The amount of applications and data that move to the cloud has raised the demand for cloud computing service providers. Microsoft Azure is one such platform that offers a set of cloud services to help organizations face business complexities and provide solutions to overcome the same. Microsoft supports a number of databases, operating systems, programming languages, tools, and devices and this is the reason why it is so popular. Pay as you go feature, on-demand provisioning, abstract resources, scalability in minutes and many more features of Microsoft Azure are making this platform a foremost choice for the users.

With continuous updates and enhancement, Azure’s Portal Management Solution has reached its ‘general availability’ status, as announced by Microsoft in the first week of Dec 2015. The startup performance of the portal is now almost 50 percent faster with increased consistency. Also, the ‘blade’ resources are made simplified and now load 300 percent faster than before.

Azure portal, which is used to manage various Azure resources, was in the ‘preview stage’ for the past one year and finally completed its long journey to get the GA status and became commercially available, replacing the ‘classic portal’, as generally referred by Microsoft.

Background

Azure Management portal was released in the year 2012 allowing users to provision instances of services, infrastructure or apps instantly. The portal displayed all the applications and services deployed on Azure at the same place which makes it easier to manage them. Although the portal came in with a lot of promises, its compatibility was limited only to laptops and PCs, isolating portable devices like mobile and to some extent, tablets; this ignited the need for a new portal.

Azure Preview portal came out in 2014 and was built for responsive layouts to overcome the limitations in the previous version. The new release came with 44 new Azure features and services which aimed at easing the development of mobile and web apps. Additionally, developers were provided with the opportunity to build and manage their apps at a single place. Azure is basically an IaaS and PaaS, and the Preview Portal was designed to handle both functionalities.

New Feature Highlights

New Feature

Try out the new features and discover which one works best for you.

  • Fully Customizable: You can create a fully customizable dashboard personalized as per users’ needs by changing the size of tiles. You are allowed to add, resize, delete and organize tiles that display your Azure resources.
  • Deep Analytics: Maximize the performance and availability of your application with deep insights of your customers to ascertain success in the long run. Get quick solutions with quick identification of problem areas.
  • Track Finances: A detailed view of projected spends on the dashboard to know what exactly the user is spending money.
  • Easy Access To ‘Console’: Ability to jump right to the console through the browser.
  • Broad Language Support: Ability to develop using languages like .NET, PHP, node.js, Python & Java (added as an updated support feature)
  • Azure File Storage: Azure storage provides cloud storage, a managed service that is easily accessible, highly secure, scalable, and durable.
  • Azure Security Center: The Azure portal offers advanced threat protection and grants role-based access controls to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Azure Resource Manager: This feature allows you to create, manage and delete resources in Azure subscription after deployment.
  • Azure Container Service: Simplify the development, configuration, and management process.
  • Azure IoT Hub: Manage multiple IoT devices and blockchain-based applications with Azure IoT Hub.
  • Azure Mobile engagement: A single integrated platform that combines analytics with in-app messaging campaigns and push notifications.

Other functionalities
Several new features for mobile developers like single sign-on with Active Directory, remote debugging and offline data sync. It also offers SDK for developers to integrate Active Directory into iOS and Android apps.

  • Search in the top bar
  • Available Resources list accessible from the left navigation
  • Improvements to Browse resource experience
  • All Azure services available from “Browse”
  • Recently accessed resources
  • Show All resources in the default dashboard
  • Keyboard shortcuts

Azure preview portal works perfectly with both Windows & Linux machines in the cloud, along with an added advantage of running VMs as standalone or joint to a network. Developers are also provided with the ease to create and manage VMs using Visual Studio.

Also Read: 9 Reasons Why AWS is an Integral Part of Your Next App Architecture

The Path Ahead

There have been a lot of improvements in the Microsoft Azure portal since it was first released as Azure Management Portal in 2012 and gaining ‘General Availability’ status in Dec 2015. By overcoming minor shortcomings and battling with the cut-throat competition throughout their journey, the release is directed towards enhancing the overall Azure experience and attracting more users towards its usage. The new functionalities are ready to be explored on how they can be more beneficial for business and how successful it is in achieving its pre-set goals.