Often a difficult task for some, once up and running with Microsoft Azure, is how to get files in and out of Storage Accounts or Containers. For these particular scenarios there is a really simple tool called Azure Explorer.
There is of course the ability to upload/download files or blobs through the Azure Portal. Obviously this is not that great for large files due to timeouts etc. Then there is the Azure PowerShell cmdlets but this requires subscription information and experience of using PowerShell particular with Microsoft Azure which not everyone has. Alternatively there is software available called Azure Explorer from Cerebrata.
The software provides users with a familiar experience to that of Windows Explorer. You’re also able to configure multiple storage account and can create/delete new blob containers.
Azure Explorer lets you quickly browse and manipulate your Microsoft Azure blobs with ease.
A Premium version called Cloud Storage Studio is also available which enables you to work with tables and queries.
Next you’ll need to get the access key for your Storage Account from the Microsoft Azure Portal. To get your access key browse to the Storage section of the Azure Portal and select your Storage Account from the list of those available. Then click on Manage Access Keys from the toolbar at the bottom and copy your Primary Access Key.
Open Azure Explorer, click on the File menu and select Add Connection. Enter the name of your Storage Account and Access Key you have just copied.
You’ll then see the Storage Account become available in Azure Explorer. From there it is simply drag & drop or copy & paste.
Accessing Azure Explorer Logs
You can also access the logs to troubleshoot any issues you experience by right clicking on the window title and selecting Open Current Log File.
I use this tool an awful lot to move files across multiple Storage Accounts in Microsoft Azure and my desktop. By having it installed in my VMs, I can get access to files that I have uploaded from my desktop such as software installers or ISO images etc. The interface really quick and easy to use and is a tool that I recommend to customers. Give it a try and see how easy it really is.
I’ve been there at least once or twice and I’m sure others have as well – where we’re happily modifying the web.config on half-a-dozen or more servers and as Steve so elegantly describes it, we “fat finger some random part of a web.config change” causing complete devastation to the running of SharePoint and to your progress. Well not any more my sysadmin friends, not any more not with this tool. It allows you to edit the connection string, people picker wildcard, membership provider, role provider details within the web.config for a specific web application. It then creates a backup copy and updates the web.config across all the servers in your farm through a timer job which is a really neat trick.
Having done this now on several occasions I thought I was pretty confident flying through the steps necessary within an hour or so…the occasional error would sneak in and then I would spend as long again troubleshooting the configuration. Steve’s Forms Based Authentication Configuration Manager has now completely removed the chances of any errors sneaking in and will make me even quicker configuring FBA in SharePoint. Thank you Steve!
On many occasion, I have been to conferences and on training where the presenter has done a demonstration and used a screen magnifying utility to enlarge part of the display. There are many utilities available that provide this functionality and are typically included with the accessibility option of most operating systems.
Having asked many a presenter what they were using to magnify the screen, most pointed in the direction the Sysinternals utility ZoomIt which I have since used. More increasingly I am presenting and doing demonstrations on my Mac which leaves without such as useful utility.
After a short time reviewing various Apps available, I decided on Zoom It for Mac for a small price of £0.69 in the Mac App store. It sits nicely in the toolbar, and allows you to customise the loupe size, zoom and shape through various key shortcuts or from the toolbar menu.
Enhance your demonstrations and use a utility like either of the magnifying utilities I’ve mentioned – I sure am!
When I started my new job a fews weeks ago I decided I was going to introduce some new tools and utilities to help myself and my colleagues be more productive. The first one I brought to their attention was Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) from Microsoft.
I’ve known about this tool for almost a year now but it always surprises me how few administrators out there don’t know about this tool. It’s a must have for any System Administrator using mstsc.exe or Remote Desktop to manage more than one server or computer!
RDCMan manages multiple remote desktop connections. It is useful for managing server labs where you need regular access to each machine such as automated checkin systems and data centers. It is similar to the built-in MMC Remote Desktops snap-in, but more flexible.
Please also say a big thank you to Julian Burger the developer at Microsoft who wrote this awesome tool and David Zazzo for working to get it released! You can read about how David discovered Julian’s RDCMan tool within an internal Microsoft repository and worked to get it licensed for external distribution on the Exchange TechNet Blog.