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Happy coding!

No really, do YOU seriously believe your IT infrastructure is safe?

Paula JanuszkiewiczRenowned Security Expert, Paula Januszkiewicz, specialized in Penetration Testing, Enterprise Security MVP and MCT and Microsoft Security Trusted Advisor, #1 speaker at premium IT conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, TechEd, RSA and more, will be in Romania for a 5-day security hands-on class in Bucharest, put together by Avaelgo Training.

During the 17th and 21st of August, Paula will host the Windows Infrastructure Masterclass, which aims to bring the specialization within hacking and securing IT infrastructures. This course especially designed for enterprise administrators, infrastructure architects, security professionals, system engineers, network administrators, IT professionals and security consultants. As an added benefit, attendees will become Certified Security Engineers (CSEN).

Therefore, if you have you’re feet on the ground and realize that you MUST know more about security, this course is a must-attend-to and you’d better make sure you have you’re agenda free during August 17 and 21.

One of the leading companies to provide in-depth analysis of emerging technologies and their impact on either individual or corporate environments, namely Gigaom Research, formed of over 200 independent analysts, has recently provided, after a thorough analysis of various PaaS cloud providers, a chart of score results against several disruptive vectors.

The way this works is by averaging scores given by their experts for key cloud provider capabilities, such as multi-cloud deployments, DevOps, mobile app development and more.

Guess what the result was! Microsoft Azure fronted the ‘wolf pack’, ‘edging out competitors including Amazon and Google’, as they stated in a recent announcement.

Every now and then when I try to delete an Azure Active Directory directory it just so happens that I get this funny ‘Directory contains one or more applications that were added by a user or administrator’ error message.


error msg delete directory azure active directory

What’s so funny about it? Well, the simple fact that all the applications the message mentiones seem, at least from the portal side, to be automatically created when the directory is set up. So what can the solution be?

As it turns out, the Azure Management Portal doesn’t actually list ALL the applications it creates when you set up a new directory and not only does it do that, but it also creates a few application on your behalf (you, the administrator) when you create the directory service from within the Portal. In order to delete these AAD applications, you’re required to get your hands dirty and do some PowerShell scripting.

First, because Azure Active Directory is an upgrade from the former Microsft Online Services identity service, please be aware that you might need to install a few additional tools on your computer, namely Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW (that sounds so Microsoft :-)) and also the Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell – it’s preferable to install the 64-bit version of these tools, as the 32-bit version is discontinued by the time of this writing.

Once installed, go back to the Azure Management Portal and create a new organizational user within that particular directory (yes, I know, you need to have max. 1 identity within a directory to delete it, but you will still need an additional user IF your single AAD global admin is a Microsoft Account):

aad new user azure active directory

Make sure you mark the new user as a Global Admin and have an additional e-mail address in handy, since Global Admins are required to provide a backup e-mail address in order to get automated e-mail from the system.

Since the New User dialog created a temporary password for this user, quickly go to http://portal.microsoftonline.com and login using the new user you’ve just created. You will be prompted to change the temporary password.

Once you did this, you can open up a new PowerShell console or PowerShell ISE window. Within PowerShell, write the following cmdlet in order to connect to the directory. When prompted, use the credentials of the user account you just created from within the Azure Management Portal.

Connect-MsolService

Next, you can use the following cmdlet to retrieve the list of applications which reside on that AAD directory.

Get-MsolServicePrincipal | Select DisplayName

This will return the list of application which are currently installed on that AAD directory and you’ll quickly realize that the list contains way more than just the two application you see inside the Azure Management Portal:

  • Microsoft.Azure.ActiveDirectory
  • Microsoft.SMIT
  • Microsoft.Office365.Configure
  • Windows Azure Service Management API
  • Microsoft.SupportTicketSubmission
  • Microsoft.Azure.ActiveDirectoryUX
  • Microsoft.Azure.GraphExplorer
  • Microsoft.Azure.Portal
  • AzureApplicationInsights
  • Microsoft Policy Administration Service
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Online
  • SelfServicePasswordReset

In order to delete all these applications, you can go ahead and run the following cmdlet. Be aware though that not all application can be deleted and that some deletion processes will end up in an error different from the one shown within the PS console (nuts, right?) – ignore this.

