Reading #5 – Microsoft Azure Managing Virtual Machines

Managing Virtual Machines

There are various options for managing Azure VMs; some are available for all platforms, and others just for Windows or Linux VMs.

Virtual Machine Agents and Virtual Machine Extensions
VM Agent Extensions are software components that extend the VM functionality and management operations.
The VM Agent is a lightweight process intended to bootstrap these additional extensions.

VM Agent and Extensions – Part 1 and Part 2

Azure Cross-Platform Command-Line Interface
The Azure Command-Line 2.0 provides a set of open source, cross-platform commands for working with Azure.

Azure PowerShell
Azure PowerShell provides a set of cmdlets that use the Azure Resource Manager model for managing your Azure resources.

Remote Desktop Protocol
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enables Windows administrators to establish a graphical user interface session with an Azure virtual machine.

Secure Shell
When creating a Linux VM, you need to enable Secure Shell (SSH), then you can then establish a connection from a Windows client by using the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol with Putty.

Configuration Management Tools

Deploying and maintaining the desired state of your servers and application resources can be tedious and error prone. Azure supports several configuration management systems.

Desired State Configuration (DSC)
With Azure automation Desired State Configuration (DSC), you can consistently deploy, reliable monitor, and automatically update the desired state of all your IT resources, at scale from the cloud. DSC is a VM agent extension and works on both Windows and Linux. DSC supports ARM templates, Azure PowerShell, and Azure CLI.

Chef and Puppet
Chef are Puppet are popular Linux configuration management tools that lets you automate the entire lifecycle of your Azure infrastructure.

Ansible is an open source, an agentless automation tool that automates software and OS features provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment.

Monitoring and Diagnostics

The administrator enables and configures VM diagnostics from the Monitoring area of the new portal VM blade.
An administrator can enable diagnostic logging for:

  • Basic metrics
  • Network and web metrics
  • .NET metrics
  • Windows event system logs
  • Windows event security logs
  • Windows event application logs
  • Diagnostic infrastructure logs

More on Azure Diagnostics.


You can receive an alert based on monitoring metrics or events. When the value of an alert rule crosses an assigned threshold, the alert rule becomes active and can send a notification.

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