Introducing Azure Resource Manager: Microsoft's New and Improved Virtual Machine

February 29, 2016   //   Cloud, ,

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In conjunction with the release of the new Azure Portal, Microsoft has introduced a new virtual machine design for Infrastructure as a Service that is providing a number of exciting new features.  This new virtual machine type is called Resource Manager and is Microsoft’s next step into making Azure virtual machines a lot more flexible and scalable.

Organizing your Resources with Azure Resource Managerazure-virtual-machine-resources-2

In the Classic model of Azure, all of the virtual machine resources were independent of each-other and the only grouping that was recommended was for high availability.  In addition, security in the Classic model was fairly limited.  Access to the Azure management was often a binary option – yes or no – with limited Role Based Access Control (RBAC).

All of this has changed within Resource Manager.  With this new virtual machine model, you are able to group all of your VMs into Resource Groups to better organize your systems.  For further organization, Resource Manager also allows for machines and resources to be tagged for logical organization of devices by department, purpose, SLA level, etc.

Once you have your virtual machines organized, Resource Manager allows for RBAC roles to be applied to your resources at both the resource group and individual resource / VM level for more granular administration.   There are dozens of roles pre-created within Azure to make assigning permissions easier and, if none of the groups match your requirements, you have the ability to make new roles using PowerShell.

Improved Azure Virtual Machine Features

In Resource Manager, the options available to virtual machines have made it much easier to use.  Generation of templates and automatic deployment of virtual machines has been significantly improved, and some of the common settings that used to be
Boot Diagnostics Virtual MachinePowerShell only – for instance assigning Static IPs or configuring Network Security Groups – are now available within the Azure Portal.

With Resource Manager, the monitoring and support options have also improved.  One of the most useful features is the option for Boot Diagnostics.  One of the biggest challenges with Azure in the past was troubleshooting a machine that wouldn’t boot because no console access was available.  With Boot Diagnostics, requesting a screen shot of the console is now possible with just one click.  Diagnostics also include optional recording of event logs, system metrics, and SQL / IIS metrics to Azure storage for analysis in the event of a system error.

Microsoft is continuing to add features to Resource Manager and improve the offering.  Stay tuned to future technology blogs as we continue to highlight some of the new features and functionality within Resource Manager and Azure.

Transitioning from Classic to Resource Manager

Due to a difference in architecture there is unfortunately no way to run Classic and Resource Manager virtual machines in the same virtual network.  However, resources are available for converting virtual machines from the Classic format into Resource Manager.  SWC can assist in reviewing your current Azure environment and rebuilding your systems into Azure Resource Manager. Learn more about our Cloud Solutions and request more information.