Azure Arc Enabled Servers Extension Management

Azure Arc Enabled Servers Extension Management

Azure Arc for Server just got a couple of new features. In this blog post, we are going to have a look at the new feature on Azure Arc enabled servers called extension management. This new Azure Arc enabled servers features allows you not only to deploy extensions like the Custom Script Extension, or the Microsoft Monitoring Agent but also enable features like Azure Update Management, Inventory, Change Tracking, and more for your servers running in a hybrid environment.

Introducing Azure Arc
For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.
Learn more about Azure Arc here.

Azure Arc enabled servers already could benefit from several Azure Resource Manager features like Tags, Policies, RBAC, and some Azure Management features like logs and Azure Policy. With the new update, you can start using more extensions.  With these extensions available, Azure Arc enabled servers also get features like Azure Update Management, Inventory, Change Tracking, and insights capabilities.

Azure Arc Azure Management Control Plane

Azure Arc Azure Management Control Plane

Azure Arc Enabled Servers Extension Management Video

You can also watch my summary video on YouTube.

Azure Arc Extensions

Currently, you have six different Azure Arc extensions you can deploy to your servers.

  • Custom Script Extension for Linux – Azure Arc
  • DSCForLinux extension on a Ubuntu
  • OMS Agent for Linux – Azure Arc
  • Custom Script Extension for Windows – Azure Arc
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration – Azure Arc
  • Microsoft Monitoring Agent – Azure Arc

These extensions are similar and consistent with the virtual machine extensions for Azure VMs. These are small applications that provide post-deployment configuration and automation tasks on Azure Arc enabled servers. For example, if a server requires software installation, anti-virus protection, or to run a script inside of it, an Azure Arc extension can be used. Extensions can be run with the Azure CLI, PowerShell, and the Azure portal.

Azure Update Management

The new Azure Update Management integration into Azure Arc enabled servers, allows you to directly view assessments and missing updates on a specific machine. With Azure Arc enabled servers Update Management, you can also create and schedule a new update deployment to make sure the server is up-to-date.

Azure Arc enabled Server Update Management

Azure Arc enabled Server Update Management

You can find more about Azure Update Management here.

Inventory collection for Azure Arc enabled servers

With Inventory collection for Azure Arc enabled servers, you can now not only track the software inventory of Azure virtual machines (VMs) but also for servers running on-premises or other cloud providers.

Azure Arc Server Inventory

Azure Arc Server Inventory

Items that are tracked by Inventory include:

  • Windows software
  • Linux software (packages)
  • Windows and Linux files
  • Windows registry keys
  • Microsoft services
  • Linux daemons

You can find more information about inventory on Microsoft Docs.

Change Tracking

This feature tracks changes in Azure VMs and Azure Arc enabled servers, to help you pinpoint operational and environmental issues with software managed by the Distribution Package Manager. Change Tracking and Inventory obtains its data from Azure Monitor. Machines connected to Log Analytics workspaces use Log Analytics agents to collect data about changes to installed software, Microsoft services, Windows registry and files, and Linux daemons on monitored servers.

Azure Arc Server Change Tracking

Azure Arc Server Change Tracking

You can find more information about Azure VM, and Azure Arc enabled server change tracking and inventory on Microsoft Docs.

Monitoring and Insights

With this update, you can now also enable Azure Monitor for your Azure Arc enabled servers. This will allow you to analyze the performance and health of your Windows and Linux servers, and monitors their processes and dependencies on other resources and external processes. It includes support for monitoring performance and application dependencies for servers running on-premises or in another cloud provider.

Azure Arc Server Insights Performance Monitor

Azure Arc Server Insights Performance Monitor

Conclusion

The new Azure Arc enabled servers extensions management feature enables a couple of new features and scenarios to manage your hybrid machines. In the next couple of days and weeks, I will add additional articles and videos which will show you the specific features in some more details. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.