Getting startededit

Navigate to the Azure Marketplace offering, and click the "Get it Now" button:

images/marketplace.jpg

This will take you straight to the solution from the Marketplace, within the Azure portal. If you’re not already logged into the portal, you’ll be prompted to do so first.

Once you’re ready to proceed, click the Create button to walk through the steps.

Marketplace stepsedit

Each step of the process is presented in its own blade within the portal, which we’ll walk through.

Basicsedit

The first step involves setting up the details for the username and authentication mechanism you’ll use to access the virtual machines deployed by the solution:

images/marketplace_step1.png

The username must be a valid Ubuntu username and for authentication mechanism, choose between password or SSH key. When choosing SSH key, password authentication will be disabled on the virtual machines.

Next, choose the subscription, resource group and location into which to deploy the solution. When choosing an existing resource group, there a couple of points to bear in mind

  1. A resource group is a container that holds related resources. As such, those resources share the same lifecycle, permissions and policies
  2. The solution template deploys in incremental mode; If a previous solution deployment has been performed into the target resource group, the resources that exist in the resource group but are not in the template are left unchanged. All resources that are specified by the solution will be deployed, and for those resources that already exist and whose settings are unchanged, no change will be made. For those resources whose settings are changed however, the resource is provisioned with those new settings. What this means in practice is that you should carefully consider how the settings specified within the template being deployed may affect the resources that could be currently running Elasticsearch.
Tip

More often than not, you’ll want to deploy the solution into a new resource group. Providing access to Elasticsearch to existing Azure resources such as Azure App Services can be achieved by connecting the deployed virtual machines to an existing virtual network, which can be specified in the next step.

Cluster settingsedit

the Cluster settings blade provides the option to pick the version of Elasticsearch to deploy, and give the cluster a name:

images/marketplace_step2.png

Additionally, the solution can deploy a new virtual network or use an existing virtual network within the same subscription and location as the target resource group. This is particularly useful in situations where resources may already be deployed in another resource group, and the cluster should be accessible to those resources on the same network, and possibly same subnet.

Nodes configurationedit

The Nodes configuration blade controls the number of each type of node to deploy for the cluster:

images/marketplace_step3.png

Important

Elasticsearch nodes resolve other nodes on the network by their hostname, which Azure DNS supports. It is therefore critical that when deploying a cluster to an existing virtual network, the hostnames for Elasticsearch nodes are unique. The Hostname prefix input will be applied to the naming convention for master, data and client nodes, allowing for unique hostnames when deploying multiple clusters to the same virtual network.

For data nodes, the number of managed disks, in addition to size and type of disks, can be specified. When the number of managed disks is two or more, a RAID 0 array is created across the disks to improve overall operations. When no disks are specified, the node will use the temp storage of the VM for the data directory.

Important

Temp storage, with filesystem /dev/sdb1 mounted on /mnt in Ubuntu, is present on the physical machine hosting the VM. It is ephemeral in nature and not persistent; A VM can move to a different host at any point in time for various reasons, including hardware failures. When this happens, the VM will be created on the new host using the OS disk from the storage account, and new temp storage will be created on the new host.

Using temp storage can be a cost effective way of running an Elasticsearch cluster on Azure with decent performance, so long as you understand the tradeoffs in doing so, by snapshotting frequently and ensuring adequate data redundancy through sufficient replica shards.

User configurationedit

An Elasticsearch cluster deployed through the Azure Marketplace is always deployed with a 30 day trial license that enables all of the Platinum features of the Elastic Stack, including Security. Security features allow Basic Authentication configuration for the cluster, setting up three built-in user accounts

  1. The elastic user, a built-in superuser account
  2. The kibana user, a built-in account that Kibana uses to connect and communicate with Elasticsearch
  3. The logstash_system user, a built-in account that can be used by Logstash when storing monitoring information in Elasticsearch.

Additionally, a read-only user account, es_read, is created that has read only access to indices:

images/marketplace_step4.png

Passwords must be specified for all of these accounts.

External accessedit

The external access blade determines how the cluster can be accessed from outside of the virtual network:

images/marketplace_step5.png

When installing Kibana, a separate VM will be provisioned onto which Kibana will be deployed and a public IP address will be attached to the Kibana VM along with a Network Security group, allowing TCP access over ports 5601 and 22. The former is used to connect to Kibana through the browser, whilst the latter is used to connect to the Kibana VM via SSH.

A jumpbox VM can optionally be deployed, which can be connected to via SSH in order to gain access to the Elasticsearch VMs.

Either an internal or external load balancer can be deployed from the Marketplace; When choosing external load balancer, both an internal and external load balancer will be deployed. Kibana will use the internal load balancer to communicate with Elasticsearch, and the external load balancer is configured with a public IP address , allowing access to Elasticsearch from outside of Azure over port 9200.

Important

The Marketplace solution does not configure SSL/TLS for communication for any of

  • Communication from the browser to Kibana
  • Communication from Kibana to Elasticsearch through internal load balancer
  • Communication to Elasticsearch through external load balancer over the HTTP layer
  • Communication between Elasticsearch nodes in the cluster over the Transport layer

This is to keep the getting started experience simple through the Marketplace. If you need to configure SSL/TLS, it is recommended that you use the Azure Resource Manager template on GitHub directly. Consult the Security section for more details.

Summaryedit

The last steps of configuring a deployment allow you to confirm the values provided for all inputs in the previous steps, and to read the terms and conditions before deployment:

images/marketplace_step6.png

The Azure infrastructure also performs some final validation steps. Once you’re happy to proceed and the OK button is clicked, a new deployment will be started and within minutes, you’ll have Elasticsearch running on Azure!