Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How and Where do i get started with Azure?

Its been quite some time since i blogged, i've been off track and away from blogging for almost more than 6 months now. But i always wanted to pen down something really valuable and help fellow members learn something new.

Alright back to the topic, of late i have been receiving many requests through mails and linked in from many technical folks on how to get started with Microsoft Azure. I used to help them with study materials, e-books, tutorials and video links, but later i though it would be a good idea to consolidate all the materials that i shared individually with people in one place so that everybody can benefit from.

Although its good to understand and learn all the services offered by Azure which i personally advise as well, but sometime its overwhelming for most of the people and there are high chances that you will be lost somewhere. I personally advise my fellow friends to begin with what they are already comfortable with. For instance if you are a developer, begin with Azure WebApps, Mobile Apps, Service Bus etc, similarly for IT Professionals begin with Azure Virtual Machines, Networking, Understanding VPN etc. Starting with what you know already can help you to accelerate the learning path and quickly understand the services.

Now lets look at the getting started materials that can help you begin the Azure Cloud Journey. By no means its only restricted for starters, it can also help advanced users of Azure at times.

Note: Now that you have decided to get started with Azure, its always better to get a free trial account (Credit Card required just for validation) if you or your organization doesn't have Azure Account already. If you are not part of any organization and trying to self learn, do not hesitate to create the account, because you will never learn until you try it out by yourself.

When you sign up for Azure, you get 200$ worth of azure credit valid for 1 month, this is more than enough to get started with the key services of azure. However, please be cautious about the services you try for example if you boot up a windows virtual machine of D14 series your credit will run out within an hour approx, so please be careful. Always shut down the services that you are trying after your training period and make sure no services are running. Enough with advises, lets get started!


Free Ebooks from Microsoft Azure press can be a good starting point for getting started with Azure.
There are number of ebooks on various topics, but below are the few ones i strongly recommend.

1. Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure

This ebook explores six foundational features of the Microsoft Azure platform, along with insights on getting started with Azure, management tools, and common business scenarios.

2. Microsoft Azure Essentials: Azure Web Apps for Developers

 This book provides information you can use to start building web applications using Azure Web Apps. It will guide you through development, deployment, and configuration tasks that are common for today’s developer building cloud applications.

3.Introducing Azure for IT Professionals

This ebook covers most Azure services are described in some detail, with screenshots used to demonstrate some of the multitude of capabilities of the platform.

You can find other free e-books here  and paid books with discounts here.

Azure Documentation

Almost all the services are covered in the Azure Documentation section here. The documentation is almost updated on a daily basis with new updates and enhancements, the good thing is that the content is managed through Github and Microsoft appreciates people to contribute if you can, however there is editorial team to review.

MSDN Self Learning (Curated Training Path)`

MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) Subscribers has access to curated training videos and free certifications (Not professional). Check with your organization's IT team or whoever engage with Microsoft on similar activities. If your organization doesn't have one, talk to them and request to subscribe one, if your organization has one already, you can associate yourself with the subscription and leverage the benefits.

Video Tutorials

There are several video training courses and turorials are available for learning Azure. The two best sources for video tutorials are

Blogs to Follow:

There are plenty of active Azure experts consistently blog on various topics, out of them i personally follow

Azure Blog(Official):
Scott Guthrie:
Scott Hanselman:
Keith Mayer:
Chris Pietschmann:
Michael Collier:
Mike Mckeown:

Hope this helps and wish you good luck in starting yourself with Microsoft Azure.