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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

Learning Resources: Azure Active Directory

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
* Active Directory expert & Microsoft MVP, John Craddock has made available online a shorter version of his identity masterclass -
* Channel 9 has a good list of video based content on Azure AD


This Week I Learned - Week #236

Sunday, October 15, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* With the native integration between Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Functions, you can simply add a trigger function directly from your Azure Cosmos DB account. The benefit of a trigger function is that it only executes when an event happens, which triggers a function call. Using Functions and Azure Cosmos DB, you can create and deploy event-driven, planet-scale serverless apps with extremely low-latency access against very rich data for a large number of customers across the globe.

* SQL Server Developer offers free images for development/testing (not production). You only pay to run the operating system (OS) in the virtual machine. SQL Server Express’ images are free-licensed for lightweight production workloads. If you want to run a lightweight workload in production (GB/database), then use the free-licensed SQL Server Express edition. A SQL Express VM will only charge for the cost of the VM, not SQL licensing.

* Alexa, Amazon’s voice-assistant, is the cloud-based brain of Echo,  the voice-controlled family of speakers.

* YouTube has audio version of complete books read out by netizens.

A zipper has about 12 components

* Belgian born Jean Dreze has lived in Indian since the late 70s, earning his PhD at the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, and becoming an Indian citizen in 2002. He is considered to be one of the world's finest development economists

* Over the past three years, you would have seen a 2.5% decline in the rate of interest that you earn from your FDs, from 8.75% to 6.25% . However, in terms of actual income, that's a reduction of 40%. Over the past year, a FD would have yielded 7% interest, which was the rate in late 2016. Over the same period, an average liquid fund, which has negligible risk and variability, would have yielded 7.5%. That's 10% higher in terms of earnings. Interest is income, while mutual fund returns are capital gains. When you receive interest from a deposit, the entire thing is considered income. However, when you withdraw money from your mutual fund investment, a part of it is the original principal you invested, which is obviously tax-free.

* "This fake news/WhatsApp forwards industry -- and especially, the use of it in politics -- is one of the biggest threats to our world today"

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Review - Opsgility Lab: Implementing Azure Site Recovery – Azure to Azure

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
MSDN subscriptions are now called Visual Studio Subscriptions. One of the benefits you get with the annual Visual Studio Subscriptions is access to the Opsgility Azure training website. With the free Visual Studio Dev Essentials program, you get access for a shorter duration. I found their course catalog impressive. I especially found their Labs feature interesting and finished one today -

Lab: Implementing Azure Site Recovery – Azure to Azure
In this lab, you will configure Azure Site Recovery to protect a sample n-tier application by configuring replication from the source Azure region to a target Azure region. Once the initial replication has completed and the application is protected, you will perform a test fail over and validate application functionality. Finally, you will accomplish the cleanup of the test failover resources.

A lab is no fun if it goes smoothly. I encountered the following error after I chose South India as the location for deploying the sample application through an ARM template -

az group deployment create --name "CloudShop" --resource-group "CloudShopRG" 
Deployment failed. 
{ "error": 

 "code": "SkuNotAvailable", 
 "message": "The requested size for resource '/subscriptions/zzz/resourceGroups/CloudShopRG/providers
/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/SQLVM-1' is currently not available in location 'southindia' for subscription 'zzz'. Please try another size or deploy to a different location. See https://aka.ms/azureskunotavailable for details." 

It turned out that the specific VM SKU referenced in template isn't available in the Azure South India data center. I wonder if there is a way to check for availability of services in a chosen Azure location prior to running the script  & preempt execution errors.

This Lab provided good guidance & I'll be going back to try out more.


This Week I Learned - Week #235

Friday, October 06, 2017
This Week I Learned -

* Since Azure Web Apps do not support using the same host name across more than one subscription, it is not possible to use Web Apps from more than one subscription in a single Traffic Manager profile.

Accenture, Microsoft, and SAP undertook a move of Accenture’s entire 7 TB SAP Business Warehouse (BW) landscape and architecture from an on-premise data center to Azure

* JIRA Software Data Center is now supported to run in Azure. JIRA Software Data Center is Atlassian's purpose-built solution for organizations scaling JIRA Software that need high availability, disaster recovery, and performance at scale.

Google Clips camera is trained to capture soundless video of faces and pets that it recognizes using AI. By only capturing soundless video, Google Clips dodges any laws against wiretaps.

* Pixel Buds aren't just wireless headphones, they're also wireless translators - for 40 languages!

