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Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions
Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions: Exam Ref AZ-700 preparation guide

By David Okeyode
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Book Aug 2023 524 pages 1st Edition
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Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

Azure Networking Fundamentals

As more organizations migrate business-critical workloads to the Azure cloud platform (or build new ones), they rely on applications and services being able to communicate with each other securely to provide services to their internal teams, business partners, and customers. Azure Virtual Network (VNet) is the core service for implementing secure private networking in Azure. A VNet is a virtual version of a physical network, implemented on the Azure cloud platform.

In this chapter, we will focus on the foundational concepts of implementing private network connectivity in Azure. We will walk through what Azure VNet is, its capabilities, the key differences between Azure VNet and a traditional on-premises network, and supported services that can be launched into Azure VNet (spoiler: as well as a virtual machine (VM), we can also deploy 20 other services into Azure VNet).

We’ll then go on to discuss key implementation options such as designing/assigning IP address spaces, segmentation using subnets, and resource IP address assignments – how resources are allocated an IP address (another spoiler: you can’t use self-managed DHCP!).

Lastly, we’ll talk about the routing and traffic flow functionalities of Azure VNet. In other words, how does routing work and how do we control traffic flow?

In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:

  • Understanding Azure VNet
  • Planning VNet naming and location
  • Planning VNet IP address spaces
  • Planning VNet subnet segmentation
  • Hands-on exercise – creating a single-stack VNet in Azure
  • Hands-on exercise – creating a dual-stack VNet in Azure
  • Understanding private IP address assignment for subnet workloads
  • Hands-on exercise – determining the VM location and sizes for future exercises
  • Hands-on exercise – exploring private IP assignments
  • Cleaning up resources

Each topic has been structured to align with the recommended network connectivity best practices in Azure. Let us get into this!

Technical requirements

To follow along with the instructions in this chapter, you will need the following:

  • A PC with an internet connection
  • An Azure subscription

Before we proceed to cover the security best practices, let us prepare our Azure subscription for the hands-on exercises that we will complete later in the chapter.

Understanding Azure VNet

Before we get too far into Azure networking concepts, let’s establish what Azure VNet is and the capabilities that it provides.

A VNet is a virtual version of a physical network, implemented on the Azure cloud platform. The main advantage that it has over a traditional network is that we don’t need to implement or maintain the underlying physical hardware for this network (these responsibilities are offloaded to our cloud provider – Microsoft). But for the most part, we can achieve similar capabilities and architectures that we can achieve on-premises. We can even implement more flexible architectures with Azure VNets due to the software-defined nature.

So, what capabilities does Azure VNet provide? Here is a short list of some use cases:

  • Connectivity for supported Azure services including VM, virtual machine scale sets (VMSSs), and 32 other services
  • Native Internal TCP/UDP Load Balancing and proxy systems for Internal HTTP(S) Load Balancing
  • Connects to on-premises networks using Cloud VPN tunnels and Cloud Interconnect attachments

Limitation

An Azure subscription can have up to 1,000 VNets as of the time of writing (April, 2022). An additional subscription will be needed to grow beyond this limit.

Azure VNet versus traditional networks

Even though Azure VNet is similar to a traditional on-premises network in many ways, there are still important differences, mainly due to restrictions that have been put in place by Microsoft to ensure security in a multi-tenant platform such as Azure. Here are some key ones:

  • Azure VNet does not support Layer-2 semantics (Only Layer-3 and Layer-4). This means that concepts such as virtual LANs (vLANs) and Layer-2 broadcasts don’t work in Azure VNet. Figure 1.1 shows the output of running the arp -a command on a VM that is deployed in Azure VNet. You will notice that the MAC address resolution for VMs in the same subnet results in the same 12:34:56:78:9a:bc value. This is because we are on a shared platform and the VNet is a Layer-3 overlay instead of Layer-2:
Figure 1.1 – ARP table on an Azure VM

Figure 1.1 – ARP table on an Azure VM

  • Another key difference between a traditional network and Azure VNet is that some protocols and communication types are restricted from being used in Azure VNet. Protocols such as multicast, broadcast, DHCP unicast, UDP source port 65330, IP-in-IP encapsulated packets, and Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) packets are not allowed in Azure VNet. Any application or service capability that requires these protocols or communication types will need to be refactored before deployment into Azure VNet for it to work. The only protocols that are allowed are TCP, UDP, ICMP, and Unicast communication (except source port UDP/68 /, destination port UDP/67, and UDP source port 65330, which is reserved for the host).

