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How to install Landscape Server on Microsoft Azure

Thanks to the following contributor(s): @MikeT-gh

This guide provides an example of how to install and set up your Landscape server on Microsoft Azure with cloud-init. The instructions here can be used for standard or FIPS-compliant deployments.

For the most up-to-date documentation on Microsoft Azure, see Microsoft’s Azure documentation.

Contents:

  • Install and set up Microsoft Azure CLI
  • Provision Azure resources
  • Deploy Landscape Server VM with cloud-init
  • Configure Landscape
  • (Optional) Perform a complete teardown

Install and set up Microsoft Azure CLI

Install Azure CLI

To install the Azure CLI, refer to the Install Azure CLI on Ubuntu guide.

Connect Azure with your Microsoft Azure account

The Azure CLI’s default authentication method for logins uses a web browser and access token to sign in. To login, run:

az login

If the Azure CLI can open your default browser, it will open the default browser and load an Azure sign-in page for you to sign in with your Azure account. Otherwise, it will instruct you to open a browser page and enter the code displayed in your terminal.

Sign in with your account credentials in the browser. For more information on signing in with the Azure CLI, see Microsoft’s documentation on signing in interactively with the Azure CLI.

Provision Azure resources

Create a resource group

Create a resource group to contain all the Azure resources for deploying the VM. The following command creates a resource group named Landscape-rg in the eastus location:

az group create --name Landscape-rg --location eastus

Output will be displayed in JSON format:

{
  "id": "/subscriptions/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx/resourceGroups/Landscape-rg",
  "location": "eastus",
  "managedBy": null,
  "name": "Landscape-rg",
  "properties": {
    "provisioningState": "Succeeded"
  },
  "tags": null,
  "type": "Microsoft.Resources/resourceGroups"
}

Create public-ip address resource

Create a static IP address in the Landscape-rg resource group:

az network public-ip create \
	--resource-group Landscape-rg \
    --name LandscapePublicIP \
    --location eastus \
    --allocation-method Static

Output will be displayed in JSON format and will show the static IP address:

"ipAddress": "34.XXX.XXX.XXX",
"ipTags": [],
"location": "eastus",
"name": "LandscapePublicIP",
"provisioningState": "Succeeded",
"publicIPAddressVersion": "IPv4",
"publicIPAllocationMethod": "Static",
"resourceGroup": "Landscape-rg",

Copy the IP address and set it as the A record value for the domain or subdomain that will serve as the FQDN. You set the A record in your DNS service. You can also use Azure DNS zone to host your DNS domain and manage your DNS records.

Verify the A record using nslookup. Replace {landscape.domain.com} with your FQDN:

nslookup {landscape.domain.com}

You’ll receive output similar to:

Server:		127.0.0.53
Address: 127.0.0.53#53
  
Non-authoritative answer:
Name:	landscape.domain.com
Address: 34.XXX.XXX.XXX

If the address value in the nslookup output matches the value of the LandscapePublicIP static IP address, the LetsEncrypt SSL provisioning step defined in the cloud-init configuration automation template will succeed.

Deploy Landscape Server VM with cloud-init

Before beginning the deployment process with cloud-init, you must choose which of the two cloud-init configuration automation templates you want to use. In the Landscape Scripts Github repository, there are two Landscape Quickstart cloud-init configuration templates: cloud-init-quickstart.yaml and cloud-init-quickstart-fips.yaml.

The cloud-init-quickstart.yaml template is designed for anyone, and the cloud-init-quickstart-fips.yaml is designed for FIPS compliant deployments of Landscape Server. For more information, see how to install FIPS-compliant Landscape Server.

Once you’ve chosen your configuration template, complete the following steps.

