PowerShell Working with Windows Azure VMs

This blog describe the essentials to get you started with building Windows Azure Virtual Machines.  This is slightly different from the previous blogs on Windows Azure SQL Database Servers.  As a refresher, in order to use PowerShell with Windows Azure, you need to create and install a Certificate key.  Then, it will enable PowerShell to work with Windows Azure commands.

Check the links provided for creating and uploading the Certificate Key on my previous blog: http://www.maxtblog.com/2013/08/getting-ready-with-windows-azure-sql-database-server-powershell-and-smo-part-12/

For most part, PowerShell can be use without going back the Azure web Portal.  Of course, the portal will be the first way to get you subscribe and start using Windows Azure.


Then, you can try using PowerShell to automate some of it tasks.  Don’t forget to download the PowerShell Azure Command from the following link:


So, after the Azure subscription has been activated and the certificate key uploaded to azure then PowerShell is all set.  Then, remember to check periodically for PowerShell Azure module updates.

When working with Powershell, loading the “Azure” module is not required. As you typed and execute the command, PowerShell by default will autoload the module.  This way there’s no need to use the “Import-Module xxxxx” command.

But, what’s the sequence for building an Azure VM using PowerShell?  I’m presenting the way I’ve done it.  This is just a suggestion.  Please feel free to use this as a possible guideline.

Here’s the order of the samples scripts I’m providing for building an Azure VM:

1. Create a new Storage Account.
2. Reconnect to Azure with the “Current Storage Account”.
3. Search and Select the Windows Azure pre-built VM.
4. Create the Azure VM.
5. Stopping the Azure VM.

The following scripts will get you started.  I recommend to read the help documentation for any of the PowerShell Azure commands shown in this blog.  It’s possible to find something that may be needed.

Create a new Storage Account

Before building a new Azure VM, an Storage Account need to be created first. One of the requirement for the account name is that it has to be in lowercase or the following message will be displayed:

## - Create a Storage Container:
New-AzureStorageAccount `
-StorageAccountName "Testpitstorage01" `
-Label "TestPIT01" `
-Location "East US";
## - Error Message:
"New-AzureStorageAccount : "An exception occurred when calling the ServiceManagement API. HTTP Status Code: 400.
Service Management Error Code: BadRequest. Message: The name is not a valid storage account name. Storage account
names must be between 3 and 24 characters in length and use numbers and lower-case letters only.. Operation Tracking
ID: 983e38b290134b24a15b0ec46d89fc5a."
At line:1 char:1
+ New-AzureStorageAccount `
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : CloseError: (:) [New-AzureStorageAccount], ServiceManagementClientException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.ServiceManagement.StorageServices.NewAzureStorageAccou

When this command runs successfully, it will also create the both Primary and Secondary “Azure Storage Account” keys automatically.


At the same time, don’t forget to pick the Windows Azure location where the Storage Account is going to be create.  To list all locations available use the “Get-AzureLocation” command.

## list of all Azure locations:


If there’s a need to list all Storage Account then use the “Get-AzureStorageAccount” command using the

## list of all Azure Storage Account(s):


Reconnect to Azure with the “Current Storage Account”

After you got everything set for PowerShell to connect to Windows Azure then you need to create the “Storage Account “. There’s one noticeable difference between the Azure SQL and the Virtual machine.  Azure Virtual Machines need a  Storage Account.  This is done using the “Set-AzureSubscription” with the “-ContainerStorageAccount” parameter.

Set-AzureSubscription `
-SubscriptionName "PutItTogetherAzure01" `
-SubscriptionId $subID -Certificate $myCert -CurrentStorageAccount 'pitstorage01';

This section help set the Azure Subscription to the “Current Storage Account” which maybe optional.  I included this section because I started using my subscription to create only Azure SQL Database Server and I didn’t need any Storage Account.

Then, use the “Get-AzureSubscription” command to view all Azure Subscription values.


