What Is Microsoft Azure Resource Manager?

The first section of the Exam 70-532, Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions, highlights the need to create and manage virtual machines with Azure Resource Manager. This section is worth nearly a quarter of the exam (20-25%) and covers deployment, configuration, storage, scaling, monitoring, high availability, and testing. One of the first questions one might ask is: what is Azure Resource Manager exactly?

The first place to look is in the Azure Portal. However, there is no service named ‘Azure Resource Manager’ (ARM) in sight. There are resources and resource groups, but how do these relate to the nebulous ARM? The ARM overview documentation explains that ‘Azure Resource Manager enables you to work with the resources in your solution as a group’ and the benefits of its use. The included graphic describes the ARM as a middle layer that glues together the resource provisioning process with core platform services such as security and permissions.

So what is Azure Resource Manager? Buried in the Azure Resource Manager vs classic deployment is the real definition. The Azure Resource Manager is a deployment and management model (as a service) used to orchestrate the platform. It is not a service found in the portal, but what the portal is built on.

With a concrete definition now in place, we can further explore the exam.