In the dynamic landscape of modern businesses, the need for agility, efficiency, and consistency in operations is  paramount. Azure Automation, a powerful cloud-based service by Microsoft Azure automates and streamlines frequent, time-consuming, and error-prone operational processes. It will enable  your organisation to achieve higher productivity, reduce manual effort, and ensure precision in your workflows. Crucially, it helps you focus on work that adds business value.

If you’d like to discuss how your business can harness the potential of Azure Automation, contact us for a free discussion with one of our certified Azure technical consultants.

What is Azure Automation?

Azure Automation is a comprehensive suite of tools and services designed to automate routine and repetitive tasks across both cloud-based and on-premises environments. It serves as the backbone for orchestrating complex workflows, executing scripts, and managing configurations seamlessly.

With a rich set of features, Azure Automation empowers businesses to optimise their operational processes, enhance resource management, and embrace a more agile approach to meet evolving business demands. It includes process automation, configuration management, update management, shared capabilities, and heterogeneous features so that you can use Azure Automation with both a cloud and on-premise IT infrastructure.

Azure automation

Process automation: Enhancing efficiency and agility

Process automation in Azure Automation involves the use of technology to streamline and mechanise repetitive tasks, resulting in improved productivity, reduced errors, and enhanced agility.

Process automation in Azure Automation allows you to create and manage PowerShell, PowerShell Workflow, and graphical runbooks.

In summary, Process automation within Azure Automation represents a transformative approach for managing and executing tasks efficiently in the cloud. By leveraging its powerful features, organisations can achieve higher levels of productivity, maintain compliance, and easily navigate the complexities of modern IT landscapes.

Update management in Azure Automation: Keeping systems current and secure

Update management in Azure Automation is an essential tool for organisations wanting to proactively manage and secure their server environments.

This  key feature helps businesses to simplify and automate the update and patch management process for Windows and Linux virtual machines (VMs). It is designed to enhance security, maintain compliance, and ensure overall system reliability by ensuring that servers have the latest updates and patches. By automating the update process, organisations can minimise vulnerabilities to their IT infrastructure.

The diagram below visually represents the process by which update management evaluates and implements security updates across all interconnected Windows and Linux servers:

azure automation

Key features and aspects of Azure Automation update management are:

  • Unified update management
  • Assessment and compliance
  • Scheduled update deployments
  • Configuration and compliance settings
  • Pre-update and post-update scripts
  • Azure Arc integration.

In short, Azure Automation update management streamlines the often complex and critical process of keeping servers up to date and is a valuable tool for maintaining the health and security of your virtual machines across various environments.

Configuration Management in Azure Automation: Ensuring consistency and compliance

Configuration Management in Azure Automation is a powerful capability that enables organisations to define and enforce desired configurations across their server infrastructure. By leveraging PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC), Azure Automation helps maintain a consistent and compliant state for servers, whether they are running in the cloud or on-premises.

It  plays a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and compliance of server configurations. By automating configuration enforcement, organisations can reduce manual efforts, enhance security, and establish a foundation for a robust and standardised IT environment.

Azure managed identities: Authenticating and accessing resources

Azure Automation supports the use of managed identities, providing a secure and seamless way for applications and services in Azure to authenticate and access resources.

Azure Automation Account and managed identities serve two different purposes respectively within the Azure ecosystem:

  1. Azure Automation account: Within an Azure Automation account, you can create and manage runbooks, which are sets of tasks, scripts, or workflows that can be automated and scheduled to run on a specific scope of Azure resources.
  2. System-assigned managed identity: When you enable a system-assigned managed identity for an Azure Automation account, Azure automatically creates an identity that is tied to the lifecycle of the Automation account. This identity is deleted when the Automation account is deleted.

User-assigned managed identity: In addition to the system-assigned managed identity, you can also create one or more user-assigned managed identities and associate them with the Automation account. These identities are separate entities with their lifecycle, and they can be reused across multiple Azure resources.

Important: Azure Automation run as accounts, including classic run as accounts were deprecated  on 30 September 2023 and replaced with managed identities. As such, you can  no longer create or renew Run as accounts through the Azure portal. Instead, you’ll need  to migrate from a run as account to managed identities.

To summarise, Azure Automation managed identities simplify the authentication process, enhance security, and streamline the interaction between Automation accounts and Azure resources. They are a fundamental component for building secure and efficient automation workflows within the Azure environment.

How does Azure Automation help day-to-day operations?

As a cloud-based service, Azure Automation allows organisations to automate a variety of day-to-day operations and IT tasks including:

  • Process automation
  • Scheduled tasks
  • Patch management
  • Inventory management
  • Hybrid cloud management
  • Error handling and logging
  • Azure life-cycle management

By leveraging Azure Automation and following  best practices to run automation jobs, organisations can streamline their day-to-day operations, reduce manual errors, improve efficiency, and ensure that IT tasks are executed consistently and reliably.

Why use Azure Automation state configuration?

Azure Automation state configuration is a service in Microsoft Azure that facilitates configuration management for both Windows and Linux servers. It enables you to define and enforce the desired configuration state of your servers, ensuring consistency and compliance with organisational standards.

Reasons to use Azure Automation state configuration are:

  • Consistency across environments
  • Automated configuration enforcement
  • Desired state configuration (DSC)
  • Integration with Azure Automation
  • Version control

Using Azure Automation state configuration helps streamline and automate the configuration management process, leading to improved operational efficiency, reduced manual errors, and enhanced overall system reliability.

How Azure Automation  helps drive agility and optimisation for your business

To summarise, Microsoft Azure Automation is a robust suite of tools and services designed to empower businesses by enhancing agility, streamlining operations, and optimising resource utilisation.

Here’s how Azure Automation contributes to these key aspects,

  • Automation of routine tasks
  • Orchestration of workflows
  • Configuration management
  • Update management
  • Integration with Azure services
  • Hybrid cloud management

In essence, Microsoft Azure Automation serves as a catalyst for organisational agility and optimisation by automating tasks, ensuring consistency and compliance, enhancing security, and seamlessly integrating with a diverse set of services. By leveraging Azure Automation, businesses can adapt quickly to changing requirements, maximise operational efficiency, and position themselves for sustained success in the digital landscape.


Azure Automation is a low cost service and lots of components are free to use.

Azure often updates its pricing model and introduces new features, so it’s essential that you refer to the official documentation for the latest and most accurate information on Azure Automation pricing.

In Summary

Finally, Azure Automation is a comprehensive cloud-based service within Microsoft Azure designed for automating a wide array of tasks and processes. At its core is the Automation Account, acting as a centralised repository for resources like runbooks, modules, and credentials.

Runbooks, written in PowerShell or Python, serve as automation scripts defining and executing tasks, while Azure Automation state configuration (DSC) ensures consistent configurations across Azure VMs and on-premises machines.

Notable features include update management for automating security updates, change tracking and inventory for monitoring changes and software installations, and Hybrid Runbook Workers extending automation to on-premises environments.

With integrations to Azure Logic Apps and various Azure services, Azure Automation provides a robust platform for orchestrating tasks, enhancing security, and maintaining operational efficiency, while allowing continuous improvement through monitoring and optimisation practices.

What Next?

If you have a potential use case that you’d like to discuss, please contact us for a free discussion with one of our certified Azure technical consultants. We’re a trusted Microsoft Solutions Partner for Azure and we’ll be happy to help.

Published On: January 25th, 2024 / Categories: Azure / Tags: , /

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