Preparing Azure for a Zerto Cloud Appliance Installation – Part 3: Network Security Groups

In the previous post in this series, we created Resource Groups and Networks and Subnets. In this post we continue to create what we need in the Azure environment for our Zerto Cloud Appliance installation.

Network Security Groups

Using similar steps as the creation of Resource Group and Networks,   from the main menu, go to Network Security Groups (NSGs) so we can create the Network Security Groups for the subnets.  Click +Add and give the Network Security Group a name. I used ms-ignite-demo-subnet-nsg and use the ms-ignite-rg Resource Group.

Once it’s created, open the Network Security Group so you can add some firewall rules. I’m going to show you how to create the rules using RDP and these rules could actually be assigned at different levels like individual NICs, but for the purpose of showing how to put inbound and outbound firewall rules, we’ll apply them to the subnets. For more on the design and usage of NSGs, read this post.

Additionally, since you most likely have a commercial firewall on-premises, there are commercial offerings in the Azure marketplace that allows your network and security teams to use the platform that they are accustomed to using. For example, if you use Cisco ASA, there is an Azure marketplace appliance available to use.

In the Resource Group, go down to Inbound Rules.

We want to use the drop-down selector for the Service. Choose RDP to allow Remote Desktop connections.

Once you click OK, it shows the firewall rules in the main table.

In this menu, select Subnets to associate the firewall rules to the subnets. Click the +Associate and select the virtual network you created and associate the subnets.

Once you have associated all the subnets you need, then you can close the blade.

Navigate over to the Resource Group you created. You will see the network and subnets in the Resource Group.

At this point, you actually have what you need to install Zerto Virtual Replication. During the Zerto Cloud Appliance installation, it will create a storage account. However, in version 5.5U1 Zerto added the ability to use an existing storage account. In the next post, we’ll create a storage account.

Preparing Azure for a Zerto Cloud Appliance Installation – Part 2: Networks and Subnets

This is the second post in the “Preparing Azure for a Zerto Cloud Appliance” series.  In the first post in this series, we created a Resource Group.  In this post, we’ll add a network and some subnets.

Networks and Subnets

Back at the main menu on the left, go to Virtual networks. You will be creating a Virtual network much like the way you created the Resource Group.

Click +Add to add a new network. Give your network a name. I used ms-ignite-net and add the Address space. I changed the IP address to 10.2.0.0/16 from /24 because I want to create some subnets.

Be sure to select Use existing Resource group and add in the Resource Group you created. I’m using ms-ignite-rg. Use an Azure Region that is closest to your data center that will be connecting to Azure to improve performance.

In the Subnet, I changed it to 10.2.1.0/24 and named it Demo1 Subnet.

Click Create to create the network. When it is complete, click on Subnets to open up the Subnets configuration menu.  I’m going to add 4 Subnets.

To add the Subnets, you click the +Subnet button. I wanted to use a series of /24 subnets in this network.

You don’t have to associate Network Security Groups or Route Tables in this step; however, you have NSGs or routes created already, you can can do it now. You also can add them later.

Now we have the network and subnets we need. In the next post in this series, we create some Network Security Groups and associate them to the subnets.

 

Preparing Azure for a Zerto Cloud Appliance Installation – Part 1: Resource Groups

In this series of blog posts, we will create the elements needed to get the Zerto Cloud Appliance (ZCA) installed and ready to connect to an on-premises site.

The four components Zerto needs in order for you to use Azure are:

  1. Resource Groups
  2. Networks
  3. Firewalls
  4. Storage

You can see how Zerto consumes the Azure components in this quick tip post. We will start logged into the Azure portal. Then we will create the components needed to get the ZCA installed.

Before we start with the Resource Group creation, be sure the Azure account you use has Owner permissions for the Azure subscription you will be using. While the default owner permissions will allow the ZCA to be successfully installed, I have seen in some environments where the Azure Active Directory administrator removes adding Azure application permissions for infrastructure administrators. The Zerto Cloud Appliance registers as a Web/API application in Azure during the installation so the account you use should have these Azure AD permissions.

