Azure Star / Any Load Balancer or … like we would like to call it “HA Ports”

Introduction

A few weeks ago the “HA Ports” (finally) saw the light (in public preview)! I’m truly excited about this one, as it had become a “unicorn” for me over the last years.

Why am I so excited about this one? This unlocks of advanced networking patterns, starting with a truly HA setup for the Network Virtual Appliances (NVAs). In the past, we needed to rely on “workarounds” that would switch the UDR to point to the surviving node. That was great for the time, but let’s be honest… It shouldn’t have been like that.

Another use case is the scenario where an application needs to connect to a certain dynamic port ranges (like with SQL). I’ve seen several deployments annoyed by this requirement, which then forced people to create a lot of rules. This can now be avoided by allowing the entire port range, and just hardening it with a “Network Security Group” or Firewall rule base.

 

During preview… 

During the time that the “Standard Load Balancer” and “HA Ports” are in preview, you’ll need to activate these features. What previews do you need to enable to unlock the “HA Ports” functionality?

How odd, and confusing, it might be… you need to enable all three to get “HA Ports” configured. 😉

 

Update : Apparently, there is an additional one that needs to be unlocked…

Register-AzureRmResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Network

 

Tackling Errors

If you get an error message with “Code: SkuNotAllowed”, then you haven’t enabled the “AvailabilityZones” (or AllowLBPrevew) preview yet…

Should you get the “… is not a registered feature Microsoft.Network/AllowILBAllPortsRule …”, then you need to enable the “HA Ports Preview”.

 

Setting up our HA Ports

A Standard Load Balancer has the same look & feel like a the one we’re accustomed too (now called “Basic”). Let’s create one…

We’ll select the SKU “Standard (Preview)” ;

And we’ll add the machines to our backend pool ;

And then we’ll arrive at the load balancing rule. Here we’ll see the new option “HA Ports” appear. This is where the “magic” is done!

That will enable us to load balance ALL TCP & UDP ports to our backend pool. Where if we should disable the option, we would get the regular load balancing rule layout.

 

Closing Thoughts

FINALLY! The star / any load balancer has arrived!!!

Nothing more to say about it. I can’t wait to see it go out of public preview and into general availability (GA)!

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