So around a year ago I gave my first impressions on Azure Firewall which had just been released as a preview. An update is long overdue on my part on how this service has evolved over the last year. Like everything in the cloud the pace of change is rapid, when I first wrote about the Azure Firewall I concluded it was a welcome addition but lacked some key features, well this is no longer the case.
Background For a long time sharing custom OS images between Azure subscriptions has been a painful, time consuming process. Thankfully Microsoft have addressed that with the introduction of Shared Image Gallery (SIG). However, the SIG is only as useful as the tools that can consume it and with SIG still in preview, some tools are not yet able to leverage it. Thankfully though, the Microsoft team that manages the Jenkins Azure VM Agents plugin have been quick to update the plugin to support the SIG.
Rightsizing IaaS and PaaS on Microsoft Azure is one of the most important activities you can undertake when deploying your environment into Microsoft Azure and its something I’ve seen not get the attention that I think it warrants. It’s incredibly easy to oversize within Microsoft Azure, its so scalable, you can deploy servers with terabytes of RAM and hundreds of cores… but of course just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
Packer is an open source tool that can be used to define and build custom images in Microsoft Azure. Packer works across multiple platforms and will seamlessly work with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to create and store custom images in Azure. If you want to create your own custom images in Azure with Packer hopefully this introduction guide will help you make a start with that. At a high level there are 4 steps to capturing an image.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) is used to provide automation of building, testing and deploying software into production environments. CI/CD has grown in popularity as it allows for greater efficiency in software development which in short allows developers to deliver quality code faster to the end user. The pipeline breaks down the delivery of software into different stages which as the name pipeline suggests, flow into each other. Automation is at the centre of the pipeline, each stage is automated, from build, onto testing, flowing down to deployment.
Microsoft have recently announced the introduction of the Azure free account. This gives you the ability to run select Azure services for free for 12 months. This is a great way to run services in Azure at no cost to you and provides a means to get hands on with Azure over the long term. Something I should call out is that under the terms and conditions of an Azure free account is the offer is only available to you if you’re a new Azure customer, so if you’ve never had a free trial or never been a paying Azure customer you can avail of the offer.
Recovery Options When it comes to Azure VM recovery you’ve a few options available, you can: Create an Azure virtual machine from your backup Restore the disks associated with the Azure VM Create a virtual machine from backup The first thing I should call out with this option is that this process creates a new Azure VM attached to the disks that are being restored. Why does that matter?