Resource Groups

The first thing we want to do is create a Resource Group.  Resource Groups are like virtual datacenters in Azure. You can create as many Resource Groups as you need and then place networks, subnets, storage and firewalls in the Resource Group. For more on what Resource Groups are, see this article.

From the Azure Portal navigation menu on the left, go to Resource Groups and create a Resource Group by clicking +Add.

I’m calling mine ms-ignite-rg since I’ll use this as a demo environment during Microsoft Ignite. For more than you want to know about naming conventions for Azure resources, see this article.

Once the Resource Group is created, you can find it on the Dashboard or you can go back to the Resource Group blade and search for it.

Click on the Resource Group to go into it. It will be empty and ready for you to add networks, subnets, network security groups (firewalls) and virtual machines.

Azure is really good at training you along the way. In the Resource Group menu, go down to Quickstart under Settings to learn more about Resource Groups and even watch a video. When you are done. Click the X to close the Resource Group blade.

In the next post in this series, we’ll create the Networks and Subnets.

 

Upgrading Zerto Virtual Replication on vSphere to ZVR 5.5 Update 1

Whenever an upgrade is necessary with key infrastructure components such as your disaster recovery solution, you want it to be as painless as possible.

One of the big benefits of having Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) is its an all software solution and it has no agents in VMs, so upgrading your enterprise sites can be much easier than if you have hardware dependencies and if you have agents deployed in virtual machines.

In this post, we’ll do a quick walk-through of the upgrade process. The first thing to do is go to http://zerto.com/myzerto.

  1. Log in and download the latest version of Zerto Virtual Replication for vSphere.

2. Once it downloads, launch the installer.

3. Proceed with the installation wizard.

A great feature ZVR has is it will not only upgrade the ZVM, but it will also upgrade all of the Virtual Replication Appliances (VRAs) as well. The installation wizard allows you to select whether you want to automatically upgrade the VRAs.

Unless you have compelling reasons, leave the checkbox checked to automatically upgrade the VRAs.

4. The wizard checks all the existing services to ensure the upgrade will succeed.

5. The installer proceeds with the upgrade.

6. Once the ZVM is upgraded, the installer tells you that it will now upgrade the VRAs and you can track the progress in the upgraded ZVM Dashboard.

7. When you get logged in, you can go over to the Setup tab to check progress. Once the VRAs are upgraded, you will see the VRA Version column showing as “Latest”.

In typical Zerto fashion, upgrading other platforms like Azure and AWS have very similar steps.

For example, I created a video of how to upgrade an Azure Zerto Cloud Appliance.

Zerto Quick Tip: Upgrading Azure or AWS ZCA to ZVR 5.5 Update 1

Zerto has many customers already protecting virtual machines from vSphere and Hyper-V to AWS and Azure.

With the recent release, Zerto added several new features and fixes that make it worthwhile to upgrade the AWS or Azure Zerto Cloud Appliance (ZCA). See the release notes here.

The upgrade is really straightforward. Log into your ZCA, download the upgrade from MyZerto and then do the install. To demonstrate how easy it is, I created this video.

Zerto Quick Tip: Installing Zerto Virtual Replication Appliance 5.5 Update 1 in Azure

This week Zerto released version 5.5 Update 1. It has several features for different platforms, but 3 Azure related improvements.

• Azure China now supported
• Azure 4TB disk size for replicated VM
• Azure Storage Account support for pre-existing standard storage account

The last bullet is interesting.  Being able to choose an existing Azure storage account is the one I will show in this video along with a full installation of the ZCA.

Convert text to upper or lower case with bash

I had a spreadsheet with a list of lower case names that I needed to compare it with another spreadsheet with upper case names. I know there are lots of ways to do it, but I went to my Linux machine and was able to convert all the server names with a single line command in the bash shell.

cat FILENAME | tr “[:lower:]” “[:upper:]”

You could also drop this in a script as well if you are discovering servers.

echo $HOSTNAME | tr “[:lower:]” “[:upper:]”