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Creating Azure Virtual Machine via the Portal #Winserv #Linux #Azure

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Microsoft Azure Cloud Services is evolving really fast with New solutions and features every day for your business. In the following step-by-step guide we will see all the options and features when you create a virtual machine in the Azure Cloud. For this you need a Microsoft Azure subscription to start. When you are in the Azure Portal you begin with + Create a Resource and from there you see all the create items. Click on Compute and you will see the picture above what you can create. I’m going to create a Windows Server 2019 datacenter edition Virtual Machine in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. In the Azure Portal is a step by step wizard to help you with your choices.

Basic tab

We start by selecting the right Azure subscription ( if you have Multiple) like a Hub-Spoke model design
you can choose for your deployment. Then select a Resource Group or Create New. I made a new Resource Group called RSG-Winserv.

 

When you go further down, you must give your Virtual Machine a name and select the Microsoft Azure region where your VM will run. I Choose West Europe because I life in the Netherlands. For availability options of the Virtual Machine you can choose out of three options :

  1. No infrastructure redundancy required
  2. Availability zone
  3. Availability set

Availability Zones is a high-availability offering that protects your applications and data from datacenter failures. Availability Zones are unique physical locations within an Azure region. Each zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking

An Availability Set is a logical grouping capability that you can use in Azure to ensure that the VM resources you place within it are isolated from each other when they are deployed within an Azure datacenter. Azure ensures that the VMs you place within an Availability Set run across multiple physical servers, compute racks, storage units, and network switches

Microsoft Azure got a lot of software operating images, I installed Windows Server 2019 Datacenter but have a look at Browse all Public and Private images :

Small Disk Images

More images like Kali and Red Hat

The next step is the VM Size, the “hardware” requirements of the Virtual Machine. When you choose your VM size you have to know the possibilities and feature set of the Virtual Machine. This article describes the available sizes and options for the Azure virtual machines you can use to run your Windows apps and workloads. It also provides deployment considerations to be aware of when you’re planning to use these resources.

Here is Microsoft Azure showing 250 different VM sizes

In this window you see the following items of the Virtual Machine specs :

  • VM Size
  • Offering
  • Family
  • vCPUs
  • Memory RAM
  • Data Disks
  • Max IOPS
  • Temporary Storage
  •  Premium Disks (Yes or No)
  • Cost / Month Estimated

So pick the right VM Size for your solution to do the job.

Allow Public Internet Inbound Port Rules

If you need this for example a website, then you can set it right away, but you can set it on None and change the Network Security Group (NSG) or Azure App Gateway or Azure Firewall later and keep it Closed for now. I will show this in the NSG later to get RDP access.

Hybrid Benefit

You can enable great savings in Azure with Windows Server Software Assurance by using Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server. Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server allows you to use your on-premises Windows Server licenses and run Windows virtual machines in Microsoft Azure at a reduced cost (i.e. at Linux rates). You can use your licenses for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016. The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server is applicable to Windows Server Standard and Datacenter editions as well as other versions obtained via custom images. With Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server, you can save 40 percent or more1 on Windows Server virtual machines by paying only the base compute2 rates—adding value to your Software Assurance investments. The benefit is available across all Azure regions. Read more here

Disks tab

Disk storage is important for performance, that’s why you can choose for Standard HDD,  Standard SSD or
Premium SSD for your OS Disk. When your server need a Data disk, you can add it here or later on.
Here you can read more on Managed disks
What disk types are available in Azure?

Networking tab

Here you create your Virtual Network / subnet with a public IP. You can see here when you choose for a specific Virtual machine, you can not use accelerated networking because It’s not supported by the VM size selection.

Here you can choose for a Load Balancer or a Application Gateway

Azure Application Gateway is a web traffic load balancer that enables you to manage traffic to your web applications. Traditional load balancers operate at the transport layer (OSI layer 4 – TCP and UDP) and route traffic based on source IP address and port, to a destination IP address and port.