  1. Set the IMAGE_FAMILY environment variable based on the cloud-init configuration you chose.

    If you’re using cloud-init-quickstart.yaml, run:

    curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/canonical/landscape-scripts/main/provisioning/cloud-init-quickstart.yaml -o cloud-init.yaml 
    IMAGE_FAMILY=Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-pro-jammy:pro-22_04-lts-gen2:latest
    

    If you’re using cloud-init-quickstart-fips.yaml, run:

    curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/canonical/landscape-scripts/main/provisioning/cloud-init-quickstart-fips.yaml -o cloud-init.yaml
    IMAGE_FAMILY=Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-pro-focal-fips:pro-fips-20_04-gen2:latest
    
  2. Open the downloaded cloud-init YAML file in an editor, determine which configuration parameters need to be changed between lines 4 and 32 and change these parameters.

The HOSTNAME on line 16 and DOMAIN on line 19 must be changed. Updating EMAIL on line 9, and adding your SendGrid API key on line 29 as the SMTP_PASSWORD are optional.

Create VM

Microsoft recommends not storing sensitive data in custom data such as cloud-init. For more information, see Microsoft’s documentation on custom data and cloud-init for virtual machines.

Run the following commands to create a VM and add a security rule to the network security group (NSG) to open port 80 and 443. These ports are required to be open to allow the LetsEncrypt SSL provisioning step defined in the cloud-init to succeed. The --generate-ssh-keys parameter causes the CLI to look for an available ssh key in ~/.ssh. If one is found, that key is used. If not, one is generated and stored in ~/.ssh. The --custom-data parameter to pass in the cloud-init config file. Provide the full path to the cloud-init.yaml config if you saved the file outside of your present working directory:

az vm create \
    --resource-group Landscape-rg \
    --name LandscapeVM \
    --image $IMAGE_FAMILY \
    --size Standard_D2s_v3 \
    --admin-username azureuser \
    --generate-ssh-keys \
    --public-ip-address LandscapePublicIP \
    --custom-data cloud-init.yaml
az vm open-port \
	--resource-group Landscape-rg \
	--name LandscapeVM \
	--port 80,443 \
	--priority 100

It usually takes a few minutes to create the VM and supporting resources.

When creating the VM an error may occur with the code MarketplacePurchaseEligibilityFailed. This error indicates that before the subscription can use this image, you need to accept the legal terms of the image. You can view and accept the terms via the Azure CLI. Refer to Microsoft’s documentation on VM image terms.

Observe the process by tailing the cloud-init-output.log file. Replace {landscape.domain.com} with your FQDN or static IP address:

ssh azureuser@{landscape.domain.com} 'tail -f /var/log/cloud-init-output.log'

A reboot may be required during the cloud-init process. If a reboot is required, you’ll receive output similar to:

2023-08-20 17:30:04,721 - cc_package_update_upgrade_install.py[WARNING]: Rebooting after upgrade or install per /var/run/reboot-required

If the IMAGE_FAMILY specified earlier contained all the security patches, this reboot step may not occur.

Repeat the following code if a reboot was necessary to continue observing the log file:

ssh azureuser@{landscape.domain.com} 'tail -f /var/log/cloud-init-output.log'

Wait until the cloud-init process is complete. When it’s complete, you’ll receive output similar to:

cloud-init v. 23.2.2-0ubuntu0~22.04.1 finished at Sun, 20 Aug 2023 17:30:56 +0000. Datasource DataSourceAzure [seed=/dev/sr0].  Up 37.35 seconds

Press CTRL + C to terminate the tail process in your terminal window.

Configure Landscape

  1. Navigate to the Landscape web portal by entering the FQDN of the Landscape VM into a browser window

  2. Provide a name, email address, and password for the first global administrator on the machine.

If the email address Landscape sends emails from should not be a subdomain based on the machine’s hostname, remove the hostname, or make the appropriate correction.

Alerts and administrator invitations sent via email are less likely to fail SPF or DMARC checks if the system email address is configured in a way the email service provider expects. If the email service provider sends emails which fail SPF and DMARC checks, mail delivery can be delayed or miscategorized as spam.

(Optional) Perform a complete teardown

When no longer needed, you can delete the resource group to remove all the related resources used to create the Landscape Server VM.

To check the resources in the Landscape-rg resource group, run:

az resource list --resource-group Landscape-rg --output table

To delete the resource group, run:

az group delete --name Landscape-rg

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