• Rohit Anand

Azure Stack Fundamentals (Series 02)

In this series of documentation, will try to understand more about Azure Stack technical design:

The internal foundation of Azure Stack is Windows Server 2016 technology, which allows - Azure Stack to build cloud inspired infrastructure:

  • Azure Resource Manager

  • VxLAN

  • Nano Server

  • Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)

Azure Resource Manager:

Azure Resource Manager enables you to work with resources in your solution as a group. You can deploy, update, or delete all the resources for your solution in a single, coordinated operation.

An ARM is consistent management layer that saves resources, dependencies, inputs, and outputs as an idempotent deployment as a JSON file called an ARM template. These templates give you the ability to work with different environments such as testing, staging, and production.

The goal is that once the template is designed, it can be run on each Azure-based cloud platform, including Azure Stack. Using ARM, you can manage subscriptions and RBAC and defines the gallery metric and usage data, too.

There are some terms, which you need to be aware of while working with the ARM.

  • Resource: A resource is a manageable item available in Azure. Virtual Machine, Storage, Database etc. are manageable resources in Azure.

  • Resource group: Container of resources that fit together within the service.

  • Resource Provider: A resource provider is a service that can be consumed within Azure.

  • Resource Manager Template: A resource manager template is the definition of a specific service.

  • Declarative Syntax: Syntax that lets you state "Here is what I intend to create" without having to write the sequence of programming commands to create it. The Resource Manager template is an example of declarative syntax. To create your own ARM templates, you can get it done by using different ways and can get it modified based on your requirement.

  • Visual Studio templates

  • Quick Start templates on GitHub

  • Azure ARM templates

Reference Link: ARM Overview

VxLAN (Virtual Networking)

Microsoft introduced Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation) Technology with windows server 2012.

Hyper-V Network Virtualization supports NVGRE as the mechanism to virtualize IP addresses. In NVGRE, the virtual machine's packet is encapsulated inside another packet.

VxLAN comes as the new SDNv2 protocol; it is RFC compliant and is supported by most network hardware vendors by default. The Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network (VxLAN) RFC 7348 protocol has been widely adopted in the marketplace, with support from vendors such as Cisco, Brocade, Arista, Dell, and HP. The VxLAN protocol uses UDP as the transport.

Reference Link: Network Virtualization

Nano Server

Nano Server offers a minimal-footprint, headless version of Windows Server 2016. It completely excludes the graphical user interface, which means that it is quite small, headless, and easy to handle regarding updates and security fixes, but it doesn't provide the GUI expected by customers of Windows Server.

Storage Spaces Direct:

Storage Spaces and Scale-Out File Server were technologies that came with Windows Server 2012. The lack of stability in the initial versions and the issues with the underlying hardware was a bad phase. The general concept was a shared storage setup using JBODs controlled from Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces servers, and a magic Scale-Out File Server cluster that acted as the single point of contact for storage:

With Windows Server 2016, the design is quite different and the concept relies on a shared nothing model, even with locally attached storage:

Reference Link : Storage Spaces Direct

In the upcoming articles, will be continue with technical design. Happy Learning and looking for your feedback here.

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