Tagging Azure Resources

The Azure Resource manager model allows you to logically organize resources within a subscription. Read on to understand how tagging Azure Resources works.

To help you manage your instances, images, and other Azure resources, you can assign your own metadata to each resource in the form of tags. A tag doesn’t stand by itself. It has to be applied to a resource once it’s created.

Tagging Azure Resources

tagging in azure

Tags enable you to categorize your resources in different ways, for example, by purpose, owner, or environment. Each tag consists of a key and an optional value, both of which you define. For example, you could define a set of tags for your virtual machine instances that helps you track each instance’s owner and stack level. You can search and filter the resources based on the tags you add. There is even a browse by tag feature in Azure

Tagging Azure Resources

Tagging in Azure Browse

The following diagram illustrates how tagging works. In this example, you’ve assigned two tags to each of your instances, one called Dept and another called Stack. Each of the tags also has an associated value

Tagging Azure Resources

azure tag examples

Tags don’t have any semantic meaning and are interpreted strictly as a string of characters. Also, tags are not automatically assigned to resources. Each resource or resource group can have a maximum of 15 tags. The tag name is limited to 512 characters, and the tag value is limited to 256 characters.

Pin the most important tags to your Dashboard for quick access and you’re ready to go.

Tagging Azure Resources

pin to dashboard

Tagging and billing

You can use tags to organize your Azure bill to reflect your own cost structure. For example, line of business teams can apply “ITDept, COSTCENTER” as a tag to imply that common shared services cost is borne by IT department. This could be for services like AD, DNS etc.

Summary

A quick run through of how tagging Azure Resources work and how we can logically group resources in Azure has been described. Also, we have seen how we can organize billing in a subscription can be tagged. Note that, tags are not themselves resources but just a string of characters.

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VMWare and Hyper-V World

In the world of virtualization, there are many platforms such as Integrity Virtual Machines, Oracle VM server for x86, Power VM etc. This blog focuses on VMWare and Hyper-V World of virtualization.

VMWare vSphere:

The world of VMWare and the way things work in VMWare can be really confusing at times, since it is a strenuous process and also confusing for new comers in this field. This document should at the least make you comfortable with the terminology if not familiar with these jargons very commonly used in the world of virtualization.

VMWare’s workstation player or Oracle’s virtual box which are both decent virtualization platforms to begin with, but enterprises need more powerful platforms than those to run their workloads. VMWare provides what is called VMWare vSphere.

This document will help you understand the hierarchy of the VMWare vSphere and how things are setup.

Brief Description of the VMWare vSphere setup on premises should get you started and to understand the VMWare vSphere setup, the below flow diagram is an exemplary explanation.

VMWare and Hyper-V world

vSphere environment

Image 1 is a pictorial representation of the VMWare vSphere. Image 2 is the actual VMWare vCenter 5.5 environment that is running in a vSphere client.

The VMWare vSphere layout can be explained as follows,

vSphere Client: The VMWare vSphere client is the interface for administering vCenter Server and/or ESX/ESXi hosts. The console application window in image 2 is the vSphere client

ESX/ESXi Host: The VMWare ESX/ESXi host is a hypervisor (hypervisor is a virtual machine manager/monitor, which allows multiple operating systems to share the resources of a single hardware host). A snapshot of the ESXi host is shown below.

VMWare and Hyper-V world

esx/esxi host

vCenter Server: The vCenter Server, earlier know as virtual center, allows the management of multiple ESX/ESXi servers and Virtual machines. This can be done through VMWare vSphere client as shown in image 2. The latest roll out of vSphere is 6.0 currently.

So in simple words, the vCenter server which is like a virtual data center of sorts, and the ESX/ESXi hosts are the monitors, on which the virtual machines run. The VMWare vSphere client is the console application that is used to manage all of the above said.

System Center VMM and Hyper-V:

In the world of Hyper-V things are slightly different

The notions in Hyper-V are as follows:

  • System Center VMM
  • Hyper-V host

System Center VMM: System center VMM is the solution that allows configuration, management of Hyper-V hosts, resources like networking, storage etc. It also is the go to place to create/deploy new virtual machines in private clouds. The system center is a unified package offered by Microsoft with which customers can gain a rich data center experience that allows to provision, configure, protect, automate. System center Operations manager, System Center Data protection manager etc., are few of the other offerings that are part of the System Center package. The current version of system center 2016 is in technical preview, with the previous release being system center 2012 with update rollup 10.

The actual screenshot of the System Center 2012 VMM is as shown below

VMWare and Hyper-V world

System Center VMM

Hyper-V host: The Hyper-V host is a type-1 hypervisor, meaning it is a bare metal hypervisor. Under this Hyper-V host one can create x86 or x64 based systems that run any Operating systems that are supported by the Hyper-V environment.

VMWare and Hyper-V world

Hyper-V host

Summary

In this article, you have learnt to understand the terminologies in VMWare’s vSphere and Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platforms. Also, you have learnt what each of those terms mean and hopefully you are now more familiar with VMWare and Hyper-V World of virtualization.

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Azure Resource Manager

ARM or Azure Resource Manager is a new way of building and grouping resources in Azure. A resource is single entity in the infrastructure like a virtual machine or storage account and so on. And now with ARM model you can group these in to a group called resource group.

So, is that it? What was the reason for wanting to do this in the first place? Let’s see.

Reason 1: Well if you look at the classic portal also known as the ASM (Azure Service Manager) portal when you create resources they just got created and one fine day you would see a list like this containing a mix of types of resources which were created by different people for different reasons all in one place.

No Azure Resource Manager

Whereas if you look at ARM based model, when you create resources they get grouped under resource groups.Resource groups in Azure

And when you expand on a resource group you could see the resources in that group.

Azure Resource Group

Great, so one problem of grouping solved and a view which can drill down takes care of putting it cleanly for us. Is that it?

Reason 2: The real important problem that resource group solves is that in the earlier model Azure subscription was the real isolation boundary and that constrained lot of ways in which project teams could effectively use it. You could argue that you will give away a subscription for every team that needs it, but that used to bring up another issue of ease of resource sharing like DNS, AD, and Databases and so on across subscriptions. You had to go through site-to-site VPN to really start sharing resources between subscriptions. A bit too much overhead for simple requirement.

Resource group brings in one additional isolation boundary within a subscription.

As shown in the 2nd graphic above for every project you could provision a new resource group and create an owner for that, typically the project manager and let her run with it. The project manager can then add different users based on roles etc. That basically takes you into RBAC (Role Based Access Control) discussion.

Some important things worth noting in the new ARM world:

  • Virtual machines deployed with the classic deployment model cannot be included in a virtual network deployed with Azure Resource Manager.
  • Virtual machines deployed with the Resource Manager Deployment model must be included in a virtual network. Virtual machines deployed with the classic deployment model don’t have to be included in a virtual network.
  • Every virtual machine in classic deployment model must have a public IP. In the ARM model, you may choose not to have a public IP at all. See the graphic below.

new virtual machine

  • Only resources created through Azure Resource Manager deployment model support tagging. You cannot apply tags to classic resources.
  • You can move resources from one resource group to another one.

Using PowerShell to move resources from one resource group to another.

PS C:\> $resource = Get-AzureRmResource -ResourceName ExampleApp -ResourceGroupName OldRG

PS C:\> Move-AzureRmResource -DestinationResourceGroupName NewRG -ResourceId $resource.ResourceId

 

 

 

Using REST to move resources from one resource group to another

POST https://management.azure.com/subscriptions/{source-subscription-id}/resourcegroups/{source-resource-group-name}/moveResources?api-version={api-version}

  • Any resources created using ARM will not be visible in the ASM or classic portal.
  • Role Based Access Control is available only in the ARM model and not in the classis model.
  • There is an entire different set of PowerShell cmdlets for dealing with resources in the ARM model and they are not compatible with classic set of cmdlets. The ARM PowerShell cmdlets have ‘Rm” in it. For example: Get-AzureRm

 

Summary of Azure Resource Manager

ARM is a great move forward in terms of the overall design for real world teams in organizations to work with. Every resource group can directly map to a project or even a region (development, test and production). If you are considering any net new development it’s needless to say that you should do it using ARM model in the new Azure portal which is now generally available.

 

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Azure Support and managing requests

A brief guide for those of you who do not know how to raise Azure Support requests and manage them.

It’s there but it’s not there. What I mean is it’s easy to actually open azure support request right from within the Azure portal at https://portal.azure.com, but it’s really very easy to miss it. The option is right there on the right-top:

Azure Support Request

Here you can choose to open a new support request or manage existing requests. If you click ‘Help + Support’ it actually takes you support dashboard.

azure support dashboard

One important thing to notice here is that you can straight away link the current subscription at hand to your Microsoft Premier support investment or Azure support plan right here.

To open a support request click on ‘new support request’ from top menu or from the dashboard.

Azure Support Request

 

At this point you will be required to fill in few details.

Azure support choose an issue type

 

Depending on the type of the issue for which there are four categories- technical, billing, quota and subscription management and subscription, the relevant support plan is populated.

issue type

The 2nd step really is to provide description of the issue itself and select A, B and C severity. The 3rd and final step is to provide your contact information and submit the ticket. You can then monitor the status of the ticket by selecting to manage the support requests-

azure support manage support requests

Once you are finished, a technical person from the support team should contact you over the e-mail you provided.

Here’s how you can link up your existing Premier Support contract or Azure Program Benefits information (BizSpark, Microsoft Partner Network, MSDN, Signature Cloud Support). You have to type in your Access ID and Contract ID/Password and click on the Link button to link your subscription to the the support benefit.

link benefits

It’s a great step forward in terms of providing an end to end view into support from within the Azure portal itself. I am sure the future versions of this will have many rich reporting features and so on.

 

 

 

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