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Automation DSC

An introduction to Azure's Desired State Configuration automated options.

In the previous step, we demonstrated using ARM templates to deploy objects in Azure. In this step, we will introduce the concept of a Desired State Configuration.

Azure Automation Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a cloud-based solution for Windows PowerShell DSC. The solution lets you manage, deploy and enforce configurations for physical or virtual machines. Automation DSC uses declarative Windows PowerShell syntax to define your configurations. A centralised pull server retrieves and applies configurations to a set of computers (also known as target nodes).

Use Cases

The following are some example scenarios where you can use built-in DSC resources to configure and manage a set of target nodes in an automated way:

  • Enabling or disabling server roles and features.
  • Managing files and directories.
  • Starting, stopping and managing processes and services.
  • Deploying new software or software updates.
  • Fixing a configuration that has drifted away from the desired state.

Note: If you are not familiar with DSC, take some time to read Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Overview

How Automation DSC Works

Three blocks are shown. The first is the Configuration for SharePoint shown in code format. An arrow, labelled ‘Compiled, put on pull server (via compilation jobs)’, connects it to the second block. The second block is labelled “Node Configurations (.MOF configuration documents) and shows three blue blocks stacked on top of one another. An arrow, labelled “Applied (via node push)”, connects it to the third block. This third and final block is labelled Nodes, and shows six computer towers.

  1. Create a PowerShell script with the configuration element.
  2. Upload the script to Azure Automation and compile the script into a Managed Object Format (MOF) file. The file is transferred to the DSC pull server.
  3. Define the nodes that will use the configuration.
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