Azure Virtual Machines

  • Linux-based and Windows-based virtual machines

Features

  • Server environments called virtual machines.
  • A package OS and additional installations in a reusable template are called VM Images.
  • Supports various configurations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking capacity for your virtual machines, known as virtual machine series.
    • A, Bs, D, and DC-Series for general purpose
    • F-Series for compute optimized
    • E and M-Series for memory optimized
    • Ls-Series for storage optimized
    • G-series for memory and storage optimized
    • H-series for high-performance computing
    • N-series for GPU optimized
  • Contain the virtual machines using a resource group.
  • Secure login information for your virtual machines using key pairs.
  • Persistent storage volumes for your data using Azure Disk.
  • Multiple physical locations for deploying your resources, such as virtual machines and Azure disk, known as Regions and Availability Zones. 
  • You can replicate your data in Availability Zones or Availability Sets
  • Azure VMs have one operating system disk and a temporary disk for short-term storage
  • Metadata, known as tags, that you can create and assign to your VM resources.
  • Virtual networks that you can create are logically isolated from the rest of the Azure environment and can optionally connect to your own network, known as Azure Virtual Network or VNet.
  • Add a script that will be run into the virtual machine while it is being provisioned called custom data.
  • A firewall allows you to specify the protocols, ports, and source IP ranges that can reach your virtual machines using network security groups.

VM Status

  • Start – run your virtual machines. You are continuously billed while your VM is running.
  • Restart – some updates do require a reboot. In such cases, the VMs are shut down while Azure patches the infrastructure, and then the VMs are restarted.
  • Stop – is just a normal shutdown. If the VM is in a deallocated status, you will continue to be charged for the storage needed for the operating system disk.
  • You can also directly delete the virtual machines/resources. Deleting the selected virtual machines is irreversible. 

Disks

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  • Select an OS disk type using Standard HDD, Standard SSD, and Premium SSD
  • Every virtual machine has one attached operating system disk
  • The OS disk has a maximum capacity of 2,048 GiB.
  • Every VM contains a temporary disk that provides short-term storage only for page or swap files.
  • Data on the temporary disk may be lost during a maintenance event or when you redeploy a VM
  • You can enable ultra disk compatibility for high throughput, high IOPS, and consistent low latency disk storage
  • A VM with an enabled Ultra Disk capability will result in a reservation charge even without attaching an Ultra Disk
  • An Availability zone supports managed disks.
  • You get lower read/write latency to the OS disk with Ephemeral OS disk, and faster reimage of VM. You incur no storage cost with ephemeral OS disks.

Pricing

  • Pay as you go – pay for the instances that you use by the second, with no long-term commitments or upfront payments.
  • Reserved – make a low, one-time up-front payment for an instance, reserve it for a one-or three-year term.
  • Spot – request unused compute capacity, which can lower your costs significantly. Spot pricing gives you up to 90 percent compared to pay as you go prices.

Backup and Recovery

  • A snapshot is a full copy of a virtual machine’s OS or data disk. Snapshots are useful for backup, disaster recovery, and troubleshooting.
  • With the enabled backup option, your VM will be backed up to Recovery Services vault with default backup policy, or your custom backup policy and will be charged as per backup pricing.
  • Azure Site Recovery allows organizations to meet their business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) requirements by having your virtual machines’ data replicated to a secondary region and failover in the event of a downtime.
  • You can set up disaster recovery of Azure VMs from a primary region to a secondary region using Azure Site Recovery.

Scale Sets

  • Create and manage a group of load-balanced VMs to provide high availability to your applications.
  • Automatically scale your application as demand changes.
  • Support up to 1,000 VM instances. But if you create and upload your own custom VM images, the limit is 600.
  • Use Azure Monitor to automate the collection of information from the VMs in your scale set.
  • No additional cost to scale sets. You only pay for the underlying computing services, such as virtual machines, load balancers, or managed disk storage.

Scenario

Manual group of VMs

Virtual Machine Scale Set

Add additional VM instances

To create, configure, and ensure compliance with the manual process.

Create automatically from a central configuration.

Traffic balancing and distribution

Manual process in creating and configuring the Load Balancer or Application Gateway.

Automatically create and integrate the Load Balancer or Application Gateway.

High availability and redundancy

Create Availability Set or distribute and track virtual machines across Availability Zones manually.

Distribute virtual machines across Availability Zones or Availability Sets automatically.

Scaling of VMs

Manual monitoring and Azure Automation.

Autoscale based on metrics, Application Insights, or by schedule.

 

Monitoring

  • Azure Resource Health helps you diagnose problems that affect your resources
  • Capture serial console output and screenshots of the virtual machine with boot diagnostics
  • Enable OS guest diagnostics to get the metrics every minute
  • You can configure your virtual machine to automatically shutdown with enable auto-shutdown option

Network

  • You can provision a virtual machine that has a static public IP address.
  • Enable accelerated networking for low latency and high throughput on the network interface
  • Distribute traffic among virtual machines using Load Balancer

Security

  • By default, access to the VM is restricted to sources in the same virtual network
  • You can control ports, inbound and outbound connectivity with security group rules
  • With system assigned managed identity, all necessary permissions can be granted via Azure role-based access control
  • Encrypt your data at rest with a platform-managed key or customer-managed key
  • By default, encryption at-rest uses a platform-managed key
  • Encrypt the OS and Data disks with Azure Disk Encryption.
  • The temporary disk is not encrypted by server-side encryption unless you enable encryption at the host

Azure Scale Set vs Availability Set:
https://tutorialsdojo.com/azure-scale-set-vs-availability-set/

How to Create a Virtual Machine in Azure

Want to learn more about Azure? Watch the official Microsoft Azure YouTube channel’s video series called Azure Tips and Tricks.

Sources:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/azure-fundamentals/
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/overview/
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/series//
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machine-scale-sets/overview

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