Azure offers a wealth of features and benefits. I believe one of the most underutilized benefits of Azure is that we can script pretty much everything within Azure. Not only that, but we can save our infrastructure as code now (which is awesome), so we can save an entire build out of all our servers as a code script and deploy it somewhere else.
Some things we can do with scripting in Azure:
- Create DBs and restore them
- Create VMs built from scratch
- Install software within the VM and join it to the domain
- Build websites out from Azure app services
- Build out whole environments, save those scripts and we now have our infrastructure backed up in a scriptable interface
Depending on what you’re familiar with, there are different tools that we can use to do this:
- PowerShell Scripts – If you’re familiar with or have used PowerShell, possibly on prem, there are great Azure cmdlets within PowerShell that will allow you to do everything you need/want to in Azure, such as turn on or stop VMs and automate a lot of our processes there. This helps us save money on compute resources and helps us with our deployments. We can spin up a whole test environment via scripts.
- Azure Command Line – This interface is another variation of the PowerShell scripts but is geared more towards a command line interface, so if you’re more familiar with Linux, this may be the way for you to go.
- ARM Templates – You may not know this, but when Microsoft made the switch from a classic portal to the resource management portal, they announced something called ARM (Azure Resource Manager) templates. ARM templates are JSON scripts, so part of the change was the whole backend of Azure was converted to a JSON backed environment. Everything within your Azure portal is an Azure script that you can create and orchestrate via ARM templates.
There are so many possibilities from having the ability to script our environments, as well as huge benefits of what you can do with your infrastructure. Especially those who are looking at multi-tenant environments. You can spin up an environment per client in the cloud, set them up with their own resource groups, and easily track costs for each client.
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