Taking advantage of Azure services can be as easy as signing up and selecting a virtual machine image from the Azure Gallery. Integrating those services into an existing infrastructure, or migrating existing on-premises services to Azure, takes a lot more mindfulness and planning. Even if your staff is gung-ho about Azure and is pushing to implement many of its services, there may be resistance from upper management. What about that new Hyper-V infrastructure you invested in 2 years ago? Budget managers are unlikely to want to ditch a technology that costs so much to implement and is so widely used.
On the other hand, maybe your organization is ready to use Azure services but there are on-premises resources such as fileservers, databases, and directory services which need to be leveraged. Sure, Azure has some amazing offerings, but it isn’t realistic to migrate all your databases to the cloud. At least, not yet.
Enter the hybrid cloud.
An Azure hybrid cloud uses a VPN to join the Azure network with your on-premises network. You will also need to setup directory services in the Azure network that synchronizes between your on-premises directory services and Azure. Setting up a hybrid network does not have to be an unforgiving chore and there are fantastic resources available to you. Here are the 6 steps to setting up a hybrid network with Azure.
Setup an Azure account
In order to setup a hybrid network you will need to have an Azure account. Before doing anything, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan. This includes identifying the network subnets, which machine will host your on-premises RRAS or other VPN technology, and preparing to define the Active Directory Intersite connector.
Setup a gateway on the Azure side
Setting up a gateway is simple on the Azure side – there are wizards that walk you through it!
Setup RRAS services or other technology on the local side
In order to connect your on-premises network to an Azure network, you will need technology to support a VPN. This could be RRAS or another of a dozen different hardware routers.
Configure the VPN
You will need to configure the VPN to setup a site-to-site connection. The site-to-site connection bridges the two networks and allows your on-premises network resources to see the resources in Azure, and vice-versa.
Setup a DC on the Azure side
Presuming you are using Active Directory on-premises, you will need to create another domain controller in Azure for the domain. Not only will the DC provide authentication services, it will also provide DNS, which is necessary when trying to find resources throughout the domain.
Setup Inter-site connector
Finally, you will need to setup an Inter-site replication connector. This helps to manage domain controller replication traffic and limit the impact on available bandwidth.
This hybrid network summary makes it sound easy, right? Well, it actually is pretty easy to setup, provided you know what you’re doing. If you have never setup virtual networks in Azure, there are some fantastic resources. You can even setup a demo hybrid network using two Azure networks, just to work through the kicks in the process before attempting it with a production network.
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