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Microsoft Offers Guidance to Orgs Switching Azure Portals

Organizations moving from the "classic" Azure management portal to the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) portal can now take advantage of newly released resource materials from Microsoft.

The materials are for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Azure moves. Microsoft's announcement didn't mention Platform-as-a-Service migration help. Microsoft also published some PowerShell scripts to help clone virtual machines and move IaaS resources to ARM.

Microsoft has been putting finishing touches on ARM, and that's why it's facilitating moves from the classic portal, according to the announcement:

From a feature standpoint, almost all the features are supported for compute, network and storage under Azure Resource Manager with a few exceptions while we've added the ability to create scalable deployments using Virtual Machine Scale Sets. In addition, we are continuously improving the user experience and adding more features to the Azure portal to bridge the experiences.

ARM appears to have lots of moving parts. Some, like its Azure Virtual Machine services capability, have reached the "general availability" product milestone. It's not really clear if Microsoft considers ARM to be an overall production-ready tool at this point. However, the steps to move to ARM are strictly for test environments at this point, per a Microsoft FAQ on the topic. For instance, there's no rollback capability after a successful migration from the classic portal.

To follow the steps to move to ARM, IT pros need to read six Azure documentation articles, the announcement explained. It's an involved project.

Microsoft describes ARM as a new way to manage cloud resources compared with the Azure portal and Azure Pack. ARM is template driven and enables management via a declarative approach. Users create a "resource group," which contains all of the software elements related to an application. This approach makes it easier to control the lifecycle policies of the application. It also makes it easier to see servicing billing information. ARM also supports role-based access controls natively.

ARM is one of Microsoft's fast-moving solutions where the roadmap seems to have gotten plowed over amid Microsoft's agile development push. A general overview of ARM can be found here. Details also can be found in a "Cloud Consistency with Azure Resource Manager" white paper written by Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals Kristian Nese and Flemming Riis, which can be downloaded at this page.

In other ARM news, Microsoft announced last week that the Recovery Services vault in ARM reached general availability. The Recovery Services vault replaces a service called "Backup vault and Site Recovery vault," Microsoft's announcement explained. With Recovery Services vault, backing up a set of virtual machines "is now a three-step guided wizard." Users can set a restore point. The Recovery Services vault capability also can be used with the classic portal, according to this Microsoft blog post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.