This post was co-authored by Altaf Tambawala, Principal Program Manager, Azure
Today, we are announcing the general availability of Cloud Services (extended support), which is a new Azure Resource Manager (ARM)-based deployment model for Azure Cloud Services. The platform-supported tool for migrating existing cloud services to Cloud Services (extended support) also goes into preview today.
Cloud Services (extended support) has the primary benefit of providing regional resiliency along with feature parity with Azure Cloud Services deployed using Azure Service Manager (ASM). It also offers some ARM capabilities such as role-based access and control (RBAC), tags, policy, private link support, and use of deployment templates.
The ASM-based deployment model for Cloud Services has been renamed Cloud Services (classic). Customers retain the ability to build and rapidly deploy web and cloud applications and services. Customers will be able to scale cloud services infrastructure based on current demand and ensure that the performance of applications can keep up while simultaneously reducing costs. Migrating to ARM will allow customers to set up a robust infrastructure platform for their applications.
Available migration paths
Cloud Services (extended support) provides two paths for customers to migrate from ASM to ARM:
- Re-deploy: Customers can deploy a new cloud service directly in ARM and then delete the old cloud service in ASM after thorough validation. The general availability of Cloud Services (extended support) comes with a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.95 percent.
- In-place migration: Migration tool that enables a seamless, platform orchestrated migration of existing Cloud Services (classic) deployments to Cloud Services (extended support).
- Cloud Services (extended support) also supports two types of roles, web and worker. There are no changes to the design, architecture, or components of web and worker roles.
- No changes are required to runtime code as the data plane is the same as cloud services.
- Azure GuestOS releases and associated updates are aligned with Cloud Services (classic).
- Underlying update process with respect to update domains, how upgrade proceeds, rollback, and allowed service changes during an update will not change.
- Customers must use Azure Key Vault to manage certificates in Cloud Services (extended support). Azure Key Vault lets you securely store and manage application credentials such as secrets, keys, and certificates in a central and secure cloud repository.
- All resources deployed through the Azure Resource Manager must be inside a virtual network.
- Each Cloud Service (extended support) is a single independent deployment. VIP Swap capability may be used to swap between two Cloud Services (extended support).
Collaborating with customers to meet their needs
"Cloud Services (extended support) is long-awaited and much needed platform support for Azure early adopter customers to migrate to ARM. The ability to run cloud services side by side with other compute and data workloads in the same VNET allows for flexible architectural options. Another benefit is the added visibility and metrics for monitoring into networking components such as Load Balancers which were previously implicitly defined. Additional benefits include an improved security posture with SSL certificates stored and referenced in Azure Key Vault. Our DevOps team was excited when they were able to leverage their RBAC skills and existing CI/CD pipelines around ARM templates and no longer having to manage service management certificates and use outdated SDKs and scripts written in PowerShell and golang. Migrating to the new deployment model was a moderate amount of work for the DevOps team."—Nikhil Shampur, Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.
"We took part in the preview of Cloud Services (extended support) and were successfully able to deploy and run our service without code changes. We only needed to develop the ARM templates for deployment of the Cloud Service resources and our service, then make some configuration changes to the cloud service configurations. We had no issues with a number of cloud service startup tasks that we required, such as installers for specific C/C++ runtime libraries and third-party windows services that were required for operation. Additional benefits are that we can use ARM template deployments consistent with our Service Fabric services and include deployment in the Virtual Network with our Service Fabric services. Overall, the transition to Cloud Services (extended support) is proving to be relatively painless."—Chris Donovan, Instec (Insurance Information Technologies)
In-place migration details
The migration tool is now available in preview and provides the following additional benefits:
- Enables seamless platform orchestrated migration with no downtime for most scenarios. Learn more about supported scenarios.
- Migrates existing cloud services in three simple steps: validate, prepare, commit (or abort). Learn more about how the migration tool works.
- Provides the ability to test migrated deployments after successful preparation. Commit and finalize the migration while abort rolls back the migration.
- Existing deployments and related deployment files can be reused with minor changes.
- Retains Cloud Services IP Address and domain name system (DNS) label as part of migration. No client-side changes required.
Migration can be invoked in two different ways
- Virtual network migration will migrate all Cloud Services (classic) deployments that are inside a customer-configured explicit virtual network (classic).
- Cloud Service deployment migration can only be used for eligible Cloud Service (classic) deployments that are not inside a virtual network. The "validate" API response will confirm the eligibility of the Cloud Service for migration.
Both deployment models (extended support and classic) are available with similar pricing structures. Cloud Services (extended support) uses Azure Key Vault and Basic (ARM) Public IP addresses. Learn more about Azure Key Vault pricing and Public IP Address pricing. There is no change in pricing between preview and general availability.
Additional Azure services to consider for migration to ARM
When evaluating migration plans from Cloud Services (classic) to Cloud Services (extended support), customers may want to investigate the opportunity of taking advantage of additional Azure services such as Virtual Machine Scale Sets, App Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Azure Service Fabric. These services will continue to feature additional capabilities, while Cloud Services (extended support) will primarily maintain feature parity with Cloud Services (classic.)
Depending on the application, Cloud Services (extended support) may require substantially less effort to move to ARM compared to other options. If the application is not evolving, Cloud Services (extended support) is a viable option to consider as it provides a quick migration path. Conversely, if the application is continuously evolving and needs a more modern feature set, do explore other Azure services to better address current and future requirements.
There are several resources customers can use to learn more about Cloud Services (extended support).