Note

For more information on the differences of Azure VNet and traditional networks, refer to the document at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-network/virtual-networks-faq.

Now that you have some fundamental information on what Azure VNet is, let’s discuss how you would go about planning one, starting with considerations around naming it.

Planning Vnet naming

All Azure resources have a name that must be unique within a scope. The scope is different for each resource type. When creating a Vnet, its name must be unique within the scope of the resource group. This means that it is possible to have two Vnets in your Azure subscription with the same name as long as they don’t belong to the same resource group! This can be useful in a design that involves having the same Vnet resource name for both development and production environments, as shown in Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2 – Vnet names must be unique for the resource group scope

Figure 1.2 – Vnet names must be unique for the resource group scope

Even though it is possible to have duplicate names within a subscription, it is not a recommended practice as it could later lead to confusion when investigating security incidents using logging information (we will cover network logging and monitoring later in this book). When investigating security incidents, it helps to be able to quickly identify affected resources and having a unique resource naming strategy for your Vnets helps with this.

Regarding naming best practices, it is best to define a naming convention as early as possible. This convention should be communicated to the teams with permission to create network resources in Azure, and preferably, the naming convention should be enforced using tools such as Azure Policy. To define a good naming strategy, consider these recommendations:

  • Review resource name restrictions for the Vnet and other network resources in Azure. For example, a Vnet name can have up to 64 characters made up of alphanumerics, underscores, periods, and hyphens. Your naming convention should take this into consideration. Information on Vnet naming restrictions can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-resource-manager/management/resource-name-rules#microsoftnetwork.
  • Consider including information about the following – resource type, resource location, deployment environment, and workload type in your naming convention. For example, a Vnet for production web services workloads in the East US region might be named prod-eastus-webservices-Vnet (Figure 1.3).
Figure 1.3 – Sample Vnet naming convention

Figure 1.3 – Sample Vnet naming convention

For more thoughts on naming conventions, please refer to this document: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/ready/azure-best-practices/resource-naming.

Planning VNet location

Almost all Azure services are created in a regional location specified at creation time. I said almost all because there are some exceptions – so-called global or non-regional services that are not pinned to a region. Azure Vnet is a regional service.

As of the time of writing (April 2022), the Azure cloud has 55 active regions in which we can create Vnets (with nineteen announced regions coming soon).

So, which regions should you select when creating Vnets? Consider the following three points to guide your decision regarding this:

  • Business compliance requirements: This is the first point that you should consider when deciding the Azure region to locate your Vnets in. If there are organizational/industry compliance requirements that require data residency or data sovereignty in a geographic area, then you must adhere to that! You don’t want to end up in a situation where your organization is fined or charged for violating governmental regulations! For example, if you are providing services to a US government agency, the workloads that you are using to provide those services may be required to be in Vnets created in one of the Azure US government regions.
  • Proximity to the users: This is the second key point to consider regarding Vnet location. You want your networks in locations close to the end users to ensure the lowest network latency. For example, if your organization is based in the UK and your network will host workloads that will provide services to your customers in the area, it will probably be best to create your Vnet(s) in either the UK South or the UK West Azure regions. You could perform your own tests to determine latency information for your end users or you could leverage unofficial sites such as https://azurespeedtest.azurewebsites.net/ and https://cloudpingtest.com/azure.
  • Resiliency requirements: This is another key point to consider when deciding where you should create your Vnets. Does your resiliency architecture require you to be able to distribute your network workloads in multiple data centers within the same region? If it does, then you need to select one of the regions that allow you to use availability zones (AZs) – distinct groups of data centers in the same region. Not all Azure regions currently support this capability. At the time of writing, only 25 of the 55 active regions support AZs. I will recommend checking this document for an up-to-date list before you create your network resources – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/availability-zones/az-overview.

The following diagram shows an example of a Vnet with AZs:

Figure 1.4 – A Vnet with AZs

Figure 1.4 – A Vnet with AZs

Also, keep in mind that the decision to distribute your network workloads in multiple AZs in a region results in an extra cost of 0.01 USD (0.008 GBP) per gigabyte of data transferred between AZs for both inbound and outbound traffic.

