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Navigating Azure Management Tools: Unveiling the Diversity of Options

Managing Azure resources efficiently is no small task. Azure management tools play a key part, providing a range of options for admins to monitor, deploy, and optimise cloud deployments.

In this blog, we review the main types available. While ultimately making a case for why a combination of all three might be the best strategy for successful Azure management.

Native Azure Management Tools

Native tools are those provided directly by the cloud service provider—in this case, Microsoft Azure itself. These tools are tightly integrated with the Azure ecosystem, often offering seamless experiences. 

Azure Portal: The flagship interface for Azure management, the Azure Portal provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to deploy, manage, and monitor Azure services. It also has a wizard approach for creating certain things, which experienced admins will want to stay away from.

Azure CLI: The Azure Command-Line Interface (CLI) is a powerful text-based interface for managing Azure resources. It's ideal for automation, scripting, and admins who prefer a command-line approach. (It does overlap with Powershell which many Admins prefer, read more here about that from Microsoft)

Azure PowerShell: Built on top of PowerShell, this tool provides a scripting language for managing and automating Azure resources. It's particularly useful for those already familiar with PowerShell scripting. It also feels sometimes that Microsoft has not finished building the interface, so leave the PowerShell commands as the only way to access some features or wait for the portal to catch up. 

Commercial Azure Management Tools

While native tools offer great convenience, commercial tools take the Azure management experience to the next level. These tools are often developed by third-party companies and are available through licensing models. They provide additional functionalities, advanced analytics, and enhanced monitoring capabilities.

Azure Monitor: A comprehensive monitoring solution by Microsoft, Azure Monitor offers in-depth insights into the performance and availability of applications and services. It supports custom metrics, alerts, and diagnostics.

Azure Security Center: Focusing on security, this tool helps you identify and mitigate potential threats across your Azure environment. It provides recommendations and threat protection insights to enhance the security posture of your resources.

Third-Party Management Suites: Various companies offer management suites that consolidate Azure management tasks into a single platform. These tools often include features like cost optimization, resource tracking, and performance analysis.

Open Source Azure Management Tools

In the midst of native and commercial tools, open source tools stand as a valuable but sometimes overlooked resource. These tools are developed by communities of enthusiasts and developers, and they offer the advantage of transparency, customization, and community support.

Terraform: While not exclusive to Azure, Terraform is a widely used open source infrastructure-as-code tool. It allows you to define and manage your cloud resources using declarative code, enabling consistent and reproducible deployments.

Kubernetes: For container orchestration, Kubernetes is a popular choice. It can be used to manage and deploy containerized applications seamlessly in an Azure environment.

Grafana and Prometheus: These open source tools are used for monitoring and visualization. When combined, they create a powerful monitoring stack that can provide detailed insights into the performance of your Azure resources.

The Power of a three-pronged Approach

In the realm of Azure management, no single tool reigns supreme. Each category—native, commercial, and open source—has its own unique advantages. Native tools provide simplicity and deep integration, commercial tools offer advanced analytics and comprehensive security features, and open source tools empower customization and flexibility.

In an increasingly complex cloud environment, it's becoming clear that a well-rounded approach is the key to success. Combining the strengths of all three categories can result in a holistic Azure management strategy. Leverage native tools for day-to-day tasks, employ commercial tools for enhanced insights and security, and harness open source tools for customization and specific use cases.

As the cloud landscape continues to evolve, the synergy of these three types of tools will likely become more vital than ever before. By understanding the strengths of each and incorporating them into your Azure management approach, you can navigate the cloud with confidence and efficiency.

Find out more about our cloud management platform CloudOps which builds on all three types of tools.

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