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Azure is Microsoft’s Cloud Computing platform. It is an amalgamation of services for creating, deploying and managing applications that run in Microsoft’s secure worldwide data centers. The set of services can make virtually any software solution possible, from large retail targeting a global audience to CPU-intensive, scientific data calculations, to simple data backups. Almost any software that can be imagined can be written to take advantage of Azure services and can run in the Microsoft Cloud.
In this course, we will review the categories of services available in Azure today, then select some of the more commonly used services for a closer look. We will wrap up with a conceptual overview of how we can combine many Azure services to build a more ambitious solution. By the end of the course, you should have a general appreciation for the breadth of available services and start to see how they can be composed to create more powerful business solutions.
This course is for developers, operations engineers, and other IT professionals. Viewers should have a basic understanding of the cloud and cloud terminology.
The Learning Objectives for the course are:
● Learn what categories of Azure services exist and what problems they address.
● Learn the most common Azure services and how to use them now.
● Learn how you can combine Azure services.
Welcome and Introduction: These brief lectures will introduce you to the instructor and let you know what you'll be covering.
Azure Services: A description of how to build your first service.
Service Catagories: Overview of the 14 categories of Azure Services
Services Drill Down: A look at Websites, SQL Database, and Storage
Managing Services: This lesson includes a Security Center demo and a Command Line Interface demo.
Putting it Together: Tying all that you've learned into some real-life examples.
Conclusion: A wrap-up of what you've learned.
Okay, in our next lesson, let's take a look at managing services. We'll look at two in particular. We'll look at using Security Center to manage the security of your services, and we'll look at the Azure Command Line Interface to see how you can manage services from the command line.
Let's start by going into Security Center. Here we are back in the portal. Let's find the Azure Security Center blade, and I click here to bring up that blade. Azure Security Center here is providing a static view of all the resources we've created so far, and it's giving us a security health check on them. So it has some recommendations for us. Five high important recommendations and two medium important ones.
So let's click on the highs and see what they are. We won't talk about all of them but let's look at a couple. One is, enable encryption for Azure Storage Accounts. We already know that we have these two storage accounts that were created for the virtual machine, and if we want to add encryption to those we can click through here and turn on encryption. Save. Go down to the next one. Enable encryption, save. So, with a couple of clicks of the mouse, we've now guaranteed that these Azure storage accounts will have their data encrypted at rest.
It'll take a couple of minutes for that to happen. Here's another one. Enable Network Security Groups on subnets. The Network Security Group is basically a firewall, a layer three firewall that blocks at the IP address level to add firewall rules within the network. We can skip that.
Well let's just look at one more. Please provide security contact details below. We will use them to contact you in case our security team finds that your resources are compromised. So that's always a good idea. So you might have a mailing list or a special contact who you want to be notified in the case of a security emergency. So there you have it. So Azure is watching out for you, making sure that you've configured your environment to be secure. Other things it might show here that don't happen to show yet might be if you have security patches that haven't been applied. This service is free. These recommendations come at no extra charge.
There's also an optional service that you can apply to virtual machines that puts an agent on the virtual machines and monitors them actively for threats, for example, a virus. So let's leave the portal again and let's go to the Command Line to look at the Azure Command Line Interface. Here I am in a terminal window, and I've previously installed the Azure Command Line Interface. To use the Azure Command Line Interface, simply type az. It will give you a list of possible commands. To get started I'm gonna type az login to log into my Azure account.
You may find the next step surprising, but the next step is for me to go open a web browser at a particular page and enter a code that was just generated for me, and I'll use that to authenticate this session. That allows me to log in using my Azure Active Directory credentials, and if I have, for example, multifactor authentication enabled, for that to take effect. So we go to "aka.ms/devicelogin". Let's get the code. Enter the code, and we continue, and I authenticate, and this tells me I've successfully signed into the Microsoft Azure Cross-platform Command Line Interface, CLI, so I close this window.
So I'll jump back to the terminal window. So you can see that the command has continued after I signed into the web browser, and it's telling me about my Azure Cloud services, the Azure bookstore, Microsoft account that I'm using to log into it, and so forth. So I have here the show resource group content shell script, and the source code I've just displayed. This uses the Azure Resource list command to show the content of an Azure Resource group. So let's run that on the resource group called mysqlvm to see what's in it, and you can see that it has seven items within it.
We'll jump over to the portal, and we'll look a the contents of the mysqlvm resource group here, and you can see that it has the same seven items in it. Let's go back to the terminal window here. Now we're going to use az group delete minus minus name mysqlvm to delete the Azure resource group called mysqlvm, and it will also delete all the contents within it, namely the seven resources you see listed here. I'm gonna hit enter. We could've provided a command line to suppress this yes no question, but I didn't, so we'll say, "Yes," and we'll let that run.
I'll also point out there's another command line that tells it to run in the background. I also did not choose that, so we'll block. When this command returns, it will have completed deletion of the seven resources listed here and also the resource group itself. This will take a couple of minutes. The delete resource group operation is still happening, but you can see that the mysqlvm resource group has been reduced so far from seven resources to four, and we jump back to the command line.
We see that it has completed now, and if we re-run the command to show the contents of the mysqlvm resource group, and we go back to the Azure portal and look at the mysqlvm resource group, it even tells us that this asset was not found, it may have been deleted because it's speaking, specifically, of the mysqlvm resource group itself. Not only was it emptied out of the seven resources it had, the resource group itself is now gone, as you can see it's no longer in the list on the left here.
So, in order to clean up after this demo, we can apply the same script to azurebookstoredb and the others. Delete azurebookstoredb, Azure resource group, and so forth. So we'll let those continue, but you can take my word for it that they will all, eventually, be removed from the Azure portal. So, with that, let's return to the slides in our final lesson.
About the Author
Bill Wilder is a hands-on architect currently focused on building cloud-native solutions on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Bill is CTO at Finomial which provides SaaS solutions to the global hedge fund industry from the cloud, co-founded Development Partners Software in 1999, and has broad industry experience with companies of all sizes – from modest startups to giant enterprises. Bill has been leading the Boston Azure group since founding it in 2009, has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for Azure since 2010, and is author of Cloud Architecture Patterns (O’Reilly Media, 2012). He speaks frequently at community events, and occasionally at conferences, usually on topics relating to cloud, cybersecurity, and software architecture.