Azure VM start/stop schedule using Azure Automation

There are few runbook in gallery which helps to schedule shutdown and reboot of Azure VM but they no longer work or for Classic Azure. Microsoft has given a easy way to implement this without having to learn any scripts.

Although Microsoft document explains on how to set Start/Stop VM under automation account, it is little vague for me and i found some Admins struggling to follow it. So i thought i can try and make that simple

The most sorted scenario is to schedule a Azure vm shutdown and reboot during off business hours or weekends. So i’ve implemented that solution through Azure automation.

To Start/Stop VM automatically to save cost, you need

  • OMS workspace
  • Automation account

If you don’t have them already, you can create them on the way of creating this VM reboot schedule.

  • Login to your Azure portal
  • Search for Automation account, Click ADD
  • I’ve named it as Start-StopVM and I have choose UK South, Make sure you say ‘Yes’ to Create Azure Run As Account (this will avoid complications to your reboot process)
  • Under the automation account, Look for Start/Stop VM
  • Click on “Learn more about and enable the solution”

Once you choose to “Create”, you need to fill the following information.  If you don’t already have OMS workspace, then you need to create one.

  • Workspace – TestingShutdownRestartVM
  • Automation Account – Start-StopVM

Under configuration,

  • Target ResrouceGroup Names – *
  • VM Exclude List – None

Note:- The resource group and VM Exclude List can be setup here, but since we wanted to reboot one or group of VM, leave this as it is.

  • Schedule current date/time
  • Email functionality – if needed ‘Yes’ and email address to receive the alert
  • Click Create
  • Once you do that, you will see list of Runbooks added to the automation account,

This is the place where we are going to customize, the following things

  1. List of VM’s or VM needs to be rebooted
  2. Schedule in which the VM needs to be rebooted

Click SequencedStartStop_Parent runbook -> Click Schedule and Click ‘Add a Schedule’

Click Schedule – Create a new Schedule, (I’ve named it as Sequenced-StartVM and Sequenced-StopVM and used it already under the schedule).  You can customize the settings later if you want.  Choose recurring if you want the start to happen every week, month, hour or Day.

The following is the place where you define the action and list the vm or vm’s

  • Action                           – Start
  • WhatIF                          – $ture or $false ($true, if you are testing)
  • ContinueOnError      – $true
  • VMList                          – List the vm’s or vm (you can use , to add more than one VM)
  • Do the same thing again to Stop the VM. (I’ve named it as Sequenced-StartVM and Sequenced-StopVM and used it already under the schedule).

Note:- Remember this schedule is for “Runbook” not for Automation account. 

After you have finish configuring, it would like this under schedule.

Note:- The parameter cannot be changed after you schedule them.  The schedule can be changed.  If you’d like to remove/add/modify VM’s, you need to create a new schedule

My schedule is to stop the VM on Friday night 8:00 PM and Start the VM on Monday morning 8:00 AM

  • If you go to automation account -> Runbooks -> SequencedStartStop_Parent -> Jobs
  • You can go in to this log to find out what happened during the stop and start process.

Achieving Transitive routing between different region using V-net peering, Global Peering and Virtual Gateway

Sometime early last year Microsoft announced that Global peering is Generally available, that opened lot of possibilities.

One of the requirement that my client want to replace their existing VPN with Global Peering between UK West and UK South without using a Third party appliance to route the traffic.

The existing network looks like this,

FrontEndNetwork & Lab-Vnet are in UK West, DRNetwork is in UK South. Since they are in different region, there is a VPN between FrontEndNetwork and DRNetwork

There are 2 requirements,

  1. To replace VPN with Global Peering
  2. To make sure Lab-Vnet traffic to DRNetwork should be routed through FrontEndNetwork

The network should look like below.

There are few things that we need to achieve this goal.

1.Virtual Gateway subnet for FrontEndNetwork – That is subnet where all the traffic from Lab-Vnet to DRNetwork and viceversa should land.

2. Virtual Network Gateway for FrontEndNetwork – This is the ip address used by Lab-net and DRNetwork

3. Route Table, one for Lab-Vnet and One for DRNetwork

Before the implementation, i want to demonstrate the 2 vms on 2 different network doesn’t communicated with each other. The virtual machines are

  1. TestBackEnd – 192.1.0.4 from DRNetwork
  2. BackupServer – 10.0.0.4 from Lab-Vnet

Implementation,

Along with the 3 steps above, i’d like to show the peering between each network before we start creating other things.

