Pawel Serwan Blog

Citrix, Microsoft and other stuff

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CloudBusters: Episode 3 – Cloud(y) (r)evolution – how cloud changed IT jobs?

logoWelcome in the third episode of CloudBusters series. I hope that you enjoyed previous one and were waiting for this one 🙂 Last time I was trying to explain the acronyms used in cloud computing or at least the mostly used one. Today I decided to focus on the cloud impact on the traditional roles/positions in IT world.  So let’s  start with the fairy tale…Before reading further please click below sound 🙂

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

The steam machine was working on a full speed. The lonely man was standing in front of the tangle of cables, pipes and metal.

“The last chance – he said to himself – and I go home. Time to drink some tea.”

He pull the lever and the machine started to make some strange noises. The man pushed some buttons on the control panel and after some time the result was printed on the punch card.

“It works!!! – man shouted loudly. It works!!! 2+2=4! Finally, it works!!!”

You may thing that the man was crazy but as I wrote it was long time ago – in 1837 and the man was Charles Babbage, a British professor mathematics. The man who invented the first computer. It was basically an mechanical type of calculator that also had a memory.

Since that time quite a lot has changed and I can bet that the inventor of the computer had no idea what he began. Over 170 years later computers are everywhere in our everyday life. The same as IT people who manage, help and develop new IT products. During that time and especially during the last 30 years the IT jobs changed tremendously. Let’s look back one more time to the past. In 70’s and 80’s when IT departments started to be formed the IT person was responsible for everything related to the computers in the companies. No one exactly had idea what she or he is doing. If there was a problem with computer she/he was there to solve it. It has changed in the early 90’s when programming languages became more and more popular and the new operating systems allowed to create applications for the end users. Suddenly the IT person needed to take care of both: hardware and development of the applications for end users. And as it is said you cannot do two things good simultaneously. That’s how two different groups of IT people formed: IT Pro and Dev. Continue reading


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CloudBusters: Episode 2 – Cloud(y) Acronyms

ObrazekWelcome in the second episode of the CloudBusters series. I hope that after reading the first one you can distinguish between cloud and non-cloud services. In this episode we will talk about “the cloudy” acronyms. They are in our everyday life. Why do we need to loose time to say whole name of something if we can just create an acronym. Everyone loves acronyms and the same apply to IT guys and cloud computing.

There are three main acronyms that are used in cloud computing area: Continue reading

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CloudBusters: Episode 1 – What is the Cloud?

smallWith this post we are launching finally the CloudBusters series. It was very hard to decide what should be presented in the first episode. After some struggles I’ve decided to start from the scratch –  from the explanation of what the CLOUD really is. It seems that everyone heard about it but probably not everyone knows exactly what does it mean. Does it ?

The term “cloud” is relatively new in IT and for a long time there was no structured definition. In 2012 the National Institute of Standards and Technology published its own definition that in my opinion the best describes what really the cloud computing is and what it differs from other technologies. The full definition can be found under the below URL:

But in simpler words – what is the cloud? Continue reading


Bug in Windows Azure Management Portal

Windows Azure Management Portal is probably the most commonly used tool for management and administration of Windows Azure. There is a bunch of other tools that might be used – I’m going to write about that in the next post – however the most accessible is of course Management Portal as it is web based application. But what happens if the reporting inside the portal is not accurate and provides false information? That’s exactly what I discovered some time ago. One of my PaaS services recycled multiple times ( at least 5 ) during quite short period of time. Finally I was able to solve the problem with the cloud service hosted on that PaaS machine so wanted to check if everything is OK with the machine itself. After logging to the Management Portal I’ve noticed the following on the main page:


The cloud service was running but the red exclamation mark was a bit scary. So I checked the details of one of my PaaS instance.


The detailed information was saying that my Web server is recycling and is in unhealthy state. I logged to the server and haven’t found any suspicious entries apart from quite many errors inside WaHostBootstrapper log. The log was showing that at least few agents including Diagnostic and RemoteAccess were not able to launch. Due to the fact that my knowledge of Azure environment literally speaking is still quite low I’ve opened a ticket to Microsoft support. After few days of email sending and switching between different support teams (from India, US to France 🙂 ) I finally got few answers:

1. Errors in WaHostBootstrapper log are not source of the problem – but no one could answer my question what do they mean and should I fear for my cloud services.

2. My Web server has rebooted quite few times 🙂 According to the below log it rebooted 74 times! No idea how it could happen and no one of course was able to explain that.

<following is the last failure before the role started:>

[00000010] [xx/xx/2013 15:14:02.72] [WARN]  role.Start() failed with exception: System.UnauthorizedAccessException: Access is denied. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED))

   at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHRInternal(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)

   at Microsoft.WindowsAzure.GuestAgent.AppAgentRuntime.AppAgentRuntimeImpl.StartRole(String containerId, String roleInstanceId, String configFilename, CertificateBlobType certsBlobType, Byte[] certificatesBlob)

   at Microsoft.WindowsAzure.GuestAgent.ContainerStateMachine.Role.Start(RoleGoalStateAssets goalAssets, ManualResetEvent stopping)

   at Microsoft.WindowsAzure.GuestAgent.ContainerStateMachine.RoleStateExecutor.StartRole(RoleGoalStateAssets goalAssets).

<role start success at 15:17:07.42 >

3. It occurred that if your server hosted on Windows Azure will reboot at least 5 times during one hour and it will not start properly (not sure what is the definition of proper boot 🙂 ) you will be welcomed by this red exclamation mark on the main page of the Management Portal. That is of course a bug and Microsoft is still working on that. No final fix nor workaround available now.

All in all do not believe always what you see and always check with different tools/approaches.

One interesting thing is that also Cerebrata Azure Management Studio is showing that error – so the problem is somewhere deeper in Azure platform itself.

My ticket to Microsoft support is still open so I will let you know when the solution will be provided.

BTW: another interesting thing is that I did not get  any date/details when I can expect fix of that problem. So it seems that there is no SLA defined for Azure bugs. The known portal issue was opened on 9/22/2013 and is still under investigation. Nice ! 🙂