Lead Image © bagwold, 123RF.com

Lead Image © bagwold, 123RF.com

Manage updates and configuration with Azure Automation

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Article from ADMIN 70/2022
Microsoft Azure Automation provides a cloud-based service for handling automation tasks, managing updates for operating systems, and configuring Azure and non-Azure environments. We focus on VM update management and restarting VMs.

Azure Automation is not just about automation tasks in and for Azure. It is a cloud-based service that provides automation features for a wide range of scenarios that can be roughly divided into three basic areas, all three of which share a number of Azure Automation features, such as schedules, modules, credentials, and certificates.

The first area covers repeatable and consistent infrastructure provisioning according to the infrastructure-as-code principle. Azure Resource Manager Templates (ARMs), Azure Bicep, and Terraform are three popular technologies that can be used for this purpose. Another large sector revolves around event-based automation, such as for diagnostics and problem resolution.

The second area is automated threat analysis, which can be performed in the context of incident detection in a security information and event management (SIEM) system – one example being Microsoft Sentinel, which comes with well over 100 third-party system collectors in addition to many Azure- and Microsoft-specific collectors.

The third major area relates to orchestrating and integrating automation with other Azure services and third-party products. On the integration front, unsurprisingly, many Azure services already interact with Azure Automation. Even if you haven't actively dealt with the platform yet, you've probably come into contact with the service indirectly once or twice – for example, when creating a virtual machine in Azure. The Auto-shutdown feature in the Operations section of any Azure virtual machine (VM) is also based on Azure Automation. In this article, I look at further sample applications.

Automatic Guest System Patches

In the management section of the provisioning wizard for a new VM in the Azure portal, users have – for some time now – been able to select a number of options for patch orchestration in the Guest OS updates section (e.g.,

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