Planning Vnet IP address spaces

Every Vnet must have at least one IP address space assignment. A Vnet space assignment can either be single-stack (IPv4 address space only) or dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces). At the time of writing, an IPv6-only Vnet is not supported! You might be able to create an IPv6-only Vnet in the portal, but you will not be able to attach a virtual network interface card (NIC) to it. Attempting it will result in the error message shown in Figure 1.5:

Figure 1.5 – Your Vnet must have at least one IPv4 address space to use IPv6

Figure 1.5 – Your Vnet must have at least one IPv4 address space to use IPv6

Note

Azure does not yet support an IPv6-only Vnet and subnet, but you can implement dual-stack Vnets and subnets that support both IPv4 and IPv6.

Azure VNet is not limited to one IP address space assignment. We can add more IP address spaces as needed, which is great for scalability! For example, we may want to add an additional IPv4 address space to support an unexpected workload expansion.

Limitation

Regardless of how many addresses are contained in the IP address spaces assigned to a Vnet, the total number of private IP addresses assigned to workloads cannot exceed 65,536.

The IP address spaces assigned to a Vnet do not have to be contiguous. Figure 1.6 shows an example of this with a Vnet that is configured to have two IPv4 address spaces that are not contiguous – 10.1.0.0/16 and 192.168.1.0/24 and an additional IPv6 address space for a dual-stack implementation – fd00:db8:deca::/48.

Figure 1.6 – A Vnet with multiple address spaces

Figure 1.6 – A Vnet with multiple address spaces

So, which IP address spaces should we use for our Vnets in Azure? Even though it is not required, it is highly recommended to use address ranges within the private, non-internet routable address spaces! For IPv4, this will be one of the IP ranges defined in RFC 1918 and for IPv6, this will be the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defined Unique Local Addresses, which use the fc00::/7 address range.

RFC 1918 private IPv4 address ranges

Private IP address ranges defined in RFC 1918 are IP ranges that have been set aside by the IETF for private network use. They include the following:

10.0.0.0/8 (10.0.0.010.255.255.255)

172.16.0.0/12 (172.16.0.0172.31.255.255)

192.168.0.0/16 (192.168.0.0192.168.255.255)

Using any of the RFC 1918 private IP address ranges will require some form of address translation for internet routing and connectivity (we will cover this scenario later in this book).

Shared IPv4 address spaces reserved in RFC 6598 can also be used as they are treated as private IP address spaces in Azure. This range includes the following:

  • 100.64/10 (100.64.0.0100.127.255.255)

Other IP address spaces may work but they are not recommended as they could have undesirable routing side effects with instability! The following address ranges are not allowed to be used as Vnet IP address spaces:

  • 224.0.0.0/4 (Multicast)
  • 255.255.255.255/32 (Broadcast)
  • 127.0.0.0/8 (Loopback)
  • 169.254.0.0/16 (Link-local)
  • 168.63.129.16/32 (Internal DNS)

Whatever IP address ranges you decide to use for your Vnets, it is highly recommended to plan for non-overlapping IP address spaces across Azure regions and on-premises locations in advance. You can achieve this by defining an organization-wide IP address scheme that ensures that each network has its own unique private IP address space if it is an Azure network or an on-premises network.

Best practice

Define an organization-wide IP address scheme that ensures that each organization network has its own unique private IP address space.

One of the reasons why this is important is that it can impact your ability to connect networks together later or leave you in a situation where you need to implement sub-optimal network address translations that add to the complexity.

For example, you cannot connect two Vnets together via Vnet peering if they have the same address space! Figure 1.7 shows the error message that you will get if you attempt this:

Figure 1.7 – Vnets with overlapping address spaces cannot be peered

Figure 1.7 – Vnets with overlapping address spaces cannot be peered

If you don’t know what Vnet peering is, don’t worry, we will cover it later in this book when we look at hybrid connectivity. You could use a VPN gateway to connect two networks with the same IP address spaces but this requires implementing address translation, which can make troubleshooting traffic flow very complex!

Planning Vnet subnet segmentation

To provide isolation within a Vnet, we can divide it into one or more subnets. Subnets are primarily used for workload segmentation (logical perimeters within a Vnet). Figure 1.8 shows an example of this. In the diagram, we have a Vnet with two subnets. Web services are deployed into their own subnet (Web tier Subnet) and data services are deployed into their own subnet (Data tier Subnet).

With this approach, we can use an Azure route table to control how traffic is routed between the subnets. We can also use a network security group (NSG) or a network virtual appliance (NVA) to define allowed inbound/outbound traffic flow from/to the subnets (segments). The result of this is that if a part of our application stack is compromised, we are better placed to contain the impact of the security breach and mitigate the risk of lateral movement through the rest of our network. This is an important Zero Trust principle implementation. We will cover route tables, NSGs, and NVAs later in this book.

