Installing & Configuring Azure PowerShell

Do you know that Microsoft Azure offers a flexible management options rather than the Azure Portal? With Windows PowerShell you can perform most of the routine tasks that you do in your cloud tenants, from creating VMs to scaling your applications. This comes pretty much handy if you have scheduled or predefined cloud workloads that you need to perform on Azure. Lets take a look on how to install and configure Azure PowerSehll for your cloud tenant.

Prerequisites

  1. An Azure Subscription
  2. A computer that is either running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 upwards.

Installing Azure PowerShell

Azure PowerShell comes as a redistributable running in Microsoft Web Platform installer. You can download the setup from here. When prompted, select Azure PowerShell in the feature selection stage. You’ll notice that  the new Azure PowerShell when you do a search or in Al  Programs in your computer.

Connecting to your subscription

In order to manage a tenant first the Azure PowerShell needs to be connected to an active subscription. There are two methods for this. Using a downloaded management certificate which include the subscription information, or by logging into Microsoft Azure using your Microsoft Account associated to that subscription. Note that the  Azure AD will perform the credential authentication in the latter method.

OK I’m all set. Now what can I do with Azure PowerShell?

Azure PowerShell provides a large number of cmdlets that can be used to provision, deploy, manage & maintain Azure services. These includes creating, modifying & deleting of VMs, VM networks, cloud services, storage, web sites etc… Much like in Windows PowerShell there is a comprehensive help content of each and every one of these cmdlets.

I’ve included some articles that I found on how to use Azure PowerShell. Also you can create PowerShell scripts and locally run them in your on premise infrastructure to manage your cloud tenant. The power is up-to you to automate.

Resources

  1. Configuring Azure PowerShell
  2. Provisioning VMs with Azure cmdlets

TUX in Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure supports a number of guest operating systems including most of the major Linux distributions. Now in this blog post I’m going to give you an overview about running Linux VMs in your cloud and what capabilities you can have with these guest VMs.

Officially Microsoft Azure supports below Linux distributions.  Now although CentOS is listed as a officially supported OS, I wonder whether there will be support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux as it is the commercial version of CentOS & Fedora in future.

Distribution Version Drivers Kernel Compatibility Patch Agent
Canonical UBUNTU Ubuntu 12.04.1, 12.10, and 13.04 In Kernel Required for 12.04 or 12.04.01 only Package: In package repo under walinuxagent
Source: GitHub
CentOS by Open Logic CentOS 6.3+ CentOS 6.3: LIS drivers; CentOS 6.4+ drivers: in Kernel Required for 6.3 only Package:In Open Logic package repo under walinuxagent
Source: GitHub
Oracle Linux 6.4+ In Kernel N/A Package: In repo, name: WALinuxAgent
Source: GitHub
SUSE Linux Enterprise SLES 11 SP3+ In Kernel N/A Package: In Cloud:Tools repo, name: WALinuxAgent
Source Code: GitHub
openSUSE OpenSUSE 13.1+ In Kernel N/A Package: In Cloud:Tools repo, name: WALinuxAgent
Source Code: GitHub

Provisioning a Linux VM in Azure in pretty straight forward. But keep in mind you can use your favorite SSH client like PuTTY to log in to your Linux VM without any exception.

There are series of KB articles in Microsoft Azure Documentation that will guide you to manage your Open Source VMs in cloud. You can find them in below links.

Also there is a new VM Agent introduced as an optional extension to Virtual Machines on Azure. This is a lightweight extension that can be installed on Windows or Linux VMs. A VM Agent can be used to install and manage extensions, and can extend the functionality of a VM as software modules. Microsoft will deliver number of VM agents on different platforms in near future so you can install optionally and can be used to manage your VMs

You can find more about VM Agents & Extensions in Azure from below links.