Azure Foundation Setup and Landing Zone Design
As more and more businesses move towards cloud computing, the need for a hybrid cloud solution has become increasingly important. A hybrid cloud solution allows businesses to take advantage of the benefits of both public and private cloud environments. Microsoft Azure is a popular choice for businesses looking to implement a hybrid cloud solution.
In this article, the aim is to provide a holistic overview on the processes of Infrastructure discovery and assessment, Solution Overview and Architecture, Azure Foundation and Landing Zone, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, Security Policies designs for Azure Migration.
Azure Hybrid Cloud Assessment
Hybrid Cloud Assessment (HCA) evaluates the workload requirements and outlines the necessary steps to achieve a supported state. Then, the substantial changes are implemented, resulting in a significantly reduced footprint.
The Azure Hybrid Cloud Assessment solution architecture is intended to help businesses evaluate their current on-premises infrastructure and plan for a hybrid cloud solution. The solution is made up of two main parts: the Infrastructure Assessment and the Azure Foundation (also called the Azure Landing Zone).
- The Infrastructure Assessment component provides an overview of the existing on-premises infrastructure, such as the Active Directory structure, supported operating systems, and network locations. It also includes an assessment of Hyper-V virtual machines and current Azure VM costs.
- The Azure Foundation component offers businesses a framework for deploying a hybrid cloud solution. It contains guidelines for resource organization and consistency, Azure tenant and regions, subscription overview, Azure Active Directory, management groups and account hierarchy, resource groups.
The objective of this assessment is to prepare for the migration of the existing on-premises workload and transition the current Azure workload to a stable and future-proof design.
Solution Overview and Architecture
An effective solution architecture is more than a collection of technologies; it is a well-planned design that is in line with organizational goals and objectives. This architectural framework integrates hardware, software, networks, security, and data management to provide a comprehensive approach to IT infrastructure. The goal is to build a scalable, adaptable, and resilient environment that meets current requirements while also laying the groundwork for future growth.
Outline of the Current Situation
Before implementing any architectural changes, a thorough examination of the current IT landscape is required. This entails evaluating existing hardware, software, and networking components, as well as identifying problems and bottlenecks. Understanding the current system’s strengths and weaknesses is critical for making well-informed decisions about improvements.
Active Directory Structure and Azure Solution Architecture
Active Directory is the foundation of user and system management in many organizations. The existing Active Directory structure should be assessed for efficiency, security, and scalability. This evaluation involves a review of organizational units, group policies, and domain controllers. Optimizing the Active Directory structure improves user management, lowers security risks, and enables seamless integration with other systems.
Azure Solution Architecture entails using Microsoft’s cloud platform to deliver services such as identity management, virtualization, and security. Integrating Azure into the overall architecture ensures increased agility and scalability.
Client Infrastructure Walkthrough
A full assessment is undertaken with the client, which includes an examination of the infrastructure, Azure costs, and a conclusion describing the plan for future improvements. The process delves into the important components of client infrastructure, including IP ranges, network locations, on-premises solutions, and Microsoft Azure integration.
On-Premises vs Azure Cost Analysis
Understanding the expenses of client infrastructure is critical for budgeting and resource efficiency. These covers determining the cost of on-premises virtual machines, Azure virtual machines, and any related charges. A thorough awareness of existing expenses enables companies to make informed judgments about resource allocation and potential cost-cutting solutions.
Sketch of the desired situation
Envisioning the desired future state entails creating a plan for implementing changes and improvements. This includes plans to upgrade Active Directory structures, increase Azure integration, and ensure compatibility with a wider range of operating systems. The ideal situation prioritizes improved security, streamlined processes, and increased collaboration, resulting in an IT infrastructure that is both resilient and ready for future innovations.
This assessment provides valuable insights into the existing infrastructure and its compatibility with the new Azure foundation.
Azure Foundation aka Azure Landing Zone
The Azure Foundation, also known as the Azure Landing Zone, serves as the foundation for successful Azure deployments. It includes a set of best practices and principles for resource management, security, and operational efficiency. This article delves into essential aspects of Azure Landing Zone, such as resource organization, Azure Active Directory, virtual network components, key management, naming conventions, and disaster recovery procedures.
While designing an Azure Landing Zone, below points (not limited to) are considered and discussed with the clients before implementation:
- Resource Organization and Consistency: Maintaining a consistent and orderly framework for Azure resources is critical to effective management. The Azure Landing Zone stresses the effective categorization and governance of resources through resource groups, management groups, and subscriptions. This technique allows for centralized control, simplifies resource management, and improves overall visibility into the Azure environment.
- Azure Tenants and Regions: Understanding the Azure tenant and regions is critical to building a strong foundation. The Azure Landing Zone encourages careful assessment of Azure regions to satisfy unique business needs. A well-planned allocation of resources across regions ensures high availability, disaster recovery capabilities, and data residency compliance.
