WHAT IS AZURE PORTAL?
The Azure portal is a web-based unified console that provides an alternative to command line tools. The Azure portal allows you to manage your Azure subscriptions from a graphical user interface. Everything from simple web apps to complex cloud deployments can be created, managed, and monitored in the portal. It is designed for flexibility and continuous availability. It exists in all Azure data centers. This configuration makes the Azure portal flexible to single data center failures and helps avoid network slowdowns by staying close to your users. The Azure portal is continuously updated and requires no downtime for maintenance activities.
AZURE PORTAL MENU
Azure Portal menu provides quick access to important functions and resource types. It also allows you to choose the default mode of the portal menu.
- Flyout Mode
- Docked Mode
When the portal menu is in flyout mode, it will be hidden until needed. Select the menu icon to open or close the menu.
When you select a docking mode in the portal menu, it always appears . The menu can be collapsed to give you more workspace. The favorites list that appears in the portal menu is customizable.
As a new subscriber to Azure services, the first thing you see after logging into the portal (https://portal.azure.com) is your Azure home. This page brings together resources that helps to get the most out of the Azure subscription. It includes links to free online courses, documentation, core services, and useful websites which helps the organization to keep going and manage business change. A list of recently accessed resources is also displayed for quick and easy access to work in progress.
The Home page cannot be customized, but a choice is provided to set the default startup view for the Home page.
When a user logs in for the first time, a prompt appears at the top of the page to save the preference. The startup page selection can be changed anytime in Portal settings.
To access portal settings,
- Log on to Azure Portal
- Click on Settings > Appearance + startup views
Under ‘Appearance’ an organization can choose Menu Behavior, Theme, High Contrast Theme, Focus Navigation and under ‘Startup View’ an organization can choose Portal Landing Page and the Directory that will load on startup.
Dashboards provide a focused view of the most important resources within the subscription. A default dashboard is provided to get started. Organizations can customize the dashboard to display frequently used resources in one view. Changes made to the default view only affect the experience. However, a user can create additional dashboards for themselves or publish the custom dashboards to share with others in the organization.
MANAGE AZURE PORTAL
The default settings of the azure portal can be modified as per the organization’s preferences. Most settings are available from the ‘Settings’ menu in the top right of the global page header.
Directories + Subscriptions:
The Directories + Subscriptions page allows a user to manage directories and set subscription filters.
- Switch and Manage Directories:
In the Directories section, the current directory is displayed in which the user is signed in. The home directory shows the default directory when a user signs into the Azure portal. To choose a different home directory, select Change to go to the Appearance + Home View page where a user can change this option. To display a full list of directories, to which a user has access, select ‘All Directories’. To mark a directory as a favorite, click on its star icon. These directories will be listed in the Favorites section. To switch to another directory, the user needs to select the directory and select the Switch button on the same line.
A user can choose the subscriptions that are filtered by default when he/she sign into the Azure portal. This is useful if a user has a primary list of subscriptions that he/she uses and occasionally uses other subscriptions as well. To use customized filters, select ‘Advanced Filters’ which will prompt to confirm before continuing. Enabling Advanced Filters page will allow a user to manage (create, edit and delete) multiple subscription filters. The current selected subscriptions will be saved which can be used later if required. To stop using advanced filters, select the toggle again to restore the default subscription view. Any custom filters created will be saved and will be available to use if Advanced Filters is enabled again in the future.
Appearance + Startup Views:
The Appearance + Home View pane consists of two sections. In the Appearance section, a user can choose menu behavior, color themes, and high contrast theme. The Startup View section allows a user to set options for what to display when he/she first signs into the Azure portal.
- Menu Behavior:
The Menu Behavior section allows users to select the default Azure portal menu behavior.
- Flyout: The menu is hidden until needed. The menu can open or close by selecting the menu icon in the upper left corner.
- Docked: The menu is always visible. The menu can be collapsed to allow more workspace.
- Theme and High Contrast Theme:
The selected Theme affects the background and font colors displayed in the Azure portal. The Themes section allows you to choose one of four preset color themes.
Alternatively, selecting the High Contrast Themes can improve the readability of the Azure portal, especially for those with visual impairments. If a white or black high contrast theme is selected , it will override all other theme selections.
- Focus Navigation:
If Focus Navigation option is enabled, only one screen will be displayed at a time while the process is running in the portal. If this option is disabled, users can use the horizontal scroll bar to switch between steps as they navigate through the process steps.
- Startup Views:
When users first sign into the Azure portal, there are 2 options available out of which one can be selected for the portal landing page.
- Home: View the home page with shortcuts to popular Azure services, a list of recently used resources, and useful links to tools, documentation, and more.
- Dashboards: View recently used dashboards. Customize the dashboard to create a workspace. For example, create projects, tasks, or role-oriented dashboards.
