The recent announcement that VMware will be available within Azure makes for a really interesting announcement. It brings a great on-prem solution (VMware) that the admin teams already know and use extensively, into the Azure Cloud. In a perfect work apps that are moving into the cloud should be moved to PaaS services, but that isn’t always possible. There are legacy apps, or services that have to be run that can’t be moved into Azure functions, and just need to be run as Windows Servers.
Moving from an on-prem world into Azure can be a daunting experience for Admins that are looking at Azure for the first time. By being able to simply put VMware hosts in their Azure environment we can combine the power of the Azure cloud platform and the existing knowledge of the VMware platform to make a migration (or expansion) to the cloud an extremely easy solution.
By using technology that the sysadmin team is already familiar with, they don’t have to learn about the entire Azure platform. They only need to familiarize themselves with the basics of Azure and how VMware interfaces with Azure. The rest of the platform is just VMware, so that part of the platform the systems team should already know and be familiar with.
Is this something that can be used today? No, not yet. It was just recently announced so it’ll take time before this is ready, but it’ll be a interesting path for companies that are cloud adverse but need an option for burstable capacity without having to leave an entirely new cloud platform.
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I have a client who uses MDS (Master Data Services) and SSIS (Integration Services) in an Azure VM. Since we only need to execute the SQL Agent job that runs the SSIS packages infrequently, we shut down the VM when it is not in use in order to save costs. We wanted to make sure that the Azure VM did not shut down when a specific SQL Agent job was still running, so I tackled this with some PowerShell runbooks in Azure Automation.
I split the job into two parts. The first runbook simply checks if a specified SQL Agent job is running and returns a text value that indicates whether it is running. A parent runbook checks if the VM is started. If the VM is started, it calls the child runbook to check if the job is running, and then shuts down the VM if the job is not running.
It’s fairly easy and convenient to have nested PowerShell runbooks in Azure Automation. There are two main ways to call a child runbook.
- Inline execution
- Using the Start-AzureRmAutomationRunbook cmdlet
It was less obvious to me how to call a child runbook when the parent runs in Azure and the child runs on a hybrid worker, especially when you need to use the output from the child runbook in the parent. A hyrid runbook worker allows us to access resources that are behind a VNET or on premises.
Travis Roberts has a nice video on just this topic that gave me the answers I needed.
Below is my parent runbook.
# Ensures you do not inherit an AzureRMContext in your runbook
Disable-AzureRmContextAutosave –Scope Process
$connection = Get-AutomationConnection -Name AzureRunAsConnection
Connect-AzureRmAccount -ServicePrincipal -Tenant $connection.TenantID `
-ApplicationID $connection.ApplicationID -CertificateThumbprint $connection.CertificateThumbprint
$SubID = 'XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX'
$AzureContext = Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId $SubID
'Check if VM is on'
$vm=((Get-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName $rgName -AzureRmContext $AzureContext -Name $vmName -Status).Statuses).Code
if ($vm -eq 'PowerState/running')
#if VM running call other runbook
start-sleep -Seconds 60;
'Check if job is running'
$JobRunning = start-azureRMautomationrunbook -AutomationAccount 'ProgramsAutomation' -Name 'CheckRunningSQLJob' -ResourceGroupName $rgName -AzureRMContext $AzureContext -Runon 'Backups' -Wait;
} Until ($JobRunning -eq 'run0')
stop-azurermvm -Name $VMname -ResourceGroupName $RgName -force
The runbook sets the Azure context to the appropriate subscription (especially important when you are a guest user in someone else’s tenant). Then it checks if the VM is started. If it is, it goes into a do-while loop. This task isn’t super time sensitive (it’s just to save money when the VM isn’t in use), so it’s waiting 60 seconds and then calling the child runbook to find out if my SQL Agent job is running. This makes sure that the child runbook is called at least once. If the result is that the job is not running, it stops the VM. If the job is running, the loop starts over, waiting 60 seconds before checking again. This loop is essentially polling the job status until it sees that the job is completed. One thing to note is the -Wait parameter on the end of that Start-AzureRmAutomationRunbook command. If you don’t specify the -Wait parameter, the command will immediately return a job object. If you specify the -Wait parameter, it waits for that child job to complete and returns the results of that job.
And here is my child runbook.
