Modern IT industry is undergoing a significant transformation where companies of all sizes are moving workloads from physical data centers to the public cloud. Today, organizations rely on Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google to deliver cloud computing services and assist them in building, testing, deploying and managing business applications.
Although cloud computing has been evolving for almost a decade, it’s still nearly impossible for IT administrators to operate decentralized resources from a single access point. This creates a need for a reliable solution that can manage distributed workloads and public cloud services without impacting performance.
In the past, Windows PowerShell scripting with its ability to offer a central command line, access to data stores and a fully developed scripting language was the preferred method for managing virtual infrastructures. While PowerShell maintains services by writing simple production-level scripts, it lacks a unified GUI and real-time monitoring - the necessary aspects for managing servers, virtual machines, Hyper-V and Azure portals.
To solve the problem with decentralized management, Microsoft has introduced a product called Windows Admin Center (formerly known as “Project Honolulu”). While Windows Admin Center offers a toolset which empowers users to manage Windows Server remotely, it still requires a significant amount of PowerShell scripting to connect to Microsoft Azure. Admin Center doesn’t offer a native GUI and has minimal hybrid cloud capabilities in the context of authenticating with Azure Active Directory and managing virtual machines inside the operating system.
At the end of July 2018, Microsoft finally released a product which included some basic hybrid cloud management features and a compatible GUI. System Center 1807 now allows admins to add or remove Azure subscriptions, access a list of deployed role instances, perform basic operations (start, stop, shutdown, restart) and connect via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Furthermore, as the official Microsoft technical documentation cautions, “If you are already managing your on-premise virtual machines in VMM, you can use this feature to perform some very basic actions on Azure instances…This feature is not intended to provide feature parity with the Microsoft Azure Management Portal.” Since System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) isn’t available as a standalone product, the total cost of ownership to access these limited features is going to be significant compared to other available solutions.
So how do you solve the problem with decentralized resource management?
Let’s take a look at 5nine Cloud Manager, a unified hybrid cloud solution that offers a single pane of glass console for managing your virtual machines on-premise and in the cloud.
5nine Cloud Manager offers advanced capabilities for managing Microsoft Cloud environments of all shapes and sizes. Below, you’ll find an overview of the features that make 5nine Cloud Manager a one-stop solution for all of your DevOps needs:
Fully-featured REST APIs scale and automate virtual infrastructures from within an intuitive GUI
Simplified SDN Management eliminates the need to use multiple tools and PowerShell
Role Based Access Control for strict security, privacy and compliance requirements
Virtual Machine Replication ensures high availability and fault tolerance for Hyper-V and Azure
Azure Management for creating, importing and real-time monitoring of your Azure VMs
With the advanced management, monitoring, migration
In addition to REST APIs, simplified Software Defined Networking (SDN) Management aspect of 5nine Cloud Manager eliminates the need of using multiple tools and PowerShell scripting, reducing the margin error in deployment and management:
Role Based Access Control (RBAC)
If you are looking for a robust way to restrict system access only to authorized users, 5nine Cloud Manager allows you to do just that. Role Based Access Control (RBAC) feature ensures clear separation of duties by automatically restricting network access based on the roles of individuals in your organization:
Virtual Machine Replication
5nine Cloud Manager allows you to maintain a highly resilient Hyper-V infrastructure with built-in failover clustering and replication tools. Creating up-to-date VM replicas and storing them at alternate sites enables effective disaster recovery planning. Continuous Hyper-V monitoring and alerting discover issues before they have a chance to impact operations. Azure Management plugin provides the ability to replicate Hyper-V VMs into Azure, which acts as a replica server instead of the other Hyper-V server:
Azure VM Management
With 5nine Cloud Manager, you can easily connect to an existing Azure Subscription without having to employ Azure Active Directory or utilize additional tools. Once the user is connected to the Azure subscription, a list of virtual machines using that subscription will be displayed:
Additionally, 5nine Cloud Manager interface makes it easy to perform a variety of management operations including creating, importing and real-time monitoring of your Azure
Virtual Machine Wizard allows an admin to specify a resource group, cloud region, guest operating system image, user settings, VM size, and connection settings for creating Azure VMs.
Hyper-V VM Import – Hybrid cloud administrators can now migrate their on-premises Hyper-V virtual machine to Microsoft Azure. After selecting an existing Hyper-V VM, admins will access the same list of options as what they see when they create a new Azure VM. They can also specify the network bandwidth that is used when the virtual hard disk is copied to the cloud.
Edit/Delete VMs – This allows an admin to change certain configuration settings or delete a virtual machine entirely, so it’s no longer running inside Azure. This feature helps to ensure that the organization is not billed for the unused VMs. It also eliminates the possibility of creating Zombie VMs.
Start/Stop/Restart – This allows an admin to start, stop or reboot a VM as needed.
Deallocate – This allows a Microsoft Azure VM to release its resources so that the organization is no longer billed for consumption.
Connect – This is one of the most useful features for admins who connect to the guest VM located in Microsoft Azure. Rather than having to download and configure an RDP file, this feature directly connects the user to the VM. Assuming that the user has access to the guest operating system, local login credentials will be required:
Only 5nine Cloud Manager provides real-time monitoring for your Azure
One of the most powerful features available in 5nine Cloud Manager is the ability to configure alerts. You can set customizable thresholds for a variety of conditions which can be measured along with the activities that appear in the Azure operations log. When an alert is triggered, the admin can receive a notification via email, SMS, push notification or a phone call:
5nine Cloud Manager is a one-stop solution for your hybrid cloud migration, management, and monitoring needs. It offers a broad set of tools to operate private, public and hybrid cloud resources of the entire Microsoft stack, all from within a single pane of glass. With its built-in VM migration tool, 5nine Cloud Manager can help organizations transition from a private Hyper-V to Microsoft Azure on time and under budget.
Symon Perriman is an internationally recognized Microsoft expert, business leader, author, keynote presenter and technology personality, whose content is viewed by millions of technology professionals each year. During his eight years at Microsoft, he supported multiple teams, including engineering, evangelism, technical marketing, and product planning. Currently, Symon is President & Chief Architect for FanWide, and previously served as VP of Business Development and Marketing and 5nine Software.