Get-MsolServicePrincipal | Remove-MsolServicePrincipal

Afterwards, go back in the Azure Management Portal and delete the organization user account you created earlier and then delete the entire directory.

Voila, worked like a charm!

The ITCamp 2015 video recordings have recently been made publicly available on Vimeo and I’ve taken the liberty of embedding my session’s ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool For Understanding Your Customers‘ recording here. Since all the time slots were an hour long, I suggest you get some coffee, sandwiches, sit down and relax :-).

Enjoy the video and reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, via the contact form or comment section below if you have any questions on Application Insights, Azure or anything alike.

Alex

P.S.: you can skip directly to 01:00

Every now and then I get people ask me why I choose to attend all these conferences as a speaker, thus choose to travel so much. Before I go into too much history lessons, please know that there was a time when I chose to attend conferences as an attendee like most of you; but times have changed :-).

One of the super dynamics things behind events which hold abbreviations such as Conf, Con, Camp, Sum, Summit, Meetup in their name is in regard to all the preparation organizers go through when it comes to putting together a great event. More specifically, they have to make sure they always call be best possible speakers, select the best talks, don’t get sessions overlap in terms of presentation material, don’t get sessions overlap in terms of majority attendance. Besides, there’s the logistical part they have to take care of: where do you eat, what do you eat, where do you go refresh, how much coffee do they have to brew, what allergy-friendly food should they prepare, how do they ‘scale’ a kitchen so that the food you’ll be served will be both warm enough and will arrive on time… I tell you, as an event organizer, this logistical work behind a 500+ conference is ginormous.

And yet, some conferences really stand out. One of the conferences which really stands out is ITCamp. Last week took part the fifth edition of ITCamp and in my opinion as a two-time attendee and a two-time speaker, time was one of the best ITCamps ever. And it’s not only the content quality which stood out, but also the amount of great speakers you had the chance to meet at ITCamp. And yes, whenever someone asks me (and I do get this question a lot) what the main reason for attending X-Conf, Y-Camp, Z-Summit is, I keep on replying the same thing: it’s the speakers (oh yeah, people like me – haha). More specifically, their technical expertise on a particular subject, their in-depth knowledge and their feet-on-the-ground-like attitude. The reason for why having great speakers is so important is simple: you get to speak to them outside the session room.

So if you’re already a security specialist (are you, really?!), a big-data expert or whatever have you, or if you’re just a rookie in any of these or any other subjects, having a starting point for a conversation with any of the wonder-speakers is key for networking. Most conferences have their fair share of networking during or after the events, but in terms of networking ITCamp is special in many ways: that is, because as an attendee you get to see more than a glimpse of their speakers – you get to eat with them in the same huge restaurant, you get to attend the same party like they do or, if they should, you get to swim with them in the hotel’s swimming pool.

So again, you might already know everything about C# 6 – that’s more than cool. But if you do, you get to use Raffaele‘s presentation as a staring point for an hour-long-like conversation with him. You might not be responsible of your company’s IT infrastructure security, so it might not be that interesting, responsibility-wise, to attend Paula Januszkiewicz‘s session: but then again, what would you like to talk to her about: what the weather is like in Poland?!

Fortunately, enough, ITCamp is by far one of the greatest conferences in Romania and that is, because they know how to treat both their speakers (seriously, have you seen the hotel they’re checked-in?) and their attendees right. As a speaker, I love that they always offer their speakers a one-day-off-site trip to one of the many sightseeing places in Romania: this is one of the best times you get, as a speaker, to really enjoy a day off – you know, traveling around the globe can sometimes (please take this as always instead) overwhelming and tiring, so there’s nothing better than a hot shower and a day off to relax.

