xPlat Azure CLI: the Cross-Platform Microsoft Cloud CLI Tool

The xPlat Azure CLI allows users to manage their Azure cloud resources from non-Windows devices.

This is the first of a series of articles on xPlat: the Microsoft Azure CLI tool. Did you know that the Microsoft Azure platform can be managed from non-Windows devices? It’s true. The most powerful automation capabilities are offered through the Windows-only Microsoft Azure PowerShell module, however there is a cross-platform (xPlat) CLI tool, that enables you to perform management tasks from Mac OS X or Linux systems. The Azure xPlat CLI tool runs on top of the Node.js application framework, which is what enables it to run cross-platform.azure CLI xPlat screenshot

xPlat Azure CLI: what can it do

Let’s explore some of the capabilities that this tool offers.

  • Authenticate to Microsoft Azure via Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Microsoft Account
  • List and select an Azure subscription to operate on
  • Retrieve account billing / consumption details
  • Create and manage Microsoft Azure Storage Accounts, Blob Containers, Blobs, and permissions
  • Deploy Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (ARM) JSON Templates
  • Create and manage Microsoft Azure App Service Web Jobs
  • Create and manage Microsoft Azure App Service Web Apps
  • Create and manage IaaSv1 & IaaSv2 Windows and Linux Virtual Machines, VM Endpoints
  • Create and manage Docker container hosts
  • And much more!

The Azure xPlat CLI tool interfaces with both the older Azure Service Management (ASM) REST API and the newer Azure Resource Manager (ARM) REST API. You can deploy ARM JSON templates with the xPlat CLI Tool, which enable you to rapidly provision Cloud Resources into a Resource Group.

One of the benefits of the Azure xPlat CLI Tool is that it can emit JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) output from nearly any command you issue to it. Because the Unix command shell is text-based, instead of object-based, using JSON output can help to pass objects down the command pipeline. For example, there is a command line tool called jsawk that makes working with JSON objects possible. When calling web services, including the Azure Resource Manager REST API, JSON is a commonly used format to exchange objects.

xPlat Azure CLI: installation and authentication

Installing the Azure xPlat CLI is fairly straightforward. First, you need to install the Node.js application framework. This framework includes a package manager called NPM (Node Package Manager). Next, you need to call npm install -g azure-cli. That’s it! Once you’ve got the Azure CLI Node.js package installed, you will be able to call it directly from the command line. The command name is simply “azure.”

Now that you have installed the Azure xPlat CLI Tool, you will need to authenticate against Azure, using either Azure Active Directory (AAD) or your Microsoft Account (MSA). This account would be the same one that you use to access the Microsoft Azure Portal. To authenticate, simply call “azure login –username username@domain.com”. You’ll be prompted for your password, so go ahead and enter that.

Once you’re authenticated to Azure, you’ll want to make sure that your future command calls are operating on the correct subscription (aka. Azure account). Your user account could have access to more than one Azure subscription, so first you’ll need to “select” the appropriate subscription context. To select a subscription, use the command “azure account set <MySubscriptionName>”. If you don’t know the name of your subscription, you can easily discover them by using the “azure account list” command.

Great, now you’ve installed the Azure CLI, logged into Azure, and gotten the basics down for subscription management! In the next article, we’ll take a look at provisioning resources into your subscription using the Azure CLI using xPlat.

In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to take Cloud Academy’s Getting started with Azure Cross-Platform CLI Tool course or the Getting Started with Azure Virtual Machines course.

Avatar

Written by

Trevor Sullivan

Trevor Sullivan is a Microsoft MVP for Windows PowerShell, and a Curriculum Director for Cloud Academy. Trevor is passionate about technology, community, and social media, and enjoys sharing information with the world at large, through a variety of mediums. As a public speaker, Trevor also enjoys delivering webcasts, presenting live at conferences, and both live and virtually at user groups across the world.


Related Posts

Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— October 1, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: ITIL® 4, Microsoft 365 Tenant, Jenkins, TOGAF® 9.1, and more

At Cloud Academy, we're always striving to make improvements to our training platform. Based on your feedback, we released some new features to help make it easier for you to continue studying. These new features allow you to: Remove content from “Continue Studying” section Disc...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • ITIL® 4
  • Jenkins
  • Microsoft 365 Tenant
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
  • TOGAF® 9.1
Avatar
Jeremy Cook
— September 17, 2019

Cloud Migration Risks & Benefits

If you’re like most businesses, you already have at least one workload running in the cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that cloud migration is right for everyone. While cloud environments are generally scalable, reliable, and highly available, those won’t be the only considerations dri...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Migration
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 6, 2019

Google Cloud Functions vs. AWS Lambda: The Fight for Serverless Cloud Domination

Serverless computing: What is it and why is it important? A quick background The general concept of serverless computing was introduced to the market by Amazon Web Services (AWS) around 2014 with the release of AWS Lambda. As we know, cloud computing has made it possible for users to ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 30, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: CISSP, AWS, Azure, & DevOps Labs, Python for Beginners, and more…

As Hurricane Dorian intensifies, it looks like Floridians across the entire state might have to hunker down for another big one. If you've gone through a hurricane, you know that preparing for one is no joke. You'll need a survival kit with plenty of water, flashlights, batteries, and n...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 22, 2019

How to Unlock Complimentary Access to Cloud Academy

Are you looking to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Security, Python, Java, or another technical skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendars for August 23, 2019. Starting Friday at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), Cloud Academy is offering c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 13, 2019

Content Roadmap: AZ-500, ITIL 4, MS-100, Google Cloud Associate Engineer, and More

Last month, Cloud Academy joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider, and it put us in an excellent position to solve a massive skills gap problem. As a result of this collaboration, you will see our training library grow with additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • content roadmap
  • Google Cloud Platform
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 7, 2019

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to estimate all types of resources, not the least of which are CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery —  cloud-based or local — is up to you. But you’ll definitely want...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Orion Withrow
Orion Withrow
— July 24, 2019

How to Effectively Use Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups

When used individually, Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups are very powerful. But when used together, they can establish the entire organizational structure of Azure. In this article, I will explain Azure Resource Manager, Management Groups, Subscriptions an...

Read more
  • Azure
  • azure management groups
  • azure resource groups
  • azure subscriptions
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 22, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: July 2019

July has been a very exciting month for us at Cloud Academy. On July 10, we officially joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider (read the announcement). Over the coming weeks, you will see additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+ certification courses and 1500+ ins...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Academy
  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Paola Di Pietro
— July 19, 2019

Top 10 Things Cybersecurity Professionals Need to Know

There has been an increase in data breaches over the recent years. With almost 143 million Americans who have had their data compromised in data breaches. These breaches include all sorts of sensitive data, including financial information, election controversies, social security, just t...

Read more
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • Security
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— June 26, 2019

Running Apache Spark on Azure Databricks

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up an Azure Databricks cluster and how to run queries in an interactive notebook. However, this article only scratches the surface of what you can do with Azure Databricks. If you would like to learn more, including how to create graphs, run sched...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— June 25, 2019

Understanding the Core Azure Architectural Components

Microsoft Azure relies on a few key architectural components to provide redundancy and high availability. Core Azure architectural components include Azure regions, Azure Availability Zones, resource groups, and the Azure Resource Manager. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics ab...

Read more
  • Azure