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In-Depth Look at Azure Bicep Syntax

In-Depth Look at Azure Bicep Syntax

If you have not checked out my other series, “Getting Started with Bicep” then I would highly suggest starting there so you can familiarize yourself with Azure Bicep including some basic syntax and how to write your first template. This article will walk you through more advanced syntax topics including output variables, loops and more!

Comments

Comments in code help you or others figure out what something may do or why it’s there in the first place. While it does not replace full documentation, it is a great way to get a picture of what your code does.

Single Line Comment

You can comment a single line of bicep code by adding ‘//’ to it. In the example below you can see my comment added to the tagging resource that we will go over next!

Multi-line Comments

Instead of adding ‘//’ to every line you want to comment … Continue...

Getting Started With Bicep: Compiling, Deploying, and Decompiling

Getting Started With Bicep: Compiling, Deploying, and Decompiling

In the first post of the ‘Getting Started with Bicep’ series we learned what is Azure Bicep and how to install it and begin working with it. Next, we learned how to create our first Bicep template and user parameters and variables and the different data types there are. Now, in this section we will learn how to compile our Bicep templates and deploy them to Azure.

Compile Bicep to ARM

The first item we need to do is to compile or transpile (Transpiling is a specific term for taking source code written in one language and transforming into another language that has a similar level of abstraction.) our Bicep code to ARM (JSON) code. Then, once compiled, the resulting ARM (JSON) template will be deployed to Microsoft Azure.

From our previous post on ‘Getting Started with Bicep: Building your First Bicep Template‘ we created a basic Bicep … Continue...

Getting Started with Bicep: Building Your First Bicep Template

Getting Started with Bicep: Building Your First Bicep Template

In the first section, Getting Started with Bicep, an ARM DSL for Azure, we went through what is Azure Bicep, and how to install Bicep on your machine. Now, we will learn how to build our first Bicep Template.

Bicep Declaration Overview

First, lets look at a Bicep declaration in a basic form:

The highlighted Resource (below) indicates the start of the declaration of a new resource in Azure to deploy.

Next, we have the Symbolic Name (in my example: stgact), which is an identifier within the Azure Bicep file. This will allow you to get the properties from the declared resource to be used in other resources elsewhere. Keep in mind, this is not the name of the Azure resource that is deployed.

Following the Symbolic Name, we have the Resource Provider.

Next, we have the Resource Type,  this is the Azure Resource Type name for the resource … Continue...

Getting Started with Bicep, an ARM DSL for Azure

Getting Started with Bicep, an ARM DSL for Azure

Note: This is one part of a several part blog series that goes through Azure Bicep

What is Azure Bicep

Bicep is a Domain Specific Language or DSL, for deploying Azure resources in a declarative manner. It ‘aims to drastically simplify the authoring experience with a cleaner syntax and better support for modularity and code re-use. Bicep is a transparent abstraction over ARM and ARM templates, which means anything that can be done in an ARM Template can be done in Bicep.’1

Bicep moves away from the JSON syntax used by ARM Templates to something similar to HCL in Terraform. The end result is a syntax that is easier to both read and write. Bicep code is converted into ARM Template code (JSON), and then the resulting ARM Template code (JSON) is used to deploy your Azure resources.

One of the key benefits to Bicep to another DSL like … Continue...

Get Early Voting Locations, Drop Off Ballot Sites, and Election Polling Places with PowerShell

Get Early Voting Locations, Drop Off Ballot Sites, and Election Polling Places with PowerShell

The 2020 Election is happening on November 3rd, and many people have been lining up to vote early due to COVID-19. Now using PowerShell, you can get your registered polling places based on your address, all early voting locations around you, and drop off ballot locations. All of the information is retrieved using Google’s Civic Information API.

Features

Early Voting Locations

To get early voting locations you can use Get-EarlyVotingPlaces or Get-EarlyPollingPlaces. It will return as many results as the API gets and show you the starting date of the location, Name, Polling hours for each day, address, city, state, and zip code.

Ballot Drop Off Locations

If you got a Mail-in ballot, you can look up drop off locations by using, Get-BallotDropOffLocations or Get-DropOffBallotLocations. Note: Not all states publish this data. You will get a max of 10 results back and it will show you the start … Continue...

