New ebook – Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes for Multicloud on O’Reilly

After 6 books with many authors from Packt, APress, & Sams/Pearson I finally had the chance to author a book with O’Reilly. This is an ebook so it can be found and read on the O’Reilly online platform.

It is a great platform that I use personally for my own learning. On their platform, you can find ebooks, books across many publishers (most of my books are on there), video training, and even live training.

This book brings together 4 exciting technologies/topics including Azure, Kubernetes, GitOps, and multi-cloud. The book is shorter than my typical books since it is an ebook. It is only 35 pages and is designed for fast & easy consumption to get an overview of the technology and get an early start.

In this book, we take a journey into one of Microsoft’s newest cloud services Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes (Arc K8s). We explore what Azure Arc K8s is, how it extends the Azure control plane to Kubernetes clusters to manage, secure, and govern them, as well as how GitOps sits are the core of application deployment to Kubernetes clusters and a driver of consistent configuration management for Kubernetes clusters.

Azure Arc is a Microsoft product that promises to extend the Azure control plane for Kubernetes across multiple clouds and on-premises, but how does it do this? In this ebook we will dissect Azure Arc K8s and how it becomes a secret weapon for managing Kubernetes clusters across on-premises, multiple clouds, and regardless of your own rolled Kubernetes clusters or managed services based Kubernetes clusters such as GKE, EKS, etc. I also want to give a shout-out to Michael Levan for reviewing this ebook!

Key Areas from the ebook include:

-Understand the new management challenges that multicloud brings
-Learn how Azure Arc drives consistent governance, security, and management across multicloud
-Gain valuable insights into Microsoft’s Azure ARM control plane for Kubernetes
-Learn how Azure Arc manages Kubernetes clusters across on-premises and multiple cloud deployments
-Explore the GitOps technology pattern and operating model for cloud native applications and Kubernetes
-Use Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes and GitOps to deploy configurations and applications to Kubernetes clusters

Check out the new ebook here: https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/azure-arc-enabled/9781098102647

Also keep an eye on my O’Reilly author page here https://www.oreilly.com/pub/au/8326 for any future projects I have with them.

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CloudSkills.fm Podcast: Cloud Native, Azure Arc, DevOps, GitOps, Kubernetes, and Azure

Recently I had the honor to be a guest on my friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Mike Pfeiffer’s Cloudskills.fm podcast again! This was episode is “106: Steve Buchanan on Cloud Native, DevOps, GitOps, Kubernetes, and Azure“. I was excited to be a guest again on the CloudSkills podcast and catch up with Mike.

On this new episode, we had a chance to talk about a variety of topics like leveling up your career, what I have been up to, diversity and inclusion in the tech, of course Azure, Azure Arc, DevOps, Kubernetes, GitOps, we even touched on SAP on Azure, among other insights.

You can listen to the podcast episode 106 right here on my blog:

Or you can listen to episode #106 here: https://cloudskills.fm/episodes/106.

Back in 2019 I was a guest on the Cloudskills.fm podcast on episode # 15. The past episode was a lot of fun with more of a focus on your career in the world of IT. If you want to check that out here.

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GitOps: The Big Picture

There is another wave coming. This wave is GitOps. GitOps is a technology pattern and operational framework. It is often used for Kubernetes however is really for cloud-native applications in general. Being that a large amount of cloud-native applications these days are designed and built to run on Kubernetes it is no surprise that GitOps is commonly adopted in Kubernetes environments. If you are running Kubernetes or looking at it chances are you may have heard of GitOps. This is how I define GitOps:

GitOps is an operating model pattern for cloud native applications storing application & declarative infrastructure code in Git as the source of truth used for automated continuous delivery.”  

Well, that sums up with GitOps is but it still is a mouthful and can take a bit to wrap ones head around it. In a nutshell GitOps is shifting everything to code, storing everything in Git, making Git the source of truth, and using an operator deploy what is described in Git in your environment including the application and the configuration. With GitOps you describe the desired state of your entire system and GitOps makes it so. It simplifies operations and makes the experience for developers much better allowing them to work out of a tool they are familiar with (Git). Here is a basic sample diagram to give you a visual idea about what GitOps is and how it works:

So in the case of Kubernetes you would have your app code in Git, your container images in Git, and your Kubernetes manifest files. Now there is more to it and how it works but we will not get into all of that in this blog post. This is a good Segway to purpose of this blog post.

The purpose of this blog post is that I just dropped my 7th Pluralsight course GitOps: The Big Picture! This was a fun course to build as I am passionate about and like working with Containers, Kubernetes, and cloud.

A quick shoutout to both Fellow Microsoft MVP/Pluralsight Author Tim Warner and Jason Alba for amplifying my new course!

This course teaches the fundamentals of GitOps, the need for GitOps, GitOps architecture, GitOps workflow, GitOps principles, practices, & tooling such as Flux, Argo CD, AND Jenkins X. Also in this course, GitOps: The Big Picture, you’ll learn what it takes to adopt GitOps. First, you’ll explore what GitOps is and its benefits. Next, you’ll discover GitOps Tooling NS Architecture. Finally, you’ll learn how to use GitOps Workflows. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills & knowledge of the GitOps framework needed to take the next steps with GitOps.

In the course I give a couple of demos so you can see GitOps in action. The first demo is on “deploying an application using Argo CD” and the second demo is on “GitOps in Action with Azure Arc Enabled Kubernetes using Flux”. Another interesting fact about GitOps is we are starting to see the major cloud providers bring GitOps into their offerings such as Azure Arc and or couple GitOps with their services like with GCP GKE as well as create content on using GitOps with their managed Kubernetes services like with AWS EKS.

GitOps is going to continue to grow right along with the continued growth of Containers, Kubernetes, and Cloud. I am all in and you will see blogs, books, courses, speaking at events, and more from me around GitOps as I continue on my personal journey with it.

Check out the “GitOps: The Big Picture” course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/gitops-the-big-picture

Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon on topics around Azure, GitOps, SAP on Azure, & Kubernetes courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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My AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 on Pluralsight

I am very excited that today my AZ-900 course broke into the top 100 on
Pluralsight!

The topic on my course is: “Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options”.

If you are studying for the AZ-900 exam or getting started with Azure check it out here:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/microsoft-azure-pricing-support-options/table-of-contents

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Two new Pluralsight Courses: Heroku & Cloud Computing Fundamentals

Over the past couple of months I have been hard at work on some more Pluralsight courses. I am excited to announce that today I released 2 new courses on Pluralsight! These are both cloud related courses. One course is more DevOps focused and the other is focused more on cloud security. One of the courses is intermediate while the other is for those beginning with cloud. It’s pretty cool to have two courses listed on Pluralsight’s new releases!

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Here are the courses:

Heroku: The Big Picture

This course will teach you the basics of Heroku from; architecture components, developer and operational tooling, along with limitations and benefits of using the platform.

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Heroku: The Big Picture 
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Heroku is a cloud PaaS service that enables companies to speed up the application lifecycle; building, delivering, monitoring, and scaling applications without the headaches of standing up infrastructure to support the application. 

Some of the major topics covered in this Cloud Computing course are:

  • Learn about the components of the Heroku platform and how it works including the architecture, idea to running app, the runtime, Dynos and the various Heroku services.
  • Gain an understanding about the benefits and limitations of the Heroku platform such as pricing, language support, and ecosystem.
  • Insight into the developer and operational experience on Heroku.
  • And you will also see demos on the Heroku Dashboard, Using the Heroku Estimators, and deployment of an application to the Heroku platform.

By the end of this course, you will gain a better understanding of the Heroku platform all up including how to build and operate an application on it.

Check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/heroku-big-picture

Cloud Computing Fundamentals: Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Security

This course will teach you the fundamental knowledge needed to understand the essentials of cloud Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Security.

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Some of the major topics covered in this Cloud Computing course are:

  • Identifying the importance and impacts of compliance in the cloud
  • Understanding cloud policies or procedures
  • Recognizing risk management concepts related to cloud services
  • Security concerns, measures, or concepts of cloud operations

This Cloud Computing course will help you prepare for the CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ exam. This course is also useful if you don’t plan to take the CompTIA exam and just need to ramp up on cloud security.

