Azure Tools: Addons for Automating Management and Monitoring for Microsoft Azure

Azure Tools: Addons for Automating Management and Monitoring for Microsoft Azure

Josh Wittman
December 30, 2022

Microsoft Azure is an increasingly popular cloud services and cloud computing platform, providing users with a wide range of features and services. However, managing and monitoring a cloud environment can be a complex and time-consuming process. 

But there are dedicated tools to help you automate the management and monitoring of your Azure environment. 

With these tools, users can easily manage their cloud environment, monitor their resources, and make informed decisions about their usage. All of this helps not only to minimize workload but also to maximize the productivity of a cloud setup.

We’re going to take a detailed look at the best Azure automation tools available today. If you’re looking to save time and improve output, you are sure to find something worth your time.

What Can You Automate With Azure Tools?

There’s an extensive range of tools and services that can help automate Azure tasks, ranging from simple web-based applications to complex distributed systems. 

Let’s begin by discussing some of the tasks that can be automated with Azure tools:

  • Patching and updating of servers
  • Deployment of applications and services
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Monitoring of applications and services
  • Scaling of resources based on usage
  • Data replication across multiple regions for high availability
  • Storage management for cost optimization 
  • Security scanning for compliance with industry standards 
  • Automation of DevOps processes such as CI/CD pipelines 

How Automation Works for Microsoft Azure

The most popular third-party tools for automating Microsoft Azure are PowerShell scripts and Azure Automation. 

PowerShell scripts provide access to the Azure command line interface (CLI) and allow users to automate many of the tasks associated with managing an Azure environment. This includes provisioning virtual machines, creating databases, configuring networks, and more.

Azure Automation is a cloud-based automation service that enables users to automate tasks across multiple environments in a secure manner. It allows users to create runbooks — scripts that define the steps needed to complete a task — and schedule them for execution on a regular basis or in response to certain triggers. It also provides comprehensive monitoring capabilities so users can track how their automation is performing in real time. 

There are also numerous other third-party tools available for automating Microsoft Azure environments, such as Ansible Tower and Chef Automate. By leveraging these tools, businesses can streamline their processes and save time by automating tedious or repetitive tasks within Azure Cloud.

The 8 Best Azure Tools for Cloud Administrators

Looking for tools to automate the management of Microsoft Azure? Here are the 8 best third-party Azure services right now, sorted by use case:

Simeon Cloud

Simeon Cloud is an enterprise cloud-based platform designed to help organizations manage their Microsoft 365 environment, including Azure. 

It provides a unified single pane of glass to view and manage your Microsoft 365 tenant configurations, allowing users to manage multiple tenants at scale, automate lifecycle management, and securely back up configuration policies. For a full list of managed configurations supported by Simeon for Azure and Azure AD, visit our page on GitHub.

Azure Automation

Azure Automation is a cloud-based service that helps users automate manual and repetitive tasks across their Azure environments. 

It provides a rich set of features to automate resource management, the running of scripts, and integration with other services in the cloud. It can be used to automate processes such as provisioning and configuring virtual machines, deploying applications, configuring networks, etc.

PowerShell DSC

PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) is an open-source automation platform that enables users to quickly deploy and manage configuration data for nodes across their environment. 

It allows users to define declarative configurations for nodes in their environment, which are then automatically enforced on each node at regular intervals or when triggered by an event.

Octopus Deploy

Octopus Deploy is a commercial DevOps automation platform designed specifically for deploying applications in complex multi-server environments. Deployments may involve multiple steps such as database updates or application configuration changes. 

In addition to supporting multiple deployment targets including Windows Servers running IIS or Linux Servers running Apache Tomcat, Octopus also supports deployments on Microsoft’s own cloud offering via its native Octopus Deploy For Microsoft Windows Azuresuite of plugins.

Cloudberry Backup

Cloudberry Backup is a simple yet powerful cloud backup solution that allows you to protect your data from any source – local drives, network shares, FTP sites, NAS devices, etc.

It works by securely backing up data to popular cloud storage providers like Amazon S3/Glacier or Microsoft Azure Storage services. The intuitive interface makes it easy to configure backup jobs with just a few clicks, while providing advanced features such as encryption, compression, scheduling, bandwidth throttling, etc.

Application Insights

Application Insights is a performance monitoring solution that helps DevOps professionals detect, diagnose, and mitigate performance issues in their applications running on Azure. 

It helps users understand how their applications are performing, identify potential problems, and take corrective action. It provides real-time insights into application health as well as a detailed analysis of user behavior. It also offers a rich set of metrics and analytics to help users understand how their applications are performing in production environments.

App Service Editor

App Service Editor is an Azure development tool that enables developers to quickly and easily develop, deploy, and manage web apps hosted on Microsoft's cloud platform. 

It includes an integrated development environment (IDE) with support for several languages, including C#, JavaScript, and Node.js, as well as a powerful debugging engine. It also includes a rich set of tools for managing user authentication, application settings, deployment options, and more.

ManageEngine Applications Manager

ManageEngine Applications Manager is a powerful application performance monitoring tool for Azure VMs that helps you track resource utilization in real-time. 

It can monitor CPU usage, memory utilization, disk I/O operations per second (IOPS), network throughputs (Mbps), latency (ms), and storage capacity utilization (GB) to help ensure optimal performance of your applications on the cloud platform. 

What Is Privileged Identity Management in Microsoft Azure?

Privileged Identity Management (PIM) in Azure is a cloud-based service that enables organizations to manage, control, and monitor access to the Azure portal. 

Organizations can set up roles and assign users with different levels of access to their Azure resources with PIM. This helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access the resources they need for their job.

PIM also helps organizations maintain compliance with regulations and security standards by providing visibility into who has access to what resources and when. It allows administrators to set up role-based access control (RBAC) policies for each user or group of users, granting them the necessary privileges for the job at hand. 

In addition, PIM provides detailed reports on user activity in Azure so administrators can track which users are making changes to what resources.

By using PIM, organizations can ensure that their Azure environment is secure and compliant while still allowing authorized personnel the necessary access to perform their duties. It also helps reduce the risk of unauthorized access by making it easier to detect any suspicious activity or malicious attempts.

Simeon Cloud: The Best PIM Configuration Tool for Azure

Simeon Cloud is a comprehensive configuration management platform that enables system administrators and development engineers to deploy and manage multiple tenants on Microsoft 365. 

Simeon helps you configure PIM policies on the Azure platform through its own no-code web portal, while allowing for increased visibility and control over your identity management configurations.

If you’re an organization moving from on-premises Active Directory to Azure AD, Simeon can help you configure and manage your identity and access management policies using an intuitive interface with real-time configuration backups and detailed audit reports

Right now, Simeon is the only premium configuration management solution available for Microsoft 365, offering full visibility and control over your tenant configurations. Want to learn more about how Simeon can help you manage your M365 setup? Sign up for a free demo!