Category: Infrastructure

Azure CLIInfrastructure

Azure CLI 2.0: Manage Resource Groups

All cloud resources created / provisioned in Microsoft Azure need to be associated with Resource Groups. This is one of the basic features of the Azure Resource Management model to cloud resource management, and it makes it far easier to manage groupings of resources that comprise full applications and workloads. The Azure Portal makes it extremely simple to create and delete Azure Resource Groups. This article takes a look at managing Azure Resource Groups form the cross-platform command-line using the Azure CLI 2.0. Read More

Azure CLIInfrastructureOpen Source

Azure CLI 1.0 vs 2.0 Compared, Installation and Usage

The Azure CLI is the cross-platform, command-line tool for managing resources in Microsoft Azure. Microsoft recently released the Azure CLI 2.0 and the commands start with “az” instead of “azure” like Azure CLI 1.0. This article runs through the main differences between Azure CLI 1.0 and Azure CLI 2.0 to help you understand how to use each one.

Installation and Platform

When the Azure CLI 1.0 was first released it was call the X-Plat CLI, and offered a new cross-platform command-line tool to use for Azure automation tasks. It offered an alternative to the Azure PowerShell cmdlets that gave a command-line tool for use on macOS and Linux, in addition to Windows. In the early days it was built on top of the Azure Service Management API’s, and has since been migrated over to support the newer Azure Resource Management API’s.

The new Azure CLI 2.0 was built with Azure Resource Management (ARM) from the start. It was also built with the lessons learned from 1.0 in mind to make 2.0 a better cross-platform, command-line tool. The development platform and language used to build the Azure CLI 2.0 was changed, and the commands essentially changed a bit in the process. It’s really not an “in-place” migration, and requires you to understand a little more than to just install the new version.

The Azure CLI 1.0 was written with Node.js to achieve cross-platform capabilities, and the new Azure CLI 2.0 is written in Python to offer better cross-platform capabilities. Both are Open Source and available on Github.

Azure CLI 2.0 is written in Python, Azure CLI was written in JavaScript. Both are Open Source!

Here’s the platform differences between the 2 version of the Azure CLI along with links where you can find the Open Source repository for each:

Azure CLI 1.0

Azure CLI 2.0

Azure CLI Installation

Since the Azure CLI is cross-platform it can be installed on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This is true for both the Azure CLI 1.0 and Azure CLI 2.0. Since the Azure CLI 1.0 is written with Node.js, it will require Node.js to be installed on your machine. While the Azure CLI 2.0 is written in Python, and requires Python.

Azure CLI 1.0 Installation

Here’s commands to install Azure CLI 1.0 at the command-line using Node.js:

sudo npm install -g azure-cli

Use a Docker Container to run the Azure CLI 1.0:

docker run -it microsoft/azure-cli

You can also use an installer with Windows and macOS to install the Azure CLI 1.0 more easily as well. You can find the installers for the Azure CLI 1.0 on the Github repository.

Azure CLI 2.0 Installation

Here’s commands to install Azure CLI 2.0 on different platforms. Keep in mind that it does require Python.

Windows Command-Line

You can download the .MSI installer for Azure CLI 2.0 to install the Windows command-line support for Azure CLI.

Bash on Windows 10

The Ubuntu Bash on Windows 10 can be used to run the Azure CLI 2.0 while utilizing it’s full support for Bash and on a Windows 10 machine at the same time.

  1. First step, if you don’t have Bash on Windows installed (Ubuntu Bash on Windows 10, or the newer (coming soon) support for SUSE and Fedora on Windows 10 too!) then install it!
  2. Using Bash, modify your sources list:
    echo "deb [arch=amd64] wheezy main" | \
    sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/azure-cli.list

Run the following sudo commands to install the Azure CLI 2.0:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 417A0893
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install azure-cli

macOS and Linux
Here’s the installation command to install the Azure CLI 2.0 on macOS as well as Linux using Curl:

curl -L | bash

Additionally, you may need to restart your command-lim in order for some changes to take affect. You can do this with the following command:

exec -l $SHELL

Docker Container

You can also run the Azure CLI 2.0 in a Docker Container fairly easily. Here’s the “docker run” command to do this:

docker run azuresdk/azure-cli-python:<version>

apt-get on Linux

You can also use the following commands to install Azure CLI 2.0 on Linux using apt-get.

