Choosing Azure Management Tools

[Image Credit: Microsoft]

In this post, I will share with you some details on the different options for managing Azure. It’s not all-encompassing; I’m leaving programing REST API and Visual Studio to the nut jobs.

Account Portal

This is where you start off creating your subscription (under Open or direct-billing), and where you go to get a breakdown on your billing. You get a simple UI to break down your costs in this period, and the ability to download a deeper dive.

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Management Portal

The Management Portal is historically where techies have gone to get stuff going. You get a pretty easy to use UI, with each major element of Azure having it’s own section. When you deploy something in here, there’s usually a Quick Start, some of which can be really simple to use.

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You might have noticed that there is a second UI portal – yes; it can be confusing. Here’s how I think of things:

  • The management portal is where I go to work with new things like Azure Site Recovery or Remote App
  • The preview portal is where I go to have the best marketplace experience
  • The preview portal is where new sub features often get surfaced, e.g. assigning a reserved IP to a virtual machine

Preview Portal (Codename Ibiza)

Microsoft launched the “Preview Portal” around 14 months ago. It’s gone through many redesigns. Rather than being quick to navigate, it’s got a very “Windows 8” crossed with PhotoShopped-insane UI. But the reality is, if you want to work with new sub-features via a UI, then this site is where you go. If you want as much stuff presented to you as possible, this is where you go. And it does seem that more effort goes into this site as time goes by.

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PowerShell

There are at least 2 types of PowerShell that you’ll use with Azure:

  • The MSOL module for Azure Active Directory
  • The Azure PowerShell module

With PowerShell you really can do things much more quickly. Creating, changing (if you can), and removing things in Azure is painfully slow via the UI tools. PowerShell isn’t much quicker, but it allows you to script a number of things you want done while you get coffee or work on something else.

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There are other options, but as an IaaS person, I’m focused on the above tools.

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