As a former attendee and team leader of current ITCamp attendees, I sure I’m not only speaking for myself here: ITCamp is/was and hopefully will be GREAT. Yes, it might not be the largest conference in Romania, but it for sure is one of the greatest; and the fact that it is put together by community leaders rather than privately-owned companies (…usually only interested into having personnel recruited or selling their so-and-so quality products – buuuh) certainly pays off in terms of speaker/attendee engagement, content quality (btw, did you know that they filter the sessions beforehand? Therefore, if attend ITCamp, please be aware that it’s super important for them that you offer them realistic feedback; therefore, just let them know how cool my session was :-)).

Friday ended the fifth edition of ITCamp: here’s to another five editions. What my wish is for the next five ITCamp editions? Simple: to get to meet you in person, whether you’re from the US, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Romania or any other cool place in the world.

Alex

During my today’s session at DevSum 2015 I got lots of super cool questions regarding Azure SQL Database Elastic Scale and the different sharding strategies/models. Since the presentation wasn’t recorded, I’m up for any questions which you might find yourself having or for any questions which couldn’t be put on time (due to the though 50-min constraint); you know where to find me :-).

Anyway, I’ve taken the liberty of attaching my today’s session slides hereby.

Have a nice one,

Alex

While the ITCamp 2015 orga team is still ‘cooking’ all the video recordings of these great sessions, I’ve decided to make my slides from my today’s session, entitled ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool for Understanding Your Customers’, available to you using OneDrive.

Whether you were among the 150+ attendees today or not, among all the other important things I have mentioned, I cannot reiterate enough: knowing both your users and application behavior whilst its in the wild is crucial if you want to be the developer of a successful app and not any other production app. Therefore, DO monitor your users, BUT don’t do it like the NSA does. Instead, let your users know that you know what frustrates them the most, let your users know you are aware of how the application performs and most importantly, ACT on all the telemetry data you are gathering.

Read More →

itcamp-logo-white[1]For the past 5 years, two great IT community volunteers, namely Tudor Damian and Mihai Tataran, along with a team of engaged volunteers, have put together what is in my opinion the greatest community driven IT conference in Romania, namely ITCamp.

Last year’s edition gathered over 500 attendees, mostly mid- and high-level software developers, all keen to learn from and network with an impressive panel of speakers coming from all over the world, each of them an expert in the IT industry.

Given the public agenda available on http://itcamp.ro, this year’s edition will easily surpasses both content quality and quantity; let me explain:

  • on one hand, this year’s ITCamp will also host a *NEW* track of business-oriented sessions where you could get a lot of insights on how to manage IT risk, what the cloud business models are given the industry cloud-emerging market worldwide, how to become a productive product owner and, one of my very favorites, how to manage intellectual property upon application launch
  • on the other hand, ITCamp 2015 has an impressive list of speakers, such as Paula Januszkiewicz – Enterprise Security MVP, Andy Malone – Enterprise Security MVP, Daniel Petri – Directory Services MVP, Andy Cross – Azure MVP and Microsoft RD, Raffaele Rialdi – Developer Security MVP, Tobiasz Koprowski – SQL Server MVP, David Giard – Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Adam Granicz – F# MVP, to name a few (of course, myself included 🙂 )

To quickly conclude, if you haven’t yet, now is your chance to register for ITCamp 2015 at http://itcamp.ro. The ticket costs around EUR130.00, a bargain considering that this is a once-in-a-year opportunity to get really valuable networking, along with great sessions and wonderful food from the caterer – Grand Hotel Italia.

Building on the exceptional success of last year’s edition, Global Azure Bootcamp 2014 (#GlobalAzure) is a free one-day training event, taking place on the 25th of April 2015 in several venues worldwide, driven by local Microsoft Azure community enthusiasts and experts. It consists of a day of sessions and labs based on the Microsoft Azure Readiness Kit or custom content. The event has been originally designed by 5 Microsoft Azure MVPs in order to benefit the local community members and teach essential Microsoft Azure skills and know-how. While supported by several sponsors, including Microsoft, the event is completely independent and community-driven.

Global Azure Bootcamp 2014 took place in March 2014, and ran at 136 locations in 54 countries on the same day, including countries like Nepal and Mauritius – possibly the largest community event ever. Approx. 480 organizers welcomed about 5,600 attendees. The event also featured a charity lab where attendees deployed virtual machines into Azure to help analyse data for diabetes research.

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