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Introducing the Microsoft Azure Preview Portal

Microsoft has introduced the new Azure Preview Portal to create and manage your Microsoft Azure environment. This new portal is not only easier to use, but provides more detailed information and lots of new functionality.

While there are still a few items which cannot yet be managed using the new portal (such as Azure Backup), most can. There is even a new generation of many object types giving additional levels of security and usability.

New Look and Feel

As you can see the new portal is tile based to give a look and feel familiar to users of Windows 8, Windows 10, or Windows Phone. Objects (such as storage containers or VMs) can be pinned to the dashboard, and tiles can be resized to show the desired level of details.

The left navigation column contains a partial list of favorite categories. This list of favorite categories can be modified, making it easier for you to navigate your environment.

Modern VS. Classic Objects

Once you start to dig into the new portal, you’ll notice that some categories are listed twice. For example: Virtual Machines and Virtual Machines (classic). Classic categories can be managed using the traditional Azure Portal or the new Preview Portal. The modern version (without the “classic” label) typically can only be managed in the new portal. This is due to the long list of new features for these categories.

With Classic Virtual Machines, Cloud Services are used to manage the public IP address, and the VM’s Endpoint settings determine individual ports open for incoming traffic.

When you create a modern generation Virtual Machine, a Network Security Group is automatically created. You can think of this as a firewall appliance where individual ports (and port ranges) can be opened for either incoming or outgoing traffic. You can also specify static public and private IP addresses using the graphical interface. With the old portal, static IP addresses required a little PowerShell.

Easier Virtual Machine Creation

In the old portal, before creating a virtual machine, you would first want to create your virtual network, storage containers, and Cloud Service. In most cases, the actual VM is the last item built.

With the new Azure Preview Portal, networking and storage are created during the VM creation process. You can even define static IP addresses and customize your virtual network in the wizard.

But What about PowerShell??

If you prefer to stay away from the GUI and use PowerShell to perform administrative tasks, you still can. PowerShell functionality for Azure is constantly improving, and will only get better over time.

About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016); various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, VMware, etc.); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2014 R2; Exchange 4-2016, and much more.

I am now vCIO at Spade Technology, Inc. focusing on Information Technology strategy including: cloud computing, IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

Outside of my day job, I serve as president of the board of Boston User Groups, Inc., as well as IT-Pro User Group. In 2017/2018 Microsoft awarded me the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award, with a focus of Microsoft Azure cloud, for my efforts in the IT community.

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a very broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2016/03/cloud-computing/introducing-the-microsoft-azure-preview-portal/