How to: Get Started with Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is one of the leading cloud platforms across the globe. At the time of writing this post, Azure has 32 regions generally available and 6 regions coming up soon. It has data centers across the globe including US, Canada, Brazil, Europe, India, China and so on. Check out the updated list of Azure Regions here.Choosing appropriate region or data center to host your application/data depends upon the laws and data restrictions which might vary from country to country. Microsoft Azure conforms with industry-wide global standards including ISO, HIPAA, HITRUST etc.. Check out Microsoft Trust Center for more details on compliance.

To start using Microsoft Azure, you need a subscription. A subscription works in a Pay-As-You-Go model under which you are charged for using the cloud resources only for the time you have used them. It works similar to renting an apartment. You pay rent to the owner for staying in the apartment for the period of your stay. Azure subscription can be bought here. While registering for an Azure subscription, you will be required to provide credit card details, but, your card will not be charged at the end of the billing cycle until and unless you use any Azure service.

If you are a MSDN subscriber, you can also avail the Azure benefits as listed under your MSDN subscription. You can also try Azure for 30 days by registering here. As a part of this free trial, you will get 200$ credit to test different Azure services. Different services are priced differently. For example – Virtual Machines are billed in hours whereas storage resources are billed in GegaBytes. For complete pricing information, refer here.

Once your Azure subscription is ready, you can login to either of the below mentioned Azure portals which allow you to manage your Azure subscription and resources under it within a browser:

  1. www.portal.azure.com This portal is a new HTML5 based responsive web portal which uses blades/tiles to present the content.azure-new-portal
  2. www.manage.windowsazure.com This portal will be removed when all the Azure services are supported by the new portal.Azure Old Portal.JPG

If you are an Azure developer or an IT professional, you can also use Microsoft Azure Powershell or Azure CLI to manage your Azure resources.

Microsoft offers Azure SDKs for most of the popular development frameworks including, but not limited to, .Net, Java, PHP, Node.JS, Python, Ruby and so on. SDKs can be downloaded here.

Microsoft Azure offers host of services spanning across different categories like Compute, Networking, Storage, Web, IOT, Security and so on. Categories are self-explanatory and different Azure services fall under one of these categories. For a complete set of services, refer here.

For further learning on Microsoft Azure, please visit:

  1. Azure Friday – Click here
  2. Azure Content on Channel 9: Click here
  3. Azure Documentation: Click here
  4. Azure Courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy: Click here
  5. Microsoft Azure Blog: Click here