Stanford University’s Machine Learning on Coursera is the clear current winner in terms of ratings, reviews, and syllabus fit. Taught by the famous Andrew Ng, Google Brain founder and former chief scientist at Baidu, this was the class that sparked the founding of Coursera.

* Amazon is building a portfolio of private label brands across categories. Among the toppers in the home and kitchen category is Solimo, a private label owned by an Amazon entity globally and made specifically for India. Solimo is a brand that has been licensed to a seller in India who sources and procures products and brings them to the market. Amazon offers cookware, casserole sets and home furnishing such as towels under the Solimo brand. Amazon's other private labels in India include the recently-launched Symbol, a menswear fashion brand, Amazon Basics, its global private label, which has over 250 items listed like USB cables, headphones, laptop bags and camera accessories. All private labels brands are sold on the Amazon marketplace by Cloudtail, a joint venture between Amazon and Catamaran Ventures (the private investment vehicle of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy) - ET

42 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains are currently in operation.

* Income funds accounted for the largest share within the total AUM at ₹8.58 trillion, or 42% of the total assets of the mutual fund industry. Income funds are debt funds that invest in government securities, corporate bonds and certificate of deposits among other money market instruments. Income funds were followed by equity schemes that account for ₹5.74 trillion, or 28% of the total AUM. Liquid funds had a share of 17% of the AUM, or ₹3.49 trillion. Balanced funds that invest in a mix of equity and debt products had an AUM of ₹1.28 trillion, or 6% of the overall AUM as on August 31, as per AMFI data - The Hindu

* Writing subtitles requires highly specific skills ...Apart from an excellent knowledge of the source language and culture (a must to make sure no nuance is missed), subtitlers must have impeccable writing skills in their mother tongue....a subtitler “actually becomes the dialogue writer for a film when it travels”. It takes creativity to deliver powerful subtitles that convey all the meaning and emotions of the original script. Films screened at major festivals or acquired by reputable distributors must comply with stringent subtitling rules. These standards govern, among many other parameters, the maximum number of characters per line and second, must make for an unobtrusive viewing experience. When it comes to subtitling, Indian films pose very specific challenges, that only experienced and culture-savvy professionals may successfully take up. What makes the task even more demanding is the songs. Lyrics translation just won’t admit mediocrity - The Hindu

* “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet,” - Danish Nobel physicist Niels Bohr

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Compared: Azure Blob Storage tiers - Hot, Cool, & Archive (preview) storage

Thursday, October 05, 2017
Tabular summary of the article Azure Blob Storage: Hot, cool, and archive (preview) storage tiers

To manage costs for your expanding storage needs, it's helpful to organize your data based on attributes like frequency-of-access and planned retention period. With hot, cool, and archive storage tiers, Azure Blob storage addresses this need for differentiated storage tiers with separate pricing models.

Blob Storage Accounts are specialized storage accounts for storing your unstructured data as blobs (objects) in Azure Storage distinct from General Purpose Storage Account. You cannot convert an existing storage account to a Blob storage account

Blob storage accounts cannot be used to store virtual machine disks or page blobs.

Going forward, Blob storage accounts are the recommended way for storing blobs

Hot storage tier Cool storage tier Archive storage tier
Purpose for storing data that is accessed frequently for storing data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least a month for storing data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least six months with flexible latency requirements (on the order of hours).
Usage Scenarios Data that is in active use or expected to be accessed (read from and written to) frequently.

Data that is staged for processing and eventual migration to the cool storage tier.
Short-term backup and disaster recovery datasets.

Older media content not viewed frequently anymore but is expected to be available immediately when accessed.

Large data sets that need to be stored cost effectively while more data is being gathered for future processing. (For example, long-term storage of scientific data, raw telemetry data from a manufacturing facility)
Long-term backup, archival, and disaster recovery datasets

Original (raw) data that must be preserved, even after it has been processed into final usable form. (For example, Raw media files after transcoding into other formats)

Compliance and archival data that needs to be stored for a long time and is hardly ever accessed. (For example, Security camera footage, old X-Rays/MRIs for healthcare organizations, audio recordings, and transcripts of customer calls for financial services)
Availability 99.9% 99% currently no SLA
(RA-GRS reads)
99.99% 99.9%
Usage charges Higher storage costs, lower access and transaction costs Lower storage costs, higher access and transaction costs Lowest storage cost and higher data retrieval costs compared to hot and cool storage.
Minimum object size N/A N/A
Minimum storage duration N/A N/A
(Time to first byte)
milliseconds milliseconds on the order of hours?
Scalability and performance targets Same as general-purpose storage accounts Same as general-purpose storage accounts

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