Take this course if you want to learn cloud essentials, what it takes to successfully adopt cloud, the impact of cloud on IT service management, how security, and risks apply to cloud as well as consequences. This course is for someone with some exposure to cloud technologies and a general background in Information Technology at the minimum of a business analyst level.

Check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/cloud-computing-fundamentals-governance-risk-compliance-security

I hope you find value in each of these courses. These two courses bring me to a total of 5 courses now published on the Pluralsight platform. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Passed – AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam

I decided it was time to branch out into other clouds. We live in a multi-cloud world and it does not hurt to at a minimum understand what other clouds offer and how they work. I decided to go after the base level AWS certification. On 7/24/2020 I took the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam and passed!

Here is my Acclaim badge for it: https://www.youracclaim.com/badges/309a8223-fd41-4e5a-876a-0066f4d32e23

I am still primarily Azure focused but you might see me working with AWS a little more. I may decide at some point to pursue some more AWS certs and potentially GCP.

Here is what I used to study:

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course on Pluralsight:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/aws-certified-cloud-practitioner/table-of-contents

AWS to Azure services comparison:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/aws-professional/services

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Study Guide blog post by Janeice DelVecchio and Scott Selikoff (includes a PDF):

https://www.selikoff.net/2019/01/20/how-i-recommend-studying-for-the-aws-certified-cloud-practitioner-exam/

The test was not super hard. Good luck if you plan to take it!

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Third Pluralsight Course Published – Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options

Today my third Pluralsight course has been published. This course is titled “Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options“. It is a part of an AZ-900 learning path that will help you prepare for the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 exam. Learn more about that exam here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-900 .

I was excited about this course as it is a part of my day to day focus on Azure. Also, this is a chance to help those that are getting started with Azure. Here is what you will gain from this course:

This course will teach you the fundamental knowledge about the pricing and support options in Azure one of the core skills measured in the AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals exam.

In this course, Microsoft Azure Pricing and Support Options, you’ll learn to estimate the pricing and support of Azure cloud services. First, you’ll explore Azure subscriptions, subscription management, and management groups.

Next, you’ll discover, plan, and manage Azure costs. Finally, you’ll learn how to understand Azure SLA’s, various Azure service lifecycles, and how to select the right support options. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge of Azure pricing and available support needed to estimate Azure costs and select the right support options.

Please check out this new course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/microsoft-azure-pricing-support-options

Also, be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing more courses soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Second Pluralsight Course Published – Monitor and Maintain a Software-Defined Datacenter with SCOM

Pluralsight has recently published my second course. This course is Monitor and Maintain a Software-Defined Datacenter with SCOM. This one took me back to my System Center roots focusing on Operations Manager.

This course prepares you for the 70-745 exam, while simultaneously showing you how to use SCOM for your datacenter.

In the course you will learn:

  • How to plan, deploy, and configure Operations Manager.
  • Then, you will discover how to tune Operations Manager.
  • Finally, you will learn about monitoring infrastructure and virtual machine workloads.

By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how monitoring works using SCOM.

Please check out the course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/monitor-maintain-software-defined-datacenter-scom/table-of-contents

Also, be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses! I will be releasing an Azure course soon!

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

 

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Application Gateway Ingress Controller Deployment Script

In Kubernetes, you have a container or containers running as a pod. In front of the pods, you have something known as a service. Services are simply an abstraction that defines a logical set of pods and how to access them. As pods move around the service that defines the pods it is bound to keeps track of what nodes the pods are running on. For external access to services, there is typically an Ingress controller that allows access from outside of the Kubernetes cluster to a service. An ingress defines the rules for inbound connections.

Microsoft has had an Application Gateway Ingress Controller for Azure Kubernetes Service AKS in public preview for some time and recently released for GA. The Application Gateway Ingress Controller (AGIC) monitors the Kubernetes cluster for ingress resources and makes changes to the specified Application Gateway to allow inbound connections.

