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Azure Stack Operational Standards and Tooling

    Question

  • Hi All,

    I hope to start a bit of a discussion as a community on this. First off I'm very new to Microsoft so don't have a deep knowledge of Azure and certainly not Azure Stack. However, I have been involved in delivering an OpenStack cloud and have some preconceptions about what works well and what doesn't, which will help me deliver a valuable platform to our customers. Finally I should point out we are delivering Azure Stack as a service provider which may change the context.

    The challenge I am facing and would like to discuss is one of operational standards and tooling. As we build out our Azure Stack we need to ensure consistency. Consistency is imperative for reliability and fast innovation, we need it to; quickly build development environments for testing, ensure all regions will give a consistent experience to customers, to drive predicable outcomes between environments and finally to deliver consistency via automation to speed up our delivery.

    With Azure Stack I see we are in a fortunate position that a lot of the above has been taken care of by the Azure Stack platform itself, from deployment to upgrades etc. However, as an operator we still need to manage the logical configuration of the platform; backups, tenancy setup with offers, plans and quotas, marketplace syndication features like SQL databases and potentially automate healing tasks across the infrastructure.

    With this in mind I wandering what tools and approaches we should be using to drive this consistency? Writing powershell scripts to do configuration management of the platform doesn't sit well with me. Using ARM sits a lot better because it is inherently idempotent but I don't believe many of the operational tasks are programable? Would we be better extending Ansible or terraform to include an Azure Stack module or provider? There appears to be a lack of an API guide for Azure Stack specifically focused on operational endpoints.

    Whatever we do choose I want to make sure it is something that the community is getting behind so we don't have sporadic development and can focus our efforts on delivering value together.

    I would be really appreciative of peoples thoughts/direction :)

    Thanks

    Charlie





    Wednesday, November 22, 2017 3:42 PM

All replies

  • Hello Charlie,

    I really appreciate this post and want to make sure your questions are answered correctly and provide some working examples as the answers will certainly benefit the Azure Stack community.

     

    We’ll post back tomorrow with the Answers, Links and some examples.

     

    I’d like to setup a call to have our team reach out to you to discuss your requirements and the operational tasks you’d like programable or to automate.

     

     

    We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your time and interest in Azure Stack.

    If you continue experience any issues with ASDK release, feel free to contact us.

          

     Thanks,


    Gary Gallanes

    Monday, November 27, 2017 1:41 AM
    Moderator
  • Hey Gary,

    I really appreciate the response and look forward to your recommendations. Myself and my team would welcome a meeting to discuss our challenges and thoughts thus far and will be happy to share internal documentation that will provide some context behind our thinking.

    In short, whilst we understand the proposition of Azure Stack from a Microsoft perspective; reducing the scope of the infrastructure to a known asset by reselling an Integrated unit, we still believe there are a huge number of choices that will make each Azure Stack installation a "unique cloud". Something that caused complexities for OpenStack community. This means operators need to build robust pipelines to test the rollout of new features with their cloud, taking into account any integration points they have.

    For example whether a customer chooses to deploy the SQL provider or the apps service, how integration may has been completed with bespoke tools to automate customer on-boarding or how monitoring has been setup with external systems.

    As these infrastructures evolve it is imperative that configuration management is in place to accurately rebuild development, test and pre-production environments to a known state. Whilst also continuing to manage production platforms with the same codebase to minimise drift.

    This to me means that we need to start setting out some standards that help us have a consistent approach and minimise sprawl of code and methodologies for operations in Azure Stack.

    These standards should include things like, language choice, idempotency, tests, documentation etc to enable people to contribute code effectively and allow larger scale adoption.

    Hope this helps set the scene a little and look forward to hearing from you,

    Charlie


    Monday, November 27, 2017 5:58 PM
  • Hello Charlie,

    If you could, please email ascustfeedback@microsoft.com so we can setup a call discus your questions in further detail.

         

    We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your time and interest in Azure Stack.

    If you continue experience any issues with the ASDK release, feel free to contact us.

         

     Thanks


    Gary Gallanes

    Thursday, November 30, 2017 7:10 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Gary,

    I receive this message when emailing the address you provided:

    The group ASForum only accepts messages from people in its organization or on its allowed senders list, and your email address isn't on the list.

    Is there a better contact please.

    Charlie

    Tuesday, December 05, 2017 7:06 AM
  • Hello Charlie,

    We received your email and have setup a Skype meeting with you and a few of our Engineering leads.

    Please check your email and reply to the meeting invite.

      

    - If you are unable to attend, please reply with a range of available times so we can reschedule.

    - Please review the meeting agenda and feel free to add, edit or delete any of the items or questions.

    We look forward to speaking with you.

     

    We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your time and interest in Azure Stack.

    If you experience any issues with Azure Stack or the current ASDK release, please feel free to contact us.

         

     Thanks


    Gary Gallanes

    Tuesday, December 05, 2017 8:22 PM
    Moderator