Figure 1.8 – Segmentation using subnets

Figure 1.8 – Segmentation using subnets

How many subnets can Azure VNet have? It can have up to 3,000 subnets! Each subnet must have a unique IP address range that is within the defined IP address spaces of the Vnet (overlap is not allowed). For example, a Vnet with an IPv4 address space of 10.1.0.0/16 cannot have a subnet with an IP address range of 10.1.1.0/24 and another subnet with an address range of 10.1.1.0/25 as these ranges overlap with each other. Attempting to do so will result in the error message shown in Figure 1.9:

Figure 1.9 – Subnets with overlapping addresses not allowed

Figure 1.9 – Subnets with overlapping addresses not allowed

After defining the IP address range for a subnet, Azure reserves five IP addresses within each subnet that can’t be used! The first four IP addresses and the last IP address in an Azure subnet cannot be allocated to resources for the following reasons:

  • x.x.x.<first address>: This is reserved for protocol conformance as the network address
  • x.x.x. <second address>: This is reserved by Azure for the default gateway of the subnet
  • x.x.x. <third address> and x.x.x. <fourth address>: This is reserved by Azure to map the Azure DNS IPs to the Vnet space
  • x.x.x. <last address>: This is reserved for protocol conformance as the broadcast address (even though Azure Vnets don’t use broadcasts as we mentioned earlier)

For example, if the IP address range of your subnet is 10.1.0.0/24, the following addresses will be reserved:

  • 10.1.0.0: Network address
  • 10.1.0.1: Default gateway address
  • 10.1.0.2 and 10.1.0.3: Used to map Azure DNS IPs to the Vnet space
  • 10.1.0.255: Broadcast address

This leaves a total of 250 addresses that can be allocated to subnet resources: 10.1.0.410.1.0.254. Because of the required address reservation, the smallest supported IPv4 address prefix is /29, which gives five reserved addresses and three usable addresses. Specifying anything less leaves zero usable IPv4 addresses, which results in the error message shown in Figure 1.10:

Figure 1.10 – The smallest supported IPv4 address prefix for a subnet is /29

Figure 1.10 – The smallest supported IPv4 address prefix for a subnet is /29

Note

The smallest supported size for an Azure IPv4 subnet is /29. The largest is /2.

If you are implementing a dual-stack design, the standard size of the assigned IPv6 address space should be /64. This is in line with the standard defined by the IETF. A /64 space is the smallest subnet that can be used locally if auto-configuration is desired. Any attempt to add an IPv6 address space that is not a /64 will result in the error message shown in Figure 1.11:

Figure 1.11 – Only a /64 address space assignment allowed for a subnet

Figure 1.11 – Only a /64 address space assignment allowed for a subnet

When planning your subnets, make sure that you design for scalability. Workloads in your subnets should not cover the entire address space, giving you no room to add more workloads if needed. Plan and reserve some address space for the future. Also, take into consideration that some network resources such as the VMSS may need to dynamically add more workloads based on incoming requests. Modifying the IP address range of an Azure subnet that has workloads deployed is no straightforward task. It involves you removing all existing resources! Attempting this will result in the error message shown in Figure 1.12:

Figure 1.12 – The error message when trying to resize a subnet with resources

Figure 1.12 – The error message when trying to resize a subnet with resources

Working with platform services in subnets

For most organizations, the main services that they will deploy into Azure VNet subnets are infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services such as VMs and VMSSs but there are currently about 23 more services that can be deployed into a Vnet subnet, including platform services such as Azure SQL Managed Instance, App Service, Cache for Redis, and Azure Kubernetes Service. Deploying a supported platform service into a Vnet subnet is referred to as Vnet integration or Vnet injection.

A full list of services that are supported for VNet integration can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-network/virtual-network-for-azure-services#services-that-can-be-deployed-into-a-virtual-network.

