Management Groups: Extending the subscription boundaries

Microsoft announced on July 31st that Management Groups in Azure were released to the public as the service went to the GA (Generally Available) status. This means now everyone with an Azure subscription can use them, but what for? In this blog I hope to share the necessity for this feature and give some insight in how to use this service.

But first, some history….
Earlier, the management boundary was the boundary of a subscription. If you wanted to apply management standards to a number of subscriptions, basically standardizing your way of working across subscriptions, that would mean lots of repeating work or home-made automation…

Now, with Management Groups, we have a mechanism “above” the subscription level to apply settings like Azure Policy and RBAC to. Microsoft often uses the following picture to show the hierarchy you can create using Management Groups.

So one of the relevant things here is that this is a feature meant for environments with multiple subscriptions… But when you think, in the future you might need multiple subscriptions, nothing stands in your way to connect a single subscription to a Management Group for starters, to be ready for the future. Another cool thing is that it doesn’t matter what type of Azure subscriptions you’re using, Management Groups can handle them; Pay-as-you-go, Enterprise Agreement, CSP or MSDN. Management Groups are unbiased.

By using management groups, you can reduce your workload and reduce the risk of error by avoiding duplicate assignments. Instead of applying multiple assignments across numerous resources and subscriptions, you can apply the one assignment on the one management group that contains the target resources. This will save time in the application of assignments, creates one point for maintenance, and allows for better controls on who can control the assignment.

Now, in my lab I don’t have an extensive amount of subscriptions, but my hierarchy for test purposes looks like this:

 

I hope this blog shed some light about the usability of Management Groups in general, and I’m looking forward to more practical uses of Management Groups with my customers…

 

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