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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Where are Azure Data-Centers located & what Services do they host?

Sunday, June 18, 2017
Azure is generally available in 34 regions around the world, with plans announced for 6 additional regions - as of June 2017
The following links provide the most up to date info -


This Week I Learned - Week #219

Saturday, June 17, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* All newly created Azure SQL databases will automatically be protected with Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). TDE is SQL’s proven encryption-at-rest technology that is required by many compliance standards to protect against theft of storage media. Customers can manage the TDE encryption keys and other secrets in a secure and compliant management using Azure Key Vault - Azure Blog

* The Virtual Machines Readiness Assessment tool will automatically inspect your on-premises environment, whether it is physical or virtualized, and provide you with a check list and detailed report on steps you need to take to move your environment to the cloud.

* The free Virtual Machine Optimization Tool automatically inspects SQL Server, Active Directory, and SharePoint deployments and provides a detailed set of prioritized recommendations and step-by-step instructions for improvement. Aimed especially at IT pros, this tool is a companion to the Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment Tool - Azure Edu

Google's  Project Sunroof Data Explorer combines machine learning with imagery from Google Maps and Google Earth to provide an estimate of how many houses in an area have solar installations.

Alcohol consumption is illegal in Bihar, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Nagaland. Each state's Excise department also decides how many bottles of alcohol can be kept at home. A Mumbaikar can officially store 48 beer bottles of 650ml each at home or 24 wine bottles (750ml) or 16 hard liquor bottles (750 ml) for a month. India leads the world in the consumption of alcohol while the US, China, Russia and the UK have very high beer consumption. As much as 93% liquor consumption in india is of hard liquor if the pure alcohol content per litre is considered. Beer, on the other hand, makes up a mere 7%. Maharashtra is its largest producer of wine in India.

* A Ola cab can be booked not just from the app but also a desktop browser. If you're an existing user, it will show your past ride history

Kochi metro covering 13kms was built at a cost of Rs 5,181 crore and was built over 4 years.

* "We suffer more often in imagination than in reality" - Seneca

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Azure SQL Data Sync - soon to be out of Preview mode

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Interesting facts about Azure SQL Data Sync from blog posts & comments to articles -

Azure SQL Data Sync has been in Preview mode since 2012. Gmail which was launched on April 1,2004 as an invitation-only e-mail service officially exited its beta status on 7 July 2009 - after 5 years

Azure SQL Data Sync can be used to implement the data distribution between on-premises SQL Server, Azure SQL VM and Azure SQL databases, in uni-direction or bi-direction.

A Sync Database is a customer owned Azure SQL Database located in the same region as the Sync Group which stores metadata and logs. One Sync Database can be used for many sync groups in the same region.

SQL Data Sync is only for SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. All versions after SQL Server 2008 are supported. SQL Express is planned to be officially supported when the product becomes Generally Available (GA)

SQL Data Sync supports an automatic scheduled Sync. 5 minutes is currently the smallest frequency.

SQL Data Sync can be used with PowerShell and REST APIs

SQL Data Sync only allows you to sync between Azure SQL Databases in the same Subscription.

To workaround performance issues when database grows in records, currently you can create multiple sync groups to sync different tables in the same database.

The 32 bit version of the Data Sync 2.0 Agent will work with the 64 bit version of SQL Server.

Also see - What do CTP, RC, RTM, RTW mean?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017
My notes on Hypervisors paraphrased from TechTarget articles -

A hypervisor can make a physical host system to run multiple guest VMs thereby vastly improving the utilization of the underlying hardware.

A hypervisor makes the underlying hardware details irrelevant to the VMs.

A hypervisor is a virtual machine monitor

A VM is essentially little more than code operating in a server's memory space. Snapshot tools can quickly capture the content of that VM's memory space and save it to disk in moments

"Bare metal" hypervisors are the most common and popular type of hypervisor for the enterprise data center. They are deployed directly atop the system's hardware without any underlying operating systems or other software.

Examples of bare-metal virtualization hypervisors
* VMware ESX and ESXi - most mature hypervisor technology by far, but can be expensive to implement because of its higher licensing costs.
* Microsoft Hyper-V has tight Windows integration & may be the best hypervisor for organizations that don’t require a lot of bells and whistles.
* Citrix XenServer is a mature platform that began as an open source project.
* Oracle VM is Oracle’s homegrown hypervisor technology based on open source Xen. It’s certified with most of Oracle’s other products and therefore includes no-hassle support.

"Hosted" hypervisors like VMware Player or Parallels Desktop run as a software layer atop a host operating system. Hosted hypervisors are often found on endpoints like PCs.

Hosted virtualization hypervisors - can only run a single virtual machine (VM) and does not allow you to create VMs.
* VMware Player is a free virtualization hypervisor
* VMware Workstation is a more robust hypervisor useful for running multiple different operating systems or versions of one OS on one desktop
* VMware Fusion is the Mac version of Workstation
* VMware Server -  no-frills hosted hypervisor and alternative to using the free version of ESXi.
* Microsoft Virtual PC - free, only supports running Windows operating systems on it
* Oracle VM VirtualBox - Despite being a free, hosted product with a very small footprint, VirtualBox shares many features with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Decent alternative to more expensive hypervisors for both server and desktop virtualization.
* Red Hat’s Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) has qualities of both a hosted and a bare-metal virtualization hypervisor.
* Parallels Desktop for Mac hypervisor is very similar to VMware Fusion.

Storage hypervisors, a key element of software-defined storage, are used to virtualize all of the storage resources in the environment to create centralized storage pools that administrators can provision -- without having to concern themselves with where the storage was physically located.

As with storage, network virtualization can enable a software-defined network or software-defined data center platforms.


Delighted to be part of MVP Reconnect Program!

Monday, June 12, 2017
Microsoft is bringing together all former MVPs and help them stay in touch with the Microsoft community through the MVP Reconnect program
As a ASP.NET MVP for 5 years starting from 2005, I had the good fortune of interacting and collaborating with many folks in the development community who are passionate about Microsoft technologies. I'm happy now to be part of the rMVP club and about what lies ahead