Azure ARM templates – Example use of Outputs

The Outputs part of an ARM template allow data to be retrieved as part of that templates creation.

Given a simple example of creating an vNet, here’s what we get.
Defining 3 outputs of differing types,
– Virtual Network [Object]
– Virtual Network Addresses [Array]
– Virtual Network Address Prefix [String] (first string in the array)

We get this output.

Powershell script for deploying and retrieving values.

Taking a more practical example, retrieving the StaticIP’s from APIM after creation;

Template

Powershell Output

Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in the UK.

External monitoring of Azure web apps with Statuscake

The problem with monitoring from within the platform your app lives in, is that you’re unaware of any connectivity problems that exists outside of your environment. True, you’re not wanting to be monitor Internet weather either but in reality having both monitoring systems is a must.

Statuscake, is an endpoint monitoring service that offers a bunch of features around web endpoint monitoring – but i’ll just be looking at the most basic http check which will look for a 200 response.
*There are many other services available that perform this function – including Pingdom which I’ve used for years (and actually monitors this blog).*
When I first found Statuscake, years ago – it offered more monitoring servers in the UK than any other provider so provided the USP. What I liked about it was the API and the service it provides as part of its free tier.

statuscake monitoring

I’ve written several automation scripts against it’s API and have one blog post here.

Now that we’re happy with Endpoint monitoring through Statuscake, here’s the powershell functions I’ve written to perform a bunch of standard tasks.

So how can we get some monitoring action happening from Azure? Let’s stick to powershell and start using the Azure cmdlets to query all the Web App endpoints. Once we have the list of Azure addresses, we can then query Statuscake to see which one’s do not yet have a monitor set up – then add it. In this way we can host the powershell in Azure Automation to run on a scheduled basis.

What this will give you for free, is a record of availability and performance metrics. It can be extended to alert you upon detected downtime. In short, you’ve got nothing to lose by monitoring all your Azure App Services automatically. In fact a side benefit of the monitoring will be that in the event your Web Application app pools go to sleep, monitoring will keep them alive.

Powershell scripts available on GitHub.

Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in the UK.

Azure Powershell on linux on windows

In the Windows 10 Anniversary update you’re able to install the “Windows Subsystem for Linux”, see the Bash on Ubuntu on Windows blog.

Then in August we announced that Powershell had been opensourced and available on linux : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/powershell-is-open-sourced-and-is-available-on-linux/.

The version of Ubuntu that gets installed is 14.04 – which is supported by Powershell. So obviously the first thing you’ll want to do on your Windows 10 OS, is install Bash then Powershell and then the Azure module for Powershell. If only for a change of scenery and a bit of script-inception.

Installing Azure Powershell on Linux, in Windows

Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in the UK.

Upload Azure AAD B2C Premium Policy with Powershell

If you like all of your interactions with Azure to be through Powershell (who doesn’t like to automate), then you’ll want to do the same thing for B2C Policies.

Don’t try this before you have your b2c directory whitelisted to work with the B2C Policy Upload feature. You’ll know if this is possible, if in the Azure Portal you’re able to upload a policy.

Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in the UK.

Cascading Resource Group Tags in Azure

Resource Manager Policies in Azure are the way to define and enforce a tagging system.
You can define in a json format rules that must be adhered to for new resources that are deployed.
eg.

For resources that you’ve already created, you’ll need to decide on the appropriate strategy. One that I’ve recently put together is a script that cascades the tags you define at the Resource Group level down to the individual resources (VM’s, vNETs, etc etc).

It doesn’t override any of the existing tags that a resource has, simply ensuring that each of the resources has at a minimum the tags that are defined at the Resource Group level.

This version isn’t optimised for running on a schedule in Azure Automation as it’s not a powershell workflow so doesn’t parallelise the foreach loops.

For the latest version, use the GitHub link.
https://github.com/Gordonby/PowershellSnippets/blob/master/Add-ResourceGroupTagsToResources.ps1

Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in the UK.