Azure Functions – OMS: Data Retrieval and Injection

Recently I have been developing a number of “Hobby” IoT Solutions, and for me a quick start to this development was to use OMS as a Temporary Storage and Alerting Mechanism. Through this process (and suggestion by the great Tao Yang) I have taken the time to experiment with Azure functions to Retrieve Data from OMS, and to Inject Data into OMS.

For Readers, please know that following blog posts on Azure Functions from THE GREATS are required reading for this topic, and will get you up to speed with Azure Functions (Especially PowerShell + Azure Functions)

David O’Brien
Stefan Stranger
Tao Yang

My blog post here skips some of the details and instead focuses on implementation and some of the results, this post mainly serves as an example of how awesome Azure Functions are and to highlight some of their capabilities.

Github Repo for Example Script

Continue reading Azure Functions – OMS: Data Retrieval and Injection

AWS Alexa Skill and AWS IoT Button Experiments!

I have recently been experimenting with some of the latest and greatest cloud / tech offerings from Amazon, and have recently put together two separate videos with some of my tests / proof of concepts / experiments. One is specific to Alexa (Echo Dot) and the other is the Amazon Dash / AWS IoT Button. Both relate to Service Management with ServiceNow in their own way, enjoy!

Alexa Skill: Proof of Concept – ITSM Personal Assistant
I wanted to try out AWS Lambda and Alexa skills, so why not hook up Alexa to my ServiceNow ITSM Demo environment.

AWS IoT Button (2nd Generation) Testing!
My Pre-Order for the “AWS IoT Button (2nd Generation)” arrived, I quickly open, and test the “GETTING STARTED” process for the IoT Button, and talk about its capabilities and possibilities.




Speaking at MMS 2016!

I will be speaking at the 2016 Midwest Management Summit! Check out my sessions below!

IT Pro to IT Scientist
Tuesday, May 17 • 8:00am – 9:45am

Tuesday, May 17 • 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Think Small to Scale Big: Intro to Containers for the Datacenter Admin
, May 19 • 10:00am – 11:45am

IoT and Pinball – YES – Real Pinball
Thursday, May 19 • 5:00pm – 6:45pm


Pulling the plug on your hybrid runbook worker (Force Remove-HybridRunbookWorker)

I had a situation where I was having trouble REMOVING my Azure Automation Hybrid Runbook Worker. I could not successfully run the “Remove-HybridRunbookWorker” command as I did not the URL / Key Information.

I my instance, I had deleted my Azure Automation Account in Azure, even though I had a Hybrid Runbook Worker registered to that Account, I did not remove the hybrid runbook worker before I removed the Automation account.

Later, when I wanted to setup the Hybrid Runbook Worker on the SAME server that had previously been configured to that automation subscription I was met with the error: “Machine is already registered” machine is registerd

Hmm, so my machine is registered to something that no longer exists, OK, I can probably use the “Remove-HybridRunbookWorker” Command right? Not at this time, because you have to specify the URL and Key for the command to work (which in my case no longer exist)

After taking a moment to think about how this command worked, I figured there may be a registry check going on that stored the OLD runbook worker configuration information.

Indeed, you will find the current configuration objects stored in the following registery location:


Since this was my lab and I had no fear of issues, I simply deleted the entire “HybridRunbookWorker” Key folder. This essentially deleted all the local hybrid workers references to my previous azure automation account.


Afterwards, I was able to run the:

Add-HybridRunbookWorker –Name <String> -EndPoint <Url> -Token <String> command without any issues and the server is now happily functioning as a hybrid runbook worker registered with a new azure automation subscription again.


no groups





2nd half of 2015 – Plans and Updates

2015 is nearly half over already, and as an effort to get organized I wanted to list some of the cool projects / events that will be working on for the Second half of 2015. It has really turned into quite a cool list so I figured I would post it here. This is all on top of my “Day Job” and the things I am already doing on a regular basis!  You’ll be hearing a lot from me on these items as the year goes on for these new projects / events!


Journey to the Cloud – Producer / Co-Host

I have JUST started a new online video show with Sam Erskine and Steve Buchanan

Watch the Pilot / Teaser Trailer here:

This show will about all about Azure and will focus on a business, adoption, and understanding perspective. We won’t be going too deep technically but instead show people the how / what and why for all things Azure.


Azure Cloud with Trevor and Rich  – Producer / Co-Host

This is another online video show that has already seen one episode. Trevor, Rich, and I wanted to put together a deeply technical show we can go deep into Azure with real demos, scripts, and more. We’ll not only TALK about what’s new but we will also SHOW you.  We’ll have another great episode out by the end of the month!

Watch the first episode here


DevOps Book Club – Organizer –

This is a new experimental project of mine that I will have more details on soon, but the website is live and you can sing up for the mailing list.

A few months ago a joke was thrown around with some friends about having an online book club, where like a “real-life” book club we will have a reading assignment -in this case- all about DevOps, where we’ll have regular online meetings to discuss chapters covered to learn as a group. I already have a few books picked out and am working on building out a schedule. I had a few “DevOps” books I wanted to read so this is a way to collaborate with others in my learning!


SCU Europe 2015 – Content Producer

All the details have not quite been worked on on this project yet but I will be producing some content for the SCU Europe 2015 conference. I’m really excited to help with this conference and to visit Europe for the first time. I’ll be posting some details where you can find more about this soon but expect some cool interviews with some the speakers / organizers of the SCU Europe conference later this year.


