24 December 2015

Hybrid Infrastructure Automation with Azure Resource Manager Templates

Back in May of this year Microsoft announced Azure Resource Manager Templates.

On today’s Microsoft Mechanics show, Corey Sanders who heads up the team for Microsoft Azure compute, addresses the tech advantages of Azure Resource Manager Templates for IT. If you've ever had to set up a test or production environment for something like SharePoint, you know there are several pieces to set up - like Active Directory, SQL for your backend data, and then your SharePoint servers.

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While it's possible to automate this with advanced scripting or level 400 task sequencer skills, imagine just choosing a template or manifest file and clicking go to spin up a dozen or so VMs all wired together and talking to each other. That is effectively what Azure Resource Manager templates do and what Corey demonstrates on the show while taking a step back to illustrate how they actually work to automate resources in the Cloud, on-premises or both.

Hybrid Infrastructure Automation with Azure Resource Manager Templates

Unified model for infrastructure automation in the Cloud and on-premises

As we gear up to deliver you the upcoming Azure Stack which brings the operational and resource management model of Microsoft Azure right inside your own private data center, Azure Resource Manager Templates serve as a unified model for automating how you build the infrastructure for running your apps and services whether in the Cloud or on-premises.

Simply put, they give you a, tried and tested reference architecture of the infrastructure components required to run your apps.

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions need to move at the speed of business.  Unfortunately, roadblocks related to availability of resources and deployment often present an issue.  What if you could accelerate the deployment of an entire BI infrastructure to just a couple hours and start loading data into it by the end of the day.  In this session, we'll demonstrate how to leverage Microsoft tools and the Azure cloud environment to build out a BI solution and begin providing analytics to your team with tools such as Power BI.  By end of the session, you'll gain an understanding of the capabilities of Azure and how you can start building an end to end BI proof-of-concept today.

The templates themselves, offer a pre-configured and declarative representation of your solution, grouping together the resources that you need. This in turn, allows you to manage required resources as a logical unit and deploy your apps in a repeatable manner in your testing, staging and production environment whether on premises or in the Cloud. Further, as Corey demos on the show, you can also easily replicate the same security constructs today via Azure Active Directory synchronization to govern access to resources and even tag resources to track usage costs.

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Beyond PowerShell

While we still bring you the Cmdlets for PowerShell, this approach now gives you an alternative beyond the scripting and task sequencing that you might be used to. Deploying a template typically requires just calling three lines of PowerShell, saving you time as you don’t have to determine the logic and Cmdlets to automate and deploy the same infrastructure.

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With our open model, we have an increasing number of partners building templates such as DataStax, Cloudera, Mesosphere and much more. There are now hundreds of templates supplied by Microsoft or curated from the IT community covering infrastructure automation scenarios.

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