This page reviews how to add and configure a Microsoft Azure connector using GroundWork Cloud Hub. The connection requires a unique set of parameters (e.g., configuration file). If you are connecting to a remote GroundWork server to send results, you will need your remote GroundWork server RESTACCESSAPI token.

Adding an Azure Connection

To access Cloud Hub configuration, log in to GroundWork Monitor as a member of the Admin role (e.g., user admin), and select Configuration > Cloud Hub. To add a new connection click the +Add button next to the desired connector icon. You will need to create a new connection in this way for each project to be monitored.

Connection Parameters

The data the GroundWork server receives comes from the remote virtualization server. The information is pulled from the API on a periodic basis based on the check interval that is set. In the configuration page you will need to enter both the GroundWork Server and Azure Connector parameters, also Discover and select which resources to monitor. The   link located at the top right side provides information and versioning for the selected Cloud Hub connector.

connector parameters

GroundWork Server

The GroundWork Server can simply be the same as the one you are running the Cloud Hub connector on, or it can be a remote server. If it's the same as the one you are running on, leave the directive Use Local Connection checked. 

Otherwise, uncheck this box and fill in the hostname of the remote GroundWork server in the Hostname field, leave RESTAPIACCESS in the Username field, and paste in the the encrypted Token. The token can be obtained on the remote GroundWork server, for users within the Admin role, by going to Administration > Security under Webservices API Account: RESTAPIACCESSEncrypted Token. Just copy the key from the remote server into the Token field on the Cloud Hub server.

restapiaccess token

Once you have the GroundWork Server side of the form filled out, click TestIf you have the credentials correct and you have access to the API, you will see a Success message. Otherwise an error will give you a hint as to what is wrong and let you try again. 

Using a remote server will populate the remote server with the Azure monitoring data, and this will not show in the local GroundWork Server. 

  • Version: Indicates the minimum GroundWork Monitor version needed. In other words, a version below the indicated value is incompatible.

  • Hostname: The host name or IP address where a GroundWork server is running. A port number should not be entered here. If GroundWork is running on the same server, you can enter localhost.

  • Username: The provisioned Username granted API access on the GroundWork server.

  • Token: The corresponding API Token for the given Username on the GroundWork server, see Administration > Security under Webservices API Account: RESTAPI Encrypted Token.

  • SSL: Check this box if the GroundWork server is provisioned with a secure HTTPS transport.

  • Merge Hosts: If checked, this option combines all metrics of same named hosts under one host. For example, if there is a Nagios configured host named demo1 and a Cloud Hub discovered host named demo1, the services for both configured and discovered hosts will be combined under the hostname demo1 (case-sensitive).

  • Monitor: If checked, enables connection to be monitored. Gives you a way to know when the connector is having trouble reaching the endpoint by creating a service on the host it reports to. 

  • Use Local Connection: This directive refers to where the Cloud Hub results are sent. If this field is checked, results will be posted to the same server as where Cloud Hub is running. Or, with this field unchecked, you can forward results to any accessible GroundWork server you define with the name and API key.

  • Ownership: Ownership is the owner of a connectors hosts and the ownership can be switched. When a Cloud Hub connector is instantiated the following options are available for ownership:

    Always take ownership: The connector will assume ownership of all hosts it instantiates, even merged hosts. This will remain true even if another app merges the host. 

    Leave ownership if already owned: The connector host will remain with the existing owner until or unless the owner deletes the host.

    Always defer ownership (default): This option leaves ownership unchanged on merged hosts, and allows other apps to take ownership.

    Note that multiple apps can report on a single service, but only one can own the host.

    See Ownership options.

  • Connection Status: Click Test to verify a connection using the GroundWork server entries.

Azure Server

Next you will need to fill in the Azure Connector parameters, including an authentication file. See Appendix A: Azure authentication for reference in obtaining the auth file.

Enter a Display Name. For the Configuration File, upload the auth file.

You can optionally set the Interval, Timeout, and Retry directives. And also optionally Enable Resources Groups, if checked Azure resource groups are monitored and displayed in Status.

Then, validate the connection by clicking TestA dialog will be displayed with either a Success message or, if the project cannot be contacted, an error message will be displayed with a hint as to why the connection failed. 

Make sure to click Save in the upper right corner to save your correct connection parameters. 

Next, you need to discover and select which resources to monitor. These features are the core components, or resource managed by Azure. There are several Azure resource types you will use in your projects, and you need to discover them initially with the Discover option. Services are listed and others are exposed when you choose Discover. Each of these services has their own rich set of metrics. The initial discovery will select them all by default. If checked, service will be monitored. Azure also provides Cluster and Host metrics which can be optionally collected. If there are one or more clusters or hosts in the system, they will be automatically detected and collected. If you were collecting metrics for a service, and then unchecked that Azure service, the existing hosts and metrics stored in the GroundWork server will be deleted.

Click Save when finished.

If you add resources to the project, you will need to re-discover them from this screen by modifying the running connector and clicking Discover.

After the credentials have been validated and the resources discovered, select the Metrics link (top navigation) to start customizing metrics for the connection, refer to the document Customizing Metrics.

  • Display Name: This is the configuration’s name displayed in the list of Cloud Hub connectors on the Cloud Hub home page.

  • Configuration File: This is the required Azure authentication file. Refer to Appendix A: Azure authentication on this page for a detailed description of this requirement.

  • Interval (min): This is the metric gathering interval for collecting monitoring data from Azure and sending it to the GroundWork server. The value is in minutes.

  • Timeout (ms): The connection timeout in milliseconds. Normally the default value 5000 is sufficient. When you have a slow network connection, you may want to increase the default value.

  • Infinite Retries: Check this box if you want Cloud Hub to infinitely retry connection to Azure when the connection fails. When this box is checked, the Retry Limit field is disabled. When this box is unchecked, the Retry Limit field is enabled.

  • Retry Limit: This entry is the number of retries for the connection and sets a limit on how many attempts are made after a failure. The number set indicates how many connections are attempted before the connection is left in an inactive state. At this point, the connection is suspended and you will need to manually restart it. When a retry limit is exhausted, all hosts managed by this connection are set to the monitor status Unreachable and all services for the matched hosts are set to the status of Unknown.

  • Enable Resource Groups: Resource Groups are are logical containers for a collection of resources that can be treated as one logical instance. You can use resource groups to control all of their members collectively. A resource group is simply an identifier that Azure Resource Manager applies to resources to group them together. This resource group ID allows Azure Resource Manager to perform operations on a group of resources that share this ID.

  • Connection Status: Click Test to verify a connection using the Azure connector entries.


Appendix A: Azure Authentication

To access Azure, the connector requires an authentication (auth) file.

In order for the Cloud Hub connector to securely log into an Azure subscription without requiring the user to log in manually, the connector can authenticate with credentials based on the Azure Active Directory service principal functionality. A service principal is analogous to a user account, but it is intended for applications like Cloud Hub to authenticate themselves without human intervention.

The auth file can be generated with the Azure CLI. The CLI can be installed on any laptop or server. To install, follow the instructions here for Windows, Mac, or Linux:

Once the CLI is installed, you can easily create a service principal and grant it access privileges for a given subscription through Azure CLI 2.0:

az login \-u (username)
az ad sp create-for-rbac \--sdk-auth > cloudhub.azureauth

If you cannot use the Azure command line tool, the interactive process of creating the file via the Azure portal to generate credentials is documented here:

Once the file is generated, upload it into Cloud Hub (e.g., /usr/local/groundwork/config/cloudhub/azure/cloudhub.azureauth), Save, and Test to ensure you have proper access.

azure authentication

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