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Azure Traffic Manager

Updated: Jun 13

Azure Traffic Manager is a DNS-based load balancer to manage user traffic distribution of service endpoints in different data centers. This tool can service any of the Azure global regions and secure an optimal level of availability and responsiveness for your services.

Traffic Manager uses DNS to direct the client requests to the appropriate service endpoint based on a traffic-routing method. The traffic manager also provides health monitoring for every endpoint. The endpoint can be any Internet-facing service hosted inside or outside of Azure


How Traffic Manager works

DNS Resolution

When a user tries to access your application, their DNS client first queries the DNS record associated with your application's endpoint. This DNS record could be a public DNS record or a private DNS record in Azure DNS.


Traffic Manager Routing

The DNS query is then directed to Azure Traffic Manager, which evaluates the traffic routing method you have configured. Traffic Manager considers various factors like the user's location, the health of your application endpoints, and any custom routing rules you may have defined.


Endpoint Selection

Based on the routing method, the Traffic Manager selects the most appropriate endpoint for the user and returns the DNS address of that endpoint to the user's DNS client.


User Request

The user's device then connects directly to the selected endpoint, bypassing Azure Traffic Manager and communicating directly with your application.


Why Use Azure Traffic Manager?

There are several reasons why you might choose to use Azure Traffic Manager for your applications:


Improved Availability

Traffic Manager helps to ensure that your application remains available to users even if one or more of your application endpoints experience an outage. By directing traffic to healthy endpoints, Traffic Manager minimizes downtime and keeps your application accessible.


Enhanced Responsiveness

Traffic Manager routes users to the geographically closest healthy endpoint, reducing latency and improving the overall responsiveness of your application for users around the world.


Global Reach

With Azure Traffic Manager, you can easily distribute your application across multiple regions, ensuring that users have a performant experience regardless of their location.


Traffic Management Flexibility

Traffic Manager offers a variety of traffic routing methods, allowing you to tailor traffic distribution to your specific needs. You can configure routing based on factors like geography, priority, performance, or custom rules.


Integration with Azure Services 

Traffic Manager integrates seamlessly with other Azure services, such as Azure App Service, Azure Functions, and Azure Virtual Machines. This makes it easy to deploy and manage your applications in a comprehensive Azure environment.


Traffic Manager Features

Improve application performance

Azure allows you to run cloud services or websites in data centres located all over the world. It enhances application responsiveness by directing traffic to the endpoint with the lowest network latency for the client.


Perform service maintenance without downtime

You can perform planned maintenance operations on your applications without downtime. It can direct traffic to alternative endpoints while the maintenance is ongoing.


Combine hybrid applications

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager supports external, non-Azure endpoints, enabling it to be used with hybrid cloud and on-premises deployments, including the “burst-to-cloud”, “migrate-to-cloud,” and “failover-to-cloud” scenarios.


Distribute traffic for complex deployments

Using nested Azure Traffic Manager profiles, multiple traffic-routing methods are often combined to make sophisticated and versatile rules to scale to the requirements of larger, more complex deployments.


Multiple Traffic Routing Methods

Traffic Manager supports a variety of traffic routing methods, including:

  • Priority: Route traffic to the endpoint with the highest priority.

  • Weighted: Distribute traffic among endpoints based on configured weights.

  • Geographic: Route traffic to the endpoint closest to the user's location.

  • Performance: Route traffic to the endpoint with the best performance metrics.

  • Multicast: Distribute traffic copies to multiple endpoints simultaneously.


Health Monitoring

The traffic Manager actively monitors the health of your application endpoints. It performs periodic health checks to identify any issues and automatically removes unhealthy endpoints from the traffic routing process.


Failover

If a primary endpoint becomes unavailable, Traffic Manager automatically fails over traffic to a secondary endpoint, minimizing downtime and ensuring service continuity.


Metrics and Analytics

Traffic Manager provides detailed metrics and analytics that allow you to monitor traffic patterns, identify trends, and optimize your traffic routing configuration for better performance.


Easy Integration

Traffic Manager integrates seamlessly with other Azure services, making it easy to deploy and manage within your Azure environment.



Getting Started with Azure Traffic Manager

Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started with Azure Traffic Manager:

Create a Traffic Manager profile


Create Azure Traffic Manager Profile

In the Azure portal, navigate to the Traffic Manager service and create a new Traffic Manager profile. Choose a name for your profile and a resource group to store it in.


Add Endpoints 


Add endpoint in azure traffic manager

Once your profile is created, you can start adding endpoints to it. Endpoints represent the different instances of your application or service that you want to distribute traffic across. You can add various types of endpoints to a Traffic Manager profile, including:

  • Azure endpoints: These can be Azure App Service apps, Azure Functions, Azure Virtual Machines, or any other service hosted within Azure.

  • External endpoints: These can be any internet-facing endpoints outside of Azure, such as web servers hosted in your own data centre or on another cloud platform.


Configure Traffic Routing

After adding your endpoints, you need to define the traffic routing method that the Traffic Manager will use to distribute traffic among them. Choose the most appropriate method based on your needs:

Priority Routing

This method directs traffic to the endpoint with the highest priority you assign. You can configure multiple priorities, with traffic failing over to lower priorities, if higher-priority endpoints become unavailable.


Weighted Routing

This method distributes traffic among endpoints based on a weight you assign to each. A higher weight indicates a higher chance of receiving traffic. This allows you to distribute traffic unevenly, perhaps directing more traffic to a more powerful endpoint or one handling a specific region.


Geographic Routing

This method directs users to the endpoint closest to their geographic location. Traffic Manager uses the user's IP address to determine their location and route them accordingly. This is ideal for improving responsiveness for global users.


Performance Routing

This method directs traffic to the endpoint with the best performance metrics, as measured by the Traffic Manager. This ensures users are directed to the most responsive and performant endpoint at any given time.


Multicast Routing

This method distributes traffic copies to all healthy endpoints simultaneously. This can be useful for scenarios where real-time updates or low latency are critical across all locations.


Configure Health Monitoring

Define how the Traffic Manager will monitor the health of your endpoints. You can configure various health checks, such as HTTP or TCP checks, to be performed at regular intervals. Traffic Manager will remove unhealthy endpoints from the routing process until they recover.


Test and Monitor

Test Traffic Manager

Once your configuration is complete, test your Traffic Manager profile to ensure it's functioning as expected. You can use tools like Azure Monitor to view detailed traffic metrics and identify potential issues.


Traffic Manager Routing Method

Azure Traffic Manager supports six traffic-routing methods to determine how to route network traffic to the various service endpoints.

The following traffic routing methods are available in the Traffic Manager

Priority

Select Priority routing when you want to have a primary service endpoint for all traffic. You can provide multiple backup endpoints in case the primary or one of the backup endpoints is unavailable.

Priority Routing

Weighted

Select Weighted routing when you want to distribute traffic across a set of endpoints based on their weight. Set the weight the same to distribute evenly across all endpoints.

Weighted Routing

Performance

Select Performance routing when you have endpoints in different geographic locations and you want end users to use the "closest" endpoint for the lowest network latency.

Performance Routing

Geographic

Select Geographic routing to direct users to specific endpoints (Azure, External, or Nested) based on where their DNS queries originate geographically. This routing method enables you to be in compliance with scenarios such as data sovereignty mandates, localization of content & user experience and measuring traffic from different regions.

Geographic Routing

Multivalue

Select MultiValue for Traffic Manager profiles that can only have IPv4/IPv6 addresses as endpoints. When a query is received for this profile, all healthy endpoints are returned.

Subnet

Select the Subnet traffic-routing method to map sets of end-user IP address ranges to a specific endpoint. When a request is received, the endpoint returned will be the one mapped for that request’s source IP address.



Traffic Manager SKUs

Traffic Manager billing is based on the number of DNS queries received, with a discount for services receiving more than 1 billion monthly queries. Microsoft also charges for each monitored endpoint (the rate depends on whether it’s an Azure or external service).




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