Azure Functions Demo: Voting App

Back in April this year, Pete Zerger (@pzerger) and I delivered two sessions in Experts Live Australia. One of which is titled “Cloud Automation Overview”. During this session, we have showed off a pretty cool voting demo app that is made up with Azure Functions, Key Vault, Azure SQL DB and Power BI. As shown above, this demo app allows attendees in our session to vote on a topic that we have chosen by scanning QR codes using mobile devices. In this case, since we were delivering the session in Melbourne Australia, we have decided to let people to vote

Feeding Your Power BI Reports from Azure Functions

Background Few days ago my good friend and fellow CDM MVP Alex Verkinderen (@AlexVerkinderen) had a requirement to produce a Power BI dashboard for Azure AD users. so Alex and I started discussing a way to produce such report in Power BI. After exploring various potential possibilities, we have decided to leverage Azure Functions to feed data into Power BI. You can check out the Power BI solution Alex has built on his blog here: http://www.mscloud.be/retrieve-azure-aad-user-information-with-azure-functions-and-publish-it-into-powerbi In this blog post, I’m not going to the details of how the AAD Users Power BI report was built. Instead, I will focus

Making PowerShell Based Azure Functions to Produce HTML Outputs

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working with my MVP buddy Alex Verkinderen (@AlexVerkinderen) on some Azure Function related stuff. We have both written few PowerShell based functions that output a HTML page. These functions use the ConvertTo-HTML cmdlet to produce the HTML output. For example, here’s a simple one that  list 2 cars in a HTML table:

Today we ran into an issue while preparing for our next blog posts, after some diagnostics, we realised the issue was caused by the HTML output returned from the PowerShell based functions. If I use Invoke-WebRequest cmdlet in Powershell to

Securing Passwords in Azure Functions

09/10/2016 – Note: This post has been updated as per David O’Brien’s suggestion . As I mentioned in my last post, I have started playing with Azure Functions few weeks ago and I’ve already built few pretty cool solutions. One thing that I’ve spent a lot of time doing research on is how to secure credentials in Azure Functions. Obviously, Azure Key Vault would be an ideal candidate for storing credentials for Azure services. If I’m using another automation product that I’m quite familiar with – Azure Automation, I’d certainly go down the Key Vault path because Since Azure Automation

Using Custom PowerShell Modules in Azure Functions

Like many other fellow MVPs, I have started playing with Azure Functions over the last few weeks. Although Azure Functions are primarily designed for developers and supports languages such as C#, Node.JS, PHP, etc. PowerShell support is currently in preview. This opens a lot of opportunities for IT Pros. My friend and fellow CDM MVP David O’Brien has written some really good posts on PowerShell in Azure Functions (https://david-obrien.net/). Although the PowerShell runtime in Azure Functions comes with a lot of Azure PowerShell modules by default (refer to David’s post here for details), these modules are out-dated, and some times,

PowerShell Function to Get Azure AD Token

When making Azure Resource Manager REST API calls, you will firstly need to obtain an Azure AD authorization token and use it to construct the authorization header for your HTTP requests. My good friend Stanislav Zhelyazkov (@StanZhelyazkov) has written a PowerShell function call Get-AADToken as part of the OMSSearch PowerShell module for this purpose. You can find it in the OMSSearch project’s GitHub repo: https://github.com/slavizh/OMSSearch/blob/master/OMSSearch.psm1 I have been using this functions in many projects in the past and it served me well. However, the limitation for Stan’s function is that it only works with user principals – you can only generate

Programmatically Creating Azure Automation Runbook Webhooks Targeting Hybrid Worker Groups

In Azure Automation, you can create a webhook for a runbook and target it to a Hybrid Worker group (as opposed to run on Azure). In the Azure portal, it is pretty easy to configure this ‘RunOn’ property when you are creating the webhook. However, at the time of writing this blog post, it is STILL not possible to specify where the webhook should target when creating it using the Azure Automation PowerShell module AzureRM.Automation (version 3.1.0 at the time of writing). The cmdlet New-AzureRMAutomationWebhook does not provide a parameter where you can specify the webhook “RunOn” target: there are

Be Cautious When Designing Your Automation Solution that Involves Azure Automation Azure Runbook Workers

Over the last few weeks, it occurred to me twice that I had to change my original design of the automation solutions I was working on because of the limitations of Azure Automation Azure Runbook Workers. Last month, my fellow CDM MVP Michael Rueefli has published an article and explained Why deploying Hybrid Runbook Workers on Azure makes sense. In Michael’s article, he listed some infrastructural differences between Azure runbook workers and the Hybrid runbook workers. However, the issues that I faced that made me to change my design were caused by the functional limitations in Azure runbook workers. Therefore

PowerShell Module for Managing Azure Table Storage Entities

Introduction Firstly, apologies for not being able to blog for 6 weeks. I have been really busy lately.  As part of a project that I’m working on, I have been dealing with Azure Table storage and its REST API over the last couple of weeks. I have written few Azure Function app in C# as well as some Azure Automation runbooks in PowerShell that involves inserting, querying and updating records (entities) in Azure tables. I was struggling a little bit during development of these function apps and runbooks because I couldn’t find too many good code examples and I personally

Calculating SQL Database DTU for Azure SQL DB Using PowerShell

over the last few weeks, I have been working on a project related to Azure SQL Database. One of the requirements was to be able to programmatically calculate the SQL Database DTU (Database Throughput Unit). Since the DTU concept is Microsoft’s proprietary IP, the actual formula for the DTU calculation has not been released to the public. Luckily, Microsoft’s Justin Henriksen has developed an online Azure SQL DB DTU Calculator, you can also Justin’s blog here. I was able to use the web service Justin has developed for the online DTU Calculator, and I developed 2 PowerShell functions to perform

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