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Azure Blueprints = Audit Angel

Just like that, out of nowhere, a neon green Camaro cut Kara off forcing a mash of the brake pedal and a slight jerk. Vehicles didn’t collide, there was a solid 3, maybe 4, inches of clearance between the bumpers in the sea of brake lights. Such a close call would alarm most people, or at least get some adrenaline pumping, but Kara had bigger fish to fry.

“Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?” she asked. Kara already knew what was scheduled for today but hearing her robotic companion was another distraction, for a few moments anyway as she was about to pull into her company parking lot where she served as the IT Director. Kara had been preparing for this day for months.

Today was audit day.

Audits can be a daunting task and generally, there is a great deal of pressure, especially in Kara’s situation. She couldn’t afford to lose her job right now; she is in the process of building a home with her husband. That too is a stressful endeavor on its own.

The couple had been pinching pennies for years to save for their dream home. They wanted to incorporate some custom architectural elements, to convey their personal style but they also had to consider the numerous building and fire safety codes during the design phase.

Although, the couple planned on this being their forever home, that didn’t mean they were working with an unlimited budget. She always wanted marble countertops but unfortunately, it just couldn’t fit in the budget and they certainly didn’t want to creep into their dwindling savings.

The contractor’s blueprints provide a guide to stay in budget and pass the building codes while Azure Blueprints provide a guide to pass audits and regulate the type of resources deployed in your Azure environment. We’ve all seen it; scope creep happens in many aspects of our lives. As a matter of fact, this was like an issue she was facing at work.

Kara discovered the development team was consuming cloud resources in ways that were non-compliant with regulatory restrictions and often overprovisioning resources that were costing the company. Remediating these issues wasted a lot of her time as well as the developers. If she had known about the Azure native service called Azure Blueprints, she could predefine a declarative way to provide centralized governance moving forward. She could create a uniform environment, ensuring compliance right from the start.

If we compare this to the blueprints of her dream home, it’s easy to understand the plumbers, electricians and general contractors know how to build to the predefined specifications allowing them to pass building inspections. Now the development team would also have a blueprint to help them pass audits. Another benefit Azure Blueprints provide would be the ability to remain within budget. The developers wanted the high performing virtual machines just as much as Kara wanted the marble countertops, but were they really necessary for a test environment? No, but now she can provide them with a range of VMs to select from that won’t break the bank.

She could also reuse existing components of current builds so the team wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. She could still incorporate the current collection of Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates they were already using but pair them with other artifacts such as RBAC assignments (you can read more here), Azure Policy and Resource groups.

This modular design allows quick uniform builds at scale. Allowing Kara to apply different blueprints within different areas of her environment depending on the level of scope she assigns provides her the ability to have fine grain control. Think of it this way, building one house can be a major pain but what if you were responsible for building entire subdivisions? Not only would you need to consider codes and budget, but now you must appease stakeholders to provide a uniform look to the new development. You may be limited to a handful of exterior paint colors, square footage limitations, and landscaping layouts. ARM templates are good for building houses, but Azure Blueprints are great for building subdivisions.

With Azure Blueprints you can provide governance to ensure things like regulatory compliance, uniform builds or just adhering to corporate patterns and policies.

Although this service still in preview it is surprisingly robust. Whether you are looking to customize your environment or adhere to government or industry regulations Azure has your back. Currently, there are about twenty templates ranging from HIPAA to ISO standards. Check out the list below:

I would expect this collection to grow once the service gains more traction. These templates are like little audit angels sent to save the souls of all the Kara’s out there.

For more information check out this quick video explaining this concept visually.

To learn more about Azure features check out my courses on ITPro.TV


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