Language + Region:
The selected Language & Region formats will display data such as dates and currencies that will appear in the Azure Portal. The language and region settings will only affect the Azure portal. Document links that open in new tabs or windows use the browser settings to determine the language to display.
Using the dropdown list, select from the list of available languages. This setting controls the language of text displayed throughout the Azure portal. The Azure portal supports 18 languages in addition to English. They are Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.
- Regional Format:
The Regional Format allows a user to see the way dates, time, numbers, and currency are shown in the Azure portal. The options that appears in the Regional Format drop-down list is based on the option that users select for Language. For example, if English is selected as the language and English (United States) as the regional format, the currency will be displayed in US Dollars. If users select English as the language and English (Europe) as the regional format, the currency will be displayed in Euros.
The My Information page allows users to update their email address used for Azure service updates, billing, support, or security issues. Users can also opt-in or opt-out of receiving additional emails about Microsoft Azure and other products and services.
- Export Settings:
Users’ custom settings information is stored in Azure. It can export the following user data
- Private Dashboards
- Favorite Subscriptions and Directories
- Themes and Custom portal settings
To export the portal settings, select Export Settings at the top of the My Information section. This will create a .json file containing user settings data. Due to the dynamic nature of user settings and the risk of data corruption, it is not possible to import settings from a .json file. However, users can use this file to check the selected settings. If they decide to delete the settings or private dashboards, it is useful to have a backup of the selections.
- Restore Default Settings:
If a user makes any changes to settings in the Azure portal and want to discard them, select Restore default settings at the top of the My Information section. It will ask to confirm this action. When this action is confirmed, any changes made to the settings in the Azure portal will be lost. This option does not affect dashboard customization.
- Delete All Settings and Private Dashboards:
Information about custom settings is stored in Azure. The following user data can be deleted:
- Private Dashboards
- Favorite Subscriptions and Directories
- Themes and Custom portal settings
It is advisable to export and review the settings before deleting them. Rebuilding dashboards or redoing custom settings can be time-consuming. To delete the portal settings, select Delete all settings and private dashboards at the top of the My Information page. It will prompt to confirm the deletion. Doing this will reset all settings customizations to the default settings and all private dashboards will be lost.
Add, Remove & Re-Arrange Favorites:
Add or remove items from Favorites list in the Azure portal for quick access to the services that are used the most. There are some common services to the favorites list, but that can be customized. Only the user can see changes that he/she make to Favorites.
- Add an Item in Favorites:
Items listed under Favorites are selected from All Services. Hover over the service name to see information and resources related to the service. Select the star icon next to the service name and it will be added to the favorites list.
- Remove an Item from Favorites:
Items can be directly removed from the Favorites list. In the Favorites section of the portal menu, hover over the name of the service that needs to be removed. On the information card, select the star (unfill it). The service will be removed from the Favorites list.
- Rearrange Favorites:
The order can be changed in which the favorite services are displayed. Simply select the item and drag drop it to another location under Favorites.
Creating an Azure Resource Group to Manage in Azure Portal:
When the resources aren’t organized in the Azure portal, it’s easy to lose track. Grouping related resources is a good solution. Therefore, resource groups keeps the resources organized and clutter-free. Resource Group can be created using Azure Cloud Shell, PowerShell, Azure CLI or Azure Portal.
For creating a Resource Group from Azure Portal, following steps are followed.
- Click on the Menu > Resource Groups
- Click on Create for creating a new resource group
- Provide the relevant information for the resource group and click Review + Create
- Select the appropriate Azure subscription
- Provide a unique & descriptive name while creating the resource group
- Select an appropriate location for the resource group from the location drop-down minimize network latency
- Review the resource group details & validate the same.
- Click on Create to complete the steps of creating a new resource group which may take some time to complete.
- Refresh the resource group list and the newly created group will be displayed on the list.
Once the resource groups are created, it can be used to create Azure Virtual Machines or App Services, under the same resource groups.
Managing Azure Resources:
Once the resource group is created, it can be used for creating new resources in Azure. If the resources are under the same resource group, Azure portal allows to manage the resources like Azure VMs, Storage Accounts, Azure SQL Database in one place.
- Click on the required Resource Group from the list which will display the resources
- Click on the desired resource from the list which will open showing all the information & settings for the selected resource.
- Apart from the resource details, it also displays several actions that are performed to manage the selected resource.
- Back on the resource group, click on Access Control (IAM) for the selected resource group to manage the access.
- On the Access Control (IAM), click Add > Add role assignment to initiate adding a new role assignment.
- On the Add role assignment, select the role that needs to be assigned.
- Click the Select member to give access to the resources
- Review the role details, the members added to the role, and click Review + assign to complete the role assignment to the selected member
- The selected users will now be able to access the resources in the Azure portal
- To remove a user’s access, click on the checkbox in front of the user’s name and click Remove
Using and Managing Azure Portal & Azure Resources becomes complicated, but by using Azure role-based access control (RBAC) to control access to resources it becomes hassle free.