Updating Azure Stack to 1804 – Features, Fixes, and Updates – Part I

Azure Stack Update 1804 was released last week in the middle of MMS.  So I was itching to update our first multi-node stamp.  So while some of my peers were doing their sessions I was prepping to update to Azure Stack 1804 update build number 20180513.1.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/azure-stack-update-1804

However, I ran into some small issues with a hotfix that needed to be deployed and didn’t have the available time to call and open a ticket with Microsoft until I came home from another good MMS.  Not long after talking with Microsoft we had hotfix 1.0.180421.9 installing and was prepping for build number 1.0.180513.1 to be deployed.

This blog isn’t going to be about troubleshooting that specific issue, it was pretty simple to take care of.  Update failed, called Microsoft, got some logs, and bingo it was working again.  Just as it should work for an integrated system like Azure Stack. This blog will cover my experiences with our first update on a multi-node stamp.  Most of which again is covered in detail within the Microsoft Documentation online.  I think I will split this blog up into three sections, at least for now:

  • Fixes and Features
  • Installation
  • Monitoring

First of all, the following site is where I spend a lot of my time and where I get a lot of the following information:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/azure-stack-updates

New Feature, Fixes, and Updates:

There are three new features released in 1804.  One feature a lot of my peers are excited about is the availability of 2 new series of virtual machines.  I do find that exciting myself but what it was the third on the list that had me a bit interested.

  • Visual Studio support for disconnected Azure Stack deployments using AD FS. Within Visual Studio you now can add subscriptions and authenticate using AD FS federated User credentials.
  • Use Av2 and F series virtual machines. Azure Stack can now use virtual machines based on the Av2-series and F-series virtual machine sizes. For more information see Virtual machine sizes supported in Azure Stack.
  • More granular administrative subscriptions. With version 1804 and later, the Default Provider subscription is now complemented with two additional subscriptions. The additions facilitate separating the management of core infrastructure, additional resource providers, and workloads. The following three subscriptions are available after the update installs:
    • Default Provider subscription. Use this subscription for core infrastructure only. Do not deploy resources or resource providers on this subscription.
    • Metering subscription. Use this subscription for resource provider deployment. Resources deployed on this subscription are not charged.
    • Consumption subscription. Use this subscription for any other workload that you want to deploy. Resources deployed here are charged normal usage prices.

 

Like I had mentioned, that third one really got my attention.  I have not looked deep into it but from what I understand we can now or soon be able to deploy our MySQL, SQL, and AppSerices resource providers into a new Metering subscription and won’t be charged for the underlying infrastructure for each of these resource providers. I am also guessing you will still need to pay for the SQL license so don’t count on that being free.  :)

Some of the Fixed issues I hadn’t really experienced until I started to my updates.  :)  I am looking forward to not having to hit refresh on the Update tile in order for it to display information.

Fixed issues

  • In the admin portal, you no longer have to refresh the Update tile before it displays information.
  • You can now use the admin portal to edit storage metrics for Blob service, Table service, and Queue service.
  • Under Networking, when you click Connection to set up a VPN connection, Site-to-site (IPsec) is now the only available option.
  • Various fixes for performance, stability, security, and the operating system that is used by Azure Stack.

 

Additional releases timed with this update

I have not had time to build my System Center Operations Manager environment back up yet so I haven’t had time to play with the current management pack to monitor my Azure Stack stamp.  This is something planned and I will also blog about as well.

One thing to note is the availability of Azure Stack Admin PowerShell version 1.3.0.  Please make sure you update your PowerShell for managing Azure Stack build 1804 and up.

The last release is something that will be very useful and glad that it has finally been documented.

The following are now available but don’t require Azure Stack update 1804.

  • Update to the Microsoft Azure Stack System Center Operations Manager Monitoring Pack. A new version (1.0.3.0) of the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Monitoring Pack for Azure Stack is available for download. With this version, you can use Service Principals when you add a connected Azure Stack deployment. This version also features an Update Management experience that allows you to take remediation action directly from within Operations Manager. There are also new dashboards that display resource providers, scale units, and scale unit nodes.
  • New Azure Stack Admin PowerShell Version 1.3.0. Azure Stack PowerShell 1.3.0 is now available for installation. This version provides commands for all Admin resource providers to manage Azure Stack. With this release, some content will be deprecated from the Azure Stack Tools GitHub repository.
    For installation details, follow the 
    instructions or the help content for Azure Stack Module 1.3.0.
  • The initial release of Azure Stack API Rest Reference. The API reference for all Azure Stack Admin resource providers is now published.

 

Known Issues, etc.

I would suggest reading the known issues section of 1804 as well posted here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/azure-stack-update-1804#before-you-begin

 

 

Next?  I am actually working on Part II as we speak.  I will cover the basics of installing the updates on our new multi-node Stack.  At least that is what I am planning to do at this moment.  Who knows, I may get sidetracked and talk about something else.

 

Updating Azure Stack to 1804 – Installing The Updates – Part II

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Posted in Azure Stack
2 comments on “Updating Azure Stack to 1804 – Features, Fixes, and Updates – Part I
  1. […] my previous blog Updating Azure Stack to 1804 – Features, Fixes, and Updates – Part I  I talked a little about the new features and the one that grabbed my attention the most, along with […]

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  2. […] last blog I did on updating Azure Stack it was focused around the Microsoft PNU processes.  This blog I will walk through how to update […]

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