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Azure: Opting for ARM or the Classic Way of Doing Things?

By Nirmal Sharma (Send Email)
Posted December 8, 2015


Over a period of time, we have seen massive improvements in Microsoft Azure Public Cloud. Azure public cloud is used widely and offers cheap cloud solutions.

There are two modes supported by Azure public cloud: Classic and Azure Resource Manager modes, sometimes referred to as just ARM. When you use the Classic Portal at https://manage.windowsazure.com, you are working with the classic mode of Azure. In classic mode, Windows Server Tutorials each resource you create in Azure is a single management unit.

Although Azure resources are created in a cloud container, when it comes to managing resources in a cloud container, you must manage all of the resources individually. The classic mode does not allow grouping of resources, which makes managing Azure resources difficult.

When you interact with Classic mode resources from a command line such as Azure PowerShell, you are using Azure Service Management API calls (ASM). ASM is a traditional way of accessing Azure resources. Both the Classic portal and Azure PowerShell version 0.9.8 use ASM API calls to manage Azure resources.

On the other hand, when you use the Azure Portal to create or manage Azure resources, you are working with the Azure Resource Manager (ARM). ARM allows you to deploy Azure resources in groups called Resource Groups.

It is important to note that if you use the Classic portal to create or manage Azure resources, you can only work with Classic resources.

The new Azure portal at https://portal.azure.com allows the ability to work with both Classic and ARM Resources. When you interact with ARM using command-line tools such as Azure PowerShell, you are using ARM API calls. From within the PowerShell window, you will need to use the Azure-SwithMode –Name AzureResourceManagercommand to switch from ASM to ARM or to work with the ARM resources.

The Azure Resource Manager plays an important role in managing resources as a single unit. The Azure Resource Manager provides the following benefits:

  • Deploy, manage and monitor Azure resources as a group
  • Deploy resources repeatedly
  • Supports creating templates. Templates can be created to include a set of resources to be deployed as part of a cloud solution
  • Allows you to define dependencies between resources so they are deployed in the correct order
  • Ability to apply RBAC policies to all resources in a Resource Group
  • Ability to specify "tags" to resources for programmatic purposes

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