Five top tips for getting ahead when using Microsoft Azure services

Microsoft Azure Data Services can help organisations to unlock the insights and intelligence that their data holds, but there are so many factors that go in to managing the Azure stack effectively and these differ hugely, dependent on the needs of your business.

Whether you’re a professional looking to get started on your Azure journey, or just need some tips to help you on your way, I’ve listed my 5 top tips to help you along on your Azure journey:

Microsoft Azure Tip 1: Take advantage of the resource manager templates

Take advantage of Azure’s resource manager template to save precious time. There are over 1,000 different templates to choose from – ranging from: ‘Deploy Azure Database Migration Service (DMS) to: ‘Create AML workspace with multiple Datasets and Datastores’.

Microsoft Azure Tip 2: Use the search bar

As simple as it may sound, using the search bar is one of the best ways to get the most out of your Microsoft Azure Portal. Azure’s search bar enables you to search resources, resource groups, available services, and public documentation simultaneously. It’s as simple as using a search engine, such as Google – Simply start typing your request into the search bar and Azure will start to show potential matches in your databases, Virtual Machines (VM) and App Services.

Microsoft Azure Tip 3: Use Azure’s browsing platform

Get all the resources that matter to you on one screen for a snapshot picture of your organisation’s resources. Microsoft Azure’s browsing platform enables you to browse resources across multiple subscriptions – plus narrow down to pinpoint the exact resource required. Azure’s browsing platform allows you to filter by type, resource group, name, location and so much more.

Microsoft Azure tip 4: Use tags to stay organised and manage costs

It can be tricky to stay organised in Azure’s complex system, which is why I’d recommend applying tags to your Azure resources, resource groups, and subscriptions to logically organise them into a value pair taxonomy. For example, you may want to classify a resource as belonging to a particular environment, cost centre, or both. Applying tags consistently across your project makes it simple to find what is important to you, and even helps identify and manage costs.

So, how do you add a tag? Well, there are two ways to gain the access required:

You can have write access to the Microsoft.Resources/tags resource type. This access lets you tag any resource, even if you don’t have access to the resource itself. The Tag Contributor role grants this access. However, the tag contributor role currently can’t apply tags to resources or resource groups through the portal.

You can have write access to the resource itself. The Contributor role grants the required access to apply tags to any entity. To apply tags to only one resource type, use the contributor role for that resource.

With these permissions, there are lots of ways you can add tags to a resource. They can be added pre or post resource deployment, and can be done using Powershell, ARM Templates, the Portal and many more (see this link for all tagging methods Tag resources, resource groups, and subscriptions for logical organization – Azure Resource Manager | Microsoft Docs).

When creating a resource in the Portal, there will be a tag tab in the configuration panel. In there you can add the name and value of the tag you want. Similarly, for an existing resource in the Portal, by clicking into it, you will be able to find the Tab tag on the left configuration pane.  You can add and remove them there.

Microsoft Azure tip 5: Customise your Azure Portal

Make your working life easier (and more stylish) in the long run by customising your Azure Portal workspace. Microsoft’s Azure portal dashboards are entirely customisable and enable you to create a workspace that suits your specific needs – making it easier to navigate to the tools you use regularly.

Setting a dashboard as your default homepage allows for full customisation of the homepage. This is done using Settings (the cog on the navigation bar) > Appearance and Start-up Views in the left pane > Dashboard. Now if you navigate to the home page, you can create, customise, and delete dashboards. Content can easily be edited by dragging and dropping page elements to your desired place on the site. You can also select text and heading elements to edit and format content.

If you are a Global Administrator for your Azure Active Directory (AAD), organisation level customisation is also possible of the Azure Portal. Your logos and colours schemes can be edited and inserted to match your brand. This is done in your AAD in the Azure Portal, by selecting Company Branding, and then configure. There are tons of personalisation options to choose from. Add branding to your organization’s sign-in page – Azure AD | Microsoft Docs

So, there you have it, my five top tips for getting ahead when using Microsoft Azure services. I hope that you’ve found it useful. If you have any questions about Microsoft Azure, please reach out to us using our live chat, where one of our Azure experts will be happy to speak with you in more detail or visit our Azure Data Analytics webpage to learn more.


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Blog Author

Matthew Bean

Senior Consultant, Simpson Associates

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