Use Boot Diagnostics to see what your Azure VM is doing at boot time

This blog post is about how to diagnose what your Azure VM is doing while it is booting.

I have a DEMO VM that is hosted in Azure – it is where I have Visual Studio, Redgate tools as well as all my DEMO systems, presentations hosted for when I speak. That way when I go to a venue to speaker I only need (at worst) internet connectivity – and I have a phone with fantastic internet if the venue doesn’t.

What I do is keep the VM up to date in terms of windows patches and I make a point of 2 days out before an event of making sure all outstanding patches are installed.

Hint: this might tell you where this post is headed.

So 2 days out from speaking in Spokane – DevOPs & the DBA I made sure to start up my VM to check things were good. The only complicating factor was this was a day before I was to give a session to TheDevOpsLab so I thought – best to get this out of the way and practice my database unit test session that was going to be recorded.

So I went into the Azure Portal and down to Virtual Machines and clicked “start”:

start VM
Let’s start up the VM and get started

Normally this start up process would take about 3-5 minutes whilst things started up.

However after 10 minutes I still could not connect. After 15 minutes I started to become worried. So I clicked on the Virtual Machine in the Azure Portal to see what usage was happening.

Things were happening alright:

The keen eye will note that is 2 hours worth of activity…..

Yip – my VM was busy doing heaps of stuff for 2 hours and the whole time I could NOT log onto it via RDP. Which is when I discovered “Boot Diagnostics” in the Azure Portal for Virtual Machines. It allows us to see the console of the VM.

Simply click on your VM and choose “Boot Diagnostics”:

Boot Diagnostics
Let’s see what the VM is doing

Which gave me an insight to what my VM was spending so much time doing:

windows update
Ugh…  Windows Updates.

So I waited for 2 hours whilst my VM applied these patches (to be fair it was a very big update).

The good thing was I could monitor the progress via Boot Diagnostics.

BTW – in normal running this is the console of my VM:

Normal Console
You should consider visiting New Zealand

Which is the view out my front gate. If you have never considered coming to New Zealand – hopefully the console of my VM hosted in Azure will help you decide.
Or consider submitting to SQL Saturday South Island:

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/712/EventHome.aspx

We’re still open until 26th April 2018 (I extended it today) and to be honest if it’s past that date and you are International speaker – hit me up on twitter — @theHybridDBA if you want to speak – we’re relaxed as in New Zealand and love people who like to give their time to the community.

I’ll even give up my own speaking slot.

Yip.

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