Enable High Availability using Availability Sets

This IT Pro Challenges virtual lab challenges learners to use Availability Sets to improve the reliability of Azure VMs using Windows Server 2016 Datacenter. Learners will gain experience using Azure load balancer to enable high availability. Skills learned in this lab are very valuable in job roles such as system administrators.

45 minutes
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Consider a regular VM-based solution where users might have multiple web servers and two back-end VMs. With Azure, you want to determine two availability sets before deploying your VMs: one each for the web tier and the back tier. When you build a new VM, you define the availability set as a parameter. Azure makes sure the VMs are divided over various physical hardware resources. If one of the physical hardware has a problem, you understand the other instances of the servers will keep operating because they're on separate hardware.

In this hands-on lab, you will learn how to improve the availability and security of your Virtual Machines (VMs) utilizing Availability Sets that are responsible for deployed VMs distribution over various isolated hardware nodes in a cluster. The other guided challenges in this series are:

  • Provision an Azure VM with SQL Server.
  • Configure Virtual Networks.
  • Deploy Azure VMs for Multi-tier Apps (IaaS).

Understand the Scenario

In this virtual lab, you are a system administrator for a company that is migrating its web services from its data center to Azure. Your job responsibility is to create and deploy multiple Azure VMs acting as a Web Farm to an Availability Set for high availability and load balancing as a proof of concept. Learners will use an Azure resource group that initially contains no resources. They will create the necessary resources to complete the challenge.

Create an Availability Set for High Availability

An Availability Set is a valid grouping ability for separating virtual machine (VM) resources from each other when they're stationed. The VMs users place within an Availability Set work over various physical servers and compute racks. In this section of the lab, learners will create an availability set for high availability. For this, they will:

  • Create an Availability Set and name it AVSet-12267023. Learners will use an Availability Set blade and move the sliders so that the number of fault domains is 3, and the number of update domains is 5 and verify the Managed setting is set to Yes.
  • Configure the Availability Set to use three fault domains and five update domains and support managed disks.

Deploy Azure VMs into an Availability Set for High Availability

In this section of the virtual lab, you will deploy two Azure VMs into the Availability Set for High Availability. For this, you will configure the VMs to use Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and set the size of the VMs to Standard B2s with HDD managed disks and enable RDP access. Next, learners will specify the Availability Set that they created earlier for both VMs. Finally, they will check and confirm that the Availability Set contains VMFE1-12267023 and VMFE2-12267023, and each VM is in a separate fault and update domain.

Add an Azure Load Balancer to an Availability Set

An Azure load balancer is a Layer-4 (TCP, UDP) load balancer that gives high availability by sharing incoming traffic between good VMs. A load balancer health exploration watches an assigned port on each VM and only shares traffic to a working VM. In this section of the lab, learners will add an azure load balancer to an availability set. To accomplish this, they will:

  • Create an Azure Load Balancer named LBFE-12267023.
  • Configure the Load Balancer to be Public (Internet-facing) with an SKU of Basic and use a new static Public IP address named LBIP-12267023.
  • Specify the back-end pool named LBBE-12267023 based on the Availability Set you created earlier that contains each VM NIC as a target network IP configuration.
  • Specify a health probe named LBPB-12267023 on TCP port 80 (HTTP).
  • Specify a Load Balancing rule named LBRL-12267023 for TCP port 80 (HTTP).

Lab Summary Conclusion

After completing the "Enable High Availability using Availability Sets" virtual lab, you will have accomplished the following:

  • Created an Availability Set for High Availability.
  • Deployed Azure VMs into an Availability Set for High Availability.
  • Added an Azure Load Balancer to an Availability Set.