Azure Management

Management refers to the tasks and processes required to maintain your applications and resources. Azure has many services and tools that work together to provide complete control. Understanding the different tools and how they work together is critical to Azure Governance. The various hyperlinks in this article point to the pertinent Microsoft documentation.

This diagram illustrates the different management areas required to maintain applications and resources. This is referred to as the Governance lifecycle. Each area is required in continuous succession over the lifespan of a resource. This resource lifecycle starts with the initial deployment, through continued operation, and finally, when retired.

No single Azure service fills the requirements of a particular management area. Instead, each management area is covered by several services working together. Some services, such as Application Insights, provide targeted monitoring functionality for web applications. Others, like Azure Monitor logs, store management data for other services. This feature allows you to analyze data of different types collected by different services. The following sections describe the different management areas.

Monitor

Monitoring is the act of collecting and analyzing data to audit the performance, health, and availability of your resources. An effective monitoring strategy helps you understand components’ operation and increase your uptime with notifications. Azure Monitor

Configure

Configure refers to the initial deployment and configuration of resources and ongoing maintenance. Automating these tasks allows you to eliminate redundancy, minimize your time and effort, and increase your accuracy and efficiency. Azure Automation provides the bulk of services for automating configuration tasks. While runbooks handle process automation, configuration, and update management help manage configuration.

Govern

Governance provides mechanisms and processes to control your applications and resources in Azure. It involves planning your initiatives and setting strategic priorities. Governance in Azure is primarily implemented with two services. First, Azure Policy allows you to create, assign, and manage policy definitions to enforce rules for your resources. This feature keeps those resources in compliance with your corporate standards. Second, Azure Cost Management allows you to track cloud usage and expenditures for your Azure resources and other cloud providers.

Secure

Manage the security of your resources and data. A security program involves assessing threats, collecting and analyzing data, and compliance of your applications and resources. Security monitoring and threat analysis are provided by Azure Security Center, which includes unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid cloud workloads. See Introduction to Azure Security for comprehensive information and guidance on securing Azure resources.

Protect

Protection refers to keeping your applications and data available, even with outages beyond your control. Two services provide protection in Azure. Azure Backup provides backup and recovery of your data in the cloud or on-premises. Azure Site Recovery offers business continuity and immediate recovery during a disaster.

Migrate

Migration refers to transitioning workloads currently running on-premises to the Azure cloud. Azure Migrate is a service that helps you assess the migration suitability of on-premises virtual machines to Azure. Azure Site Recovery migrates virtual machines from on-premises or Amazon Web Services. Finally, Azure Database Migration assists you in migrating database sources to Azure Data platforms.

The official Microsoft documentation is far and above the best reference for Azure. It is easy to follow and understand.

Conclusion

Azure Management is a challenge. The first concern of many businesses is cost. Many companies have seen costs increase in the past due to virtual machine sprawl in data centers. Cloud costs can spiral out of control quickly and make virtual machine sprawl seem trivial. Budgets can be decimated by an overzealous Administrator deploying hundreds of virtual servers by mistake. Make cost management your priority. Follow the links embedded in this blog post to develop your Management/Governance plan.

Author: Chet Camlin

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