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ShareGate explains Azure updates for Microsoft cloud users

Updates to Azure are adding up to “major improvements” in cloud governance and infrastructure efficiency, according to ShareGate’s Xander Oortgiesen.

Oortgiesen, an Azure specialist at ShareGate, said what-if capabilities are now generally available for Azure Resource Management (ARM) template deployments, support for live logs has been added to Azure Monitor for Containers, and there are service level improvements for Azure Active Directory (AD).

“The new what-if capability for ARM templates allows you to preview the effects of a template deployment before executing it—thereby letting you validate that everything works as expected before deploying it,” he said.

“Although it’s not perfect — depending on how well each Azure Resource Provider is implemented, you will sometimes see some false positives — it certainly can save you lots of time troubleshooting.”

Previously, users could spend a long time going back and forth when things didn’t deploy as expected, to figure out what went wrong and how to solve the problem, he said.

Additionally, Azure AD user authentication will get a boost from 1 April 2021 — guaranteeing 99.99% uptime, from a service level agreement that only provided for 99.9%.

This works out at 52 minutes and 35 seconds of downtime annually, rather than the previous eight hours, 45 minutes and 56 seconds, in his estimation.

“This is a major improvement — minutes instead of hours of downtime each year,” Oortgiesen said.

Microsoft had reported handling tens of billions of authentication requests daily and rising, with more people working remotely due to Covid-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was unprecedented demand for cloud resources that led to some issues around Azure capacity and scalability, he said.

Logs on the Azure Kubernetes (AKS) environment were only possible previously for historical logs, he said, but Azure Monitor for Containers can now do live logging for private clusters.

“I personally find the ability to view this information using the Azure Portal interface very convenient; you don’t have to build queries and you have a lot of filter options.

“The live data feature includes search functionality, and you can pause and scroll through the sometimes enormous amount of data. All the data can be exported using Azure Log Analytics,” Oortgiesen said.

ShareGate SaaS tools like ShareGate Overcast can help you gain better visibility and lower costs in Azure, he added.

The latest release of ShareGate Overcast can scan environments for idle Azure Cache for Redis and unconnected application gateways, as well as for idle container instances and Service Bus, and provides recommendations for downscaling or deleting services to reduce costs.

Read the full ShareGate blog post by Oortgiesen, who regularly contributes insights for IT pros working with Microsoft cloud solutions. Previous blog posts highlighted Unified Connection Monitor in Network Watcher, ARM templates for Azure file share support, and Azure Monitor support for Windows Virtual Desktop.

(Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash)

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