April 17, 2024

Azure Private Endpoint vs Azure Service Endpoint

8 min read
Discover the differences between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint in this informative article.
A cloud network with two distinct points of connection

A cloud network with two distinct points of connection

Azure offers two endpoint solutions: Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint. Both of these endpoints play a critical role in managing network security, performance, and cost optimization. In this article, we will compare and contrast these two endpoints in detail, discussing the benefits, limitations, and use cases for each one to help you determine which one best suits your needs.

What are Azure Private Endpoints?

Azure Private Endpoint enables you to access a specific Azure service privately. The feature provides a secure connection between the Azure service and clients. Private endpoints are secure because they allow traffic to flow entirely within a customer’s virtual network. The result is that the traffic stays within a trusted and secure environment. Furthermore, this network traffic does not pass over the internet, making it more secure, private, and highly effective in managing sensitive data.

One of the key benefits of Azure Private Endpoints is that they enable you to access Azure services over a private IP address. This means that you can access the service without exposing it to the public internet, which reduces the risk of cyber attacks and data breaches. Additionally, Azure Private Endpoints can be used to access services across different regions, which can help to improve performance and reduce latency. Overall, Azure Private Endpoints are a powerful tool for securing and managing your sensitive data in the cloud.

What are Azure Service Endpoints?

Azure Service Endpoint consists of two endpoints – service endpoint and service endpoint policy. Together, these endpoints enable customers to use a resource within a virtual network. Azure service endpoints open a connection from the customer’s virtual network to the Azure service over an optimized Azure backbone network while the service endpoint policy restricts the inbound traffic to the Azure service to resources in your network/subnet.

One of the benefits of using Azure Service Endpoints is that it provides an additional layer of security for your resources. By restricting inbound traffic to the Azure service to resources in your network/subnet, you can prevent unauthorized access to your resources from the internet. This helps to reduce the attack surface of your resources and improve your overall security posture.

Another advantage of using Azure Service Endpoints is that it can help to improve the performance of your applications. By using the optimized Azure backbone network, you can reduce latency and improve the throughput of your network traffic. This can be particularly beneficial for applications that require low latency or high bandwidth, such as video streaming or real-time data processing.

Differences between Azure Private Endpoints and Azure Service Endpoints

The primary difference between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint is the location. Azure Private Endpoint is located within the customer’s virtual network, while Azure Service Endpoint is located in the Microsoft backbone network. Another significant difference is that the Private Endpoint provides connectivity to a single service instance, while Service Endpoint provides connectivity to an entire Azure service.

Azure Private Endpoint provides a more granular level of control. This allows you to connect to a specific instance of an Azure service in your VNet but still restricts inbound traffic. Also, Private Endpoint supports bringing your IPs, meaning there is no need to create a public IP address. In contrast, Service Endpoint requires a public IP address to create a secure connection.

Another difference between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint is the level of security they provide. Private Endpoint provides a more secure connection as it uses a private IP address to connect to the service instance. This means that the traffic between the virtual network and the service instance is completely isolated from the public internet. On the other hand, Service Endpoint uses a public IP address to connect to the entire Azure service, which can be less secure.

Additionally, Azure Private Endpoint allows you to access Azure services over a private connection, which can be beneficial for compliance and regulatory requirements. This is because it ensures that the data is not transmitted over the public internet, which can be a security risk. In contrast, Azure Service Endpoint does not provide this level of privacy and security as it uses a public IP address to connect to the Azure service.

Advantages of using Azure Private Endpoints

Azure Private Endpoint is highly secure and offers better network performance than Service Endpoint because traffic does not travel through the internet. With Private Endpoint, traffic remains within the virtual network and does not traverse the public endpoint. Hence, it reduces the risk of a data breach. Additionally, Azure Private Endpoint provides better network isolation and granular security controls. It also eliminates the worry of opening the firewall to the public internet, ensuring that you only communicate with the intended service.

Advantages of using Azure Service Endpoints

Azure Service Endpoint is the best choice for connecting to multiple virtual machines. It provides a single point of control for inbound and outbound traffic flow. It is cost-effective as there is no need to secure public IP addresses for each VM. Furthermore, azure service endpoints benefit from fully managed by Azure, including providing an optimized path from your VNET to the Azure service. For example, with an Azure SQL service endpoint, the Azure SQL service can be isolated to a specific subnet that only allows access to specific IP addresses.

How to configure Azure Private Endpoint

You can configure Azure Private Endpoint in Azure Portal or using PowerShell. To create a Private Endpoint in Azure Portal, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Azure Portal.
  • Select the resource to which you want to configure Private Endpoint.
  • Click on “Private Endpoint Connections” under Settings.
  • Create a new Private Endpoint Connection.
  • Provide the necessary connection details, such as the name and subnet.
  • By following the above easy steps, you will have successful Private Endpoint configuration.