Peering

Lab-vnet to FrontEndNetwork, from Lab-vent virtual network

DRnetwork to FrontEndNetwork from DRNetwork virtual network

Note: I have chosen “Allow Gateway transit” for now, as we don’t have the Virtual Gateway subnet on FrontEndNetwork

FrontEndNetwork to Lab-vent from FrontEndNetwork Virtual network

FrontEndNetwork to DRNetwork from FrontEndNetwork Virtual network

Creation of Virtual Gateway subnet

  • Navigate to the FrontEndNetwork
  • Click Subnets under Settings
  • Click “Gateway Subnet” on the right
  • Fill the details as below. The gateway subnet for my lab is 10.1.1.0/24

Creation of Virtual Network Gateway for FrontEndNetwork

  • Create a new Virtual network and associate to the FrontEndNetwork
Note: I can’t choose FrontEntNetwork because i’ve already created one for that subnet but you should have option to choose the V-net, if not check the region to make sure virtual gateway and Vnet are in the same subnet

Creation of Route table

  • Search for Routing Table,
  • Create a new Route Table. I’ve filled the following information,
  • Go to TrafficToDrNetwork Route table, Click Configuration and fill in the following information
Note: i’ve filled the next hop address as 10.1.1.4, this is the gateway subnet address for FrontEndNetwork. Usually Azure assign the 4th address as the gateway address by default.

Assigning Route table to LAB-Vnet and DRNetwork

  1. Navigate to Virtual Network – LAB-Vnet
  2. Click on the subnet that you want to route the traffic to DRNetwork
  3. Click on the RouteTable -> Choose the RouteTable that you have created through steps described above. In my case, Lab-vnet should send 192.1.0.0/24 traffic to 10.1.1.14 (RouteToDR)

Assigning Route table to LAB-Vnet and DRNetwork

  1. Navigate to Virtual Network – DRNetwork
  2. Click on the subnet that you want to route the traffic to Lab-Vent
  3. Click on the RouteTable -> Choose the RouteTable that you have created through steps described above. In my case, Lab-vnet should send 192.1.0.0/24 traffic to 10.1.1.14 (RouteToProd)


Before you start testing, go back to Lab-vnet and DRNetwork, Make sure the peering with FronEndNetwork is “User Remote Gateway” is checked under “Configure remote gateway settings”. You dont have to do anything on FrontEndNetwork peering.

Once you have saved the settings, you should be able to ping. If you run the Tracert you can see that it is going through 10.1.1.4

VJ

Token Signing certificate expiring – ADFS

What happens when your Token Signing Certificate is about to Expire and how you can recover from the situation.

The infrastructure is similar to the following,

Successful Authentication flow,

Application Authentication page -> Redirects to ADFS Sign page – > Users enters the username and password -> Credentials is validated by ADFS server with the Identity provider -> Issues a SAML token back to the User on Successful verification -> User is then redirected back to the application page with a successful sign in.

SAML failure

The flow works until the SAML is being issued to the web page but Application will fail to validate it with an error message SAML_RESPONSE_INVALID

Token signing certificate

Some application responded may respond with the error
SAML_RESPONSE_INVALID or some of them just ask the user for the credentials.

At this point we can confirm that SAML issued is invalid or wrong.

You might find on the internal ADFS servers Two certificates (Primary and secondary)

If your ADFS properties shows, (Get-ADFSProperties), the following

What happens is, The Token Signing certificate is set to auto-enroll exactly before 20 days of the existing certificate expiry date. After the generation of the new certificate, it automatically bring the new certificate as primary on the 5th Day.

As per the screenshot,

The certificate set to expire on 10/2/2019. 10/2/2019 – 20 days is 20/1/2019 as per AutoCertificateRollOver ADFS property. On 20th certificate got renewed as per CertificateGenerationThreshold Property. 20/1/2019 + 5 Days, the certificate switch happened as per CertificatePromotionThreshold.

Solution:

  1. Set the autoenrollment to false by running the cmdlet, Set-ADFSProperties -AutoCertificateRollover $False
  2. From ADFS Console, choose the old certificate as primary by “Set as primary” (“Set as Primary” option is disabled until first step is completed)
  3. This is just a temporary solution to keep the production running. Inform your application vendor to update the metadata. You can extract the metadata from, https://<adfs name>/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml (This will contain the information about the newly enrolled certificate)
  4. Once the application vendor confirms that they have updated, follow step 1 and 2 to switch the primary and secondary certificate

Azure MFA is not working

If you have issues with Azure MFA, then you are likely affected due to issue caused by Microsoft.  Please check your message center in office 365 to confirm or call Microsoft.


