]

Upgrading Megaport Cloud Routers

Recently I had the pleasure of upgrade a Megaport Cloud Router (MCR) from version 1 to the new version 2. Version 2 MCR sits on a whole new code base and a side by side migration is required. In this blog I’ll show you how we went about the process, this could also be used […]

ARM Template Role Assignment Learnings

ARM templates are one of those things that the learning curve can be considered steep, but once you get there they make your life so much easier you’re glad you did it. If you’re like me, Google is your friend and whenever you hit an issue with your latest template you resort to searching error […]

Assign Teams phone numbers using Microsoft Forms, Logic Apps and Azure Automation

Sometimes provisioning users into Office 365 services requires custom settings to be executed with PowerShell. This can present a problem when the teams responsible for managing the ongoing process have varying levels of understanding. How do you provide a front end user interface for my custom code without the need for the operators to need […]

The role of Datacenters

The State of Play Current Enterprise ICT Environments are a mix of various technology stacks.  Critical and second-tier systems are from different eras.  A mix of modern and legacy applications sit alongside each other.  The common challenges are security, manageability and integration of disparate parts.  There is some use of public cloud services, but most […]

Automating Azure Site Recovery with PowerShell

In a recent consulting engagement, I’ve needed to perform a large-scale migration of a company’s virtual machine (VM) fleet from an On-premise datacenter to Microsoft Azure. Thinking about what that actually means – We’re picking up many compute workloads that are (in most cases) essential for day to day business operation and re-homing them to […]

AKS in a Security Conscious Enterprise

Containers and in particular Kubernetes popularity has been going from strength to strength of late. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is the blue PaaS-like offering of this where the vendor manages the masters and you just need to maintain the agent nodes, better still you only pay for the compute. But like all things PaaS, while […]

The Cloud – Anagnorisis and Peripeteia

In my work here at Cloudstep we have two distinct sides to our business, a consulting practice “Jtwo Solutions” and a cloud modelling software and services practice “Cloudstep”. Working on both sides of these businesses affords me the benefit of hands on consulting, technical architecture and implementation as well as scenario based cost modelling activities […]

A career with a flammable CV

Planned Obsolescence A baked in part of the design of technology products and an unavoidable side-effect of a career in IT In a discussion with a colleague recently we reflected on how our careers and our CVs race ahead while the invisible fuse line of obsolescence comes along from behind and renders cherished skillsets and […]

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