Increasingly my day-to-day life is managed from my smart phone.  The more I use mobile applications installed on my phone to do pretty much everything, the less I find that I utilize a full laptop to accomplish many of my daily life tasks.  So I decided to set a goal of trying to accomplish the same efficiency in my work life as I have in my personal life.  There are two mobile apps that allow me to accomplish this.  One is the Office 365 Admin App the other is the Azure Admin App.  These apps provide me access to a number of key features for administration in a simplified format compared to trying to use a web browser on the phone.

Within the app I can check the health of services, review upcoming updates, check migration status, open a support ticket, and manage objects.  There are many other tasks that can be completed through this app, but these five tend to be the ones I have used the most.

Office 365 Admin App

This home page becomes my go to area, especially when I get those support calls while I am at lunch.  “Is there a problem with Exchange right now?” “We need to block access to this user NOW!!!!”

I don’t need to rush back (interrupting the steak tacos I am enjoying).  I just pop into the application and start checking the information or managing the users.

The other aspect of this home page and app that I love is staying informed.  Whether during a train commute or just wanting to look busy, checking the messages section of the app allows me to gain better insight into upcoming changes to the Office 365 services.   Will there be changes to where I can find message tracking? How about some new features rolling out to teams?

One of my favorite items to find here however is the Support section.  If there is a problem that I can’t figure out, I can quickly open up a support case or look at historic cases that I have opened.

Azure Admin App

I am not sure about you, but I have to check on a few Azure environments regularly and I have a development/testing Azure tenant.  I use this tenant to spin up some test servers and try to reproduce issues.  Sometimes though, I get a little distracted and forget to shut them down.  This obviously ends up leading to some extra unnecessary costs, but with the Admin app I can quickly log in and shut down the VM.  Or if I need to make sure that my VMs are online and ready to go, I can just as easily start them.

The Azure Admin App provides an easy way to check for the health of the resources, the ability to stop/start/connect to Virtual Machines, and also allows me to run CLI or PowerShell commands.  As I find more uses for this application, my life becomes easier!  I find myself writing a few health check scripts that I can execute on the go. One big example is adding a Network Security Group rule allowing 3389 RDP access temporarily:  az network nsg rule create or New-AzureRmNetworkSecurityRuleConfig

To make life easy on me (note the theme of the blog), I store my commands in my Notes section of my Mailbox.  I can access my notes from my Outlook app and use basic copy and paste functionality to manage the VMs.

The Azure CLI requires the setup Azure file share to be associated with your subscription. Although the app will attempt to help set this up, I haven’t had much success yet and typically recommend setting up the CLI storage requirement via the Web Portal before using the Azure Admin App on a mobile device.

Microsoft Remote Desktop application

Connecting to my virtual machines, however, requires one last application.  There is a Microsoft Remote Desktop application that allows me to RDP into the sessions.  I have installed this on my mobile phone for those rare circumstances that I need to fix something on the go or quickly demonstrate and share some information in a presentation when I don’t have a full laptop or network access.

These three apps are only a fraction of the ways I have found to leverage the cloud to provide more responsive administration (and make my life easier!)  There are many other configuration options and efficiencies that can be helpful; if you need more assistance or information feel free to reach out to us info@peters.com.  We are happy to help!