Speaker: IT/DEV Connections –  September 14-17, 2015,  ARIA Resort,  Las Vegas

I will be a speaker this year at the IT/DEV Connections conference. I will be presenting with Chris Ross for the session “Cloud Spotting: Gaining visibility into your private and public clouds” Expect a lot of cool reporting from this sessions, I will be focusing a lot of time on using PowerBI for this session.


Midwest Management Summit –  Producer 

This Midwest Management Summit is coming back in 2015 and I will again be helping out with the conference. This year I will be playing a more active role helping out with promotion by working on the social media platforms for the conference as well as producing interviews like last year. Right now I can promise that MMS will be bigger and better than last year.


Speaking at SQL Saturday Madison 2015

I’m pleased to announce that I have been selected to Speak at the SQLSaturday Conference here in Madison, Wisconsin on April 11th.

My Session is: Automate and Manage your Clouds and Datacenters using your SQL Toolbox 

This session will be all about how IT Organizations can utilize various SQL tools and techniques to manage Cloud and Datacenters Environments.
Expect Topics Like:

  • Topics include: –
  • Scheduling SQL Service Integration Services with System Center Orchestrator and Service Management Automation (SMA)
  • Install and Configure and manage SQL environments using PowerShell DSC
  • Monitoring and Reporting of Datacenter Operational Performance using Power BI
  • Lots of other cool stuff!

This session will more or less be a “Cool Tools and Tricks” session.

More Info about SQL Saturday.

SQL Saturday returns to Madison for the fourth year running! SQLSaturday is a training event for SQL Server professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server. This event will be held Apr 11 2015 at The Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin-Extension, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI 53706. Admittance to this event is free, but we do charge a lunch fee of 15.00 so that we can provide a lunch – not pizza! Once paid, lunch fees are non-refundable. Lunch is optional – you’re welcome to do lunch on your own!

Pyle Center

The conference is right in the heart of downtown Madison / the UW Campus. It’s right on the lake as well so there are plenty of fun things to do in Madison Before / During / and After the Conference.

Hope to see you there!

Detailed page on my session:

Check out the full Schedule:




Remove SMA Sample Runbooks

Just a quick post for those of you who would like to remove the Sample SMA Runbooks.

When you stand up SMA you may have about 25+ Sample SMA runbooks present and they tend to clutter up the Windows Azure Pack Automation website. These samples are great, especially when you are getting started! But you may want to remove them just to clean up the interface once you have done some learning and testing.

When I am working in my lab I like to remove the samples to just focus on a particular project I am working on.

You will need the SMA PowerShell Module installed but this quick simple powershell script will remove all runbooks starting with “Sample”

#Get RunBooks starting with Name that start with "Sample"

$SampleRunbooks = Get-SMARunbook -WebServiceEndpoint 'HTTPS://SMAServerHere' | Where-Object {$_.RunbookName -like 'Sample*'}

#For Each Runbook Found - Remove it!
Foreach ($SampleRunbook in $SampleRunbooks ) {Remove-SMARunbook -WebServiceEndpoint 'HTTPS://SMASERVERHERE' -RunBookName $SampleRunbook.RunBookName}


*Replace "SMASERVERHERE" with your HostName
*You will have specify "-Port" for get hte Get-SMARunbook and Remove-SMARunbook command if you do not use the default port.


Read more about how to use the SMA PowerShell Module here:

Orchestrator Runtime Queries and PowerBI Designer Demo!

I was recently creating some performance reports for Orchestrator Runbook Runtimes and decided to share them with the world. I WAS going to do a post on how to simply get this data into a good old fashioned SRRS report, but decided I would instead try out the NEW PowerBI Desinger Preview and upload my report to PowerBI.

Below are the queries I used (Which you should be able to plug into ANY Orchestrator Environment) and a video overview of the queries and how I was able to quickly and easily load them into the PowerBI Designer and then upload to PowerBI as a dashboard.

This BARELY scratches the surface of what the PowerBI Designer can do, but I wanted to show a quick example / proof of concept of how quickly and easily you can start using PowerBI. This is especially exciting giving some of the recent pricing information for PowerBI – How’s Free?


Part 1: Demonstration of SQL Queries to get Runbook and Runbook Instance Runtime Information

Part 2 – Starts at 5:16: Using The Power BI Designer to create a PowerBI dashboard in a matter of minutes and upload the dashboard into PowerBI




Queries after the jump:

Continue reading Orchestrator Runtime Queries and PowerBI Designer Demo!

Author Management Packs (for free) with Visual Studio Community 2013 and VSAE

Since the Visual Studio Community 2013 (full-featured, and FREE addition to the Visual Studio product lineup.) was released you can now Author SCSM and SCOM Management without needing to pay for a “fancy” version of Visual Studio.
I have created a video to test and prove the process. This makes using VSAE to author your management packs (instead of using the System Center Authoring Tool) an even better and more accessible option!

Links Below:

Continue reading Author Management Packs (for free) with Visual Studio Community 2013 and VSAE

Building a Custom SCSM Connector with SMA and SSIS

Over the weekend I wanted to proof of concept some of the techniques we use to build Custom SCSM connectors in System Center Orchestrator but do it with Service Management Automation (SMA) instead.

In this video I build a Custom Connector to sync “Bugs” from the Bug Tracking software: “Bugzilla” into SCSM as “Problem Work Items” using SMA and SSIS DTSX Packages.

Again, just a proof of concept, not best practice, not fully developed but it might just give you some ideas!

Bugzilla is server software designed to help you manage software development. Open Source at: