Thursday, September 30, 2021

Integrate API Management in an Internal VNET with Application Gateway

In this post let's see how we can integrate API Management (APIM) in an internal Virtual Network (VNet) and front it by an Azure Application Gateway

I am not going to explain what APIM, VNet, Application Gateway and all the services used etc is, and I am assuming you are already comfortable with those areas.

In my current environment, I have an APIM exposing some services and it's publicly available.

  • Gateway URL: https://apim-centura.azure-api.net
  • Developer Portal: https://apim-centura.developer.azure-api.net
  • Management API URL: https://apim-centura.management.azure-api.net
I can use the APIM Gateway URL to call underlined backends, pretty straightforward. And Developer Portal and Management API URL is public as well. 

All my resources are in the following Resource Group and Location. And I will be using these throughout.

Resource Group Name: rg-apim-internal
Location: East US 2
Calling API via APIM
Now let's start. The whole process has two parts. 

PART I: Create/Configure a VNet and Configure APIM to be in Internal VNet mode
PART II: Create and Configure Application Gateway to front APIM

PART I: Create/Configure a VNet and Configure APIM to be in Internal VNet mode


Let's create a VNet with two subnets. One for the Application Gateway (which we will create later) and the other for APIM.

Create Virtual Network
So I have the VNet named vnet-centura-eastus2-001 created,
  • snet-appgateway: Subnet for the Application Gateway
  • snet-apim: Subnet for the APIM
Now we need to update the APIMs VNet mode to Internal and place it inside our VNets subnet for APIM.
APIM: Update to Internal Mode
Once this change is applied and saved, our APIM  (or any of its access points) is no longer publicly available. The update is going to take some time, and when the service is updated, make note of the Private VIP.
APIM: Private VIP
Now let's create a Private DNS zone for DNS resolution in our virtual network. I am going to name it centura.net (some name that came to my mind).

Create a Private DNS zone
Once it's created, let's link our VNet to this private DNS zone.
Private DNS zone: Virtual Networks Links
Select the VNet and select Enable auto registration.
Private DNS zone: Add virtual network link
Next, let's add Record sets.

Private DNS zone: Overview
I am adding A type of record for the following hostnames, all pointing to the Private VIP of APIM we have noted above.

  • gateway.centura.com: APIM Gateway
  • developer.centura.com: APIM Developer Portal
  • management.centura.com: APIM Management API
Let's start with the Gateway.

Private DNS zone: Add Record Set
Repeat the same for Developer Portal and Management API. 

Once that's done my Record sets are like below.
Private DNS zone: Overview
Now before we move to the next steps, we need to create some certificates. For the demo purpose, I am creating certificates locally by running the following PowerShell script.
# create trusted root certificate
$trustedRootCert = New-SelfSignedCertificate `
    -Type Custom `
    -CertStoreLocation "Cert:\CurrentUser\My" `
    -KeySpec Signature `
    -Subject "CN=Centura (Fictional) CA" `
    -KeyExportPolicy Exportable `
    -HashAlgorithm sha256 `
    -KeyLength 4096 `
    -KeyUsageProperty Sign `
    -KeyUsage CertSign `
    -NotAfter (Get-Date).AddMonths(24)
# create self-signed SSL server certificate for *.centura.net
$sslCert = New-SelfSignedCertificate `
    -Type Custom `
    -CertStoreLocation "Cert:\CurrentUser\My" `
    -KeySpec Signature `
    -Subject "CN=*.centura.net" `
    -DnsName "*.centura.net","centura.net" `
    -KeyExportPolicy Exportable `
    -HashAlgorithm sha256 `
    -KeyLength 2048 `
    -Signer $trustedRootCert
# export trusted root certificate
Export-Certificate  `
    -Type CERT `
    -Cert $trustedRootCert `
    -FilePath .\centura-trustedroot.cer
# export self-signed SSL server certificate for *.centura.net $pfxPassword = ConvertTo-SecureString -String "SomePassword123" -AsPlainText -Force
Export-PfxCertificate `
    -ChainOption BuildChain `
    -Cert $sslCert `
    -FilePath .\centura.pfx `
    -Password $pfxPassword
This will create a trusted root certificate and a SSL certificate for *.centura.net.
Created Certificates
Now let's navigate to the APIM and configure custom domain names.
APIM: Custom Domains
Let's add 3 custom hostnames for APIM Gateway, Developer  Portal and Management API.

