To work with Microsoft Azure Cloud, you must create Azure resources, and to manage these resources, Azure Resource Manager (ARM) is introduced. It is an advanced, cheaper, and faster way to deploy, configure, and manage resources on Azure. It has all the resources including Azure resources groups, resource providers, and resources, to form a managed cloud platform. To access ARM you either need Azure Portal, Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, or SDKs.
Earlier, Microsoft had Classic Azure System Management, where you could manage one resource at a time. Of course, it was a bit bothering for cloud practitioners. Hence, a new Azure Resource Manager was made. Since, these days one complex application can consist of multiple components like virtual networks, storage accounts, web app, database, database server, virtual machines, etc. you can manage your components as a single entity not separate entities - related and interdependent parts of a single entity. This way, ARM helps you manage all the resources of your application simultaneously.
An Azure resource (virtual machine, storage account, etc.) can be deployed by filling in parameters in a template, such as a name, location, availability zone, networks, security, and more. These templates can be saved and then deployed and tested within a resource group. This allows the distributed application to be deployed repeatedly and consistently. The Resource Manager template is a JSON file that defines the resource group, its resources, properties, and other dependencies. This helps create an identical copy of the application, so it can be deployed in testing, staging, production, or in additional geography to allow the service to scale. The startup order and dependencies can also be defined so that this application comes online gracefully.
All third-party Azure Marketplace solutions come with customizable templates which adhere to the ISVs best practices to streamline deployment. ARM templates are customizable and built using the Azure Portal, Visual Studio, or Visual Studio Code.
Declarative Syntax: Create and deploy an entire Azure infrastructure declaratively. For example, you can deploy virtual machines, network infrastructure, storage systems, and any other resources using declarative syntax.
Repeatable Results: By repeatedly deploying your infrastructure throughout the development lifecycle boosts your confidence, as you can deploy consistently. You can deploy the same template many times and get the same resource types in the same state.
Orchestration: The Resource Manager orchestrates the deployment of interdependent resources, so they are created in the correct order. When possible, the Resource Manager deploys resources in parallel, allowing your deployments to finish faster than serial deployments. You deploy the template through one command rather than through multiple imperative commands.
Create Any Azure Resource: You can immediately use new Azure services and features in templates. As soon as a resource provider introduces new resources, you can deploy those resources through templates. You don't have to wait for tools or modules to be updated before using the new services.
Extensibility: With deployment scripts, you can add PowerShell or Bash scripts to your templates. The deployment scripts extend your ability to set up resources during deployment. A script can be included in the template or stored in an external source and referenced in the template. Deployment scripts give you the ability to complete your end-to-end environment setup in a single ARM template.
Testing: You can make sure your template follows recommended guidelines by testing it with the ARM template tool kit (arm-ttk). This test kit is a PowerShell script that you can download from GitHub. The tool kit makes it easier for you to develop expertise using the template language.
Preview Changes: operation checks the current state of your environment and eliminates the need to manage the state.
Built-In Validation: Your template is deployed only after passing validation. The Resource Manager checks the template before starting the deployment to make sure the deployment will succeed.
By now, you know the role of Azure Resource Manager, Azure Templates and how they both work in tandem. But one thing you’re missing here is how these templates are deployed. Well, to deploy a template, there are various options like Azure Portal, Azure CLI, PowerShell, Button in GitHub repository, Azure Cloud Shell, and REST API.
Of all the template deployment options, the REST API method is preferred because it provides:
Operations to get details about the operations that happen during a deployment.
Operations for working with scripts in a template.
Operations to work with deployments, including deploying a template, exporting a template, and getting information about the deployment.
Operations for users to access preview features from resource providers.
Operations to prevent users in your organization from deleting or modifying certain resources.
Operations to work with resource providers that support resources.
Operations to create, delete, and access resource groups.
Operations to link resources that have logical relationships.
When you deploy a template, the Resource Manager converts the template into REST API operations.
Here are the steps you need to follow to deploy a template using REST API:
Set common parameters and headers, including authentication tokens.
In case of deploying to a resource group that doesn't exist, create the resource group by providing your subscription ID, name of the new resource group, and location that you need for your solution.
operation to verify that the template makes the expected changes, and it also validates the template for errors.
Link files for the template and parameters by including them in the request body.
Deployments - Get.
Azure Resource Manager is a useful tool for centralized management, templates, security, operations, monitoring, support, and troubleshooting. It combines all the key features of application lifecycle management into a single interface so that organizations, developers, and IT professionals can take maximum advantage of it.
Apart from offering incredible features, ARM has made template deployment easier. With the REST API, you can not only deploy templates but also explore the true potential of Azure Resource Manager.