App Controller to SQL firewall requirements

So here’s a quick one…

App Controller needs the following services/ports open on the SQL server it is configured to talk to during install:

  • SQL (duh!) (Port TCP 1433)
  • Remote Service Management (RPC SCManager UUID 367ABB81-9844-35F1-AD32-98F038001003)
  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

If these are open the App Controller installer can automatically detect the SQL instance and you don’t get the pesky “The specified database has insufficient space” error:


How to opt in to Microsoft Update with PowerShell

For Windows to retreive updates from Microsoft Update, as opposed to Windows Update (which is the default), you have to opt in. This is usually done through the Windows Update GUI by selecting “Get updates for other Microsoft Products”:


This becomes tedious very quickly so here’s how you can do it with PowerShell:

To see if this was successful you can query the Services property of the $MU object:


You should see something like this:

Name                  : Microsoft Update
ContentValidationCert : {}
ExpirationDate        : 11/18/2014 1:27:43 AM
IsManaged             : False
IsRegisteredWithAU    : True
IssueDate             : 11/18/2011 1:27:43 AM
OffersWindowsUpdates  : True
RedirectUrls          : System.__ComObject
ServiceID             : 7971f918-a847-4430-9279-4a52d1efe18d
IsScanPackageService  : False
CanRegisterWithAU     : True
ServiceUrl            :
SetupPrefix           : mu
IsDefaultAUService    : True

Name                  : Windows Update
ContentValidationCert : {}
ExpirationDate        : 6/18/5254 9:21:00 PM
IsManaged             : False
IsRegisteredWithAU    : False
IssueDate             : 1/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
OffersWindowsUpdates  : True
RedirectUrls          : System.__ComObject
ServiceID             : 9482f4b4-e343-43b6-b170-9a65bc822c77
IsScanPackageService  : False
CanRegisterWithAU     : True
ServiceUrl            :
SetupPrefix           :
IsDefaultAUService    : False

If you only have the Windows Update entry something went wrong.

One of the major benefits of this is that you can do it remotely. I have yet to find another way to do this. If you know, leave a comment.

Windows Azure compute cores and you

By default, every Windows Azure subscription has a limit of 20 compute cores. This applies to both VMs (IaaS) and worker roles (PaaS). Fortunately this is a soft limit and you can increase it by submitting a support ticket to the Windows Azure team through the management portal here. The following table lists the number of cores for each available Windows Azure instance:

Compute instance size CPU Cores
Extra Small 1/6 (Shared)
Small 1
Medium 2
Large 4
Extra Large 8

To see how many cores each of your cloud services are using just look in the management portal. You will se something like this:


Unfortunately you need to manually add all the cores for each cloud service to get the total number. To work around this limitation you can use PowerShell:

Save the above as a PowerShell script and run it from a prompt with the Windows Azure PowerShell module added. It will return all your VMs, sorted by name, their instance sizes, the number of cores they each use and the total number of cores in use in your subscription.

If you are paying for your Windows Azure subscription with a credit card your credit limit is $15000 by default. This will let you increase to a total of 175 cores in your subscription. If you want more cores and still pay with a credit card you will have to go through a credit check process to increase your credit limit. If you move to an Enterprise Agreement there will be no need for any credit checks to increase your core count beyond 175.

For large deployments the Windows Azure Capacity Planning team will want information from you so that they can allocate the required resources in the regions you specify. Typical questions they will ask you is where (region) you want to deploy, if you can deploy in several regions, if you are creating a new deployment or growing an existing one, which VM sizes you require and other services, like CDN, SQL etc) that you may require.