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Introduction to CloudDocs - Azure documentation Generator



Azure has made tremendous growth in the last decade. This is due to the rapid cloud adoption by various enterprises and organizations around the world. When cloud expenses increase, it becomes difficult to track and understand the utilization of Azure Resources. Lack of proper documentation leads to many problems as mentioned. Nevertheless, preparing documentation itself turns into a tedious task due to the multi-tenant architecture of Azure.

 

Here comes the CloudDocs in Serverless360, an Azure documentation generator to solve challenges in documenting Azure Subscription. This article will give you an overview of what is CloudDocs and its benefits.

 

 

Introduction to Cloud docs - Azure documentation Generator

 

What is CloudDocs in Serverless360?

CloudDocs is an Azure documentation generator that offers better readable documentation having an executive summary with all the details of your Azure subscription usage right from resource groups, resources, Active Directory users, cost & billing, etc.

 

What is CloudDocs in Serverless360?

 

Why is documentation on Azure Subscription important?

Like any other cloud service provider, Microsoft Azure makes it easy to instantiate and deploy the resources at ease on a subscription basis. Though the limits on the usage and restricted user permissions could be set, the resource deployment and usage will grow day by day. This is due to the nature of the business demands for various purposes.

  1. Resources could be deployed manually or through automated processes
  2. Resources are deployed across geographical locations
  3. Resources and Environments are managed by different teams
  4. Configurations are set or automated to support different workloads/demands
  5. Resources are billed across subscriptions and business units
  6. There is a need for different environments like Development, QA, Staging, Production, etc

 

 

Deployment of resources in Microsoft Azure is made so simple but without proper auditing and documentation, this may lead to situations where resource management becomes uncontrollable.

 

Challenges in maintaining the documentation

Almost every day, the resources and environments are created, modified, deleted by different teams, and automated based on requirements. User will face many challenges in maintaining the documentation and it is listed below:

  1. Complexity - It is challenging to maintain the document up to date with the changes that happen so frequently in the environment/infrastructure. After a stage, it becomes very difficult to maintain and eventually becomes stale.
  2. Lack of Collaboration – Consider an enterprise with different stakeholders involved in a project. Changes can only be done by sharing the documents across the team. There will not be a unified portal to collaborate along with strong user management.
  3. No Automation – For Enterprises, documenting the whole Azure Subscription manually turns out to be a tedious process. It will become an overhead for stakeholders to manage and revise the documents on time.
  4. Lack of Visibility - Getting the complete picture of how well Microsoft Azure is being used can be complicated. It may be pretty tough to consolidate all useful resource providers, their instances, locations, and price info into complete documentation. Subsequently, the reports or files shared with respective stakeholders, and their effectiveness can grow to be too cumbersome. It can also be hard for your team members and partners to access and understand them.

 

 

All these challenges in documenting Azure subscription can be overcome by an Azure Documentation generation tool like Serverless360 CloudDocs.

 

CloudDocs vs Azure Workbook

Azure offers in house documentation generating tool called Azure Workbook. Within the Azure portal, the Azure Workbook provides you a flexible canvas for data analysis and the creation of rich visual reports. It generates documents based on various data sources like Logs, Metrics, Azure Resource Graph, and more.

 

CloudDocs vs Azure Workbook

 

Even though Azure Workbook offers dynamic reports, it does not offer the capabilities required for Business users. As a Business user, you would need better cost visualization, sharing, version control, and many more. Below are a few major requirements for modern documentation:

 

SpecificationsServerless360 CloudDocsAzure Workbook
Markdown EditorOffers Markdown as well as WYSIWYG supportOffers Markdown
Cost VisualizationDetailed Cost visualization is availableNot available
Version controlVersion control along with User activity tracking is availableVersion control is not available
Offline VersionOffers PDF version to store the report in physical formatCloud version only available
ArchivesSupports Archiving which enables the user to investigate previous reportsArchiving is not available

 

Type of documents that can be generated

The following types of documentation can be generated:

  • Executive Summary – Provides summary on Resource Groups, resource types, Locations across which the resources are distributed, and Billing Summary over a documentation period.
  • Details on Resources – Provides in-depth information about each of the resources grouped by their Resource Types.
  • Billing & Metrics – Provides a graphical representation of cost incurred on Resource, Resource type, location, and Resource group. It also provides a split-up of cost consumed at the individual resource level.
  • Archives – Provides archives of previously generated documents that remain important and must be retained for future reference.

 

Publishing Models

CloudDocs comes with two different publishing models for different use cases: Publish online, and Publish as PDF.

 

 

Publish Online

Published on Document360 - #1 SaaS Product for Self-service Knowledge base platform, to provide a seamless experience in publishing and sharing the documents with respective stakeholders online. It comes with various capabilities for operations and support teams to efficiently manage cloud reports.

 

Publish on Document360

 

Publish as PDF

The generated documents can be stored in storage blobs as PDF and the same can be later downloaded or the links can be shared with your stakeholders. CloudDocs comes with a storage location at Serverless360 by default.

 

Publish as PDF

 

Benefits of CloudDocs

  1. Detailed Documents - Create documents that represent not only the Azure resources but its expenses, the exact location of resources, the resource groups, the resource types, and a lot more.
  2. Publish as PDF – Generate document as a PDF file which is securely stored in Serverless360 or user-provided storage account.
  3. Publish and share online – Access the generated documentation from a secured online knowledge-based platform.
  4. Cost by Date – Provides cost consumption details for the date range specified by the user.
  5. Billing & Metrics - Generate documentation with vital information like billing and metrics for the overall/group-wise resources in the subscription.
  6. Archive Documents – Manage documentation history for future use and reference.

 

Conclusion

CloudDocs in Serverless360 is available in preview right now. Our team is working hard to bring in V1 of CloudDocs with a lot more features and enhancements collected as requests from our valuable customers which will outstand other Azure Documentation generator tools in the market right now.

 


Kunal Chowdhury
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