Guide to Uploading Files to Azure Blob Storage with PowerShell

Azure Blob storage is Microsoft’s object storage solution for the cloud. Blob storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data.

Use the Azure PowerShell module to create and manage Azure resources. You can create or manage Azure resources from the PowerShell command line or in scripts. This guide will help you to upload files/folders to the blob storage via script/PowerShell command.

  1. Install the latest version of Azure PowerShell for all users on the system in a PowerShell session opened with administrator rights using the following command:

    Install-Module -Name Az -AllowClobber -Scope AllUsers
     
  2. Use the following command and sign in to your Azure subscription when prompted:

    Connect-AzAccount
  3. Get the storage account context to be used for the data transfer using the following commands:

$uploadstorage=Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName <resource group name> -Name <storage account name>

Update the place holders <resource group name> and <storage account name> with values specific to your environment.

  1. Run the following command to upload a file from your local directory to a container in Azure storage:

    Set-AzStorageBlobContent -Container “<storage container name>” -File “<Location of file in local disk>” -Context $storcontext

    Replace the placeholders <storage container name> and <Location of file in local disk> with values specific to your environment

    Once the file is uploaded successfully, you will get a message similar to what you can see in the screenshot below:

    Graphical user interface, text, application

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  2. To upload all files in the current folder, run the following command

    Get-ChildItem -File -Recurse | Set-AzStorageBlobContent -Container “<storage container name>” -Context $storcontext

  3. If you browse to the Azure storage container, you will see all the files uploaded.

    Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Here is the script code

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>$uploadstorage=Get-AzStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName Storage-Group -Name <strong>StorageName</strong></p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>$storcontext=$uploadstorage.Context</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>Set-AzStorageBlobContent -Container "<strong>Name of Container</strong>" -File " <strong>Location of file in local disk</strong> " -Context $storcontext</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>Copy and past in notepad save as script.ps1</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

windows 365 cloud pc

Windows 365 Cloud PC: What it is and what to expect

Windows 365 Cloud PC – a service launched by Microsoft that lets users access Cloud PCs (hosted in the Cloud) remotely. In short, Microsoft has built a PC in its cloud infrastructure and people around the world can access it.

“Windows 365, which takes the PC to the cloud, gives people the ability to connect to their content, applications, data, and settings without limiting them to any single device.”  

“Windows 365 gives users the agency to connect to their apps, data, and settings from any device and any endpoint. It creates a new category called Cloud PC, which uses both the power of the cloud and the capabilities of the device to provide a full, personalized Windows experience, anywhere.”

– Microsoft Corporate Vice Presidents Jared Spataro and Alysa Taylor. 

 Link to the article, here.

 

How is Windows 365 Cloud PC different from Windows Virtual Desktop (Azure Virtual Desktop VDI service)? 

Windows 365 aims to be a simplified VDI service when compared to Azure Virtual Desktop VDI. It is said to simplify the virtualization experience for users. You can resize (downsize or upsize) the processing power of a Cloud PC depending on the need and usage of a user.

  • Windows 365 has Microsoft-managed Azure Subscriptions, whereas Azure Virtual Desktop has Customer Managed Azure Subscriptions
  • Windows 365 doesn’t use any profile management and storage platform like Fslogix, the way Azure Virtual Desktop does
  • Windows 365 has a fixed cost whereas Azure Virtual Desktop has a usage-based pricing
  • Windows 365 is less flexible when compared to Azure Virtual Desktop

These are just a few of the differences. Microsoft still recommends Azure Virtual Desktop for users that require more customization and flexibility. 

 

What’s new and what to expect. 

Microsoft is launching another new product which is named Windows 365 Cloud PC. The first time we heard about it, the question that came to mind is – Is it the same thing packaged differently? 

You can use Windows 10 or 11, on the cloud. Turn your personal PC into a Cloud PC. Whether you are using a Windows, Android Linux, or an Apple Device -Windows 365 is your personal cloud PC. Pick up right where you left off because every data, every app, every file is on the cloud. 

