General Availability: Azure Automation

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Use Azure Automation to create, monitor, deploy, and maintain resources in your Azure environment. It automates time-consuming, error-prone, and frequently repeated cloud management tasks (for both Azure and third party systems).

Billing Model

Azure Automation is available as a pay-as-you-go service and is billed based on the number of job run time minutes used in a given Azure subscription. There are two plans: Free and Standard.  In the Free plan you get 500 job run time minutes per calendar month for free. In the Standard plan you get unlimited job run time minutes and are billed $0.002 per minute. By default, each subscription is first assigned to the Free plan.  If you are on the Free plan, once you exceed 500 minutes in a calendar month you will not be able to start any new jobs.  If this happens, you can wait until the first day of the next month to start new jobs or you can switch to the Standard plan and start jobs immediately.  To switch to the Standard plan for your subscription, go to the Scale tab in Azure Automation and select "Standard".  Note that you will never be billed for Automation usage until you opt in to the Standard plan.

Feature List

There are a number of new features that have been introduced for general availability:
  • Multiple region support
  • PowerShell Script Converter
  • Runbook Gallery
  • Hourly Scheduling

Multiple Region Support

Azure Automation now allows you to create Automation Accounts in different regions. The new regions include:
  • East US 2
  • West Europe
  • Southeast Asia
Azure Automation will continue to add support for new regions in the future.

PowerShell Script Converter

Azure Automation now supports importing PowerShell scripts as runbooks. When a PowerShell script is imported that does not contain a single PowerShell Workflow, Automation will attempt to convert it from PowerShell script to PowerShell Workflow, and then create a runbook from the result. This allows the vast amount of PowerShell content and knowledge that exists today to be more easily leveraged in Azure Automation, despite the fact that Automation executes PowerShell Workflow and not PowerShell.

Runbook Gallery

The Runbook Gallery allows you to quickly discover Automation sample, utility, and scenario runbooks from within the Azure management portal. The Runbook Gallery consists of both runbooks (PowerShell Workflows) and PowerShell Scripts that can be used as is or with minor modification and runbooks that can serve as examples of how to create your own runbooks. The Runbook Gallery features content not only by the Automation team, but also by active members of the Azure community. If you have created a runbook that you think other users may benefit from, you can share it with the community on Script Center and it will show up in the Gallery. If you are interested in learning more about the Runbook Gallery, this TechNet article describes how the Gallery works in more detail and provides information on how you can contribute.

Hourly Scheduling

Due to popular request from Automation users, Automation’s scheduling has been updated to include hourly scheduling. This feature allows you to schedule your runbook hourly or every X hours, making it that much easier to start runbooks at a regular frequency that is smaller than a day. For more information, please visit the Automation page. For comprehensive pricing information, please visit the Automation Pricing Details page.  

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