An introduction to Azure Automation

Azure Automation delivers a cloud-based automation and configuration service that provides consistent management across your Azure and non-Azure environments. It consists of process automation, update management, and configuration features. Azure Automation provides complete control during deployment, operations, and decommissioning of workloads and resources. This article provides a brief overview of Azure Automation and answers some common questions. For more information about the different capabilities, visit the links throughout this overview.

Azure Automation capabilities

Process automation

Azure Automation provides you the ability to automate frequent, time-consuming, and error-prone cloud management tasks. This automation helps you focus on work that adds business value. By reducing errors and boosting efficiency, it also helps to lower your operational costs. You can integrate Azure services and other public systems that are required in deploying, configuring, and managing your end to end processes. The service allows you to author runbooks graphically, in PowerShell, or Python. By using a hybrid Runbook worker, you can unify management by orchestrating across on-premises environments. Webhooks provide a way to fulfill requests and ensure continuous delivery and operations by triggering automation from ITSM, DevOps, and monitoring systems.

Configuration management

Azure Automation desired state configuration is a cloud-based solution for PowerShell DSC that provides services required for enterprise environments. Manage your DSC resources in Azure Automation and apply configurations to virtual or physical machines from a DSC Pull Server in the Azure cloud. It provides rich reports that inform you of important events such as when nodes have deviated from their assigned configuration. You can monitor and automatically update machine configuration across physical and virtual machines, Windows or Linux, in the cloud or on-premises.

You can get inventory about in-guest resources for visibility into installed applications and other configuration items. A rich reporting and search capabilities are available to quickly find detailed information to help understand what is configured within the operating system. You can track changes across services, daemons, software, registry, and files to quickly identify what might be causing issues. Additionally, DSC can help you diagnose and alert when unwanted changes occur in your environment.

Update management

Update Windows and Linux systems across hybrid environments with Azure Automation. You get visibility of update compliance across Azure, on-premises, and other clouds. You can create schedule deployments to orchestrate the installation of updates within a defined maintenance window. If an update should not be installed on a machine, you can exclude those updates from a deployment.

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