One can use Windows 365 Cloud PC through any modern web browser or via Microsoft’s Remote Desktop App. 

Will be made available to businesses on August 2, 2021, on a per-user, monthly subscription. 

Users can create cloud PCs within minutes. The cost of physical hardware can entirely go down. The technology is backed by Azure Cloud Desktop services. Microsoft is revolutionizing the modern workplace by integrating everything to the cloud so that data and information are always easily accessible. 

One can log in to their Windows 365 Cloud PC by using their Microsoft Account credentials. Users will also be able to use multi-monitors and work simultaneously using the Remote Desktop app. 

 

Benefits: 

  • You get all benefits of a powerful hardware 
  • Your hardware would have a longer shelf life as everything is on the cloud. 
  • Processor Speed will always be at its optimum. 
  • Fixed price and management through Microsoft Endpoint Management 
  • Enhances download and upload speeds 

 

Download and Upload Speed

Tom Warren, senior editor for The Verge, (founder of WinRumors – a website dedicated to Microsoft News) did a speed test and this is what he found: 

Windows 365 download and upload speed

Windows 365 Cloud PC provides 10Gbps download speed and 4Gbps upload speed

 

Steps to deploy a Windows 365 Cloud PC 

A Cloud PC can be provisioned from the Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) dashboard. The 2 basic requirements needed to fulfil and deploy a Cloud PC are: 

  1. License 
  2. Users need to be part of an AAD (Azure Active Directory) group that is assigned to a provisioning policy. 

In the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre, you can assign licenses, allot a Cloud PC, and add them to a group that has a provisioning policy assigned to it. This enables Cloud PC provisioning. 

 

What about monitoring the health and performance of a system? 

Analytics have been built into the service to look at connection health across the network. Diagnostics are continually run to check all Virtual Networks and domains. If something is not right, the service alerts you and gives suggestions on how the issue can be corrected. 

For example, the service shows reports and admins can see the CPU usage. So, if a user in the network or your organization needs more CPU Storage, it can be centrally assigned to them via the Windows365 Cloud portal, 

It uses MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) to verify and authorize logins and access to your Cloud PC through integration with Azure AD. And within the MEM Dashboard, you can pair the MFA with Windows 365 Conditional Access (CA) policies to instantly assess login risks for each individual session. 

 

Questions & Answers 

Will it replace Azure?

No. Azure still remains. Windows 365 Cloud PC uses Azure Networking to establish a network connection to let you access your internal business apps, intranet, or file servers. 

 

Can you install third-party apps or software? 

Yes, you can. 

 

When using apps that require audio and video devices, how would Windows 365 work? 

For using external devices like a webcam, users will have to use the Remote Desktop App to access Cloud PC in order to share the video. But in case the video is not enabled and only 2-way audio is in usage, the browser would do, instead of the Remote Desktop App. 

 

What if you’re accessing Windows 365 Cloud PC on your iPad and you want to connect to a local printer? Will it have support for USB redirection? 

Yes. Similar to the external webcam scenario, connect your Cloud PC using Remote Desktop Apps. You’ll be able to enable various USB peripherals.

 

Since everything is on the cloud, how much bandwidth do you need? 

If you can stream a movie, your internet bandwidth is enough to access and use this service.
 

Will IT Admins have to learn something new? 

No. If your IT Admins are currently managing all devices through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, this is the same. You can manage your cloud PCs along with all your regular PCs through the MEM Portal. 

 

Can Cloud PC Specs be changed depending on their usage? 

Yes. You can resize according to your requirements. 

 

Can users be prevented from copying data to their local PC? 

Yes 

 

Conclusion

Feels like Microsoft has taken an oath to revolutionize the way people work and modernize the workplace (not necessarily the office but wherever the user is). The pandemic and remote working have only given more fuel and mileage to their drive and we are rooting for them.

 

Upcoming: 

We keep uploading new blogs quite frequently on our website- keep an eye out for those.

Lastly, if you need help with more such IT Solutions, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to resolve your queries. 

