IoT Prototyping in Azure with Particle & Grove

Introduction

Today’s post will be on how I see the smoothest way to do prototyping & hobby projects in regards to IoT. What is my main principle in deciding this? I only want to spend time on “business logic” and not waste time on the nuts & bolts of the engine.

Architecture

So what’s the architecture we’ll be using for this?

  1. Device : Particle Photon + Grove Expansion Board + Grove Sensors (Temperature & Air Quality )
  2. Particle Platform : Used for the development
  3. Azure IoT Hub : Basically a 1:1 link with Particle, which will take over once we go to a production grade setup.
  4. Azure Stream Analytics : Streaming the ingest data from our IoT Hub towards our various landing zones.
  5. Azure CosmosDB : For storing the data we’ll use in our reports.
  6. Azure Storage Account : Cheap storage where we keep all the data we collected, and which we could use for our analytics.
  7. PowerBI : The make nice reports of the data we collected. 😉

Now let’s delve into these parts one by one!

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Taking a look under the hood of the Linux VM Authentication

Introduction

Today we’ll do a deep-dive into how you can log into an Azure Linux VM with Azure Active Directory (AAD). In essence, we’ll go through the following documentation flow, and then take a look how that looks under the hood.

 

Part one : “Creation”

The part on creating & integrating the VM is VERY straightforward…

  • Create a resource group
  • Create a Linux virtual machine
  • Add the “Azure AD login VM”-extension

And that’s it! Really, that’s it…

Continue reading “Taking a look under the hood of the Linux VM Authentication”

Generating a docs website powered by Git & Markdown

Introduction

Did you know I’m a huge fan of the Microsoft / Azure docs? Did you also know that the docs websites are powered by GitHub repositories? Let that one sink in… So you can leverage the same way you collaborate on code, work on publishing documentation?!? How awesome is that!

After a bit of looking around, it appears DocFX is actually powered to do this. I don’t know if this is the tool used behind the docs website. Though there seem to be a lot of similarities. Anyhow, today’s post will be a quick walkthrough on how to setup DocFX with VSTS to publish your GitHub driven repo to an Azure Web App.

 

So what will we be needing?

Ingredients

  • GitHub repository
  • VSTS Account
  • Azure App Service
  • A tool to do the conversion : DocFX
  • Chocolatey to install DocFX

 

Initialize the repository

Be sure to install DocFX on your dev station to initialize the repository. This is done by running “docfx init -q” inside of your repository.

 

Afterwards do your typical Git magic to sync your local version with GitHub (or equivalent). Now you’ll have a dummy skeleton ready for usage, and you can now structure it to your liking! My effort is going into making docs for VMchooser.

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Taking a look at Azure Service Endpoints

Introduction

The concept of Service Endpoints has been around for a while now. Though for today’s post I would like to guide you through the typical process. Here we’ll take a glance of how they work and so that you know what to expect.

 

Scenario

For this post we’ll be connecting the Azure PostgreSQL Service to a VNET by leveraging a Service Endpoint. Afterwards we’ll make a connection from a VM within that VNET, and see what route is being taken!

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Drupal on Azure – Leveraging the Linux App Service for a Managed Platform Experience

Introduction

WordPress is probably the most popular CMS around. Though when I look at my home country, then I see a lot of Drupal deployments too. This might be due to the fact that the creation is of Belgian origin? Though for the region I live in, Drupal is amongst the most popular CMS systems.

That being said, Drupal is a very resource hungry system. When you enable the WebProfiler (part of the Devel module), then you can see that typical page will execute between 90 and 200 database queries. This puts a lot of stress on the underlying database system, but also on the local file system.

Due to this we see a lot of articles on how to improve the performance of Drupal. Most commonly seen is the implementation of ;

  • Varnish on the front end side, as a web application accelerator / caching HTTP reverse proxy
  • Redis or Memcache, as a way to cache data (in memory instead of hammering the database)

For today’s post, we’ll briefly discuss the various options and afterwards delve into a more advanced scenario where we leverage the Azure Linux App Service’s multi container capability.

 

What options do I have for running Drupal on Azure?

In essence there are various ways to run Drupal on Azure ;

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Azure Virtual Machines – Two major cost optimizations everyone should know!

Introduction

For today I’ll show you two major cost optimizations for your Azure Virtual Machines ;

  • Reserved Instances
  • Windows Licensing

 

As the baseline for the cost projections, I’ll be using a commonly used “D2v3”-machine (deployed in West Europe & currency set to Euro) ;

For the Cost Optimization calculations, I’ll be using VMchooser, which returns the following results ;

So what to make of this? Let’s dive into those two topics!

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Using B-series for your Dev VM in Azure

Introduction

Earlier this week I tweeted my excitement of using an Azure B-series machine for my Dev VM in Azure. And Jan was curious to know what type I used…

Which got a response from Sven that I would probably blog on it…

So…

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