Azure Stack Labs

In my recent post for Azure Stack Operator Exam Operator link (, I created hyperlinks that map to all of the exam objectives. If you actually walked through each and every link you would eventually come to instructions that tell you “how to” do that thing. The documentation team has done a pretty good job of providing step-by-step instructions to do virtually anything in Azure Stack. Also, if you just want to watch, just found a whole series of “How To” videos on YouTube!

Nonetheless, sometimes you just want to get hands on to some of the key tasks to do your job. In this post I want to highlight some of those key tasks along with a direct link to those steps or tutorials. NOTE: these will require that you either have direct access to either an Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) or else an Azure Stack Integrated System with either a Role Based Access Control (RBAC) right of Owner or Contributor in the default provider subscription in the admin portal of Azure Stack.

There may be other rights need for some labs, for example accessing the Privileged endpoint with a Cloud Admin account. Therefore, make note in the instructions what role you need to perform that task. Happy labs to you!

Lab #1 Get logged in to start!

Prerequisites to doing this lab

You will need an account and your specific Admin Portal URL for your integrated system. If you are logging into an ASDK, the URL in the lab below will work. Additionally, many tasks will require PowerShell. Therefore we want to make sure PowerShell for Azure Stack is installed along with the Azure Stack Tools

Access the Azure Stack Administration Portal

NOTE: for the next section note if you are in an Azure Stack “Disconnected” setup, then skip to step #6. Also, if there is a remote jump box with all of these tools installed, then your work is done for you. In that case you would want to explore through those links what you can do with PowerShell (see ‘reference’ in left page here) and also the Azure Stack Tools.

Install PowerShell for Azure Stack

Download Azure Stack Tools

For the next lab, please make note or how your system is setup for Identity. There are different instructions for Azure AD versus AD FS.

Connect to Azure Stack with PowerShell as an operator

Some of you just may not be particular to PowerShell. Or you prefer a Linux or Mac as an admin machine. Then Azure Command Line Interface may be your preferred choice. If any of the above apply, then do these things to leverage those might Linux muscles you have.

Enable CLI for Azure Stack Users

If you want to take your CLI a little further, download your favorite Azure Stack Quickstart template to use for this next lab. If you want to start simple, use 101-vm-simple-windows. You will also need a Windows image in the marketplace to use this. If that does not already exist, then please review and do” connected ” or the disconnected sections immediately below lab #2 below to go fetch an image to use. You can SKIP the before you begin in this lab, as you just did it above.

Deploy a template with the command line in Azure Stack

Lab #2 Offers, Plan, Quota et voila – image!

In this offer you will create an offer, add an image and test the offer.

Prerequisites to doing this lab

If your stack is “connected” then your stack must be registered. Check with your admins to see if this was done, as we can only do this once! If your integrated system OR you ASDK is connected and registered, then here is something you can test and try out – as long as someone didn’t already install the image you are trying to pull down.

Download marketplace items from Azure to Azure Stack

If your stack is “disconnected” or you just have a really slow internet connection, then you will have to use the marketplace syndication tool to pre-download the marketplace items you want. And then you will bring them into the stack – also known as “side-loading”. Before you do this, find out if or what may already exist. Once quick check is to simply look in the marketplace to see if those images are already there that you want or need.

Tutorial: make virtual machines available to your Azure Stack users

Lab #3 Monitor Capacity in Azure Stack

The intent is to see these things in the Azure Stack Administrator portal or PowerShell. That would of course first require you 1. know that URL and 2. have an account with access. If you only have a production system and need to “do no harm”, then ask your current Azure Stack Administrator for READ only access to the Default Provider subscription. Do ONLY the sections as linked i.e. do not continue on to the next header section in the online doc unless linked to it.

Pre-requisite to the first lab below if you didn’t aleady do this, you need to connect your PowerShell environment with either Azure AD or AD FS.

Monitor Storage Capacity Using PowerShell

Next, let’s try the same thing but in the portal

Monitor Storage in the Azure Stack Administration Portal

Do READ the section on “Manage Available Space”, but do NOT do those steps, unless absolutely required 🙂

Next let’s see what updates have been run on the system.

Get a list of Azure Stack Update Runs using PowerShell

For the next section, there are not specific steps listed on this page, but use it to explore the various tiles and what can be seen, viewed and or accessed through Rest APIs for monitoring.

View Region Management Tiles in Azure Stack

Lab #4 Accessing the Privileged Endpoint (PEP)

This is something that all Operators may have to do at one point, which is contact support with Microsoft. Once that process begins, the PEP will be your friend. We can practice this and still do no harm, yet explore some of the things that can be done from the PEP. Once you are in the session don’t close so fast. We want you to explore a little first!

Access the Privileged Endpoint

  1. Run Test-AzureStack – if anything FAILS -let your admins know!
  2. Then run Get-AzureStackStampInformation – review the output
  3. Close the session with Close-PrivilegedEndpoint

Lab #5 Delegating Offers

While some of you may never do this, this scenario is for a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) that works with other partners or Systems Integrators (SI) to resell services on their behalf. If you are planning to take the 70-537 exam, this is a topic you should be familiar with. Doing this lab will help you to understand the mechanics of delegating offers.

Delegation Walkthrough

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