Practicing Microsoft Azure: Part 4

This article provides an insight into the Azure Network services such as Virtual Network and Traffic Manager.

Before continuing this article, I highly recommend reading the previous parts:

Windows Azure network services comprise Virtual Network and Traffic Manager components and enables the basis for making sophisticated hybrid cloud solutions for your business. Thus, this article offers a tour of dissimilar network services on the Windows Azure cloud, as well as guidance on how to utilize them to suit our requirements. This article will cover the following contents:

  1. Virtual Network
    • Creating Virtual Network
    • Configuring DNS, VPN
    • Address space and subnet settings
    • Configuring Virtual Machine

  2. Traffic Manager

Virtual Network

The valuable data usually stored in huge data centers dispersed in 2 different safe locations across the globe. So, a common question arises, how to access or utilize those vital databases in the cloud computing context like on-premise data centers. Thus, the Windows Azure Virtual Network enables the connection of your cloud infrastructure to your on-premises data center in a secure manner. It also makes it possible to extend the on-premise data center into the cloud.

Virtual Network

For instance, we can employ Virtual Network to create a secure link between our on-premises to cloudy application, as well as manage a virtual network that uses a private IPv4 address space in Windows Azure.

The Virtual Networks are also ideal to provide connectivity among virtual machines provisioned using Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Virtual machines, typically run in the same cloud service, can communicate with each other without creating a virtual network.

Creating Virtual Network

To create a virtual network, click the New tab from the bottom in the Auzre Management Portal that let you show the network service. Here, you will find a couple of options regarding virtual network configuration including, Quick Create, Custom Create and so on. With the Quick Create option, you can create a basic virtual network with minimum options such as DNS settings that can be configured later as in the following:

Creating Virtual Network

While the Custom Create enables you to setup a proper full virtual network. Subsequently, its wizards prompt you to configure a DNS setting, VPN setting and local network settings as in the following:

Virtual Network detail

Configuring DNS and VPN

Next, the wizard will ask to enter DNS server naming resolution related information. Fortunately, the Windows Azure offers its own name resolution service that can be used for resolving instance names within the same cloud service. It is mandatory to link the DNS names with virtual machine from your own on-premise network. In fact, DNS and VPN settings are optional to fill, typically configured when linking between your on-premises network and this virtual network as in the following:

Configuring DNS and VPN

This wizard also displays two extra options for VPN settings, point-to-site VPN and site-to-site VPN. Here, in the following figure will be displayed after checking this option. The point-to-site connectivity enables you to specify the address space for VPN clients that will connect to your virtual network from outside your virtual network space.

virtual network space

Whereas, the Site-to-Site connectivity is typically used to establish a secure connection between your virtual network and on-premises network. After enabling the Site-to-Site connectivity option, the additional wizard allows you to define the VPN device IP address and address space used by clients connecting your virtual network from a remote site.

virtual network from a remote site

Address Space and Subnet Settings

In the case of not electing any aforesaid VPN options, the virtual network wizard will display the default address space settings further, where 0.0.0.0/8 is automatically added and the subnet 10.0.0.0/11 is created as in the following. However, we can edit such default address spaces depending on our desire.

Address Space

The virtual network settings at the portal will look such as in the following once it is created with the 10.0.0.0/11 subnet over the cloud.

Network

Here in fact, we can add or edit the other settings, including DNS, or local network. The following shows the process of adding local network details as in the following:

local network details

Creating Virtual Machine

The previously created virtual network is especially utilized when creating a new virtual machine. Here, we can link the virtual network setting with a virtual machine (IaaS). Thus, the following figure shows the association of virtual network test123 with the newly created Windows server 2008 virtual machine.

Creating Virtual Machine

Traffic Manager

The Windows Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control how user traffic is distributed to cloud services. The Traffic Manager is employed to load balance incoming traffic across multiple hosted Windows Azure services regardless of whether they're located at different geographical locations or in the same datacenter. The Traffic Manager ensures high performance, availability and resiliency for your cloud-based applications by distributing users to their suitable location in cloud solution.

Traffic Manager

The Traffic Manager, simply configured using the Azure Management Portal, consists of a profile definition and balancing policy. A profile contains a domain name prefix that you create and is visible in the Management Portal, along with the load balancing methods including performance, round robin and failover.

load balancing methods

Once the Traffic Manager is created the Azure development portal enables you to configure other essentials setting via dashboard such as, endpoints, port monitoring, protocols and load balancing methods as in the following.

balancing methods

Summary

This article has provided an insight into Azure Network services such as Virtual Network and Traffic Manager. The Windows Azure Virtual Network offers the ability for cloud services to interact with each other without exposing services to the public internet whereas the Traffic Manager services allows the control of the distribution of user traffic to your specified endpoints that can include Azure cloud services, websites and other endpoints. After going through this article, the user will be able to perform the essential services configuration related to virtual network and traffic to link them with on-premises services.

Reference