Today, a lot of IT Pros are looking to move some of their on-prem workloads to Microsoft Azure to take advantage of the public cloud. Despite the public cloud benefits, some of these IT Pros have concerns about how the management of these workloads will work in a cloud-first world. These IT Pros also want to know if their current skills in areas like automation will translate to a cloud-first environment.
I am very excited to announce that the answer to these questions is a big, resounding YES.
The launch of the Microsoft Azure Automation preview shows one the key goals of the Cloud OS in action: Combining our best technologies to create services that can empower dev-ops and IT Pros around the world, on public, private, and hybrid clouds. Today, many IT teams use System Center to manage their hybrid cloud environments (e.g. monitoring apps across clouds, keeping the OS and apps updated, etc.), and we believe that more and more of this functionality will be delivered from the cloud.
With Azure Automation, we have combined the scalability, reliability, and availability of the Azure platform with the management capabilities of System Center – and used these to extend Microsoft Azure services into a unified Cloud OS platform that enables our customers to adopt the cloud on their terms.
Previously, Service Management Automation (SMA) was shipped in the 2012 R2 wave as part of System Center. SMA gave hoster and service admins the ability to automate their Windows Azure Pack environments, as well as integrate these environments into their existing datacenter management systems to offer Azure services to their end users.
Azure Automation looks and functions similarly online in Azure as SMA does on-prem in the Windows Azure Pack – but it has been built specifically for cloud-based app/workload management. This means that you can automate the management of your public cloud resources using PowerShell, without an on-prem connection at any point in the process. And because Azure Automation operates as a service, there’s no installation, configuration, or maintenance of the service necessary to get (and stay) up and running.
Azure Automation allows for powerful integration, automation, and orchestration that has until now been nearly impossible to do at scale:
- Integrate: Build new and import existing Windows PowerShell modules that connect to cloud services to enable integration across Microsoft Azure and the third-party systems you depend on. Azure Automation provides out of box support for management of many Azure services, including: Web Sites, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, Storage, and SQL Server
- Automate: Let Azure Automation handle all of the manual, long-running, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks you take in your cloud operations across Azure and third-party systems. Leverage Azure Automation to free up your own time to focus on work that adds business value.
- Orchestrate: Lower operational expenses, decrease time to value, and avoid mistakes by taking advantage of a highly available, reliable, and tenant isolated service to orchestrate processes that span systems. Take advantage of the resumability of PowerShell Workflow to checkpoint and recover mid-execution in the event of network, system, or service errors. Think of it as Orchestration as a Service.
Customers of Azure will now be able to integrate into all of the 3rd party services they use in their cloud operations, as well as Azure itself. Equally important, with Azure Automation you will be able to automate these tasks within a highly available Windows PowerShell Workflow engine running within Azure.
As always, don’t simply take my word for it: Go try this for yourself!
For more information on Microsoft Azure Automation, visit the Azure Automation overview.
To get started with Automation, go to the Automation: Getting Started guide.
For some great how-to’s from the experts over at the Building Clouds Blog, check out this post covering sample scripts, a look at the evolution of Runbooks from Orchestrator to PowerShell to OaaS, and a bunch of other great info.
If you have any questions, please post them to the Microsoft Azure Automation forum.