$SQLJobName = 'MySQLAgentJobName'
$SQLInstanceName = 'MySQLServer
$cred=Get-AutomationPSCredential -Name 'mycredential'
$server = Connect-DbaInstance -SqlInstance $SQLInstanceName -SqlCredential $cred
Get-DbaRunningJob -SqlInstance $server | Get-DbaRunningJob
$JobStatus = (Get-DbaRunningJob -SqlInstance $server).Name -match $SQLJobName
If ($JobStatus -ne $false)
#job is running. Passing back a string because bits and ints were causing issues.
$JobRunning = 'run1'
#job is idle
$JobRunning = 'run0'
I’m using dbatools to check if the job is running on the server. That is the Get-DBARunning Job command. The important part to note is that you have to use the Write-Output command for this output to be available to the parent runbook. I got some weird results when I tried to return an int or a boolean (it was returning an object rather than a single value), so I just went with a string. The string, while not the most efficient, works just fine. If you understand why this is, feel free to leave me a comment.
These runbooks have been in place for a couple of months now, and they are working great to shut down the VM to save money while making sure not to disturb an important SQL Agent job that might occasionally run late. I didn’t find much documentation nor many examples of using output from a child job that runs on a hybrid worker, so I wanted to get this published to help others that go searching.
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DCAC Debuts No. 2056 on the 2019 Inc. 5000
With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 290% Percent
NEW YORK, August 14, 2019 2019 – Inc. magazine today revealed that Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting [DCAC] is No. 2056 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Pandora, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.
“This is a very exciting time at DCAC and we want to thank Inc. Magazine as well as our team,” CEO and founder Denny Cherry commented. “When your ‘Help Wanted’ sign reads, ‘Must have globally renowned technology expertise’ you tend end up with a very small applicant pool, as well as competition from major corporations for their services. We are incredibly proud so many experts have chosen to join our ranks.”
“The good news is that our experts can now help enterprise businesses and major corporations on a level no lone expert could. Every consultant we hire joins a pool of experts with individual disciplines – their knowledge sharing exponentially grows our capabilities here at DCAC, every time. We can assist small, enterprise and corporate companies as they approach their most daring Big Data, data warehousing, data security, and cloud architecture projects.”
Richard Sawicky, Chief Data Officer at client company ATTOM Data concurred with Cherry’s assessment of DCAC’s talents. “DCAC helped us complete a 50 terabyte migration in 45 days: on time, under budget. The project resulted in a 30% cost savings on our infrastructure.”
DCAC’s debut with 290% growth is all the more impressive because, as Inc. Magazine notes, not only have they been very competitive within the technology market, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists.
“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”
The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held October 10 to 12, 2019, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
About Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
Award-winning Microsoft Partner and Gold Platform certified Denny Cherry &s Associates Consulting assist companies with reliably attaining IT goals such as Azure Migration, HA, scalability, SQL Server virtualization and acceleration, while finding ways to save on costs. With clients ranging from Fortune 50 corporations to small businesses, their commitment to each is the same: to provide a deft, high-speed IT environment that maximizes every aspect of their platform: from architecture, to infrastructure, to network.
Media inquiries about this release should be directed to publicist Kathleen Hannon (704) 425-8106 or email@example.com.
More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000
The 2019 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2015 and 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2018. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2015 is $100,000; the minimum for 2018 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.
About Inc. Media
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Inc. took home the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. The total monthly audience reach for the brand has been growing significantly, from 2,000,000 in 2010 to more than 20,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.
The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the remarkable achievements of these companies. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions.
For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/.
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I’m thrilled to announce that Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting has placed on the Inc 5000 list for 2019. The Inc 5000 list is the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, and DCAC was named #2056 on this list which is a fantastic feat for our company.
I’m super proud of everyone at the company because we couldn’t have made this happen without our fantastic team members; so thank you all (Kris, Joey, Kerry, Monica, John, Peter, Meagan) for making this happen. Everyone at DCAC is an expert in the field, and our placement on the list reflects that.
When I first spoke with our team about making the Inc. list, the assumption was that we’d be towards the bottom of the list because we’re a smaller company. But the fact that we were able to make the top half of the Inc. 5000 list shows how hard everyone has worked to make DCAC stand out from the other firms in our space.
A big thanks to our customers as well. We couldn’t be as successful as we have been without our customers. We’ve been able to help them grow in each of their areas, and their success shows in our success.
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