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Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection (post #9)

This post is #9 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy

Although in the last step we configured a very permissive password policy we need a bit of security, so that is why I opted to install System Center Endpoint Protection. Now, in Azure you can also have extensions for security (both with Microsoft and 3rd party security products) so probably you will never install System Center Endpoint protection yourself, but for the sake of reference, here is how to install it using PowerShell.

Next step: installing SQL Server

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Password policy (post #8)

This post is #8 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup

In this step we will configure a very permissive password policy. This of course requires that the previous step (setting up Active Directory) has successfully completed. The password policy set using this script is only suitable for demo environments since it is very, very (did I say very?) permissive; it sets a minimal password length of 0, does not record any history of passwords (you can re-use your password again and again), passwords never expire and do not have to follow complexity rules. So, even an empty password is allowed (although not recommended since your Windows services will then not start). However, having ‘1234’ as password would work perfectly under this policy (and no, this is not the password I use for my demo machines).

 

Next step: installing System Center Endpoint protection

Power BI and Cortana integration explored

With the big news of the Power BI and Cortana integration I could not wait until next week to publish this short video of me demo-ing this cool technology! In the video I ask Cortana a couple of questions on stats from my a part of my blog that I record using Google Analytics. How cool is that? This shows the unique ability of Microsoft to integrate a BI technology such as Power BI with Windows to make it very easy for users to get the information they need when they need it where they need it. Do you speak BI? Great stuff don’t you think?

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Active Directory Setup (post #7)

This post is #7 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration

In this step we will set up Active Directory. This script has been inspired on http://blogs.technet.com/b/ashleymcglone/archive/2013/04/18/touch-free-powershell-dcpromo-in-windows-server-2012.aspx.

 

Next step: configuring a very permissive password policy.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (post #6)

This post is #6 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script

In this step we will disable the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. In general IEESC is a great idea, but on demo machines it is not very useful and makes the demo less usable. This script comes from http://itproctology.blogspot.nl/2013/09/powershell-to-disable-ie-enhanced.html:

Next step: set up Active Directory.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – master script (post #5)

This post is #5 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure

Now that we have our preparation completed, it is time to present the master script. This script will be called by the user with parameters specifying what to install; also this script will call other scripts to install components and potentially reboot the machine and resume working. My master script is called ‘SetupMSBIDemoMachine.ps1’. It has one master switch called -DoAllTasks, what does as it says. Also, it provides switches to just executed a part of the total install, such as just installing SQL Server by specifying –InstallSQLServer. Optionally, this script can do automatic reboots of the server and auto-resume working after the reboot; very useful when –DoAllTasks is specified.

A sample call that would complete the full install with a certain domainname and passphrase (for SharePoint) and also auto reboots the machine would look like this:

Just running .\SetupMSBIDemoMachine -? returns the following info, which shows all the parameters available. The parameters map to the steps outline in the start of this series. Again, -DoAllTasks would mean just executing these steps in turn.

 

Part 1: Parameter binding

This part of the script binds to the parameters and specifies defaults for the password to be used for service accounts and the internal $Step variable. Also, note that by default AutoReboot is disabled.

 

Part 2: Imports

This part join-paths to make sure we have all the items we need; the script uses restart and resume functions as an include, these functions enable auto restart and resume of the tasks (available in RestartAndResumeFunctions.ps1). The other scripts included here are the scripts that actually do the work of installing and configuring services.

 

Part 3: Parameter passing

This part is used to pass parameters between the master script and downstream scripts, even after auto reboot.

 

Part 4: Setting global variables

Here some items are set up, such as the hostname of the machine, the current user name, the paths to ISO files for SharePoint and SQL. Also, the account name for the SharePoint farm account is specified here.

 

Part 5: the actual program

This part of the script calls the right downstream execution script with the right parameters.

Up next: the script that disables Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – preparation: logging infrastructure (post #4)

This post is #4 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service

Our final step in preparation is setting up a logging infrastructure. I found a very simple to use function online, see the code below:

Including this function in the script enables any step to write to a log by passing a $Message to this function.

Next post will be our master script.

Reporting on your Azure subscription made easy using Power BI

Just released, an Azure Enterprise Subscription content pack for Power BI. Reporting on the usage of your Azure subscription does not get any easier!

Check it out: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-content-pack-azure-enterprise/

Power BI licensing explained: Free vs. Pro – when do you need Pro?

The pricing table on the Power BI website does a good job at explaining when a free account is acceptable and when a pro account is required. However, it does not explain all nor is really clear (in my opinion). So, after some digging I came up with this: an step-wise wizard that helps you determine if you can use a free account for Power BI or if you need pro (below); simply answer a series of Yes/No questions and you will know if you can use free or really need pro. Please note that this is no official communication and by no means I am responsible for any errors. Use this at your own risk.

Enjoy!

First Look: Cortana Analytics Suite

The First Look series focusses on new products, recent announcements, previews or things I have not had the time to provide a first look at and serves as introduction to the subject. First look posts are fairly short and high level.

Cortana Analytics Suite is Microsoft’s connecting and integrating suite of products for Big Data and Advanced Analytics. It combines a number of technologies Microsoft had before into one suite and adds new, ready to use capabilities for business solutions such as churn analysis.

For more information on Cortana Analytics Suite see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cortana-analytics-suite/overview.aspx.

Also, please note that there will be a Cortana Analytics Workshop 10/11 september 2015: https://microsoft.eventcore.com/caw2015 .

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