Azure Quick Tip: Log into Azure from Powershell

If you don’t have Azure Powershell installed, here is how to do it:

From Powershell, enter Login-AzureRMAccount and hit Enter.

A Microsoft Azure login screen will pop up.

Log in with your Azure credentials. Now you’re ready to start working with Azure from the Powershell.


Microsoft Surface Go – One Year Update

Last year I purchased a Microsoft Surface Go and wrote this blog post. This is a quick one year review.

I use the Surface Go nearly daily and it performs like the day I bought it. Its been a reliable performer and the battery life is still excellent. I still really like it and recommend it all the time.

Azure Managed Disk Incremental Snapshots and Zerto

At Ignite, Microsoft announced they added managed disk incremental snapshots. Zerto leverages the managed disks incremental snapshot feature for replication from Azure.

I’m part of the Global Alliances team at Zerto. We are responsible for the Microsoft relationship and get to collaborate with the Zerto Product teams and Azure Product teams to bring new features to the market.

The Zerto product teams have been working hard for several months with Microsoft to get the incremental snapshot feature developed.  The Azure storage team is great to work with as a partner. They actually listen to partner needs and develop APIs and functionality to meet those needs. At Ignite, I did a presentation of how Zerto uses the Incremental Snapshot feature in Raman Kumar’s THR3114 Migrate and protect your production applications running on Azure Disks.

This is an important feature to Zerto because Zerto doesn’t have agents in the virtual machines so Zerto needs Azure storage and their APIs to act more like a enterprise storage in order to track changes.

I also did a short demo in the session and I protected three servers with multiple disks from vSphere to Azure using Premium Managed disks then failed them over to Azure. I also set up reverse protection from Azure back to vSphere.

3 VMs protected to Azure with Premium Managed Disks then failed over to run in Azure

Below, we see the VMs and the multiple Premium SSD Managed disks as well as the Snapshots. The way that the incremental snapshots work is they are constantly updating and snapshotting only the incremental data to be more efficient. For example, in the image below of the Azure Portal during the protection from Azure to vSphere, the older snapshot’s data has been deleted due to a newer snapshot tracking that data. Eventually the oldest snapshot will be deleted as the Zerto protection continues.

Azure incremental snapshots being created and deleted automatically by Zerto for change tracking

To move back to vSphere from Azure, we use the Move command.

Moving VMs from Azure back to vSphere

I select my VPG that is replicating from Azure to vSphere.

Selecting the Virtual Protection Group to move from Azure to vSphere

I keep the Reverse Protection on so once the VMs are back in vSphere, they automatically replicate back to Azure.

Reverse Protection selected so the VMs will replicate back to Azure once running in vSphere

Click Move.

Move the VMs

Acknowledge the Commit Policy Warning.

The Commit Policy allows you to automatically commit or roll back the Move in a specified period of time

And watch the move progress.

The move progress

The VMs automatically deallocate from Azure.

VMs automatically deallocated from Azure once moved to vSphere

The VMs are moved and running in vSphere with protection automatically set up to Azure.

The VMs back in vSphere being protected to Azure

The new incremental snapshot feature helps Zerto complete the move in and move out of Azure scenarios.

Azure VMware Solutions by CloudSimple


CloudSimple and Microsoft provides the ability to run a complete VMware environment inside of Azure. Source:

Why would anyone want to run VMware in Azure?

Some of the use cases could be:

  • The need to evacuate a VMware-based datacenter in a short timeframe. Your organization has a public cloud strategy, but there isn’t time to design and deploy a full Azure native environment before you need to be out of the datacenter.
  • Your company is full of VMware experts that don’t have Azure knowledge yet.
  • Some of your applications aren’t good candidates for public cloud environments, but the majority of the applications are. You will need to maintain a small VMware footprint.

What are the sizes of the environments available?


CloudSimple currently has to instance sizes available. The smaller one is CS28 and it has 28 Cores, 256GB Ram and over 5TB of flash storage. Source:

What does it Cost?

It is important to note that a basic deployment is billed a minimum of a month due to the fact that you are getting physical servers inside an Azure datacenter, so when you deploy, it’s going to be about $18,000/month for the CS28 Instance Size. Here are more details on the CloudSimple pricing

How do I get started?

Very few products are named as accurately as CloudSimple. I went from zero to having a fully operational VMware datacenter in Azure in about 30 minutes. CloudSimple makes getting VMware inside of Azure really simple to do.


To get your VMware datacenter installed, just search in the Azure Marketplace for CloudSimple. 


Once you have the CloudSimple Portal installed in Azure, then follow their intuitive steps. 

Note on the VPN

In order to connect to the Azure VPN in CloudSimple, you have to change the clamping to 1078.

How do I set up the VMware environment?

vmware setup

As a typical tech guy, I didn’t read any instructions and was able to get it installed just following their “Common Task” steps in the portal. You install the CloudSimple service, install the nodes and give it a few minutes and you have a VMware environment up and running in Azure. 


After the VMware environment running, it’s just like any other VMware datacenter. You use vCenter to manage it and provision VMs just like you normally do.

Adding Zerto

Of course the first thing we did was get a VM up and running in Azure and install Zerto. We created a VPN gateway in Azure and then connected our on-premises datacenter to it. The rest is normal Zerto on VMware operations. It really is that straightforward.