Archive for Virtual Technologies

Setting up a SMTP service in Microsoft Azure



I am part of a project team that is building a custom Windows 8 application that is leveraging Microsoft Azure.



My project role is multi-tenant infrastructure architect.  This role curtails:

  • Infrastructure as a service design.  To maximize performance while balancing cost in Microsoft Azure.
  • To perform a detail security analysis on all points of data in motion and data at rest.

One of my task items on the project is to come up with a SMTP solution.  My first thought as a system administrator is to leverage a virtual server and enable SMTP as a service.

However, my thinking is changing with the times.  J  Now there are apps for system administrators.

So I looked in the Azure store and found SendGrid.  After doing some internet searches; there have been positive comments about this SMTP application.
















I have activated this application in my Azure subscription. Below are my steps.

Open up the Azure Dashboard, click New, select Store and then choose SendGrid from the App Services Add-ons list.
















We will not be sending over 25,000 emails a month so the free subscription will fit our current business needs.








The subscription will be tied in with your monthly billing.

I welcome any feedback.

~ Tony Maddin ~


A quick guide to create Active Directory in Azure

windows_azure_smallI first read the documentation on Microsoft’s website on how to create a domain controller and Active Directory.

This guide looked intense so I continued my internet searching until I found this blog post.

I am happy to report these steps worked like a champ!  I have now built my SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 training farms.

A special thank you to Keith Mayer at Microsoft for his awesome article.


FIX for Hyper-V Windows 8 Error “Failed while adding virtual Ethernet switch connections”

Hyper-v_logoAs I am building my Windows 8 – Hyper V environment to support my various SharePoint servers, I ran into an issue while creating an External switch in my Hyper-V Switch Manager.  I ran into an issue while creating an External Switch and attaching it to my WiFi adapter on my laptop.

**Please note: I take no responsiblity for your computer/laptop if it breaks. I did this scenario on my work laptop to support my project work. Please follow my steps with caution.

Failed while adding virtual Ethernet switch connections.

So here was my work around:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Go to Hardware and Sound
  • Go to Device Manager (Under Devices and Printers Tab) – Run as Administrator
  • Go to Network Adapters – Look for your WiFi adapter/device.
  • Next, right click on it and click uninstall. (Keep the driver.)
  • Next, right click on Network Adapters – Click SCAN FOR CHANGES

(Your WiFi adapter should reappear.)
Reboot your machine.

Next, when I rebooted my laptop; I had to resupply the WiFi password for my connection. I got back on the network.

Then when I create the External Network Switch; I did not receive an error.

If you want to follow a great guide on how to build a SharePoint Farm on Windows 8, please go to my good friend’s blog, SharePoint Ryan!

Tip: How to speed up a slow Virtual Server

If you have virtual servers (VMWare, Hyper-V, Virtual Box, etc.) running Windows operating system that does not have Internet connectivity; you will see the operating system services run slow. An example is opening up PowerShell command prompt. This could take up to 30 seconds at times. Open Internet Explorer. Then open an internal website. This could take some time.

Want to know why?

[box type=”info”]Here is the answer:

It’s a known issue with Windows. It’s trying to check certificates to see if they have been revoked. However, it slows down the operations within the operating system until the check times out. [/box]

To avoid this issue, you can fix the issue a couple of ways. Manual or script it with PowerShell.

Internet Explorer:

Go to Tools => Internet Options =>Advanced tab =>  Under Security: uncheck  “Check for Server Certificate Revocation(requires restart)[/box]

PowerShell Script:

[box]Set-ItemProperty -Path HKCU\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\internet settings\ -Name “CertificateRevocation” -Value =”0″[/box]

[box type=”bio”]A special thank you to John Chism and his team for coming up with this solution.[/box]

Extending your Windows 2008 Activiation in a virtual environment

I live and die with my virtual servers on my local computers to test proof-of-concepts; PowerShell scripts, backup/recovery scenarios, and many other important aspects to my job as a Web and SharePoint Administrator.

But one aggrevating thing is the Windows 2008 Activation feature that creeps up if you do not manage it.

I found a great TechNet article on how to extended the grace period in Virtual Environments.  This will work with VMWare Workstation, VirtualBox, Virtual Server, and Hyper-V.  In theory, it should work in other virtual enviornments.

Here is a link to the entire article.