Starting with Gateway.

APIM: Add Custom Domain Name
I have given the Type, Hostname, the Certificate (SSL) we created and enabled Default SSL binding.

Repeat the same steps for Developer Portal and Management API.
APIM: Custom Domains
We have completed the first part.

Now let's start the second part.

PART II: Create and Configure Application Gateway to front APIM


Let's start by creating the Application Gateway.

Create Application Gateway: Basics
I have given a name, selected the Region, selected the virtual network and subnet. Note I have used the subnet we created for the Application Gateway.

Click on Next to set up the Frontends. 

Here out Application Gateway is going to be public and I am adding a new Public IP address.

Create Application Gateway: Frontends
Now click on Next to configure the Backends.

Here I need to add three backend pools targetting APIM Gateway, Developer Portal, and Management API.
Create Application Gateway: Backends
Let's start with the Gateway.
Create Application Gateway: Add a backend pool
Repeat the same steps for Developer Portal and Management API. Change the IP address or FQDN respectively.

Once that is done, I have something like below.
Create Application Gateway: Backends
Now click on Next to Configurare the Application Gateway.
Create Application Gateway: Routing Rules
We need to have at least a single Routing Rule for us to be able to create the Application Gateway. Let's start with adding a routing rule for Gateway.
Create Application Gateway: Add Routing Rule -> Listener
Here for Listener, I have selected the public Frontend IP, chose the SSL certificate, and specified the hostname. Now move to the Backend targets tab. Here I am selecting the Target type as the Backend pool  and selecting the correct Backend target from the dropdown. 
Create Application Gateway: Add Routing Rule -> Backend targets
Now let's add an HTTP setting for the Gateway route.
Create Application Gateway: Add Routing Rule -> Backend targets -> Http Setting
Note: here we aren't using a well-known CA certificate, and I have used the trusted root certificate we have created before. The hostname will get picked up from the backend target and I have said No to Create custom probes (we will be creating probes later).

Now complete the Add Routing Rule Wizard.
Create Application Gateway: Configuration
We have only created a routing rule for Gateway. That's enough for us to complete the Application Gateway creation, let's proceed and create the Application Gateway.

Once the Application Gateway is created, let's open it up.
Application Gateway
We are greeted with an error, but it's nothing to worry about for now. Let's check the Backend health.
It's Unhealthy hence the error. Now if you can recall, we didn't add any health probe when we are creating the routing rule for Gateway. 

Let's add a Health Probe for the Gateway.
Application Gateway: Health probes
Application Gateway: Health Probes -> Add Health Probe
Note: Here I have selected the hostname to be picked up from the backend HTTP setting. The Path is the /status-0123456789abcdef which is the default health endpoint hosted on all the API Management services. I have selected the HTTP setting we created as part of Application Gateway creation, and I am skipping testing the backend health before adding the health probe.

Once the health probe is added, let's go back to Backend health.
Application Gateway: Backend Health
It's healthy, so we are good with the Gateway.

Now let's configure the backends for Developer Portal and Management API. Let's start by adding HTTP settings. Navigate to HTTP Settings.

Application Gateway: HTTP Settings
Let's first create an HTTP setting for the Developer Portal.
Application Gateway: Add HTTP Setting
It's just the same as Add HTTP Setting in Application Gateway Creation wizard, this time, we need to select the existing trusted root certificate and add it.

Repeat the same step for Management API and once completed, I have something like this.
Application Gateway: HTTP Settings
Now navigate to Listeners and let's add Listeners for Developer Portal and Management API.
Application Gateway: Listeners
Let's start by adding a listener for the Developer Portal.
Aplication Gateway: Listeners -> Add
Here again, it's the same as in the Application Gateway Creation wizard, this time, I am selecting the existing SSL certificate. Note: I am using the respective Host name.

Repeat the same step for Management API and once completed, I have something like this.
Application Gateway: Listeners
Now we are all set to create Routing rules for Developer Portal and Management API. Navigate to Rules and add a new Request rotuing rule.
Application Gateway: Rules
Let's start with the Developer Portal again.
Application Gatway: Add Routing Rule -> Listener
I have selected the correct Listener. Then move to Backend targets tab.
Application Gatway: Add Routing Rule -> Backend targets
Selected the correct Backend target and the HTTP setting from respective dropdowns and clicking on Add.