Search and Select the Windows Azure pre-built VM

For search the list of available Azure pre-built VM’s we use the “Get-AzureVMimage” command.  Here’s one creative approach for searching and select the VM imagename using the PowerShell V3 enhanced “Out-GridView” command with the ‘-PassThru’ parameter.  By creating a PowerShell variable “$x” we can store the value select from the “Out-GridView” and pass it to the “New-AzureQuickVM” command to build the VM.  Check the following example:

## - Get and Select from the list of Azure VM Images:
$x = get-azurevmimage `
| Where-Object{$_.OS -match 'WINDOWS'} `
| select label, imagename `
| Out-GridView -PassThru;

This way we can pick and choose the image. Then, we use the variable with the member property that holds the name: $x.ImageName.   Remember to use the oneliner “$x | Get-Member” to view all variable member objects.


Create the Azure VM (Caution w/Service Name)

At the same time it will need to be provide a “Service Name”.  The “New-AzureQuickVM” help documentation mention that this is either a new one or existing one.  The following is an example of a new VM with a new ServiceName “MyPITcloudSvc2“:

New-AzureQuickVM -Windows `
-AdminUsername 'maxt' -Password '$Mypwd01' `
-ServiceName "MyPITcloudSvc2" -Name 'Zeus01' `
-ImageName $x.ImageName -Location "East US" `
-InstanceSize "Small";

But, trying to use an existing ‘-ServiceName “MyPITcloudSvc1’ it gave the following error:

## - Create a new ServiceName:
New-AzureService `
-ServiceName "MyPITcloudSvc1" `
-Label "MyPITcloudService" `
-Location "East US";

## - Create VM - It will create a new VM using an existing ServiceName:
## - (but it won't work)
New-AzureQuickVM -Windows `
-AdminUsername 'maxt' -Password '$Mypwd01' `
-ServiceName "MyPITcloudSvc1" -Name 'Thor01' `
-ImageName $x.ImageName
-Location "East US" `
-InstanceSize "Small";
## - Error Message:
">>New-AzureQuickVM : Service already exists, Location cannot be specified.
At line:1 char:1
+ New-AzureQuickVM -Windows `
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : CloseError: (:) [New-AzureQuickVM], ApplicationException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.ServiceManagement.IaaS.PersistentVMs.NewQuickVM"

It’s possible this is a bug!  In the help documentation shows that either a new of existing ServiceName can be use:

-ServiceName <string>
Specifies the new or existing service name.

Required?                    true
Position?                    named
Default value
Accept pipeline input?       false
Accept wildcard characters?  false

So, for now just provide a non-existing Service Name for the new Azure VM.


Stopping the Azure VM

Now during your Azure Trial version, if you want to slow down the charges, then you can stop the active VM(s) by executing the following two ways:

1. Just using the “Stop-AzureVM” command.

## - Stop VM Service(s):
Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyPITcloudSvc2" -Name "Zeus01";

2. Or, by piping the result of “Get-AzureVM” to “Stop-AzureVM” command.

## - Get-AzureVM to pipe to Stop VM Service(s):
Get-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyPITcloudSvc2" -Name "Zeus01" `
| Stop-AzureVM;


Please keep in mind, that I haven’t discuss anything about the creating network items and/or affinity group to established connectivity between the Azure VMs.  At least this information will help in getting started.

I hope you all find this information useful!  There will be more coming soon.

Maximo Trinidad (MVP Windows PowerShell)
AKA Mr. PowerShell

Nice DOTNETZIP Integration with PowerShell

Let me share a script I built two years ago, and I just created a function for it named “New-ZipFile“. Basically, this PowerShell function script will create a blank zipped file and copy the files to it. At the same time if you run it again (after updating an existing file) will overwrite the file any existing files previously on the existing zipfile. Also, there’s no prompt.

This is an example of what PowerShell can provide at an excellent tool for providing creative solutions. Also the community is very active is helping everyone.

I agree that sometime is not easy but definitely not impossible. And there’s lots of other possible good alternative. But, using PowerShell let you customized your solution with an opportunity for enhancements giving you some level of control over what you want to accomplish.