- Subscription Overview: Organizing resources into Azure subscriptions is an important step toward attaining governance and resource separation. The Azure Landing Zone promotes the creation of different subscriptions based on business units, environments, and projects. This technique allows for fine-grained control over access, regulations, and resource use.
- Azure Active Directory (AAD): It is crucial to identity management in Azure. The Azure Landing Zone encourages the integration of AAD and on-premises Active Directory to provide a unified and secure identity platform. This connection enables user identification, permission, and access control across Azure resources.
- Management Groups and Account Hierarchy: Management groups provide a hierarchical structure for organizing subscribers and implementing governance policies consistently. The Azure Landing Zone proposes creating a clear account structure with well-defined management groups to enforce company standards and regulations.
- Resource Groups: Resource groups provide a logical method for organizing and managing resources within Azure subscriptions. They provide effective resource management, such as deployment, monitoring, and access control. The Azure Landing Zone recommends the usage of resource groups to combine relevant resources and manage them together.
- Resource Locks: To prevent unintentional changes to vital resources, resource locks can be used. The Azure Landing Zone emphasizes the use of resource locks to protect critical resources from unintentional changes, adding an extra degree of security.
- Key Management: Effective key management is critical for securing data and resources in Azure. The Azure Landing Zone suggests using Azure Key Vault to protect key storage, management, and encryption. This consolidated method improves security while simplifying key lifecycle management.
- Naming Conventions: Setting up a consistent naming convention is critical for resource identification and management. The Azure Landing Zone advocates the use of a defined naming convention format to improve clarity, organization, and management.
- Tagging and Recommended Tags: Tags give metadata for resources, which aids in their categorization and management. The Azure Landing Zone recommends tagging to improve resource organization, cost tracking, and overall administration. Recommended tags may include information such as environment, owner, managed by and cost center.
- Azure Monitor, Log Analytics: Monitoring and logging are essential for keeping a healthy Azure environment. The Azure Landing Zone promotes the use of Azure Monitor and Log Analytics to obtain insight into resource performance, diagnose issues, and proactively manage Azure infrastructure.
- Azure Virtual Network components: Setting up a secure and well-architected network is critical for Azure deployments. The Azure Landing Zone introduces various virtual network components and best practices, such as the hub-and-spoke model, IP range management, site-to-site and point-to-site VPNs, virtual network peering, Azure Firewall, network security groups, and Azure Bastion.
- Virtual Machine Deployment: Deploying virtual machines (VMs) on Azure necessitates careful consideration of availability, scalability, and performance. The Azure Landing Zone suggests best practices for VM deployment, such as using availability sets, availability zones, and strategically placing VMs for peak performance.
- Availability sets: Availability sets increase the availability and resilience of virtual machines by distributing them across fault and update domains. The Azure Landing Zone recommends implementing availability sets into the deployment plan to guarantee that VMs are deployed across numerous physical servers, which improves fault tolerance.
- Availability zones: Azure Availability Zones distribute applications across various data centers within a region, ensuring high availability. Azure Landing Zone recommends using availability zones for important workloads to maximize resilience and redundancy.
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Planning for business continuity and disaster recovery is critical for keeping operations running in the face of unforeseen catastrophes. The Azure Landing Zone offers information on Azure Backup, locally redundant storage (LRS), geo-redundant storage (GRS), and disaster recovery techniques to ensure data resilience and availability.
- Azure Backups: Azure Backup is a cloud-based backup solution that ensures scalable and secure data protection for Azure resources. The Azure Landing Zone suggests using Azure Backup to protect essential data and apps, which includes capabilities like backup policies, retention periods, and point-in-time recovery.
- Security and policy initiatives: Establishing effective security measures and governance regulations is critical to keeping a secure Azure environment. The Azure Landing Zone promotes the deployment of security policies and activities to ensure organizational standards, regulatory compliance, and best practices.
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a critical component of Azure governance, enabling companies to set and manage access permissions. The Azure Landing Zone suggests using RBAC to assign roles and responsibilities, ensuring that users have appropriate access depending on their roles within the business.
- Local Redundant Storage (LRS) and Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS): Azure Storage provides redundancy options to prevent data loss. The Azure Landing Zone recommends choosing the right amount of redundancy, such as locally redundant storage (LRS) or geo-redundant storage (GRS), based on individual business requirements and recovery objectives.
Building a strong Azure Foundation with the Azure Landing Zone is crucial for enterprises looking to maximize the potential of Microsoft Azure. Organizations may create a secure, scalable, and efficient Azure environment by adhering to best practices in resource organization, Azure Active Directory integration, virtual network design, key management, naming conventions, and disaster recovery procedures. Continuous monitoring, review, and adherence to governance principles guarantee that the Azure Foundation is resilient and responsive to changing business needs in the dynamic world of cloud computing.
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In case of any questions or concerns, find me at abhibothera.github.io.
Read more about Migrating to Microsoft Azure Cloud.
Azure Wizard | 7x Microsoft Azure Certified | Solutions Architect | Azure DevOps | AVD | Security | Former Research Scholar at Georgia Tech.