This allows you to leverage the Application Gateway service in Azure as the entry into your AKS cluster. In addition to utilizing the Application Gateway standard set of functionality, the AGIC uses the Application Gateway Web Application Firewall (WAF). In fact, that is the only version of the Application Gateway that is supported by the AGIC. The great thing about this is that you can put Application Gateways WAF protection in front of your applications that are running on AKS.

This blog post is not a detailed deep dive into AGIC. To learn more about AGIC visit this link: https://azure.github.io/application-gateway-kubernetes-ingress. In this blog post, I want to share a script I built that deploys the AGIC. There are many steps to deploying the AGIC and I figured this is something folks will need to deploy over and over so it makes sense to make it a little easier to do. You won’t have to worry about creating a managed identity, getting various id’s, downloading and updating YAML files, or installing helm charts. Also, this script will be useful if you are not familiar with sed and helm commands. It combines PowerShell, AZ CLI, sed, and helm code. I have already used this script about 10 times myself to deploy the AGIC and boy has it saved me time. I thought it would be useful to someone out there and wanted to share it.

You can download the script here: https://github.com/Buchatech/Application-Gateway-Ingress-Controller-Deployment-Script

I typically deploy RBAC enabled AKS clusters so this script is set up to work with an RBAC enabled AKS cluster. If you are deploying AGIC for a non-RBAC AKS cluster be sure to view the notes in the script and adjust a couple of lines of code to make it non-RBAC ready. Also note this AGIC script is focused on brownfield deployments so before running the script there are some components you should already have deployed. These components are:

  • VNet and 2 Subnets (one for your AKS cluster and one for the App Gateway)
  • AKS Cluster
  • Public IP
  • Application Gateway

The script will deploy and do the following:

  • Deploys the AAD Pod Identity.
  • Creates the Managed Identity used by the AAD Pod Identity.
  • Gives the Managed Identity Contributor access to Application Gateway.
  • Gives the Managed Identity Reader access to the resource group that hosts the Application Gateway.
  • Downloads and renames the sample-helm-config.yaml file to helm-agic-config.yaml.
  • Updates the helm-agic-config.yaml with environment variables and sets RBAC enabled to true using Sed.
  • Adds the Application Gateway ingress helm chart repo and updates the repo on your AKS cluster.
  • Installs the AGIC pod using a helm chart and environment variables in the helm-agic-config.yaml file.
Application Gateway Ingress Controller Architecture

Now let’s take a look at running the script. It is recommended to upload to and run this script from Azure Cloud shell (PowerShell). Run:

./AGICDeployment.ps1 -verbose

You will be prompted for the following as shown in the screenshot:

Enter the name of the Azure Subscription you want to use.:

Enter the name of the Resource Group that contains the AKS Cluster.:

Enter the name of the AKS Cluster you want to use.:

Enter the name of the new Managed Identity.:

Here is a screenshot of what you will see while the script runs.

That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else except entering values at the beginning of running the script. To verify your new AGIC pod is running you can check a couple of things. First, run:

kubectl get pods

Note the name of my AGIC pod is appgw-ingress-azure-6cc9846c47-f7tqn. Your pod name will be different.

Now you can check the logs of the AGIC pod by running:

kubectl logs appgw-ingress-azure-6cc9846c47-f7tqn 

You should not have any errors but if you do they will show in the log. If everything ran fine the output log should look similar to:

After its all said and done you will have a running  Application Gateway Ingress Controller that is connected to the Application Gateway and ready for new ingresses.

This script does not deploy any ingress into your AKS cluster. That will need to be done in addition to this script as you need. The following is an example YAML code for an ingress. You can use this to create an ingress for a pod running in your AKS cluster.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: myapp
  annotations:
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: azure/application-gateway
spec:
  rules:
  - http:
      paths:
      - path: /
        backend:
          serviceName: myapp
          servicePort: 8080

Thanks for reading and check back soon for more blogs on AKS and Azure.