I’m using the DOTNETZIP from Codeplex for this example. By the way, they provide good documentation on how to use the API’s. (hint: copy all the “Tools” folder to “Program Files (x86)\DotNetZip\..” folder)

You can download DOTNETZIP at the following link: http://dotnetzip.codeplex.com/

Here’s the sample script. Just change the variables values to your need, and make it your own:

## - Beginning of Script:
Function New-ZipFile{
[String] $SrcFolder,
[String] $DestFolder,
[string] $DestZipName,
[String] $FileExtToZip,
[string] $ZipPurpose,
[string] $StoredInZipFolder,
[string] $DeleteFiles = $null
#$TodaysDate = Get-Date -uformat "%Y-%m-%d-%Hh%Mm%Ss.zip";
#$ZipFileName = $ZipPurpose + "_" +$DestZipName + "_" + $TodaysDate;
$ZipFileName = $ZipPurpose + "_" +$DestZipName + ".zip";

if (Test-Path $DestFolder){
## - Create Zip file or it won't work:
if (Test-Path ($DestFolder+"\"+$ZipFileName)) { del ($DestFolder+"\"+$ZipFileName) }
new-item ($DestFolder+"\"+$ZipFileName) -ItemType File
Write-Host "Destination Folder [$DestFolder] doesn't exist" -ForegroundColor 'Yellow';

## - Loads the Ionic.Zip assembly:
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadFrom("C:\Program Files (x86)\DotNetZip\Ionic.Zip.dll") |

$zipfile = new-object Ionic.Zip.ZipFile

## - AddSelectedFiles with source folder path:
## - ($false grab files in source folder) & ($true grab files & subfolder files)
$zipfile.AddSelectedfiles($FileExtToZip,$SrcFolder,$true) | Out-Null;
## - UseZip64WhenSaving, when needed, will create a temp file compress large number of files:
$Zipfile.UseZip64WhenSaving = 'AsNecessary'

If ($DeleteFiles.ToUpper() -eq 'YES'){
## - Remove all backed up files:
Write-Host "Deleting files after zip!";
get-childitem ($SrcFolder+"\"+$FileExtToZip) | remove-item

### - variables:
$DestZipName = "BackupMyTempSSIS";
$FileExtToZip = "name = *.*";
$DestFolder = "C:\MyBackupZipFolder";
$SrcFolder = "C:\TempSSIS";
$DeleteFiles = $null;
$StoredInZipFolder = "MyBackupZip\";
$ZipPurpose = "BackUp";
#or $ZipPurpose = "Save";

New-ZipFile -DeleteFiles $DeleteFiles `
-DestFolder $DestFolder -DestZipName $DestZipName `
-FileExtToZip $FileExtToZip -SrcFolder $SrcFolder `
-StoredInZipFolder $StoredInZipFolder -ZipPurpose $ZipPurpose;

## - End of Script

This is about having flexibility over what you want to do.  This is a good example how you can use an existing API with PowerShell.  As long there’s good API documentation then the rest just follows thru.


In the above sample script you can have is Scheduled in either Task Scheduler or in SQL Server Agent. This code becomes portable.

This script the folder for the zipped file most exist or it will display a message that the folder doesn’t exist, and has the ability to delete the files after its done. (feel free to modify)

I hope you’ll find it useful!

Maximo Trinidad (MVP – Windows PowerShell)
Mr. PowerShell

QuickBlog: PowerShell Working with Windows Azure

As I venture into the realm of learning some PowerShell Automation in Windows Azure, its interesting the things you learn by just trying things out.  On my previuos blogs I mention, in order to use PowerShell, you need to create and install the certificate in the portal.  After that, you can use following commands to connect to Azure:

1. Import-Module Azure (*Optional – Autoload module is already set to “On”)
2. Set-AzureSubscription
3. Select-AzureSubscription

*Note: The ‘Import-Module Azure’ is more of a habit to do it.  Powershell 3.0/4.0 will search and automatically load a module the first time the cmdlet is been executed.

I just realized, after the Certificates Keys are installed in Azure, then you don’t need to execute the above commands Set-AzureSubscription and Select-AzureSubscription everytime I open the PowerShell Console.  Yes! I can start typing away and work with Azure commands.

Just try it!  If you already loaded the certificate keys, then Open a PowerShell console session and type “Get-AzureVMimage” to display the list of available Azure VM images:


If there’s no certificates installed, the you’ll get the following message: (on another PC)


So that you know, when working with Windows Azure SQL Database Server(s), you don’t need to set up a Storage (Container) Account nor a Azure Cloud Service. Definitely you will need them when working with Windows Azure VM’s.

Next, I will be blogging on “PowerShell working with Windows Azure VM’s”.

That’s it for now,

Maximo Trinidad (MVP Windows PowerShell)
AKA Mr. PowerShell