Repeat the same step for Management API and once completed, I have something like this.
Application Gatway: Rules
We are almost there. One last thing to configure, that is to add Health Probes for Developer Portal and Management API. Navigate back to Health probes and click on Add.

Let's start with the Developer Portal.
Application Gateway: Health Probes -> Add
Note: here the Path is different, it's "/signin". Selected the correct HTTP setting and skipping the test. And clicking on Add.

Repeat the same steps for Management API. Its path is "/ServiceStatus".
Application Gateway: Health Probes
Now technically we should be all good. Let's go back to Backend health.

Application Gateway: Backend Health
That's it. Everything is Healthy.

Now comes the difficult part, that's testing to make sure everything is working as expected. Note down the Application Gateway Frontend Public IP.
Application Gateway: Public IP
Now for testing locally, add the following entries to hosts file (c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts).
104.46.6.83 gateway.centura.net
104.46.6.83 developer.centura.net
104.46.6.83 management.centura.net

Once that's done, let's do the same API call we did at the start of the post, instead, this time let's use the Gateway URL.

Calling API via Application Gateway -> APIM
It's working. Let's check the Developer Portal.
Developer Portal
Isn't it great?

Now if we want, we can introduce an Access Restriction on our APIs to only allow traffic from the APIM subnet in our virtual network, and deny everything else.

Add Access Restriction on App Services
Now that's a long post. Hope this helps!

If you want to do all this via PowerShell, you can find all the information here,

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Azure SQL Database: How to Create a ReadOnly User

This is a quick post on how we can create a Read-Only User for an Azure SQL Database.

1. First, connect to the target Azure SQL Server as the admin user. 

2. Now run the following script on the master database.

--on master

CREATE LOGIN [readonlyuser] WITH PASSWORD = '<password>';

CREATE USER [readonlyuser] FROM LOGIN [readonlyuser]
WITH DEFAULT_SCHEMA = [dbo];
on master
3. Now run the following script on the target database.
--on target database

CREATE USER [readonlyuser] FROM LOGIN [readonlyuser]

EXEC sp_addrolemember 'db_datareader', 'readonlyuser';

on target database
That's it.

Hope this helps.

Happy Coding.

Regards,
Jaliya

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Azure Front Door: Intelligent Health Probe Monitoring

Azure Front Door is in simple a Front Door to all your applications. Once a request is entered through Front Door, it travels through Microsoft's global edge network. It has many capabilities, but in this post, we are going to have a look at how easy it is to set up Health Probe Monitoring in Azure Front Door and how Azure Front Door handles unhealthy Backends.

As always it's easy to go by a demo.

I have deployed a very simple web application as an Azure App Service in two regions, one in Australia Southeast and the other in East US 2. (I am using 2 regions because Front Door is resilient to failures to an entire Azure region unlike Azure Application Gateway). This web application exposes /health endpoint, which the Azure Front will use to monitor the health.

And I have an Azure Front Door created and added a single backend pool with my two App Services.

Update Backend Pool

For my backends, their priority and weight are configured to be equal. Since I am in New Zealand, the closest region to me out of my two regions is Australia Southeast. So when I access the Front Door, I will be served from my App Service running in Australia Southeast (Read more: Front Door routing methods)

Served from Australia Southeast
And for some reason, if my App Service in Australia Southeast is down (can be an Application issue or can be a serious issue like Azure App Services in Australia Southeast region is down) and then I will be served from a different backend (determined by Front Door routing methods)

Served from East US 2
All these are handled by Azure Front Door with the very little configuration I have shown above (highlighted in red and green in the first image).

To determine the health and proximity of each backend, the Front Door periodically sends an HTTP/HTTPS request (health probe) to the specified path in each of your configured backends. This request can be either a GET or HEAD (HEAD is preferred due to less overhead) request. We can change the frequency Front Door do the health probe (for the demo purpose, I have set it to 5 seconds)

Then it considers the response status and the latency.  A 200 OK status code indicates the backend is Healthy. Everything else is considered a failure. If it doesn't get any response it's counted as a failure. So for my active backends, Front Door looks at the last n health probe responses. If at least x are healthy, the backend is considered healthy. Here n is the Sample size and x is Successful samples required property in load-balancing settings.

Read More:

Hope this helps.

Happy Coding.

Regards,
Jaliya