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Showing posts from July, 2018

Monitor Office 365 Outages with Twitter

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Office 365 has high SLAs ( the latest English version ) backed by Microsoft’s excellent Azure Cloud. However, like every other cloud services, there is always the chance for something unexpected to happen. This year April Office 365 had a major hiccup to its service. Its Asia Pacific backend Azure AD authentication went haywire. As a result, users lost access all O365 services. To make it worse, the usual Office 365 monitoring channel: Office 365 dashboard was not accessible due to this fault. To track the issue at the time, I ended up relying on the official MS Twitter account @Office365Status for updates. The account contains all Office 365 service outage notifications. This made it become the only source for people to track the issue at that time. After the incident, it become obvious that the Twitter account is a pretty reliable source for monitoring Office 365 service status. Based on this, I developed a solution, it uses PowerShell script to check for new tweets from @Office365St

Over the Wall - with help from Azure

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I had a long holiday in China recently. It had been a fun and eyes opening trip. Feels like the whole nation is in the middle of a “technology revolution”. Among all, Internet has become one of the core driving force. But while Wifi beomces a life essential here, the infamous Great Firewall (GFW) is also getting more effective. After tried numbers of paid and free VPN providers, I just could not find a reliable VPN service to simply let me post a picture on Facebook. I then decided it's time to bring the matter to my own hands.  My VPN solution is pretty simple. It consist of a Squid proxy server and Azure P2S VPN. Access the Squid proxy server through its public IP alone will not help. The GFW will still be able to detect traffic destinations and block access successfully. A VPN tunnel ensure the traffic is encapsulated and prevents the GFW to block any traffic. It is worth mentioning that this solution does incur cost! Azure resources like VPN Gateway have ongoing cost.