 

 

 

cloud migration

Cloud Migration: Reasons to migrate and tips to convince your clients

Reasons why you should migrate to the cloud

While we may think the majority of the companies have moved to the cloud, the recent Hafnium attack and many others portray a different story. There are many organizations that still function on on-premise servers and haven’t moved to the cloud. This shows that there are still many who are skeptical about Cloud Migration. The question here is, how secure is the cloud? Is cloud actually safe? 

Let’s answer this question for you then. 

The recent activities are a testament and throw light on how unsafe or vulnerable on-prem servers are. The simple answer to this is, that your data could actually be more secure on the cloud than it is on-prem. 

 

Here are the reasons why Cloud could be more secure

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication: Added layers of security with features like MFA, where before you sign in from a new device, an OTP or a verification mail is sent to verify your identity and ensure that the access is granted to the right person. 
  2. Safe attachments & Safe LinksCloud services, scan an attachment or any link that is being sent from another person. If the file is not secure, a message pops up which warns you to not download the files or open the link. 
  3. Encrypted data: Data and files are encrypted hence you don’t have to worry about your files falling into unsafe hands. 
  4. Quicker Operations: Your SMB will be able to coordinate and work on projects at a greater pace.
  5. Backups have your back: Doesn’t matter if you forgot to save your files, they will be automatically backed up on the cloud. You would never have to worry about losing a file or its content when you are working cloud. 
  6. Seamless Collaborations: A benefit that has come to use during this pandemic. Teammates can work on the same files, make changes, feel more connected, have office meetings online, cloud just makes it more seamless.  
  7. More Storage Space: Microsoft offers its licensed user 1 TB of free storage space on the cloud which would be difficult when it comes to an offline medium.
  8. Your data at your doorstep: You and your team can simultaneously work on the same file no matter where in the world you are. Even if you don’t have your laptop with you, or it’s damaged or corrupted, the cloud will have stored all your data in a safe place.

 

Tips to keep your data and systems safe: 

  • Update Patches regularly, as and when they are released
  • Have a good firewall in place- to keep you away from suspicious traffic
  • Enable MFA
  • Encrypt all your cloud data 

 

Tips on convincing your clients for Cloud Migration

As an MSP, if you want to convince your customers to migrate to the cloud, you must have a fool-proof understanding of the cloud which will help you understand the reason behind your clients’ reluctance, their dismissal and you’ll then have reasons to convince them for the migration. 

Once you frankly discuss the concerns your clients have migrating to the cloud, whether it be due to higher costs, data security etc., you’d be able to give them accurate solutions to mitigate these concerns. 

To give them something to trust, you can start with small changes, and then gradually aim for a complete migration to the cloud. 

Once your clients start using cloud services, there are high chances that they’ll be able to trust the platform better. 

Show them the unsafe world and then show them the safe world and how you can help them transition. Highlight the problems they may face when using an offline medium (higher chances of losing a file and never being able to recover it, limited storage, server hack concerns, etc.) 

Put forth the benefits of the cloud(larger storage space, backups and disaster recovery, constant maintenance, fewer chances of server getting hacked etc.)

Although cloud services may seem expensive initially but over time if you consider the operational costs you may incur in an offline medium, the cloud is a good investment. In order to keep up with the pace of this competitive world, cloud migration will be a saviour in the future.

Be honest with the pros and cons and leave the decision up to your client. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cloud migration?

It is the process of transferring or migrating any data, databases, apps, servers, virtual desktops or any other such business element to the cloud. It could be a cloud to cloud migration or an on-premises to cloud migration depending on the need.

 

What are the phases of cloud migration?

Discover, Plan, Migrate, Post Migration Support

 

How do you do cloud migration?

