Control plane and data plane in Azure

Category : Microsoft Azure Data Engineering | Sub Category : Databricks | By Prasad Bonam Last updated: 2023-09-23 09:51:42 Viewed : 260

In Azure, the control plane and data plane are two essential components of the Azure infrastructure that work together to provide cloud services and manage resources. They serve distinct purposes and have different responsibilities within the Azure environment:

  1. Control Plane:

    • The control plane, also known as the Azure Resource Manager (ARM), is responsible for managing and controlling Azure resources and services.
    • Its primary functions include resource provisioning, management, and orchestration.
    • The control plane is responsible for handling tasks like creating and deleting virtual machines, managing access control (RBAC), deploying templates (ARM templates), and more.
    • It provides a unified API and portal (Azure Portal, Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, REST API) for users and administrators to interact with Azure resources.
    • The control plane enforces Azure policies, manages resource locks, and ensures the proper allocation of resources while abstracting the underlying infrastructure.
    • It is responsible for authenticating and authorizing users, ensuring security, and auditing activities in Azure.
  2. Data Plane:

    • The data plane, also referred to as the Azure Data Plane, is responsible for handling the actual data and workload operations within Azure resources.
    • Its primary functions include data storage, data processing, data retrieval, and serving the intended services.
    • For example, in Azure Storage, the data plane manages the storage of blobs, files, tables, and queues. In Azure Virtual Machines, it manages the execution of applications and data storage on disks.
    • The data plane handles data replication, redundancy, retrieval, and delivery to end-users or applications.
    • It performs data encryption, access control, and data-specific operations based on the type of resource (e.g., a database, virtual machine, or storage account).

In summary, the control plane in Azure is responsible for managing the Azure infrastructure and resources, while the data plane handles the actual data and workloads processed by those resources. They work together to provide Azure services, ensuring resource provisioning, management, and data operations are carried out efficiently and securely. Understanding the separation of these two planes is crucial for designing, managing, and securing Azure resources and services effectively.

Azure Databricks:

  1. Control Plane (Management Plane):

    • In Azure Databricks, the control plane refers to the management and administrative aspects of the service.
    • It includes components and functionality related to provisioning, configuration, and management of Databricks workspaces, clusters, jobs, and access control.
    • Key control plane components include the Azure Databricks Workspace, the Azure Portal, Databricks CLI, and APIs.
    • The control plane allows administrators and users to create, configure, and manage Databricks resources, such as clusters and notebooks, and to define access control policies.
    • Administrative tasks like creating Databricks workspaces, managing billing, setting up networking, and defining workspace-level access control are part of the control plane.
  2. Data Plane (Execution Plane):

    • In Azure Databricks, the data plane, or execution plane, is where the actual data processing and execution of workloads take place.
    • It involves the execution of Spark jobs, running notebooks, processing data, and performing analytics.
    • Clusters in Databricks represent the data plane as they provide the computational resources needed to execute Spark jobs and notebooks.
    • When users run Spark code in notebooks or submit Spark jobs, they are utilizing the data plane. The Spark clusters are responsible for the execution and processing of this code.
    • The data plane interacts with data sources and sinks, performs ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) operations, and produces analytical results.

In summary, in the context of Azure Databricks:

  • The control plane is responsible for the management and administration of the Databricks workspace, including resource provisioning, access control, and configuration.
  • The data plane is where the actual data processing and execution of workloads happen, primarily driven by Spark clusters, which perform computations and data operations.

These concepts align with the broader cloud computing principles of having a separation between the management and execution layers to ensure efficient resource management, security, and scalability.

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