On 32-bit systems:

echo "deb wheezy main" | \
sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/azure-cli.list

On 64-bit systems:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] wheezy main" | \
sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/azure-cli.list

After you run the above 32-bit or 64-bit specific command, then you’ll need to run the following sudo commands as well:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 417A0893
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install azure-cli

There is some further documentation for installing the Azure CLI 2.0 available in the Azure Documentation site.

Getting Started with Azure CLI Commands

Both the Azure CLI 1.0 and 2.0 have very similar commands. However, the command start differently. With the Azure CLI 1.0 commands start with “azure” and with the Azure CLI 2.0 command start with “az”.

Before you can go about running Azure CLI commands, you need to first login to your Azure Subscription. Here are commands to do this in both Azure CLI versions:

# Azure CLI 1.0

azure login

#Azure CLI 2.0

az login

To get a full list of the available commands and full help information you can run the following command:

# Azure CLI 1.0


# Azure CLI 2.0


Also, you can find the version of Azure CLI you have installed by using the following command:

# Azure CLI 1.0

azure --version

# Azure CLI 2.0

az --version

Azure CLI Command Examples

Here’s some example commands using both the Azure CLI 1.0 and Azure CLI 2.0. You can see that they aren’t really all that different outside of the trigger command of either “azure” or “az”.

Create New Azure Resource Group

# Azure CLI 1.0

azure group create --name MyGroup1 --location eastus

# Azure CLI 2.0

az group create --name MyGroup1 --location eastus

Create Azure App Service Plan

# Azure CLI 1.0

azure appserviceplan create --name MyPlan --resource-group MyGroup1 --location eastus --sku F1

# Azure CLI 2.0

az appservice plan create --name MyPlan --resource-group MyGroup1 --location eastus --sku F1

List All Azure Virtual Machines

# Azure CLI 1.0

azure vm list

# Azure CLI 2.0

az vm list

More Information

You can find much more information about using the Azure CLI 1.0 and 2.0 in the documentation on the Open Source project sites hosted on Github, and in the Microsoft Azure documentation. Here’s some link to those resources:

Also, don’t forget to try out the new Azure Cloud Shell to use bash with both the Azure CLI 1.0 and Azure CLI 2.0 command directly in the Azure Portal from anywhere!

Happy cross-platform, command-line scripting in the cloud!!


Azure Portal goes Native on iOS and Android

Since the beginning of Microsoft Azure with the initial General Availability in February 2010, then Azure Portal has always been a Web Application. It’s gone through a couple of different HTML5 / Javascript versions, including a Silverlight version back in the early days. One things has been constant the entire time, and that is that the Azure Portal has always been a Web Application. That is until now! The Azure Portal is now available as a native mobile application for your mobile devices.

Many people have asked over the years, “Why doesn’t Microsoft make a native app for the Azure Portal?” There was a time when I even thought it was logical that Microsoft would build a Windows Store app for the Azure Portal. However, then I gave up that idea and started rationalizing the benefits of a Web Application over going Native.

While the Azure Portal has always been usage from a mobile device, after all it is an HTML5 / Javascript web application, it’s been a little clunky and cumbersome to use on a small screen. To our delight, Microsoft has decided to practice what they are preaching about mobile development and build a native, mobile application experience for the Microsoft Azure Portal.

Read More


How to Compare Azure VM Pricing Across Azure Regions

At first glance, Virtual Machine pricing in Microsoft Azure seems fairly straight forward. However, the different VM pricing tiers actually do vary in price from region to region. In fact comparing the prices across regions can be a little tricky whether you’re using the Pricing Calculator or the pricing info in the Azure Portal. However, Victor Kiselev has compiled all the Azure pricing together into an easy to use comparison tool. Read More


Top 10 Tricks to Save Money with Azure Virtual Machines

This post contains 10 tips and tricks you can use to save money on your Virtual Machines (VMs) running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. The cost analysis of the cloud can be scary at first, and it’s actually one of the reasons companies are shy to start adopting the cloud. Once you know these tricks you’ll feel confident that you won’t overspend and go broke in Microsoft Azure.

Some of these tips are almost secrets, as they aren’t really talked about anywhere. I know these from my years of experience working with Microsoft Azure and getting to know many of the ins and outs of the platform. So, read below, and benefit from my years of Azure experience in just a few minutes.

Using these tips will certainly help you save your company or organization money, and will likely impress your boss! Read More


Create Ubuntu Linux VM in the Azure Portal

This is a short video that shows how to create an Ubuntu Linux Virtual Machine (VM) in the Microsoft Azure Management Portal. It also explains a few details on how VMs are hosted in Azure, along with a demo on how to connect to the Ubuntu Linux VM using ssh and bash.