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Build & release a Container Image from Azure DevOps to Azure Web App for Containers

I recently published a blog post on 4sysops.com about Web App for Containers on Azure here: https://4sysops.com/archives/web-app-for-containers-on-azure. That blog post is about the often-overlooked service in Azure that can be used to host a container/s on a web app in Azure App service.

This is a great service if you just need to run a single container or even a couple of containers that you have in Docker Compose. This service is PaaS and abstracts away an orchestration system like Kubernetes. If you need insight into the Azure App Service Web App for Containers service check out the blog post on 4sysops.

In this long blog post I am going to take things a step further and walk-through the build & release of a Container from Azure DevOps to Azure Web App for Containers. The overall goal of this post is to help someone else out if they want to setup a build and release pipeline for building and deploying a container to Azure App Service. We will use a very simple PHP web app I built that will run in the container.

Here are the components that are involved in this scenario:

  • Azure Container Registry (ACR): We will use this to store our container image. We will be pushing up the container image and pull it back down from the registry as a part of the build and release process.
  • Azure DevOps (ADO): This is the DevOps tooling we will use to build our container, push it up to ACR, pull it down into our release pipeline and then deploy to our Azure App Service.
  • App Service Web App for Containers: This is the web server service on Azure that will be used to host our container. Under the hood this will be a container that is running Linux and Apache to host the PHP web app.

Here is the data Flow for our containerized web app:

  1. Deploy the Azure App Service Web App for Containers instance
  2. Deploy the Azure Container Registry
  3. Deploy the Azure DevOps organization and project, create repository to host the code, clone repository in VS Code (Not shown in this blog post. Assume you know how to this up.)
  4. Update the application code (PHP code and Docker image) in Visual Studio code
  5. Commit application code from Visual Studio code to the Azure DevOps repo (Not shown in this blog post. Assume you know how to this up.)
  6. Setup build and then run container build and push the container image to ACR
  7.  Setup release pipeline and then kick off the release pipeline pulling down the container image from ACR and deploys the container to the App Service Web App for Containers instance.

Here is a diagram detailing out the build and release process we will be using:

Click to enlarge

Note that all code used in this blog post is hosted on my GitHub here: https://github.com/Buchatech/EOTD-PHP-APP-DOCKER-CONTAINER

Ok. Let’s get into the setup of core components of the solution and the various parts of the build and release pipeline.

For starters this solution will need a project in Azure DevOps with a repo. Create a project in Azure DevOps and a repo based on Git. Name the repo exerciseoftheday. Next up let’s create the core framework we need in Azure.

Deploy Azure App Service Web App for Containers

Let’s create the Azure App Service Web App for Containers that will be needed. We will need a resource group, an app service plan and then we can setup the app service. The PHP app we will be running is named Exercise Of The Day (EOTD) for short so our resources will use EOTD. Use the following steps to set all of this up.

We will do everything via Azure Cloud Shell. Go to https://shell.azure.com/ or launch Cloud Shell within VS Code.

Run the following Syntax:

# Create a resource group

az group create –name EOTDWebAppRG –location centralus

# Create an Azure App Service plan

az appservice plan create –name EOTDAppServicePlan –resource-group EOTDWebAppRG –sku S1 –is-linux

# Create an Azure App Service Web App for Containers

az webapp create –resource-group EOTDWebAppRG –plan EOTDAppServicePlan –name EOTD –deployment-container-image-name alpine

# Create a deployment slot for the Azure App Service Web App for Containers

az webapp deployment slot create –name EOTD –resource-group EOTDWebAppRG –slot dev –configuration-source EOTD

Deploy Azure Container Registry

Now let’s create the Azure Container Registry. Again, this is where we will store the container image. Run the following Syntax:

# Create Azure Container Registry

az acr create –resource-group EOTDWebAppRG –name eotdacr –sku Basic –admin-enabled false –location centralus

Note the loginServer from the output. This is the FQDN of the registry. Normally we would need this, admin enabled, and the password to log into the registry. In this scenario we won’t need admin enabled or the password because we will be adding a connection to Azure DevOps and the pipelines will handle pushing to and pulling the image from the registry.

When it’s all done you should see the following resources in the new resource group:

Next, we will need to build an application and a container image.

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