Although Microsoft landed quite late in the Cloud World with its IaaS and PaaS platform, Microsoft Azure is growing steadily and is definitely one of the top-tier solutions available for computing, storage, databases and everything you need to deploy on a cloud. Nevertheless, its adoption rate is still quite low compared to the other big players like Amazon Web Services, and many people have small to no knowledge of many of its interesting features. Let’s see together 5 things you don’t know about Microsoft Azure to get you started with it.
1: Your data is stored redundantly, but getting rid of it is easy and safe
Like many other cloud providers, Azure stores data in multiple places to add redundancy and increase safety. Data is triplicated across three physically separate domains, and if one part of the infrastructure goes down, it can provision another copy. Therefore, at any given time, there are always three copies of your data at the primary location.
Also, unless you disable it, Azure will geo-replicate to a secondary site far away from the primary one and keep it in triplicate there too. Definitely a strong and secure approach to saving your data. On the other end, deleting the data might be tricky. When you decide to delete an object or a table entity, Azure will immediately delete that entry from the index used to access data at the primary location, but geo-replicated copies will be deleted asynchronously at a later time. May this cause risks in case someone else tries to read data saved there? Actually, no.
Microsoft has a complex solution to avoid this issue, based on the fact that data needs to be overwritten before being provisioned. Therefore, once your data is deleted, people trying to access it will just get a bunch of 0’s. Microsoft doesn’t give a contractual guarantee that says they will overwrite deleted data, but at least they make it impossible for anyone to provision overwritten or deleted data.
2: Azure service healing restores VMs to a running state
One big advantage of running virtual machines on Azure is that your VMs will remain available even when there are problems. When Azure finds a problem in one of its nodes, it automatically moves the VMs to other nodes so that they are restored to a running and accessible state. This cause the virtual machine to shut down and restart, and the MAC address, processor, and DPU ID will be changed. But if the VM is running on an Azure Virtual Network, the IP address of the VM does not change when the healing process occurs.
Also, the storage on data disks is persistent, so files will not be affected by the restart and move. That’s why, with domain controllers running on Azure Virtual Networks, you need to store the Active Directory DIT, logs, and SYSVOL files on data disks. Data disks can be used to store any files other than the core operating system files. OS disks use caching, and data disks don’t; in the latter case, the data is immediately written to permanent storage.
3: Azure Virtual Networks mixes up well with your on-premises network
Speaking about Azure Virtual Network, it can allow you to get a nice mix of your cloud infrastructure and your on-premises network. Indeed, you can connect your internal network to an Azure Virtual Network via an IPsec site-to-site VPN through an approved VPN device and treat it like another subnet on your network, which is quite great if you have your own infrastructure already and don’t want to give it up. You can also have multiple Azure Virtual Networks your on-premises network is connected to from a single point of presence.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way around: you can’t connect the same Azure Virtual Network to multiple on-premises networks. Also, you can’t route connections between different Azure Virtual Networks through Azure. A workaround if you want to communicate between them, is to go back through the on-premises VPN to which they’re all connected.
4: Support for virtualizing domain controllers
Any network administrator knows that domain controllers on VMs were not considered an excellent practice, so to say. For example, restoring VM snapshots could easily result in inconsistencies in the Active Directory database, like inconsistent attribute values, password problems, duplicated security principles, and even schema mismatch: quite a nightmare. Windows Server 2012, though, introduced a new feature, VM Generation ID, that addresses this problem, and Windows Azure Virtual Networks run on the Windows Server 2012 stack, thus supporting this feature.
So, you can create domain controllers (or “move” them from an on-premises network) in the Azure Virtual Network. By the way: Sysprep won’t work in this scenario. You need to move the .vhd file for your VM into Azure storage and use it to create a new VM. You can also create a brand new DC on the Azure Virtual Network and enable inbound replication.
