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Azure Service Health Dashboard Now Available

The Azure Service Health dashboard, used to check the status of Azure services, has reached the "general availability" stage, Microsoft announced this week.

The dashboard had been at the preview stage since July, but now Microsoft deems it ready for use in production environments. Azure Service Health, available through the Azure Portal, has a Summary tab that shows the general problems affecting Azure services, as well as the Azure regions that are affected. It also has a world map showing the overall health of Azure services that can be pinned to the dashboard view.

Updates on Microsoft's problem-resolution efforts also are displayed in the dashboard. Those updates can be downloaded as .PDF files and shared with people who don't have access to the dashboard. A Potential Impact tab in Azure Service Health dashboard shows specific affected resources, which can be saved as a .CSV file, according to an "Overview" document.

Dashboard information can be routed to an organization's IT team members by configuring an "Action Group" option in the Azure Portal, according to this Microsoft document. Alerts can be distributed to the team members via e-mails or a messaging service, or they can be pushed into another application using webhook notifications.

When alerts are no longer active, they get stored as health history "for up to 90 days."

Azure Service Health essentially has three capabilities. First, it provides a global view of the health of all Azure services, which is otherwise available from Microsoft's public Azure Status page. Next, it provides a personalized view of the health of Azure services used by an organization. Lastly, it has a Resource Health component that checks for unplanned events, planned events (such as scheduled updates) and user-triggered events. Resources are shown as being "available," "unavailable" or "unknown" (because the reporting has stopped), according to a Microsoft FAQ.

The Resource Health component provides the most specific details about the status of Azure services, according to the FAQ:

Whereas Azure status and the Service Health dashboard inform you about service issues that affect a broad set of customers (for example an Azure region), Resource Health exposes more granular events that are relevant only to the specific resource. For example, if a host unexpectedly reboots, Resource Health alerts only those customers whose virtual machines were running on that host.

The types of checks performed by Resource Health are shown in this Microsoft document.

Azure Service Health apparently is a free service available to Azure users. Microsoft has other Azure tools that it charges to use, such as Azure Monitor and Log Analytics, as described at its pricing page.

In other Azure news this week, users of Microsoft's cloud-based file share service, Azure Files, can now make snapshots of Server Message Block (SMB) shares, which can be used for backup and restore operations. Users of this new "Azure Files share snapshots" capability, now at general availability, will incur data storage costs.

Microsoft also announced earlier this month that the "classic" Azure Portal will be going away on April 2 of this year; additionally, Microsoft has plans to kill off the Azure Access Control Service on Nov. 7, 2018.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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