Azure Application Gateway

With Azure Load Balancer, you can scale your applications and create high availability for your services. Load Balancer supports inbound and outbound scenarios, provides low latency and high throughput, and scales up to millions of flows for all TCP and UDP applications.
Load Balancer distributes new inbound flows that arrive on the Load Balancer’s frontend to backend pool instances, according to rules and health probes.
Additionally, a public Load Balancer can provide outbound connections for virtual machines (VMs) inside your virtual network by translating their private IP addresses to public IP addresses.
Azure Load Balancer is available in two SKUs: Basic and Standard. There are differences in scale, features, and pricing. Any scenario that’s possible with Basic Load Balancer can also be created with Standard Load Balancer, although the approaches might differ slightly. As you learn about Load Balancer, it is important to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals and SKU-specific differences.

Management tab

When you have deployed your virtual machine, you want to manage it like monitoring and backup for example.
You can do these options also after the Virtual Machine deployment.
Backup of the Virtual Machine can be added when you deploy the VM.

I have a existing Backup Vault called WACvault1

From here you can create your own backup recovery Vault with your Own backup policy and retention times.

The feature provides Azure services with an automatically managed identity in Azure AD. You can use the identity to authenticate to any service that supports Azure AD authentication, including Key Vault, without any credentials in your code. What is managed identities for Azure resources?

Advanced tab

In the advanced tab you can select extensions for your Virtual Machine. These are add-ons and will installed during the deployment. You can now also select Gen 2 VM in Preview. Microsoft Azure has a lot of extensions for your Virtual machine :

List of extensions for your VM

Click on Create for adding Microsoft Antimalware on your VM

Select the options and exclusions

Tags tab

Here you can Tag your deployment

After you apply tags, you can retrieve all the resources in your subscription with that tag name and value. Tags enable you to retrieve related resources from different resource groups. This approach is helpful when you need to organize resources for billing or management. Read more on Tags here

At this moment the validation has passed for deployment with all your settings, but don’t forget to have a look at “Download a template for Automation”  before you hit Create.

Here you can download or save the JSON ARM Template

When you you go Back and click on Create the Virtual Machine, this will deploy the VM in Minutes.

The following Azure items are deployed in RSG-Winserv

Now your Virtual Machine is deployed in Microsoft Azure Cloud and is running, you can have a look at all the features of the Virtual Machine in the Portal.
To connect to the Virtual Machine you have to Manage access for your RDP session via the NSG in my case:

Double click on the NSG

I added a new rule to give my IP-address access to the VM

From here you can access the Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Management of your Virtual Machine

When your Azure Virtual Machine with Windows Server 2019 is running, you want to monitor the VM and see what is happening inside the Virtual Machine. Azure Monitor Insights can help you with this.

Health State of the VM

Connections

When Microsoft Azure Monitoring is on and running you want have important alerts on your Mobile by sms or
via E-mail notification to take action.

Alerts on Winserv2019 VM

High CPU Alert

Here we make an Alert about the CPU which is going higher then 80% average.

Making an Action group for email notification of the Alert

Action Group made

Alert made for the VM

Alert details

Alert rule is set and running for this Virtual Machine.

Conclusion

  1. You can create every virtual machine you want for your business, Windows Server or Linux..
  2. You can mange your own performance for the VM on demand by selecting the right VM Size.
  3. You can set Networking and High Availability
  4. You can set Disk Performance for your IOPS
  5. You can configure your management settings and dashboard for Monitoring.
  6. Security can be set on different levels.
  7. Backup of the Virtual Machine can be set with the right policy before deployment.
  8. and more…….

And keep watching your Azure Advisor for better changes :

New Advise will come !

and of course there are more features and options on this Virtual Machine, Have a look :

Settings of the VM

Operations and Management of the VM

Support and Troubleshooting of the VM

Author: James van den Berg

I'm Microsoft Architect and ICT Specialist and Microsoft MVP Cloud and Datacenter Management

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