Your target end-state: Azure landing zones conceptual architecture
Published Nov 01 2021 10:07 AM 24.6K Views

By: @DomAllen, Senior Program Manager and @Jeff_Mitchell_MSFT, Principal Cloud Solution Architect

Customers today recognize the cloud enables digital transformation for the enterprise, while consistently meeting unique requirements for business growth. Cloud services are deployed at hyperscale, allowing you to consistently manage and optimize governance and operations management controls beyond on-premises environments—extending unified management across any infrastructure to multicloud and the edge.


To help you prepare for your cloud adoption journey, we are excited to announce the availability of Azure landing zone conceptual architecture—your environment's strategic design path and target technical state. It represents scale and maturity decisions based on experiences and feedback from customers who have successfully adopted Azure. To realize the value of the agility the cloud can provide, we recommend that environments be implemented to enable consistent scale—while meeting your business needs by creating consistent ways to govern and manage resources, not just by type, but also by organization, cost, and security.


Besides designing an architectural platform, you must implement and maintain the platform and design a systematic architectural and technical delivery approach to building patterns for success on the platform. We recommend developing a continuous engineering loop to ensure that environment lifecycles align with the Azure roadmap. Your process should validate new services in the context of enterprise controls—and it should deliver its learnings back to the platform, inputs for future iterations.



Azure landing zone conceptual architecture


Through a landing zone accelerator approach and a reference implementation, you enable the effective construction and operationalization of landing zones on Azure—at scale, aligned with the Azure roadmap and Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. Landing zone accelerator architecture represents the strategic design path and target technical state of your Azure environment. The architecture will continue evolving with the Azure platform, ultimately shaped by design decisions that are aligned with the architectural implementation best practices to safeguard your Azure journey.


Not all organizations adopt Azure in the same way. Enterprise-scale landing zone architectures, (as illustrated in Figure 1 below) might vary between customers, depending on enterprise requirements. Varied design considerations and recommendations might yield different trade-offs, depending on your organization's cloud adoption path. Variation along your path is expected—but if you follow core recommendations, the target architecture that results will set you on a path to sustainable scale on Azure.


figure 1.pngFigure 1


You can download PDF files of the Azure landing zone conceptual architecture diagrams with:

or download a Visio diagram (VSDX) file with a diagram of both Virtual WAN and hub-and-spoke architectures.



Getting your environment ready, faster: Azure landing zone accelerator


Azure landing zone accelerator enables your organization to make templatized landing zone deployments, with baked-in, repeatable best practices for governance, security, and compliance and it comes with a set of design principles for managing the platform at scale. These principles serve as a compass for subsequent design decisions across critical technical domains. Deploy the Azure landing zone accelerator (see Figure 2, below) directly within the Azure portal to speed up your implementation—allowing you to customize environment configurations for compliance, security, and operations management controls. GitHub integration will help your team to set up CI/CD pipelines—if your cloud operating model includes Infrastructure as Code (IaC) DevOps practices for infrastructure management.


figure 2.png

Figure 2


While your organization may have already adopted third party automation toolchain products, you may need to start with a smaller implementation of the Azure landing zone conceptual architecture. Explore more open source and partner landing zone implementation options.


Start, align, and enhance your landing zone


Our conversations with customers and partners help us recognize that organizations may be at different stages along their cloud journey when reviewing landing zone implementation options. The deployment recommendations that advance your specific, strategic design path and target technical state will match the stage you're in along your cloud path. Get started with the best next steps for your own cloud adoption path, and review your journey to the target architecture. Some organizations with a conceptual architecture matching the operating model and resource structure they plan to use can launch the ready-to-deploy experience with the Azure landing zone accelerator.


Picture Azure landing zone guidance as a large highway that leads to the cloud (your target architecture). You're whizzing down this long and spacious-laned highway, and you see on-ramps and exits flashing by. Your highway will have several onramps feeding into its large asphalt path towards cloud adoption.


Three points reflect the most common customer journeys—customer experiences centering on three landing zone implementation stages: Start, Align, and Enhance.


Start is for those beginning their cloud adoption journey—who wish to develop a new cloud environment, without dependencies—where no production workloads are deployed. Perhaps, to begin with—your organization might have a blank sheet of paper, and you're looking for the best route to get to your target end-state— the target technical state and strategic design path that guides the very beginning of your cloud adoption—always in alignment with the conceptual architecture. Launch the ready-to-deploy experience with the Azure landing zone accelerator, explore various other design area topics that help you determine where you need to customize, and explore other implementation options within Azure landing zones.


Align is for those who have already implemented services in Azure. Perhaps your organization is looking for ways to change your environment to more closely resemble the conceptual architecture.


We see a growing trend of organizations that might undergo requirements to introduce controls or design patterns because of a new workload being deployed. This would require specific environment configurations able to meet business or compliance requirements.


We recognize cloud environments are never static implementations. As your unique business requirements change (or your team's capabilities expand), configurations of landing zones may need to iterate. For example, as your organization begins its cloud journey, it may choose to run with a baseline security configuration (made necessary by business requirements) to run a workload in the cloud. This may expand over time to require more sophisticated security services like Azure Sentinel to address more detailed security requirements.


Enhance represents the cusp of the Ready methodological approach and the continuous deployment of consistent, unified security, governance, and operational management controls supported by the methodologies of Secure, Manage, and Govern within the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure.


We’re excited about new updates to our Azure landing zone guidance in the Cloud Adoption Framework—about its potential to prepare for, and unlock, your successful and balanced digital transformation. Some organizations with conceptual architectures matching the operating model and resource structure they plan to use will launch the ready-to-deploy Azure landing zone accelerator experience—with baked in governance, compliance, and security. Other organizations, already in line with best practices—looking to add additional controls or features, may forge ahead and enhance guidance for management, governance, or security. These technical considerations are part of maturing key ongoing processes for cloud environments, like management, governance, and security.


Learn more about Azure landing zone conceptual architecture—or get started deploying the Azure landing zone accelerator (see Figure 2, above) directly within the Azure portal to accelerate your implementation, and customize environment configurations for compliance, security, and operations management controls. Or, simply benefit from deployments providing a full implementation of the conceptual architecture, with ready-to-deploy configurations for key components such as management groups and policies.


Check out our Channel 9 episodes on Azure landing zones today, on IT Ops Talk and the Azure Enablement Show!

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