There are about 25 services that can be deployed into a Vnet subnet, as shown in Figure 1.13:

Figure 1.13 – Various types of services supported for Vnet integration

Figure 1.13 – Various types of services supported for Vnet integration

Most PaaS services that support Vnet integration impose restrictions on the subnets that they can be deployed into, and this should be considered when planning your subnets. Here are some of the restrictions to consider:

  • About 14 services require a dedicated subnet — this means that they cannot be combined with other services in the same subnet. For example, a VPN gateway cannot be deployed together with another service in the same subnet – the subnet must be dedicated only to that service!
  • Still, on dedicated subnets, some services allow multiple instances of the same service in the same dedicated subnet while some require a dedicated subnet per service instance! For example, the Azure SQL Managed Instance’s service allows multiple instances of the same service to be deployed into the dedicated subnet (Figure 1.14), while the Azure Spring Cloud service requires dedicated subnets per service instance (Figure 1.14):
Figure 1.14 – Two SQL-managed instances in the same dedicated subnet. Spring cloud requires dedicated subnets per instance

Figure 1.14 – Two SQL-managed instances in the same dedicated subnet. Spring cloud requires dedicated subnets per instance

  • Some platform services require their subnets to be called a specific name. For example, the subnet that the Azure Firewall service is deployed into must be called AzureFirewallSubnet, the subnet that the VPN Gateway service is deployed into must be called GatewaySubnet, and the subnet that the Azure Bastion service is deployed into must be called AzureBastionSubnet. This is required for some automation components relating to the services to work.
  • Some platform services require a minimum Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) block for their subnets. For example, the subnet that the Azure Bastion service is deployed into must have a minimum /26 prefix.
  • Some platform services require permissions to establish basic network configuration rules for the subnet that they will be deployed into. The process of assigning this permission is called subnet delegation. For example, when a SQL-managed instance is deployed into a subnet, it automatically creates an NSG and a route table and applies them to that subnet.

The key takeaway here is this – before deploying platform services into subnets, ensure that you follow the guidance in the service documentation regarding the aforementioned considerations to avoid inconsistencies in service functionalities. Always refer to the documentation for up-to-date information: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-network/virtual-network-for-azure-services#services-that-can-be-deployed-into-a-virtual-network.

Now that you have some understanding of how to plan key aspects of Azure VNet, let us go ahead and get some implementation going!

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Key benefits

  • Create and deploy a secure Azure network and implement dynamic routing and hybrid connectivity
  • Master Azure network design for performance, resilience, scalability, and security
  • Enhance your practical skills with hands-on labs aligned to the AZ-700 Network Engineer certification

Description

Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions is a comprehensive guide that covers every aspect of the AZ-700 exam to help you fully prepare to take the certification exam. Packed with essential information, this book is a valuable resource for Azure cloud professionals, helping you build practical skills to design and implement name resolution, VNet routing, cross-VNet connectivity, and hybrid network connectivity using the VPN Gateway and the ExpressRoute Gateway. It provides step-by-step instructions to design and implement an Azure Virtual WAN architecture for enterprise use cases. Additionally, the book offers detailed guidance on network security design and implementation, application delivery services, private platform service connectivity, and monitoring networks in Azure. Throughout the book, you’ll find hands-on labs carefully integrated to align with the exam objectives of the Azure Network Engineer certification (AZ-700), complemented by practice questions at the end of each chapter, allowing you to test your knowledge. By the end of this book, you’ll have mastered the fundamentals of Azure networking and be ready to take the AZ-700 exam.

What you will learn

Recap the fundamentals of Azure networking Design and implement name resolution Implement cross-VNet and VNet internet connectivity Build site-to-site VPN connections using the VPN gateway Create an ExpressRoute connection Secure your network with Azure Firewall and network security groups Implement private access to Azure services Choose the right load balancing option for your network

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Product Details


Publication date : Aug 25, 2023
Length 524 pages
Edition : 1st Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781803242033
Vendor :
Microsoft
Concepts :

Table of Contents

17 Chapters
Preface Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
1. Part 1: Design and Implement Core Networking Infrastructure in Azure Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
2. Chapter 1: Azure Networking Fundamentals Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
3. Chapter 2: Designing and Implementing Name Resolution Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
4. Chapter 3: Design, Implement, and Manage VNet Routing Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
5. Chapter 4: Design and Implement Cross-VNet Connectivity Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
6. Part 2: Design, Implement, and Manage Hybrid Networking Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
7. Chapter 5: Design and Implement Hybrid Network Connectivity with VPN Gateway Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
8. Chapter 6: Designing and Implementing Hybrid Network Connectivity with the ExpressRoute Gateway Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
9. Chapter 7: Design and Implement Hybrid Network Connectivity with Virtual WAN Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
10. Chapter 8: Designing and Implementing Network Security Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
11. Part 3: Design and Implement Traffic Management and Network Monitoring Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
12. Chapter 9: Designing and Implementing Application Delivery Services Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
13. Chapter 10: Designing and Implementing Platform Service Connectivity Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
14. Chapter 11: Monitoring Networks in Azure Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
15. Index Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
16. Other Books You May Enjoy Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

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