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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Getting Started With Azure: 4 Tips to Help You Master the Microsoft Cloud Platform

Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular public cloud platforms today. In fact, 75 percent of big banks and 90 percent of the Fortune 500 now use it.

The platform offers more than 100 cloud services and integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products, making it a popular choice for enterprises around the world.

Current and aspiring IT professionals everywhere are feeling the pressure to understand cloud platforms like Azure. But for beginners, the cloud can seem complex and overwhelming. This blog will offer a comprehensive guide to getting started with Azure.

4 Tips for Getting Started With Azure

Azure is a user-friendly platform, so learning the system might be a lot less complicated than you think. These four tips can help make getting started with Azure a cinch:

1. Learn Basic Azure Terminology

Like any industry, cloud computing has its own set of terms that you need to understand as you work within the space. But even beyond that, each cloud computing platform has its own definitions. Here are seven Azure terms you need to know:

Azure Active Directory (AD): This service, also known as a “tenant,” is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access manager. It helps a company’s users (i.e., employees, IT administrators and Microsoft Online subscribers) log in and access resources.

Azure Resource Manager (RM): Azure RM is a framework that lets companies set up and manage resources within Azure. The service also allows you to build, update and remove resources from your Azure subscription.

Azure Stack: The Azure Stack is the cloud computing software that allows companies to deploy Azure resources outside of the public cloud and, instead, in a private data center.

Resource: The term “resource” refers to the individual service offerings in Azure, including the Azure Virtual Machine, an Azure Storage account and the Azure SQL database. Resources, however, must be attached to a resource group.

Resource Group: A resource group contains the resources in Azure. One group usually manages resources that must be secured, managed and deployed as a whole — e.g., Azure storage accounts and the virtual machine needed to operate them. Resource groups can help you both organize resources and create a security boundary where necessary.

Subscription: A subscription simply refers to the billing agreement between the customer and Microsoft. Every Azure subscription comes with a directory, but each directory can contain multiple subscriptions.

Virtual Machine: A virtual machine is the software equivalent of a physical machine that runs an operating system (OS). With cloud computing, several virtual machines can run at once on the same hardware.

2. Create a Free Azure Account to Explore the Portal

Once you know the terminology, you can dive right into the portal.

But how?

Luckily, Azure offers opportunities for everyone from consultant to IT professionals to gain access to the portal for free.

Microsoft will give members of the public a $200 credit for opening an account; MSDN members can get $50 to $150 in Azure credits; and partners can even gain credits, starting at $100 each month. If none of these options apply to you, check out the Azure site and contact someone to find out how you can access the system for free.

Once you get into the platform, you need to learn some Azure basics. After you log in, you’ll immediately be taken to the portal where you’ll see all of the products you can spend your credits on.

If you’re already familiar with virtual machines, don’t start there. Most virtual machines are set up the same way, and they’ll consume a large chunk of your credits. Instead, toy around with items you’re not familiar with, like web apps, Azure Backup and other products that work alongside Office 365 to get an idea of how they all work together.

3. Sign Up for an Introductory Azure Training Course

While exploring Microsoft Azure sounds appealing, it’s not the only way to learn about the platform. There’s only so much you can learn on your own, and if you’re not a hands-on learner, a free login might not do you much good. With an introductory, instructor-led training course, you attain real-world practice while an instructor provides you with professional advice and guidance.

For example, you can take Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, which covers cloud services and Azure basics before diving into more technical information.

But if you already have a good handle on Azure basics, you can jump into the course, Introduction to Microsoft Azure for IT Professionals, where you have the opportunity to learn the principles of cloud computing and how they’ve been implemented into Azure.

The course will also detail out the core Azure infrastructure and help students learn how to create common Azure services, such as web apps and virtual machines. And finally, it covers how to integrate Azure AD with Active Directory.

4. Understand Where to Find Azure Documentation

Once you have a good handle on the course material and terminology and have poked around in the portal, you’ll still run into situations where you’ll need extra help. Luckily, Microsoft is way ahead of you.

Microsoft Azure has created detailed documentation that you can easily find after logging into the Azure portal. That way, when you’re in the middle of a project and run into a roadblock, you don’t have to look far for the right answer.

If you’re working within the product, you should see a link to the product’s description at the top of the page. There, you’ll gain more information about the product and its cost. And on that same page, you should find links to even more documentation, so you’re never too far from a solution should you need one.

Need Help Getting Started With Azure?

Whether you’re preparing to migrate or eyeing another role at your company, New Horizons can help you get started with Azure. Its comprehensive training courses run from the fundamentals to advanced solutions, so you can go from novice to expert in almost no time.

Take your first step today with Azure training courses.

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