Text your Azure Infrastructure with Serverless Computing and PowerShell

Text your Azure Infrastructure with Serverless Computing and PowerShell

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, I have found myself camping a lot more than in previous years. One problem that has brought with it is the high probability of being somewhere with no cell phone data service or poor cell phone data. Couple with my incredibly poor memory, I have often forgotten to turn off servers to save on cost in my dev or test environment until I’m out in the woods. Also, I wanted the ability to use Google Voice as well as Siri in my car or even at home, to turn off, turn on, or check the status of my servers in my Azure tenants. This has even come in handy when I didn’t have my phone on me and had to use the wife’s phone to turn on or off some servers in my tenant. (I set it to only accept messages from my phone … Continue...

Deploy and Manage Azure Infrastructure Using Terraform, Remote State, and Azure DevOps Pipelines (YAML)

Deploy and Manage Azure Infrastructure Using Terraform, Remote State, and Azure DevOps Pipelines (YAML)

Overview

In this article, I will be showing you how to create an Azure DevOps CI/CD (continuous integration / continuous deployment) Pipeline that will deploy and manage an Azure environment using Terraform. Terraform is a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently.

Configuration files (In our case, it will be named ‘Main.tf’) describe to Terraform how you want your environment constructed. “Terraform generates an execution plan describing what it will do to reach the desired state, and then executes it to build the described infrastructure. As the configuration changes, Terraform can determine what changed and create incremental execution plans which can be applied.”1

By creating an entire CI/CD pipeline, we can automate our infrastructure-as-code (IaC) deployment. When we have made a change to our Terraform code (adding something, removing something, changing something), the Pipeline will automatically log in to our Azure environment, add any new … Continue...

Intune + Chocolatey: A Match Made in Heaven

Intune + Chocolatey: A Match Made in Heaven

Recently, I have been doing a lot of Microsoft Intune deployments and write up’s. One of the most time-consuming tasks with Intune is the application portion, where you package applications up to deploy to your end-user machines. Currently, if the application is bundled as an executable (exe), the steps to get it into Intune is as follows:

  • Grab the installation executable
  • Find the install switches – most common one is the silent switch, but some applications may have other switches you will need as well
  • Find the install directory or registry key to tell Intune if it installed correctly or not
  • Find the uninstall executable and any switches it has as well
  • Wrap the executable in an ‘INTUNEWIN’ format
  • Import file into Intune
  • Configure the application with the install and uninstall switches as well as the directory it creates to Intune knows if it installed correctly or not

This process … Continue...

Get a New Computer’s Auto Pilot Hash Without Going Through the Out of Box Experience (OOBE)

Get a New Computer’s Auto Pilot Hash Without Going Through the Out of Box Experience (OOBE)

With Auto Pilot you need to import a machines Auto Pilot hash, or hardware ID, to register the device with the Windows Auto Pilot deployment service in Azure. Ideally, the process of getting the Auto Pilot hash would be performed by the OEM, or reseller from which the devices were purchased, but currently the list over participating resellers is small. The other option is to do it manually which requires you boot the device up, go through the out of box experience (OOBE), and then run a PowerShell script which will spit out the hash CSV for you to then import into Auto Pilot. This process can be time consuming if you have a batch of new machines, and once you get the hash for each device, you must reset it so during the next boot it will go through the OOBE and enroll via Auto Pilot.

In this post … Continue...

Deploy Intune Applications with PowerShell and Azure Blob Storage

Deploy Intune Applications with PowerShell and Azure Blob Storage

Intune is a great way to deploy applications to your managed devices, couple that with Auto Pilot and its a quick and easy way to deploy new end-user machines as well. With Intune you can deploy applications like MSI, Win32, Microsoft Store, etc. The application files are cached on your local machine via Intune, and then installed. But with applications that require multiple files, or even install directories, or large install files this may not be the best method. With multiple files you could put all your files and directories in one folder, create a PowerShell script to move the files and call the installer, and wrap it all up in a intunewin format (and then in the Intune install command, call powershell.exe to run your custom PowerShell script). OR you can stick it up in Azure Blob Storage, and create a PowerShell configuration script to download and install it. … Continue...