How to configure Azure Service Endpoint

To configure Azure Service Endpoint:

  • Login to your Azure environment.
  • Go to the network resource which is your virtual network (VNet).
  • Go to “Service Endpoints” under the “Security” in the left-hand menu.
  • Select the “Add” button.
  • Choose the service type you want to use Service Endpoints with.
  • Select the subnet to which the endpoint is assigned.
  • Select the “OK” button

Best practices for using Azure Private Endpoint

It is important to follow the guidelines when working with Azure Private Endpoint. Here are a few best practices when using Azure Private Endpoint:

  • Create a separate subnet for Private endpoints and assign Azure services to the subnet.
  • Avoid using a network security group that blocks Azure service traffic.
  • Ensure the Azure Private DNS zone is used to resolve private endpoints.
  • Use VMs that are in the same region as the Azure service endpoint.
  • Architecture the virtual network appropriately, such as defining and optimizing subnets.

Best practices for using Azure Service Endpoint

When using Azure Service Endpoint, it is essential to follow best practices. Here are a few best practices to consider:

  • Create a dedicated subnet for the resources.
  • Ensure your subnet has no other inbound internet connectivity.
  • Ensure that the resources you champion via the endpoint are compliant with the policies.
  • Ensure that you’ve applied NSG policies to your subnet to manage traffic.

Security considerations when using Azure Private Endpoint

Azure Private Endpoint is a secure way to access Azure services, but it is not entirely secure. Here are a few security considerations when using Azure Private Endpoint:

  • Ensure to monitor access to the Private Endpoint.
  • Limit access to the Private Endpoint subnet and other resources.
  • Use NSGs and virtual firewalls to block access to traffic from unauthorized sources.
  • Make sure to patch the VMs that connect to the private endpoint regularly.

Security considerations when using Azure Service Endpoint

When using Azure Service Endpoint, it is important to consider certain security aspects. Here are a few security considerations:

  • Ensure that you have enabled NSG policies on your Service Endpoint subnet.
  • Avoid using public IP addresses and keep your applications on private load balancer endpoints.
  • Ensure you enforce role-based access controls to control access to Service resources.
  • Make sure that Service Endpoint policies do not misconfigure your security policies.

Use cases for Azure Private Endpoint

Azure Private Endpoint is best suited for scenarios that require high security and private connectivity to an Azure Service. Here are a few use cases that highlight its potential:

  • Connecting to an Azure tenant on the corporate network securely.
  • Accessing a company’s Azure SQL instance securely.
  • Creating a private connection to WebApps for accessing APIs or authorizing requests.
  • Accessing and managing data volumes residing in Azure Blob, Queue, or Table Storage securely.

Use cases for Azure Service Endpoint

Azure Service Endpoint is recommended for scenarios where you want to optimize network performance and save on cost. Here are a few use cases for Azure Service Endpoint:

  • Allowing traffic to flow from Virtual Network to Azure SQL
  • Enabling traffic flow between Azure Storage accounts in the same region
  • Enabling traffic flow between internal Virtual Machines
  • Using custom DNS

Comparison of network traffic between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint

The significant difference between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint is network traffic. Here is a comparison of network traffic between the two endpoints:

  • Azure Private Endpoint does not send traffic over the internet.
  • The Azure Service Endpoint traffic travels over the Azure backbone network.
  • Azure Private Endpoint supports a granular level of security controls.
  • Azure Service Endpoint provides a simpler configuration method for multi-virtual machine resources.

Pricing comparison of Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint

The cost difference between Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint is as follows:

  • Azure Private Endpoint is more expensive, and there are no free tiers.
  • Azure Service Endpoint is less expensive, and there is a free tier.
  • You pay only for data transfer for both endpoints.
  • Prices may vary based on the location of the service and other factors.

Limitations of Azure Private Endpoint

Azure Private Endpoint has certain limitations, including:

  • It only works with certain Azure services.
  • It doesn’t support peering with virtual networks.
  • It can only be used in certain regions.
  • It requires configuration experience and advanced network knowledge.

Limitations of Azure Service Endpoint

Azure Service Endpoint also has certain limitations, including:

  • It cannot be used to block traffic.
  • It is not supported by all Azure services.
  • It is not applicable to all virtual machines and resources.
  • It requires additional security policies and configuration for proper use.

How to troubleshoot issues with Azure Private Endpoint

Here are a few ways to troubleshoot issues with Azure Private Endpoint:

  • Use Azure Monitor to detect network issues.
  • Ensure that you have created and configured the Private Endpoint properly.
  • Check the supported services for Azure Private Endpoint and ensure that you are using the correct service.
  • Ensure that your network topology is correct and all the necessary components are installed.

How to troubleshoot issues with Azure Service Endpoint

The following are some ways to troubleshoot issues with Azure Service Endpoint:

  • Check if the virtual network and subnet are correct and updated.
  • Verify that your resource has the latest update and is configured correctly.
  • Ensure that the inbound and outgoing traffic for the subnet with a service endpoint is configured correctly.
  • Double-check the service endpoint policy for the correct setup and matching parameters.

Conclusion

Azure Private Endpoint and Azure Service Endpoint are two powerful and effective tools for managing network security and performance. Each endpoint has its own unique features and benefits, and it is crucial to understand the differences between them to choose the right one for your specific needs. By following the best practices and troubleshooting tips, you can optimize your endpoint usage and achieve optimal performance, security, and cost savings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *