100 Days of Cloud – Day 59: Azure Lighthouse

Its Day 59 of my 100 Days of Cloud journey, and todays post is all about Azure Lighthouse.

No, its not that sort of Lighthouse…..

Azure Lighthouse enabled centalized management of multiple tenants, whcih can be utilized by:

  • Service Providers who wish to manage their Customer tenants from their own Tenant.
  • Enterprise Organisations with multiple tenants who wish to manage these from a single tenancy.

In each of the above examples, the customer in the underlying tenant maintains control over who has access to their tenant, which resources they can access, and what levels of access they have.

Benefits

The main benefit of Azure Lighthouse is to Service Providers, as it helps them to efficiently build and deliver managed services. Benefits include:

  • Management at scale: Customer engagement and life-cycle operations to manage customer resources are easier and more scalable. Existing APIs, management tools, and workflows can be used with delegated resources, including machines hosted outside of Azure, regardless of the regions in which they’re located.
  • Greater visibility and control for customers: Customers have precise control over the scopes they delegate for management and the permissions that are allowed. They can audit service provider actions and remove access completely at any time.
  • Comprehensive and unified platform tooling: Azure Lighthouse works with existing tools and APIs, Azure managed applications, and partner programs like the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP). This flexibility supports key service provider scenarios, including multiple licensing models such as EA, CSP and pay-as-you-go. You can integrate Azure Lighthouse into your existing workflows and applications, and track your impact on customer engagements by linking your partner ID.
  • Work more efficiently with Azure services like Azure Policy, Microsoft Sentinel, Azure Arc, and many more. Users can see what changes were made and by whom in the activity log, which is stored in the customer’s tenant and can be viewed by users in the managing tenant.
  • Azure Lighthouse is non-regional, which means you can manage tenants for multiple customers across multiple regions separately.
Image Credit: Microsoft

Visibility

  • Service Providers can manage customers’ Azure resources securely from within their own tenant, without having to switch context and control planes. Service providers can view cross-tenant information in the “My Customers” page in the Azure portal.
  • Customer subscriptions and resource groups can be delegated to specified users and roles in the managing tenant, with the ability to remove access as needed.
    The “Service Providers” page lets customers view and manage their service provider access.

Onboarding

When a customer’s subscription or resource group is onboarded to Azure Lighthouse, two resources are created: 

  • Registration definition – The registration definition contains the details of the Azure Lighthouse offer (the managing tenant ID and the authorizations that assign built-in roles to specific users, groups, and/or service principals in the managing tenant. A registration definition is created at the subscription level for each delegated subscription, or in each subscription that contains a delegated resource group.
  • Registration Assignment – The registration assignment assigns the registration definition to the onboarded subscription(s) and/or resource group(s). A registration assignment is created in each delegated scope. Each registration assignment must reference a valid registration definition at the subscription level, tying the authorizations for that service provider to the delegated scope and thus granting access.

Once this happens, Azure Lighthouse creates a logical projection of resources from one tenant onto another tenant. This lets authorized service provider users sign in to their own tenant with authorization to work in delegated customer subscriptions and resource groups. Users in the service provider’s tenant can then perform management operations on behalf of their customers, without having to sign in to each individual customer tenant.

How it works

At a high level, here’s how Azure Lighthouse works:

  1. Identify the roles that your groups, service principals, or users will need to manage the customer’s Azure resources.
  2. Specify this access and onboard the customer to Azure Lighthouse either by publishing a Managed Service offer to Azure Marketplace, or by deploying an Azure Resource Manager template. This onboarding process creates the two resources described above (registration definition and registration assignment) in the customer’s tenant.
  3. Once the customer has been onboarded, authorized users sign in to your managing tenant and perform tasks at the specified customer scope (subscription or resource group) per the access that you defined. Customers can review all actions taken, and they can remove access at any time.

Conclusion

And thats a brief overview of Azure Lighthouse, you can find more detailed information, service descriptions and concepts in the Microsoft Documentation here. Hope you enjoyed this post, until next time!

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