Microsoft Azure is a market leading cloud provider of Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) and Platform as a Service (PaaS); allowing users to deploy application stacks, services, and virtual machines on demand. Azure can extend your exiting IT infrastructure to form a hybrid cloud through its vast network of secure private connections, or serve as on off premises cloud solution capable of scaling up and down to match your requirements. Azure supports a huge selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices hosted out of it’s growing number of global datacentres.
To show how quick and easy it is to deploy a virtual machine using Azure I have detailed the process of spinning up a Windows 2016 preview below. It’s also possible to automate virtual machine deployments using PowerShell and Resource Manager templates.
You’ll need an Azure account to log in to https://portal.azure.com. If you don’t have a subscription then Microsoft offer a free trial with £125 credit to get you started.
From the dashboard screen click Virtual Machines, Add. Select an operating system.
Confirm the version of the operating system you want to deploy.
Fill in the basic configuration settings, this includes the name, login details, and which datacentre location will physically host the virtual machine.
Select the compute to assign the virtual machine.
If there are any advanced settings specify them at stage 3, for example high availability; replicating the virtual machine between datacentres. Validate the details in stage 4 to begin deployment of the virtual machine. A task will appear on the dashboard, once complete click Virtual Machines.
Select the newly created virtual machine, to open a remote console click Connect.
The virtual machine is running and ready to use.
Azure is a pay as you go service, even if you’re using the free trial once you have finished with a virtual machine make sure you delete it so you can use your credit elsewhere.