Expanding on the answer above would give a clear idea of how one can perform cloud migration:

  1. Discover: A phase where after taking the initial call, there’s a discovery session on what has to be migrated, the amount of data that has to be migrated
  2. Plan: Which migration method will be used, what will be migrated first and the stages in which it’ll be divided
  3. Migrate: As decided, the migration process is kickstarted and is completed in the stipulated amount of time
  4. Post-migration Support: Once everything has been migrated, one usually gives post-migration support for a small period of time to see if everything is running smooth and if any issues arise then remediation can be done immediately

 

What is 7 R’s cloud migration planning/strategies?

The 7 R’s are the migration strategies that have been renamed by AWS. They are –

  1. Re-host: The Lift-and-Shift Model, which is, moving from a dedicated platform to a shared one without any modifications. It is the most common migration method.
  2. Re-platform: Lift and Reshape. To optimize what is migrated to make it cloud-compatible
  3. Re-factor: Decouple and Rewrite. Migrate and Modify the architecture
  4. Re-purchase: Shop and Drop. Switch to another app/product
  5. Relocate: A hypervisor level lift and shift
  6. Retain: Keep the source environment as-it-is
  7. Retire: De-commission and remove the old on-prem server

What is the most common cloud migration model?

The most common cloud migration model is “Lift-and-Shift”.

Conclusion: 

Migrating to the cloud has immense benefits; yes, cloud services may seem expensive but curated packages and the pay-as-you-go pricing, can help cut costs. Packages start from basic all the way to premium, so your client can choose the one that is the most suitable for them. There are different cloud types and models available. Present them the package that you think would be appropriate for their business and then they will be more likely to purchase. 

Migration is an extensive, exhaustive process. Migrating to the cloud while taking care of the daily tasks and simultaneously growing your business can seem daunting, but it is important.

Infrassist utilizes industry-recognized best practices to design, build, deploy, and drive the right cloud solution that aligns with your clients’ needs. We will migrate your data from one cloud environment to another and take the burden off of your IT team.

 

Upcoming

We keep uploading new blogs quite frequently on our website- keep an eye out for those.

Lastly, if you need help with more such IT Solutions, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to resolve your queries. 

 

Microsoft Viva

Microsoft VIVA- The new Employee Experience Platform

Microsoft has always taken a step towards enhancing workplace collaborations and communications. A platter filled with tools that fulfil all your business needs that lets you stay in touch with everyone, ease collaborations and tools that enable every employee to receive constant updates, whether it be Microsoft Teams, SharePoint or OneDrive. Aligning with the idea of sharing and collaborating, Microsoft has come up with a new tool, a new product named Microsoft Viva. platform designed to help people collaborate efficiently, gather knowledge, learn & engage. 

Let’s know more about the tool. 

 

Microsoft VIVA 

Aimed at enhancing an employees’ remote work experience by connecting and collaborating, Microsoft Viva is an “An AI-powered solution that discovers, organizes and surfaces what matters”. It will act as an Employee Experience Platform (abbreviated to EXP) aimed at increasing employee productivity, proper communications and prompting employees to take a break.

 

How can MSPs benefit from Microsoft Viva? 

With the onset of COVID-19 and workplaces shifting to individual houses, collaborations, learning, sharing insights, has been difficult. Although Microsoft Teams has made it very easy for geographically dispersed employees to connect and communicate, with VIVA, Microsoft has taken a step ahead. The entire workforce was forced to work-from-home during the pandemic and so were MSPs. A platform like Viva could prove really helpful and was designed keeping in mind seamless collaborations and learning to take place. All these Apps would be made available through Microsoft Teams which has over 115 million users on a daily basis.

To enhance the employee experience, Microsoft has teamed up with SalesForce, Headspace, Coursera, edX, Cornerstone OnDemand, Slack, LinkedIn, Workday, Skillsoft, Zoom, glint, SAP SuccessFactors and many more. 

VIVA has been bifurcated into 4 modules, Viva InsightsViva TopicsViva Connections and Viva Learning. Prices of each will be disclosed as and when they release them. They’ll be rolling out the modules over the next 3-6 months as an add-on to the m365 subscriptions.  

Viva Insights and Viva Topics are available for purchase as an add-on to all Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans. You can see pricing here.

 

Viva Insights: 

Tenants who have enabled Viva Insights will be able to download the Insights App within their Microsoft Teams. 

There’ll be three tabs within Insights- Home, Stay Connected and Protect Time. The Home dashboard will have focused time- to help you focus on your core tasks and aiming at personal well-being there’s a tab for guided meditation. At the end of your workday, you’ll be shown an overview of your calendar for the next day, prompted to reflect on your day. Helping you wrap up your day in a mindful way. 

The Stay Connected feature will help pin people and will show you AI-based task suggestions clubbed with reminders regarding follow-ups.

The Protect Time feature will help block times for an individual so that he/she can focus. 

The weekly emails from Microsoft’s Cortana will help the employee set aside time for Learning, Connecting etc. The mail will also give Links to take up LinkedIn Learning courses. 

 

Viva Topics: 

Viva Topics will be available within Microsoft Teams itself.  Viva Topics will help an individual learn something new. During the communications that take place within teams if there is something that is new or unknown to the employee, they can simply hover over the word or the topic, which will then show you a Topic Card that shows a brief summary of the word. Along with the brief summary, the employees will also be shown who the experts are in the field and a list of related documents. When expanded, Related Topics, discussions, a repository of files related to the topic, etc. will be shown. 

These Topic Cards would be made available not only in Teams but also OutlookSearch and other M365 Apps. Users can also add and create new topics. 

 

Viva Connections: 

Think of it as a gateway to your digital workplace. It is “built on M365 capabilities like SharePoint to provide a curated and branded employee destination.” The content shared can be customized for specific roles within the company. Viva Connections will be rolling out in the near future: stay tuned for more news on this one at Microsoft Ignite 2021!  

 

Viva Learning: 

Being part of an organization that enhances ones’ skillset and knowledge, is what every employee wants. Where you learn every day and it aides an employees’ career growth. Viva Learning creates a central hub for learning within Microsoft Teams. The Learning Hub would help people discover, share, pin, recommend and learn from online educational platforms. 

On Viva Learning, employees can learn from online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, Skillsoft and many more. Courses will be recommended to an individual with the help of AICurated courses would show the right content at the right time, to increases the chances of people viewing the course. 

 

Below we have answered some questions that you may have regarding the platform

Should one use Viva? Is it the same product, packaged differently? 

Yes, Indeed. Viva will be integrated with Microsoft Teams to enhance the employees’ experience. The platform is a culmination of various Microsoft features bundled and integrated into Teams. Microsoft Viva will be a one-stop-shop for an organizations’ needs.

 

How will it enhance productivity? 

Productivity will be improved because all different tools and functions offered in M365 will be available in a single platform- Microsoft Teams. You won’t have to juggle between different apps or software. 

 

How is Microsoft Viva different from Microsoft Teams? 

It is different from Microsoft Teams in a way that many different features have been combined into the Teams Platform. The usual employee conversation and collaboration would still be intact with the benefit of enhancing conversations through learning, knowledge and prioritizing what’s important.  

 

In how many languages is Microsoft Viva available? 

Currently available in English, Microsoft will extend support in Spanish, French and German in the second half of 2021. 

 

As Viva Learning acts as a central hub for courses from Coursera, edX, Pluralsight etc., does one need to buy these courses or will they be available for free? 

Let’s say a Marketing Course was circulated in Viva Learning but there is a course fee to access and join the course; the user will have to pay extra. But since some LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn offer lots of free courses, those course videos can be consumed for free. 

 

How useful is Microsoft Viva for Small & Medium Business (SMBs)? 

Although SMBs can use it, take their 30-day trial and see if they find it beneficial or not. But considering the prices of $5/per user/per month, it could be expensive for SMBs. Businesses that have a large workforce, big teams and a huge budget could find Microsoft Viva to be really useful.  


 

Upcoming

We keep uploading new blogs quite frequently on our website- keep an eye out for those.

Lastly, if you need help with more such IT Solutions, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to resolve your queries.