by Jonathan Gardner
US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure
When I worked for a partner company, one of the most time-consuming things I did was create demos to help us sell services. The process was often both art and science. The challenge in creating a great demo lies in how to automate the science of it to allow for focus on the customization that’s required to make the demo fit a customer’s business need. In this blog post, I will explain how Azure Resource Manager (ARM) and corresponding templates can be used to create a custom demo environment.
A large part of my career has been spent managing and administering servers. If your background is similar, the statement I’m about to make will sound a bit strange. Everyone working with Microsoft technology today needs to get comfortable operating Visual Studio. If your company has an Action Pack subscription or competency, licenses for Visual Studio are part of your benefits, and there are other options for obtaining our developer tools as well. The future of infrastructure and database management includes Visual Studio.
Azure Resource Manager
Azure Resource Manager allows for the creation of templates that can be customized and scale deployments. The Microsoft Azure team has created and published to GitHub several templates that will help you get started writing your own. These templates cover a host of scenarios and are worth exploring. I thought creating a template that allows for the deployment of a SQL Server2016 CTP 3.3 server with the AdventureWorks databases and demo scripts install would be a great first ARM template to share with you. You’ll find it in the PTS Demo Templates GitHub repository. My fellow Partner Technology Strategists are working on more, and if there is something you’d like to see, let me know in the Data & Analytics Yammer group.
The first template I’ve published deploys a SQL 2016 CTP 3.3 server. Once the virtual machine is provisioned, it downloads the AdventureWorks databases and demo script materials to a local directory, C:\SQL2016Demo. It restores the two backups leaving the script material in that directory. The demo scripts are designed to showcase the latest features of SQL Server 2016, and include:
- Advanced analytics
- Always Encrypted
- Data masking
- In-memory analytics
- In-memory OLTP
- Query store
- Row-level security
- Stretch database
Deploying Azure Resource Manager templates
There are a few ways to use Azure Resource Manager templates to deploy your Resources to Azure. You can deploy your resources using the Azure Portal, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, REST API, or through Visual Studio.
Get started with these resources
Introduction to Azure Resource Manager
Azure Resources Manager tooling with Brian Moore
Learn more about the tooling in Visual Studio that helps you create ARM templates.
Azure Resource Manager templates
Learn how to build and deploy templates for your infrastructure in Azure using Visual Studio.