This has been resolved completely. If you still face issues then it’s time to log it with Microsoft


We are back with MFA issue again.  MS is working

VJ

NPS Extension for MFA – All you need to know

NPS extension for MFA helps to make use of Azure MFA for on VPN connectivity.  Although the documentation from Microsoft is straight forward to explain how that work and how to configure, we don’t have much information online.

Let’s assume that you have a Radius server as

  1. Lab-DCRadius.
  2. Cisco-Asa

console1

 

  • I have configured Cisoco-ASA to use lab-DCRadius. On NPS server, I have configured CiscoASA as Radius client to access connection
  • Test the VPN using Cisco AnyConnect to LabVPN.Lab.com

From the following diagram, illustrate the flow.  (The above said registry keys play the role of transferring the secondary Auth to Azure MFA)

flow

Once you confirm that VPN is working,

Install the NPS extension from here, there are 2 version 1.0.1.16 & 1.0.1.20 (1.0.1.21 is available but on request to Microsoft)

To make sure Azure MFA accept the request from the NPS server,

Once you install it you have to run the script that comes with the NPS extension

  • Run Windows PowerShell as an administrator.
  • Change directories.
  • cd “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\AzureMfa\Config”
  • Run the PowerShell script created by the installer.

.\AzureMfaNpsExtnConfigSetup.ps1

  • Sign in to Azure AD as an administrator.
  • PowerShell prompts for your tenant ID. Use the Directory ID GUID that you copied from the Azure portal in the prerequisites section.
  • PowerShell shows a success message when the script is finished.

 

What this does is it

  1. Sets the registry with a some values
  2. Creates a self-signed certificate on your server and uploade the certificate on Azure.

To verify check the following registry key

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\AzureMfa

tempsnip

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\AuthSrv\

reg

To verify the certificate,

Local Certificate

  1. Open MMC -> File- > Add/Remove Snap-in-> Certificate -> Local Computer, Click Ok
  2. Navigate to Certificates -> Personal – >Certificates

You will find a certificate with the tenant Id.

  1. Go to the properties of the certificate, under details tab, look for Thumbprint, Copy it somewhere.
  2. Now open Azure module for Windows PowerShell
  3. Run the command in the screenshot

msol

  1. Copy the value in to a notepad and save it as .cer (if you have more than one cert, you might see more values. You have to copy each one of them in to a separate file and save it as .cer)
  2. Now open the save .cer file.
  3. Now under details tab, look for Thumbprint property.

Computer these 2 thumbprint and make sure they matches.

Gotchas

  1. What if registration fails – This usually happens either if your AD account doesn’t have access to local certificate store or Azure portal (GA admin is the requirement to upload the cert)
  2. How do I disable MFA on one of the NPS server to test it?
  • You can disable the MFA on NPS server.  This is essential to find out when you are troubleshooting to narrow down which NPS server is having the issue. To disable the MFA on a NPS server without de-registering it,
  • Navigate to the registry key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Serevice\AuthSrv\Parameters, Empty the following key values
    • AuthorizationDLLs
    • ExtentionDLL
  • This will stop the NPS to look for Secondary Auth
  1. How to renew the certificate when it expires
  • The certificate usually has 2 years of validity.  You can renew it by simply running AzureMfaNpsExtnConfigSetup.PS1

Known issue.

Recently, I have seen the ver. 1.0.1.20 is causing performance issue.  There is a newer version which fixes the problem 1.0.1.21.

Exclaimer for Office 365 – Update

Most of my customer use Exclaimer.  Eversince Office 365 started rolling out, Excliamer started Cloud signature to support Office365 customers.

If you have used on-prem Exclaimer signature manager (Exchange Edition) in the past, you must have come across Policy Tester which used to be very handy in troubleshooting.

policytester

This policy tester was missing in the Exclaimer Cloud.  This made troubleshooting really difficult,

But Exclaimer seem to have taken the feedback and brought this feature to the cloud as well.  It is called “Signature Rules Tester”

CloudExclaimer

https://cloudsupport.exclaimer.com/hc/en-us/articles/360008007993-What-is-the-Signature-Rules-Tester-

VJ