This week, there was a rare and unexpected outage on the visibility for cloud hosted environments on LCS. Unfortunately it impacted all customers and partners as it was not possible to start the machines, apply updates and view the credentials for the VM login. However there are some alternatives to start the machines and use the environment. In this post, there will be also some tips how you save your credentials by using remote desktops apps.

Impact

Due to a general outage, all organizations were not able to view the cloud hosted environments on LCS. There are a lot of environments which will be shut down every night to save on Azure costs. When people did arrive the next day, there was an unpleasant surprise that instead of the cloud hosted environments, an error message was raised

So, people were not able to use LCS for starting their machines. Already running services, like customer environments, just continued to run. An alternative for starting the virtual machines is by going to the Azure portal and start the machines. Several companies have automated scripts to start and stop environments. In this area, there was no large impact.

I think, almost all partners an a lot of customers suffered from not being able to install deployable packages or reviewing the credentials to logon the virtual machines. Not being able to deploy packages can cause a delay in project delivery. A lot of cloud based environments on Azure, which are not Microsoft managed, are used as developer machine. Developers needs to have access to the remote desktop of these machines for using Visual Studio and continue to work on customer or ISV product requirements.

Again, this also underlines the importance of using DevOps for your source control. Imagine, the machine is fully not accessible, then it would be an option to deploy another machine and connect to the DevOps project. Get the latest objects and continue your work. Now also ask yourself the next question: Do you need to check in all changes at the end of the day, before going home? I think the answer is not a sole one. It might depend on finished work and if you have other team members on the same project which might get stuck if you check in work items which are not complete.

Securing access

To avoid accessibility issues or even to benefit from easy access, there are some options to login to the remote desktop of the cloud based machines next to using the environment details on LCS and click the VM name which downloads a RDP connection for this machine.

The first option is using the Remote Desktop Connection app. Whenever you have started a remote desktop successfully, the history will be in the list of computers. When you search for the app using the Windows menu, you can also type ‘mstsc’. This is short for Microsoft Terminal Services Client; the older name of this application.

Now when it comes to find another place to store your credentials, you can enable the option to allow store credentials. The next time when you logon this environment, you don’t have to provide the username and password; they are applied automatically.

As the list with computer names are not that helpful when you can have access to a lot of machines, there are other options to store remote desktops. If you didn’t know already, Microsoft shipped one free app within Windows 10. The name of the app is Remote desktop. You can add machines and store credentials. To be able to link the computer correctly, you have to use the full machine name; including the port number.

You can provide a user including the password to be stored. Display names will help you to identify the machine visually in the app. This is an advantage compared to the option I mentioned above.

Additional tip

When you are using the Windows 10 Remote desktop app, you can create groups for your machines. You can then visually distinct between machines for e.g. demonstrations, development, customer environments or any other grouping you may think that will be helpful in your situation. An example how I use it on my private laptop is visible in the screenshot above.



I do hope you liked this post and will add value for you in your daily work as a professional. If you have related questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to use the Comment feature below.


That’s all for now. Till next time!

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