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Azure Resource Manager Overview

The course is part of these learning paths

AZ-303 Exam Preparation: Technologies for Microsoft Azure Architects
AZ-400 Exam Prep: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions
AZ-104 Exam Preparation: Microsoft Azure Administrator
Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
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Azure Resource Manager Overview


The Azure cloud is a collection of resources that work in unison to deliver a product or a service. Hardware is virtual and services can be created and destroyed at the stroke of a key. In the context of DevOps, resources can be "spun up" as part of a pipeline. It is crucial that when resources are deployed multiple times, those deployments are consistent, repeatable, and can be automated. Doing it manually through the Azure portal isn’t practical. Azure Resource Manager (ARM) has an interface for processing resource templates that specify resource deployments.

In this course, we look at how those templates can be built and deployed. We start with a simple template and move on to more complex examples to illustrate many of the useful features available when deploying resources with templates. This course contains plenty of demonstrations from the Azure platform so you can see exactly how to use Azure Resource Manager in practice.

If you have any feedback on this course, please reach out to us at support@cloudacademy.com.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what Azure Resource Manager (ARM) is and its use cases
  • Learn about the different ARM templates available and how they can be used
  • Deploy databases using an ARM template
  • Export a template and create templates using QuickStart templates
  • Deploy resources using a script

Intended Audience

This is a beginner-level course aimed at anyone who wants to learn more about managing and configuring their Azure environment, and fast-tracking their deployments.


To get the most out of this course, you should have a basic understanding of the Azure platform.


So what is Azure Resource Manager? Well, it is what it says it is. For a lot of people, when they think of Azure, they think of the complete Microsoft Cloud product, and all that entails. But in reality, Azure, is a collection of services or resources. When you sign up to Azure for the very first time as an organization with a new subscription, and you log into the portal, there is nothing there. As you require services, whether that's a virtual machine, a web app, or database server, you create instances of those resources.

Azure Resource Manager is the glue behind the scenes that makes it substantially easier for you to deploy and manage all those different resources. You might think that the portal is Azure, but the portal is one of several interfaces to Azure Resource Manager. The portal is merely a graphical interface over the resource manager, which in itself is an interface to the various resources. Especially in terms of deployment and managing the order, and dependencies involved in deploying various resources.

Apart from the portal, there is also an API interface to Azure Resource Manager, and more importantly for us and SDK interface. PowerShell for windows and the Azure Command Line Interface are the preferred methods of interacting with Azure Resource Manager, when it comes to large, complex and repeated deployments. One thing I want you to take notice of on the slide, is where authentication fits into the scheme. Because there are multiple ways to interact with the resource manager, authentication is handled directly by it. This is demonstrated by the fact that when you log into Azure, through PowerShell, or the Azure CLI, a browser window will pop up and you can authenticate through that, when using two step authentication or a Microsoft account.

As we can see here, Azure Resource Manager is mostly used in managing resources within a resource group. All resources are created within a group, even if they are spread over multiple geographical regions. By grouping resources, you can perform actions on all the resources in the group at one time. A simple example would be creating a database server with databases and a web app service for some testing, and then deleting all of them at one time, by deleting the resource group that contains them. Having said that, depending on the type of billing account you have with Microsoft, you can also create subscriptions and management groups through Resource Manager.

But why do you need to know about Azure Resource Manager? After all, the portal works just fine, as the end is easy enough to use. Infrastructure as code, is the reason. In the cloud, hardware does not exist. Everything is virtual and can be defined by code. It's fine for you to deploy a simple resource, or even a couple of simple resources using the portal in a one-off situation. But having to set up by hand, multiple and complex resources, perhaps several times for different environments, like development test and production, would not only be tedious and time-consuming, but prone to error. You can create resource deployments with scripts and run them through the Azure CLI, or PowerShell. As resource creation and deployment are so important, Azure has developed templates for defining your resources. 

Before we jump into the anatomy of a resource template and how to code it by hand, let’s look at how you can leverage yours, and others existing resource deployments to create an ARM template.

About the Author

Hallam is a software architect with over 20 years experience across a wide range of industries. He began his software career as a  Delphi/Interbase disciple but changed his allegiance to Microsoft with its deep and broad ecosystem. While Hallam has designed and crafted custom software utilizing web, mobile and desktop technologies, good quality reliable data is the key to a successful solution. The challenge of quickly turning data into useful information for digestion by humans and machines has led Hallam to specialize in database design and process automation. Showing customers how leverage new technology to change and improve their business processes is one of the key drivers keeping Hallam coming back to the keyboard.