Microsoft made a small change to the Basics blade of the ARM VM deployment wizard, which I noticed for the first time this morning.
Microsoft is constantly changing the Azure Portal. Feedback, new features, and probably metrics gathered from our usage, shape the solution. It’s gone from being a horrible tool to something I find to be, not only, useful, but also educational – the portal helps me find new things in Azure and understand how things fit together. For example, I tried reading about the Azure ARM load balancer but all of the materials were infinite loop gibberish. I open the portal, deployed a template, and traced how the pieces fit together.
Part of the feedback Microsoft gets is that the UI is “too big”. You have to click and scroll too much. A big improvement was the “all settings” blade which removed the “symantec” from the design and put all of a resource’s features into one flat and discoverable blade.
We got another such improvement in the last couple of days. When we are building a VM in the portal we have to select a spec and size of VM. That opens up a HUGE blade with dozens of options, each presented in a little frame with details of that VM spec/size. Only the other day, I though that this blade had become a pain in the a**. Microsoft has eased the pain (a little) by changing the Basics blade. As you can see below, a new list box asks if we want a VM with SSD or HDD storage – that’s a little over simplified but that’s a conversation for another time. Selecting one option filters what options the Size blade needs to show you.
Note that this change only affects the deployment of ARM virtual machines. The old experience is still there for Classic (ASM) virtual machines.
I do have another option for Microsoft … cull the numbers of specs of VM. Do we really need Basic A, Standard A, D, DS, Dv2, F, FS, G, GS, NC and NV, each with a number of sizes? I used to be able to explain the features/differences of the different series with a single PowerPoint slide … now it’s a presentation deck all of it’s own!