Microsoft Azure – Management Portal

Prerequisite

Basics of cloud computing.

Level

Beginner.

Overview

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure created by Microsoft. This platform is hosted on Microsoft-managed datacenters in different locations/regions around the world. It allows the hosting of different applications and services.

The purpose of this article is to give an overview of Microsoft Azure Management Portal regarding different day-to-day tasks. The list is long so I would cover this in a series of posts. This is the 1st part of this series.

I shall cover the following tasks in this article.

  • How to get an Azure account
  • Creating and managing a website
  • Creating and managing an MS SQL database in Azure
  • More to come in Part 2:
    • Storage account overview and its usage
    • Scheduler overview

So first thing first, lets go through the steps required to get the Microsoft Azure account.

How to get a Microsoft account

Microsoft provides a free, one month trial account of Microsoft Azure. The free trial account can be created at Azure website. To sign up, you would need:

  • A valid phone for verification via SMS or call option
  • Valid credit card. It will be not charged unless you remove the spending limit. The trial account comes with free £125 credit.

Furthermore, MSDN subscribers can enjoy a lot of free benefits on Microsoft Azure.

After getting the account, you can login to Microsoft Azure Management Portal. After logging in, you see the workspace showing all the items that you have created in your account. For the first time login, this workspace will be empty.

In the screenshot above, you can see the left panel showing most of the items that you can manage in Azure Management Portal. You can manage your computing services, data services, app services, network services, and marketplace.

Let’s start with creating and managing web apps in the category of computing services.

Creating and managing web apps

Click on the New icon at the bottom left of the screen. Click Compute > Web App > Quick Create.

Provide the name of your website and your service plan. The name of this website has to unique because this website will automatically become a sub-site of azurewebsites.net. (An example: If the name of my website is “exampler”, then this website shall be immediately available at exampler.azurewebsites.net.)

Now click on Create Web App button. The website shall be immediately available at management dashboard as well.

 

You can access your newly created website at exampler.azurewebsites.net.

 

Now that the website is created, the next step is to publish the website on this web app. Click on this “exampler” website. It shall show the different options that you can use for its management.

You can download the publish profile under “Publish your app”, and then import this profile in Visual Studio. This profile has Web Deploy and FTP options. Once imported, your profile will look something like below:

You can specify different configurable settings for your website under settings option of Publish Web window.Once published, your website shall be immediately updated at exampler.azurewebsites.net. I have used standard ASP.NET MVC application for this exampler. So here is the snapshot of mywebsite created in this demo.

 

I shall leave other options for you to explore. Other possible options available in web apps dashboard management areas are: web app configuration, scaling, linked resources monitor, web jobs and backup options.

I shall cover other computing service that azure provide in my future articles. Now I shall explain different steps for creating and the managing database in Microsoft azure.

Create and Manage MS SQL database in Azure

Azure does provide different data services and SQL database is one of them. In this section, I shall explain on how to create and manage MS SQL database.

Click on the New icon at the bottom left of the screen. Click Data Services > SQL Database > Quick Create. Provide the unique name of your database, select Subscription and select or create new Server for your database. Now Click Create SQL Database.

As soon as you click create button, you can see your database immediately available under SQL databases Tab.

Click on your database and next immediate thing is to connect to this database. Click “View SQL Database connection strings for ADO.NET, ODBC, PHP and JDBC”.

You can use this use this connection string to manage this database or you can manage it online using manage option of the Azure SQL database.

Before you access your database using SQL server management studio. You need to add your IP address into allowed list of your server. You can add your IP address under following path.

Click Servers under SQL databases. Select server where your database resides. And then click Configure. You can now see the list of IP address ranges that are allowed to access your database. You can specify your IP address as well to be added in the allowed list and click Save.

Once added, now you are free to access your database from your allowed IP address using the connection string retrieved in previous step and now you are ready to manage your SQL azure database.

I hope you are now familiar with the basic operation of the azure management portal.

Goodbye for now. More to come in the next article.

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