Please, subscribe to get more videos like this all around Microsoft Azure.

This is one of the first videos I’ve published to the Build Azure YouTube Channel where I’m starting to build out video content to accompany this site. Enjoy!


Manage Azure Resource Policies in the Azure Portal

Here’s a short video I recorded that goes over how to manage Azure Resource Policies in the Azure Portal. Before the “how to” showing the Portal, I do give a brief explanation of what Azure Resource Policies are used for and why you would use them. I then go through the newly released UI within the Azure Portal that helps you easily setup and access the Resource Policy features within the Azure Portal. At the time of recording this I was using the “Preview” Azure Portal, but I would expect this features to be released to the Current Azure Portal in the near future. Enjoy! Read More


Properly Shutdown Azure VM to Save Money

There are 2 ways to shutdown an Azure VM, and they are certainly not equal! One way you will still get charged for the compute resources, and the other will free you from paying for the compute resources and help you reduce overall cost.

The first method to shutdown an Azure VM, that sounds logical in the context of connecting with Remote Desktop, is to Shutdown the Operating System. In this scenario you would be connected with Remote Desktop, and when done with your work you go to the Power options within Windows and select Shutdown. This will essentially “turn off” the VM and stop it from running. However, even though the VM won’t be running you WILL still be paying for the Virtual machine hardware allocation. Doing this will cause the Azure Portal to report the status of the VM to be “Stopped”.


The second method, and the one to remember, is to go into the Azure Portal (or use Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI) and Stop the VM. Instead of just shutting down the Operating System, Azure will also deallocate the hardware (CPU and Memory) allocation; thus releasing it to be used for another workload in Microsoft Azure. Doing this will cause the Azure Portal to report the status of the VM to be “Stopped (Deallocated)”.

While in the “Stopped (Deallocated” status, you will not be paying for the VM resources.

It’s a good idea that when ever you don’t actually need the VM to be running that you Stop it using the Azure Portal, PowerShell, or Azure CLI so that the resources are released. While in the “Stopped (Deallocated” status, you will not be paying for the VM resources. This will really help you save money!

Manually Shutdown

To “properly” Stop a VM in the Azure Portal to release the resources and save money, you can follow these steps:

  1. Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired VM.
  2. On the Overview pane, click the Stop button.

There is one caveat to be aware of when shutting down an Azure VM so it gets placed into the Stopped (Deallocated) status. Since this causes Azure to release the server resources associated with the Virtual Machine, it not only releases the CPU and Memory resources but also the Dynamic IP Address allocation. Due to this, when you Start the VM back up again, the IP Address will likely change. If you require the IP Address to never change for your VM, then you’ll need to configure a Static IP Address for the VM.

To start up a Stopped VM, you can follow these steps:

  1. Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired VM.
  2. On the Overview pane, click the Start button.

Another point that’s important to remember when stopping Azure VM’s and placing them into the “Stopped (Deallocated)” state is that you do still pay for the Azure Storage account usage. Remember, the Storage account is where the VM’s .vhd disk image file is stored. Stopping the VM retains all the VM’s settings / configurations, as well as the .vhd image stored in Azure Storage. As a result, you will still incur some cost for the storage, but at least you will save on the VM resources. After all, the Storage will only cost a small amount of money compared to the much higher cost of the Virtual Machine resource allocation if it were left running constantly.

Schedule Auto Shutdown

Manually shutting down a VM to put it in the Stopped (Deallocated) status is a great way to save cost on Azure VM’s. Although, you do need to remember to Stop the VM. This introduces a certain level of human error in the process of saving you hosting costs on your Azure VMs. As a result, Microsoft has added a scheduled auto-shutdown feature into the platform to assist you in this effort.

With the Auto-shutdown feature, you are able to configure a specific Time (with Time Zone) when Azure is to automatically shutdown the VM. When configured, the VM will automatically be stopped if it is still running at that time of day.

To configure Auto-shutdown of an Azure VM, you can follow these steps:

  1. Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired Virtual Machine.
  2. In the list of links on the Virtual Machine blade, click on Auto-shutdown.
  3. On the Auto-shutdown pane, configure the specific TimeTime Zone, and desired notification Webhook URL settings, then click Save.

If you forget to Stop your VM at the end of the day, or whenever the Auto-shutdown time is configured it will get Shutdown automatically. When using a Visual Studio development VM, this can become a good thing on Friday afternoons (or any other day when you might be in a hurry) when you’re most likely to forget to shutdown the VM.