Managing Azure instances

This section describes the common maintenance tasks for managing your Azure instances:

Scheduled maintenance events in Azure

Scheduled Events is an Azure Metadata Service that provides information about upcoming VM maintenance events (for example, a reboot). Pexip Infinity VMs that are deployed in Azure poll for maintenance events automatically. No administrative configuration or action is required within Pexip Infinity or Azure.

When certain events are detected, such as a Freeze event, the Conferencing Node running on that VM is automatically placed into maintenance mode for the duration of the event (it is automatically taken out of maintenance mode when the event is complete).

Placing a Conferencing Node into maintenance mode won't protect any existing calls on that node when the event occurs, but it does mitigate the impact by preventing new calls from being accepted on that node.

The following table shows the types of maintenance events that are detected, the minimum notice period before the event is performed, if the event is acknowledged, if an alarm is raised on Pexip Infinity, and whether the Conferencing Node running on that VM is placed into maintenance mode.

Event type Minimum notice period Acknowledged Alarm raised Maintenance mode
Freeze 15 minutes No Yes Yes
Reboot 15 minutes Yes No No
Redeploy 10 minutes No Yes Yes
Preempt 30 seconds No Yes Yes
Terminate User configurable: 5 to 15 minutes Yes No No

Note that:

  • All maintenance events are logged in the support log (modules: support.pulse and support.scheduled_maintenance_events). Alarms are also logged in the administrator log.
  • A node may stay in maintenance mode for several minutes beyond the NotBefore timestamp indicated in the "New scheduled maintenance event" log entry.
  • The system logs and raises alarms for VMs hosting a Management Node (but there is no maintenance mode for a Management Node),
  • Only Pexip Infinity VMs are supported; Teams Connector instances are not supported.

Temporarily removing (stopping) a Conferencing Node instance

At any time you can temporarily remove a Conferencing Node instance from your Pexip Infinity platform if, for example, you do not need all of your current conferencing capacity.

To temporarily remove a Conferencing Node instance:

  1. Put the Conferencing Node into maintenance mode via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface on the Management Node:

    1. Go to Platform > Conferencing Nodes.
    2. Select the Conferencing Node(s).
    3. From the Action menu at the top left of the screen, select Enable maintenance mode and then select Go.

      While maintenance mode is enabled, this Conferencing Node will not accept any new conference instances.

    4. Wait until any existing conferences on that Conferencing Node have finished. To check, go to Status > Live View.
  2. Stop the Conferencing Node instance on Azure:

    1. From the Azure portal, select Virtual machines to see the status of all of your instances.
    2. Select the instance you want to shut down.
    3. Select Stop to shut down the instance.

Reinstating (restarting) a stopped Conferencing Node instance

You can reinstate a Conferencing Node instance that has already been installed but has been temporarily shut down.

To restart a Conferencing Node instance:

  1. Restart the Conferencing Node instance on Azure:

    1. From the Azure portal, select Virtual machines to see the status of all of your instances.
    2. Select the instance you want to restart.
    3. Select Start to start the instance.
  2. Take the Conferencing Node out of maintenance mode via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface on the Management Node:

    1. Go to Platform > Conferencing Nodes.
    2. Select the Conferencing Node.
    3. Clear the Enable maintenance mode check box and select Save.
  3. Update the Conferencing Node's static NAT address, if appropriate.

    If your Conferencing Node instance was configured with an auto-assigned public IP address, it will be assigned a new public IP address when the instance is restarted.

    1. Go to Platform > Conferencing Nodes and select the Conferencing Node.
    2. Configure the Static NAT address as the instance's new public IP address.

After reinstating a Conferencing Node, it takes approximately 5 minutes for the node to reboot and be available for conference hosting, and for its last contacted status to be updated on the Management Node.

Permanently removing a Conferencing Node instance

If you no longer need a Conferencing Node instance, you can permanently delete it from your Pexip Infinity platform.

To remove a Conferencing Node instance:

  1. If you have not already done so, put the Conferencing Node into maintenance mode via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface on the Management Node:
    1. Go to Platform > Conferencing Nodes.
    2. Select the Conferencing Node(s).
    3. From the Action menu at the top left of the screen, select Enable maintenance mode and then select Go.

      While maintenance mode is enabled, this Conferencing Node will not accept any new conference instances.

    4. Wait until any existing conferences on that Conferencing Node have finished. To check, go to Status > Live View.
  2. Delete the Conferencing Node from the Management Node:

    1. Go to Platform > Conferencing Nodes and select the Conferencing Node.
    2. Select the check box next to the node you want to delete, and then from the Action drop-down menu, select Delete selected Conferencing Nodes and then select Go.
  3. Terminate the Conferencing Node instance on Azure:

    1. Delete the resource group that holds the instance:

      1. From the Azure Portal, select Resource groups to see all of your resource groups.
      2. Select the resource group you want to delete.
      3. Select Delete to delete the resource group.
    2. If boot diagnostics were enabled on the VM instance, delete the storage container that holds the instance boot diagnostics logs:

      1. From the Azure Portal, select All resources to see all of your storage accounts.
      2. Select the storage account that is being used to store the boot diagnostics logs.
      3. Under Services, select Blobs to see all of the storage containers in the storage account.
      4. Select the storage container you want to delete.
      5. Select Delete to delete the storage container.

Backing up VM instances (guidelines)

When backing up Azure VMs to a Recovery Services vault, you must shut down the VM before performing the backup.

Converting VM instances to managed disks and to premium performance

Previously, the ARM templates and guidelines provided by Pexip for deploying VM instances used unmanaged disks in a storage account with standard performance. The current ARM templates use managed disks. VMs deployed with a mix of managed and unmanaged disks can co-exist in your Pexip Infinity deployment, however you may want to convert any previously deployed VMs to use managed disks with premium performance.

Note that the storage account used for VM boot diagnostics must use standard performance disks.

Converting unmanaged disks to managed disks

To convert a VM from using unmanaged disks to managed disks via the Azure portal:

  1. From the Azure portal, select Virtual machines to see a list of all of your instances.
  2. Select the VM from the list of virtual machines in the portal.
  3. Select Disks from the Settings sidepane for the VM.
  4. At the top of the Disks pane, select Migrate to managed disks.

    If your VM is in an availability set, there will be a warning that you need to convert the availability set first. The warning should have a link you can select to convert the availability set.

  5. When the availability set is converted or if your VM is not in an availability set, select Migrate to start the process of migrating your disks to managed disks.

The conversion may take 1-2 minutes. The VM will be stopped and restarted after migration is complete.

Converting managed disks from Standard to Premium

To convert a VM's managed disks from Standard to Premium via the Azure portal:

  1. From the Azure portal, select Virtual machines to see a list of all of your instances.
  2. Select the VM from the list of virtual machines in the portal.
  3. If the VM is Running, select Stop at the top of VM Overview pane, and wait for the VM to stop.
  4. Select Disks from the Settings sidepane for the VM.
  5. Select the disk that you want to convert.
  6. Select Size + Performance from the Settings menu.
  7. Change the Account type from Standard HDD to Premium SSD.
  8. Select Save, and close the disk pane.

    The disk type conversion is instantaneous.

  9. You can restart your VM after the conversion: return to the VM's Overview pane and select Start to restart the VM.