How to build a cloud tenant in 30 minutes

Start with building Microsoft Azure

So I will admit, having focused on Windows 10 and BlackBerry UEM for the last few years, I realise my cloud experience isn’t what potential employers would want to see. So I decided to put my money where my mouth is again and see what I could do.

Azure probably took the longest to setup, but once I had the Azure Tenant setup, with an SQL server, plus In-tune and Office 365. Setup BlackBerry UEM, connected it to In-tune and deployed the MS Office Apps from UEM with In-tune managing the MAM policies on my iPhone and Pixel 3. I did it this way since Mobile Iron and VMWare Airwatch do not deliver evaluation version of their MDM software as quickly as BlackBerry do, I could have probably done it with them…. But in all the time it took me the best part of 20 minutes to do it all, so spent the next 10 minutes setting up an Amazon Web Service Tenant and Google Cloud.

While all this was happening also deployed VMWare ESXi (Vsphere 6.7) with 2 copies of Ubuntu Server clustered with BSDUnix and Oracle Solaris running Oracle and for the hell of it did DOS.

Tomorrow is installing Windows Server 2019, setting up Active Directory and Azure Active Directory Connectors, and maybe an eval of a proper X500 Directory. Novell eDirectory or NetIQ Identity Management… And maybe MAC OS for fun

On top setup Cisco Virtual Machines, so in effect a small datacentre.

It has been a difficult setting up kubernetes on the R Pi cluster as the 4 Model B doesn’t support it yet


Take a moment to contemplate. Anything is possible

Fidelis habentes fiduciam vitae doctrina et sperans

— Ashley Taylor

This is the first post of my new blog. It will be about pretty much anything that interests me. From Technology, to food. Hopefully it won’t be too deep and intense, but here to inspire anyone to imagine what is possible. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. And excuse the Latin grammar. My Latin is a little rusty. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

My name is Ashley Taylor. Before anyone second guesses, I am a man – more about that later… I live in the United Kingdom in the fair county of Essex, in an old market town called Maldon. I have been fortunate to have lived there almost my whole life, because it is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places to live.

For many years I have worked in Information Technology, specialising as an Analyst troubleshooter, in industries ranging from Pharmaceuticals, Law and even spent time at a technology vendor. I originally had the idea of starting this blog to share experiences and inspire other Information Technologists to think about what is possible. But the idea inspired me to also think about what is possible, so this blog will also be about my other interests, ranging from food, cooking and my other hobbies. There will even be a post about medieval calligraphy.

As I mentioned before, the first idea came when I decided to try and build a unified desktop between Windows and Linux, personal project just to see what was possible. I use Windows primarily for a few things. Microsoft Office and Photoshop / Lightroom. Could I do it with Linux and use the same software in Windows? Turns out I could. Libre Office and GIMP. Linux is now my primary desktop. More about that in a later post. I need a new job and Cloud is the way to go. I’m the best Analyst that I have done, but need to learn new things…. Cloud.. So what better way than to build your own cloud? My next posts will be about Kubernetes and Raspberry Pi, but I promise I will get back to you about medieval calligraphy. But before I get into clouds and calligraphy. I have just purchased a new Nikon DSLR. They now come with Wi-Fi which allows you to connect your phone. I can take a photo and instantly share it… but more I can remote control the camera from my phone. Life is too short to miss moments

As I mentioned I am a man. This little private joke started when I would email customers when I worked at BlackBerry. The reply would always address me as Mrs Ashley Taylor. It sometimes helped since in the same team there was also a girl called Ashley.

Finally for this post, my new motto. Fidelis habentes fiduciam vitae doctrina et sperans

In literal terms, it translates too Believe, trust, live, learn and hope. Believe in oneself and others. Trust in oneself and others. Live life to the full. Learn from your mistakes and most of all, have hope. We never know what life can bring and as a good a friend once told me, “What Will Be Will Be”

Kindest regards,

Ashley Taylor


Enterprise Mobility Management

So what is Enterprise Mobility Management?

Once upon a time it was just about Mobile Device Management… Remember the old BlackBerry?

BlackBerry invented the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The Server would connect to your mail system and perform a true push to the connected devices across BlackBerry’s own network. It was costly for a vendor to do that and there were a number of copies such as Good Technology etc. You could implement policies on the devices to prevent users from performing certain actions and from a user point of view they could be quite restrictive.. (more of that later)

Eventually Microsoft delivered Active-sync and a number of the catchup vendors such as Apple and Google settled on this protocol with a number of caveats.

So we now come to today. Enterprise Mobility Management has come a long way from when it began, from simple device management to managing application polices and securing all devices including Windows and Mac OS, allowing corporations to manage devices connecting to their infrastructure whether it be BYOD, COPE, COBO or BYOL.

So where are we now? I come from a BlackBerry background and last used their UEM product which as an MDM platform was the most mature, but I am now looking at 4 main contenders in the industry. BlackBerry UEM, VMWARE Airwatch Workspace ONE, Mobile Iron and Microsoft Intune. And will include the main mobile contenders. There are others like IBM Maas and Citrix Xen but I don’t have any experience of them.

BlackBerry UEM has evolved since the takeover of Good Technology to integrate the Dynamics Platform to provide the best BlackBerry provided as an MDM platform and what Good Provided as an Application platform. They can also manage Bring your own Laptop, securing corporate data from personal databases and are probably the most mature of vendors.

Microsoft Intune. If you are running the Office 365 suite and want to control data, then Intune is a must because it provides Microsoft Application Management policies alongside Conditional Access. This will secure Microsoft data, but Intune is not the most mature MDM platform, but thankfully you do not have to use Intune as an MDM platform since the other vendors are able to plug into it and use their MDM and EMM capabilities along with Intune providing Microsoft policies.

If you want to evaluate an EMM solution, VMWARE Airwatch Workspace ONE is probably the quickest to set up. In 10 minutes I had the cloud tenant provisioned , Apple APNS certificate installed and connected to Intune. BlackBerry UEM took a little longer to do the same, but for me Mobile Iron was a little less intuitive, but that is just a personal opinion. Note intune needs to be provisioned first.

Each have their own flaws and merits but each can probably do what you need them to do. For me, I’d now probably pick Airwatch with Intune because it seems to just edge ahead of BlackBerry for complete integration. But for the Application and if you are not concerned so much with the MAM policy and conditional access I’d pick BlackBerry.

A note about Smartphone Vendors. I have typed this on an iPhone X and also have a Pixel 3. I also adored my BlackBerry 10 phones and I have no doubt one day someone is going to come along with something better. But for now if you are happy with what you have, go with it.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

So decided to jump into the world of Raspberry Pi because since I now run Linux as a desktop at home, this is my new PC

Its a 4GB Pi 4 Model B with a 32GB SD Card. Still undecided whether to run Raspbian or Ubuntu.. remember this will be used as my PC running Office Apps etc.

This however is going to be running Kubernetes.

It is basically 4 Raspberry Pi 4 Model B running Ubuntu with the Docker and Kubernetes package installed. Like a mini cloud. Idea is to run My SQL and Plex Media Server with storage on Synology DS1819+

I remember the years when you were at home as a kid and Dad brought in a first computer. Remember for me it was the 80s and all I got was an Oric 1

Instead of a Spectrum

Dad would never succumb to our insane feelings. Instead he bought us a 386 PC instead of an Amiga

Love you dad! This can now run both and also act as anything. I’m not sure how they would get on if they knew everything, but such is life