Exercise 2: Get to know the Azure Portal

Natasha Ong
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4 min read

Exercise Overview:

Welcome to the Azure Portal! 👋

Now that you've created your account, let's get to know what you can see and do!

You're more than welcome to use this as free time to roam around the Azure portal - click around for 10 minutes and see where you end up. Below is a guided tour, designed for anyone that wants build all the basic skills for navigating the portal. In this tour, you will:

  • Search for a service
  • Find all Azure services
  • Favourite a service
  • Find the most popular Azure and third party services
  • Customise your portal
  • Identify limits in your free account

Task 0: Get started in the Azure portal

  1. Sign in to portal.azure.com/#home using the login details you used in the first exercise.
  • If you see a "start with an Azure free trial" icon after logging in, it means you don't have a subscription yet. It's important to set this one up - otherwise you'll get access to the portal but you won't get to use the Azure services inside! Set it up now before moving on to the next task.
  1. Let's take a look at the left side panel, which gives you quick and easy access to the most popular pages in the Azure portal. To do this, click on the icon sitting at the top left hand corner of the portal. You should spot it right next to "Microsoft Azure"!
  • Awesome, a panel should pop out now and show you a few shortcuts at the top, and then at list of 'Favourites', which are the services you want quick access to.
  1. Look at the list of favourite services, and choose one to have a look inside. You're not expected to understand everything in this page yet, so no stress if it's looking a little confusing!

Task 1: Search for a service

  1. Now, imagine you want to visit the virtual machines service. Where would you go? Give this a go before looking at the steps below. Here's the page you should land on:
  1. Pinky promise you had a try?
  1. Here are three different ways you could find virtual machines:
  2. Typing "virtual machines" into search bar at the top of the portal.
  3. Finding virtual machines in the list of favourite services at the left hand panel.
  4. Heading back to the home page and finding virtual machines at the top row of suggested services.
  1. In the virtual machines page, you'll see a shiny Create button.
  • Yup, that means you can create virtual computers in just a few clicks! This technology used to be so complex and expensive, you'd literally have to buy physical servers and set them up in a data centre. Now we can do this from the comfort of our own computers.
  • We won't create a virtual machine now, but it's awesome to notice just how simple it is to create something that used to be much less accessible.

Task 2: All services in Azure

  1. Now, let's say you want to see all the services in the Azure portal. How would you get there? Give this a go before looking at the steps below. Here's the page you should land on:
  1. Do give it a try first!
  1. The All services button in the left hand panel was the place to go!

It's a pretty big list of services, but don't worry - the Azure Fundamentals course doesn't expect us to know all of them - in fact, most Azure users use their key 10-20 services without touching the rest.

  1. Here's a list of Azure services below. Your challenge is to find them in the 'All services' page without using the search tool on your browser. The best way to find them is to use the defined categories on the left hand side to narrow your search. Are you ready?!
  2. Storage accounts
  3. Azure Migrate
  4. Container instances
  5. Microsoft Entra ID
  6. Azure Arc
  7. Virtual networks
  8. Cost Management
  1. Did you find them? Notice the different categories they belong to - we'll be learning all of these services over the course!

Task 3: Favourite a service

  1. We know that our favourited services will pop out in the left hand panel of Azure, but how do we favourite a service anyway? Challenge yourself to favourite a service before looking at the steps below.
  1. Ready to see how we'd do it?
  1. As you hover over a service in the all services page, the option to 'star' the service pops out in the right hand corner of the service name.
  1. Now look for the storage accounts service in the all services page. You'll see that the star is already filled in for us! Ah-ha, so that's why we already get a list of 'favourites' in the left hand panel.

Task 5: Popular Azure and third party services

  1. Now let's say you want to see just the most popular Azure services within each category. Ooo, maybe you want to see third party services (i.e. services created by other companies outside of Microsoft that you can use in the Azure portal) too. Here's the page you should land on:
  • There is one handy button in the Azure portal that can take you there. Where would you go
  1. Do give it a try first!
  1. The create a resource button is the place to be. You can find this button from the home page.

Task 6: Customise your portal

  1. Let's say you'd like to have a black background (instead of white) for your portal, or you want the left hand menu with all your favourite services to be visible at all times. Where would you go? Go on a little hunt around the portal before looking at the steps below.
  1. Did you have a try?
  1. You can find it by clicking on the cog button at the top of your Azure portal!
  1. Click Appearance + startup views from the left hand bar.
  1. Voila! Lots of options for you to customise how your Azure portal looks. Click around the different customisation options and have some fun. Don't forget to click Apply at the bottom of the page to see the different options in action.

Task 7: Azure free services

  1. Finally, let's have a look at all the free services you get to use. Search for free services in the Azure portal.
  2. Ooo, lots of free services in here! You don't need to remember them, but note the limits you have for the following services (you'll be using these services in this course):
  3. Windows/Linux Virtual Machine
  4. Azure Blob Storage
  5. Azure App Service
  6. Functions
  7. Virtual Network
  8. Azure Migrate
  9. Database Migration Service
  10. Container Apps
  1. This is a great page for understanding how much you're allowed to use before Azure starts charging you! The exercises in the course will always stay within Free Account limits, but you'll also learn how to set up a budget in just a few topics. This budget will alert you if Azure ever starts charging your account.

That's a wrap!

AMAZING stuff, thanks for taking the guided tour! WIth these handy skills in place, you're all ready to create your first resource in the next exercise.