Azure resource group guidelines for Windows VMs

This article is part of a wider series to provide you with design considerations and guidelines as you build out an application infrastructure in Azure. You can view the additional topics in the series. Although you can quickly build a dev/test environment in Azure, there are additional considerations when implementing a production-ready, highly available, and secure environment.

This article focuses on understanding how to logically build out your environment and group all the components in Resource Groups.

Implementation guidelines for Resource Groups

Decisions:

  • Are you going to build out Resource Groups by the core infrastructure components, or by complete application deployment?
  • Do you need to restrict access to Resource Groups using Role-Based Access Controls?

Tasks:

  • Define what core infrastructure components and dedicated Resource Groups you need.
  • Review how to implement Resource Manager templates for consistent, reproducible deployments.
  • Define what user access roles you need for controlling access to Resource Groups.
  • Create the set of Resource Groups using your naming convention. You can use Azure PowerShell or the portal.

Resource Groups

In Azure, you logically group related resources such as storage accounts, virtual networks, and virtual machines (VMs) to deploy, manage, and maintain them as a single entity. This approach makes it easier to deploy applications while keeping all the related resources together from a management perspective, or to grant others access to that group of resources. For a more comprehensive understanding of Resource Groups, read the Azure Resource Manager overview.

A key feature to Resource Groups is ability to build out your environment using templates. A template is simply a JSON file that declares the storage, networking, and compute resources. You can also define any related custom scripts or configurations to apply. By using these templates, you create consistent, reproducible deployments for your applications. This approach makes it easy to build out an environment in development and then use that same template to create a production deployment, or vice versa. For a better understanding using templates, read the template walkthrough that guides you through each step of the building out a template.

There are two different approaches you can take when designing your environment with Resource Groups:

  • Resource Groups for each application deployment that combines the storage accounts, virtual networks, and subnets, VMs, load balancers, etc.
  • Centralized Resource Groups that contain your core virtual networking and subnets or storage accounts. Your applications are then in their own Resource Groups that only contain VMs, load balancers, network interfaces, etc.

As you scale out, creating centralized Resource Groups for your virtual networking and subnets makes it easier to build cross-premises network connections for hybrid connectivity options. The alternative approach is for each application to have their own virtual network that requires configuration and maintenance. Role-Based Access Controls provide a granular way to control access to Resource Groups. For production applications, you can control the users that may access those resources, or for the core infrastructure resources you can limit only infrastructure engineers to work with them. Your application owners only have access to the application components within their Resource Group and not the core Azure infrastructure of your environment. As you design your environment, consider the users that require access to the resources and design your Resource Groups accordingly.

Next steps

The full series of guidelines helps you understand all the different design considerations for building our your application infrastructure in Azure: