• Downloading an Azure VM

    Yesterday I needed to get a copy of a virtual machine onto my local workstation. As I’m now working from home, that was going to mean downloading a lot of data, but first I had to find the VM. I remembered I had exported this particular VM up into Azure at one stage to experiment with using different hardware specs to find out how that would affect performance.

    Lucky for me, the VM was still there (though de-allocated to reduce costs). Usually you want to migrate a VM up into the cloud, but I needed to go the other way! So how do you get a copy of that VM? It turns out it isn’t that tricky:

    1. Make sure the VM is shut down (mine was)
    2. Open up the VM in the Azure Portal
    3. Under Settings, click on Disks
    4. Click on the individual disk (if you have more than one, you’ll need to repeat the next few steps)
    5. Under Settings, click on Disk Export
    6. You’re prompted to enter a URL expire time. The default is 3600 seconds (1 hour). If you have limited bandwidth you should make this larger, otherwise your download may fail. I set mine to 36000 (10 hours)
    7. Click Generate URL and a URL will be displayed Azure virtual machine disk export
    8. Download the .vhd file for this disk. Mine was 80GB and it took all day. It also failed a number of times, but I was able to restart the download and it did continue on from where it left off.
    9. The download defaulted to calling the file abcd, but it is a VHD file, so just rename the file to something useful.

  • Two weeks in

    I’ve been working from home for two weeks now. The first week I’d already planned in advance once the MVP Summit went virtual (so I’d be attending sessions online in the morning and then working the rest of the day). But by that first Wednesday the rest of my office had followed the same pattern. It was a bit sad, as I had a colleague leaving. Usually as an office we’d make a point of going out to lunch and enjoying our last day together, but social distancing had other plans.

    I originally set up camp in our ‘middle’ room - which is pretty much where everyone moves through. While it is nice to be in the centre of all the action, it did mean others had to tip-toe around when I was on a conference call. So last weekend I decided maybe I’d be better moving down to our ‘end’ room. The TV and piano are there, but for daytime hours, I can sit down here uninterrupted.

    My home desk

    It’s quite a pleasant spot. I can look off to the side and see out to our garden and beyond. Last year I had been researching standing desks. I think if I end up working here long term, I might follow that up again.

    Last weekend I brought home my 3 monitors + stands from the office. Sadly one of the monitors refused to start up when I got it home. The previous week I’d bought a new Acer 23” monitor, so for now I’ve got that in the middle, with the two remaining AOCs either side. It would have been fun to have 4 monitors. Maybe later.

    Remote office not required I saw a tweet by Jason Fried offering to refund the purchase price of his book (co-authored with David Heinemeier Hanson), “Remote: Office Not Required”. I was inspired to purchase a hard copy of it, and while I was there I figured I’d grab “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work”.

    I’ve had previous jobs where I worked from home for a day a week. This is the first time I’ve done it for any consecutive period.

    The “Remote” book is quite an easy read. Each chapter is divided up into a number of 1-3 page bites. It’s certainly got me thinking about whether this is something I’d want to continue doing even after the current situation.

    A point the authors make is it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. Working from home Monday to Thursday and heading in to the office on Friday could be an option. Why Friday? Well traditionally that’s our ‘team pizza lunch’ day :-)

    The fact that my entire company is working from home potentially makes this more viable, as whether they like it or not, everyone is hopefully now learning now to be effective working from home. I’d like to think that learning will remain long after the pandemic has gone.

  • COVID-19

    Wow, that escalated fast. In the space of just a few weeks:

    • The MVP Summit trip to Seattle and Redmond was cancelled (and replaced with a virtual conference).
    • My daughter’s school long anticipated school trip to Spain has been cancelled/deferred.
    • Massive government interventions.
    • People are dying.
    • Many people (particularly those in service industries) are (or soon will be) doing it really tough.
    • Our family is increasing our social distance as much as possible.
    • I’m planning to run the next few months of ADNUG as online virtual meetings.
    • I’m now working from home for the forseeable future. I appreciate that my job allows me to do that - not everyone has that option.

    To avoid being cooped up in the house the entire day, the last couple of mornings before starting work I’ve gone for a short walk around the neighbourhood with my other daughter. It emulates my walk to the bus stop. Hopefully we can make it a regular thing.

    Two pairs of legs, with concrete path and grass with leaves

    Apparently my legs are a bit longer than hers, so a short break on a seat in the park along the way is required :-)

    This is going to be a very disruptive time. Things aren’t too bad (yet) where I live, but the stories from overseas are quite scary. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones.