In early February, Microsoft Press released a free new eBook entitled Fundamentals of Azure: Microsoft Azure Essentials. This is a book I, along with Azure MVP Robin Shahan spent several months on in late 2014. To see if finally be published is truly exciting!
The goal of the book is to serve as primer for those new to cloud computing in general, and the Microsoft Azure platform specifically. We do not go too deep on the topics, and we don’t cover all the services available in Azure. We cover the core concepts people need to get started and be successful.
Writing a book is hard work – much harder than I originally anticipated. I had friends tell me it would be a lot of work – they were right! Writing a book on Azure adds to the challenge, I think. The reason is Azure is a constantly evolving platform. It’s hard to write a book on something that changes several times a month. We tried to keep up with the changes as best we could. But, inevitably some things will be inaccurate by the time to book is published or shortly thereafter.
Writing a book is also fun! While many nights and weekends were sacrificed to write this book, it was a very rewarding experience. I know I learned a lot while writing this book. I had many late night Skype calls with Robin to talk through how we wanted topics to flow. I had many great email conversations with the Azure MVPs that helped to provide early feedback on the book. A lot of work, but fun – and that’s the best kind of work!
Topics covered in the book include.
- Getting started with Azure: Understand what cloud computing is, visit the management
portals, and learn about billing.
- Websites and Cloud Services: Learn about Azure Websites, from deployment to monitoring, and gain an understanding of the web and worker roles used in Azure Cloud Services.
- Virtual Machines: Explore the basic features of Azure Virtual Machines, including how to create, configure, and manage them.
- Storage: Read about the basics of Azure Storage, including blobs, tables, queues, and file shares.
- Virtual Networks: Learn the basics of virtual networks, including how to create one, and why a virtual network might be necessary. This also covers site-to-site and point-to-site networking, as well as ExpressRoute.
- Databases: Explore two relational database options available in Azure: Azure SQL Database and SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines.
- Azure Active Directory: Explore basic features of Azure AD, including creating a directory, users and groups, and using the application gallery.
- Management Tools: Explore three common tools for working with Azure: Visual Studio 2013 and the Azure SDK, Azure PowerShell cmdlets, and the Cross-Platform Command-Line Interface
- Business Scenarios: Explore four common scenarios for utilizing Azure features: development and test, hybrid, application and infrastructure modernization, and Azure Mobile Services.