Manage Azure Resources using Automation tasks — new way

During the Christmas break (CY2020), I was catching up on Azure updates and came across this feature in Azure Portal. I felt it’s worth sharing.

To help you manage Azure resources more easily, we can create automated management tasks for a specific resource or resource group by using automation task templates. Today you can schedule a shutdown time for an Azure VM. You’ll find this under your VM’s >> Operations >> Auto-shutdown section

We can also use Azure Automation runbooks to schedule VM startup/shutdown at scale.

Azure now provides a new way to schedule start/stop Azure VMs. For an Azure virtual machine, you can create an automation task that starts/stops an Azure virtual machine on a predefined schedule. Behind the scenes, an automation task is actually a workflow that runs on the Azure Logic Apps service and is billed using the same pricing rates and pricing model.

Important: This capability is in public preview, is provided without a service level agreement, and is not recommended for production workloads. Certain features might not be supported or might have constrained capabilities.

Let’s get started

Prerequisites

  • An Azure account and subscription. If you don’t have a subscription, sign up for a free Azure account.
  • The Azure resource that you want to manage. This article uses an Azure Virtual Machine as the example.
  • An Office 365 account if you want to follow along with the example, which sends you email by using Office 365 Outlook.

Create Automation Tasks

  1. Login to the Azure Portal: https://portal.azure.com
  2. Go to your VM >> Automation >> Tasks

3. Click on +Add and add 2 tasks: one for Start and the other task to Power off the Virtual Machine

You can repeat the same process to Power off the VMs. You’ll see 2 Logic Apps and the corresponding API connections in your resource group or Logic Apps view

That’s it. Your VMs will start/stop at the scheduled times. Now a question arises. How are Automation tasks differ from the Azure Automation?

Automation tasks are more basic and lightweight than Azure Automation and can only be created at the resource level. By comparison, Azure Automation is a cloud-based automation and configuration service that supports consistent management across your Azure and non-Azure environments. The service comprises process automation for orchestrating processes by using runbooks, configuration management with change tracking and inventory, update management, shared capabilities, and heterogeneous features. Automation gives you complete control (at scale) during deployment, operations, and decommissioning of workloads and resources.

This is a nice feature to keep in mind if you are flexible to manage at the resource level. IMHO, this new (preview) method is lot better than the original method. I’m hopeful Azure will continue to add more automation tasks in the near future. Pls give it a try.

References

Managed Azure Resource using Logic Apps

Start/Stop VMs using Azure Automation Accounts