So, think about one morning you come into the office and you see everyone is in panic, because a subset of your Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) is unavailable. Most of the time it is not always clear whether the problem then lies at your end, or if the downtime is caused by an issue in the Azure backbone or in the Azure Region where those VMs (resources) are running. As the person responsible for the management of some customer Azure Tenant(s), I know, investigating and pinpointing the exact issue can sometimes be a time-consuming job.
Luckily for all Azure Administrators out there and me included, there is a service called Azure Service Health, one of those free to use Azure services and a part of the Azure Support Services.
This service will not only identify and notify you of any incidents in the Azure backbone that are impacting your Azure resources, but will also give your personalized guidance and support during these events. It will also keep you informed on how Microsoft is resolving the issue and will keep you updated until the issue is finally resolved.
All this information is available for any Azure subscription to which you have owner, contributor, or reader access
How to access the Azure Service Health blade in the Azure Portal
There are several different ways to open the Azure Service Health blade, below you can find three of them:
You can go to the Azure Service Health blade, directly from the sidebar (you can pin it through All services if not already shown).
The second way is by typing in Azure Service Health in the global search box in the middle of your Azure Portal screen. Then click on Service Health under Services to open the Azure Service Health blade from there. When you use it from here, a nice extra feature is that all links to the Microsoft Docs about Azure Service Health will also been shown underneath the Documentation section. When you click on one of those links an extra tab in your browser will open with that selected webpage.
Because Azure Service Health is integrated with Azure Monitor, you can also open it from the Azure Monitor blade.
Service Health Events
There are three types of events which Azure Service Health tracks and informs you about. You can find each of them under the ACTIVE EVENTS on the Azure Service Health blade:
Azure service issues:
This category informs you about any active issues and problems in the global Azure backbone or in Azure services that affect your resources in any of your Azure Subscriptions. You can specify all Azure Subscription(s), Region(s) and Service(s) you want to be informed about.
Preferable once a year, Microsoft will update the underlying Azure host infrastructure in its Azure Datacenters, to improve the reliability, performance and security of the Hyper-V hosts. These updates, scheduled in a planned maintenance window, can include upgrading or decommissioning hardware, upgrading network components, or even OS upgrades like migrating from Hyper-V 2012 R2 to 2016 or now even 2019.
The planned maintenance blade gives you visibility into upcoming maintenance events that can affect the availability your Azure IaaS VMs in the near future. You can see which VMs are undergoing maintenance and you can also start the redeploying of those VMs in the self-service window (period of 30 days). In this way is helps you to mitigate any possible downtime that might occur during a planned maintenance window.
Advises you about health-related issues that may require your action to avoid service interruption or other health advisories that you need to consider. For example, you can be notified about Azure features or services your using that are being phased out or replaced, or about exceeding a specific usage quota.
How to use Health History
In the health history blade, you can browse back up to 90 days to view all previous issues or incidents (historical events).
Click on the Health history link, and customize your view by selecting all Azure Subscription(s), Region(s), Health Event Type(s) and the preferred Time Range.
You can click on each issue or incident to have a more detailed view. You then can get a summary of impact (Summary tab), read about the root cause (Root cause analysis tab) and follow all ongoing updates (Issue updates tab) as the engineering team in charge of the fix updates their incident log.
You can also download the issue report in PDF and sometimes CSV files to share with your team or the people (maybe customer) who are responsible for that specific Azure resource(s). You can also get a link describing the issue, to share or to use as a reference in your problem management system. You can also track the issue on your mobile device using the provided QR code.
If the problem does not get solved or Microsoft is still working on the root cause analysis for the incident, you mostly have the option to create a support request,directly from the issue overview page underneath the Summary tab.
How to use Resource health
Resource Health will give you a more personalized view of the health of your resources deployed and provisioned within your Azure environment.
To open Resource Health, click on the Resource health link on the Azure Service Health blade. Then selected your preferred Azure Subscription(s) and Resource type (for example select Virtual machine).
The health of a resource can be displayed as one of the following statuses:
- Available: Which means all is fine with this resource.
- Unavailable: Which means that the service detected on ongoing platform or non-platform event that affects the resource.
- Unknown: This state is show, mostly because resource health did not receive any information about the resource for more than 10 minutes (maybe because the VM rebooted or crashed).
- Degraded: Which means your resource has a loss in performance.
You can click on a separated resource (VM) to view all resource health events over the last 14 days. From the detailed view you can also use the Troubleshoot tool, to diagnose and solve problems, or directly contact support.
Azure Service Health vs Azure Status Page
As a predecessor of Azure Service Health, you had and still have the Azure status page. A webpage providing a global view off the status and health of all Azure services across all Azure regions, which allows you to track major outages or give information about service availability and health. The biggest difference whit Azure Service Health is, that it does not show you all health information and that is not personalized. For example, it does not show you your planned maintenance events and it also shows no health advisories. But it can come in handy to have a more global view or whenever you have an Azure related issue and you’re not able to logon to the Azure Portal or use the Azure Service Health service in anyway.
To open the Azure Status page, open your preferred browser and browse to https://status.azure.com/en-us/status
From the Azure Status Page, you can also go directly (logon with your Azure credentials if asked for) to your Azure Service Health blade by clicking on the Go to Azure Service Health button on top of the page.
Azure Service health is a free Azure service you can use to get informed and to receive personalized guidance when issues in any Azure service affects your environment or when planned maintenance is ahead. It will not only give you guidance, but will also keep you updated until the issue is resolved.
It should always be your first place to look, whenever you have an issue whit an Azure resource or service issue.
I hope this blog post has learned you something about the Azure Service Health service. In the future I will write some other blog posts about using this service, so keep an eye out on them.
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