5: Azure uses both static and dynamic IO addresses
Short summary: Virtual Networks use virtual IP addresses, Virtual Machines use dynamic IP addresses. The virtual IP address of an Azure Virtual Network refers to the public IP address used by external computers to connect to the Azure Virtual Machines. Each of your virtual machines on the Azure Virtual Network has a dynamic IP address assigned to it, “dynamic” because it’s assigned by Azure. Indeed, if you try to give your virtual machines static addresses, Azure won’t recognize them, and you won’t be able to connect to those VMs at all.
Unlike dynamic IP addresses assigned by ISPs, it can change frequently and works just like a reserved address. So the same address stays with a particular virtual machine for as long as the VM exists.
New Content: AWS Terraform, Java Programming Lab Challenges, Azure DP-900 & DP-300 Certification Exam Prep, Plus Plenty More Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Big Data Courses
This month our Content Team continues building the catalog of courses for everyone learning about AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure. In addition, this month’s updates include several Java programming lab challenges and a couple of courses on big data. In total, we released five new learning...
WARNING: Great Cloud Content Ahead
At Cloud Academy, content is at the heart of what we do. We work with the world’s leading cloud and operations teams to develop video courses and learning paths that accelerate teams and drive digital transformation. First and foremost, we listen to our customers’ needs and we stay ahea...
New Content: AWS Data Analytics – Specialty Certification, Azure AI-900 Certification, Plus New Learning Paths, Courses, Labs, and More
This month our Content Team released two big certification Learning Paths: the AWS Certified Data Analytics - Speciality, and the Azure AI Fundamentals AI-900. In total, we released four new Learning Paths, 16 courses, 24 assessments, and 11 labs. New content on Cloud Academy At any ...
New Content: Azure DP-100 Certification, Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate Prep, 13 Security Labs, and Much More
This past month our Content Team served up a heaping spoonful of new and updated content. Not only did our experts release the brand new Azure DP-100 Certification Learning Path, but they also created 18 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At any time, y...
Constant Content: Cloud Academy’s Q3 2020 Roadmap
Hello — Andy Larkin here, VP of Content at Cloud Academy. I am pleased to release our roadmap for the next three months of 2020 — August through October. Let me walk you through the content we have planned for you and how this content can help you gain skills, get certified, and...
New Content: Alibaba, Azure AZ-303 and AZ-304, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Foundation, Python 3 Programming, 16 Hands-on Labs, and Much More
This month our Content Team did an amazing job at publishing and updating a ton of new content. Not only did our experts release the brand new AZ-303 and AZ-304 Certification Learning Paths, but they also created 16 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At...
Blog Digest: Which Certifications Should I Get?, The 12 Microsoft Azure Certifications, 6 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach, and More
This month, we were excited to announce that Cloud Academy was recognized in the G2 Summer 2020 reports! These reports highlight the top-rated solutions in the industry, as chosen by the source that matters most: customers. We're grateful to have been nominated as a High Performer in se...
Which Certifications Should I Get?
The old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and companies. With all that in mind, the s...
New Content: AWS, Azure, Typescript, Java, Docker, 13 New Labs, and Much More
This month, our Content Team released a whopping 13 new labs in real cloud environments! If you haven't tried out our labs, you might not understand why we think that number is so impressive. Our labs are not “simulated” experiences — they are real cloud environments using accounts on A...
Kickstart Your Tech Training With a Free Week on Cloud Academy
Are you looking to make a jump in your technical career? Want to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Kubernetes, Python, or another in-demand skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendar. Starting Monday, June 22 at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), ...
Azure Certifications: Our Experts Explain Which Is Best for You
How do you choose an Azure certification? It can be hard to get started when choosing an Azure certification. There are so many to sift through, so many interesting options, and it requires a time commitment to just understand the cert landscape. To help guide you through the select...
New Content: AZ-500 and AZ-400 Updates, 3 Google Professional Exam Preps, Practical ML Learning Path, C# Programming, and More
This month, our Content Team released tons of new content and labs in real cloud environments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first highly interactive "Office Hours" webinar. This webinar, Acing the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification, started with a quick overvie...