How to use Microsoft Azure

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How to use Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure for building, deploying and managing applications and services. With Microsoft Azure, you can create your own virtual machine instances which can be used to run programs and provide web services.


How to activate your Microsoft Azure Pass subscription

1. Please refer to https://www.microsoftazurepass.com/howto for step-by-step instructions on how to activate Microsoft Azure Pass. The pass code was already sent to you via email.

2. Important tips of the activation:

• Use an In-Private Browser session to avoid errors during the activation step.

• You need to sign in using your Pitt account (e.g. name@pitt.edu). DO NOT use your Microsoft account to sign in.

• The link provides two methods to activate a Microsoft Azure Pass Subscription. If you are not able to complete method 1, try method 2.

• When creating your subscription, it could take a few minutes. DO NOT refresh or close your browser.

3. The pass gives you $100 monthly credit to use Microsoft Azure for 6 months.


How to use Microsoft Azure (Create a virtual machine instance)

1. If you successfully activated your Azure Pass subscription, you can use your subscription and set up services at https://manage.windowsazure.com/. Enter your PITT email address and password to sign in. After you successfully sign in, your should see the following page:

Azure1.png

2. Microsoft Azure provides you with various services such as Web apps, cloud service and mobile services. Here, I mainly demonstrate how to set up virtual machine instances as you are most likely to set up your own virtual machines as servers which you can ssh to run programs and store/access files.

Click the “New” button on the bottom left corner, select the “Virtual Machine” option, and then select the “QUICK CREATE” option, the interface will look like this:

Azure2.png

3. In the “DNS NAME” blank, fill in whatever string you like as the name of your server. Select a server image and size of the memory. You can try different server and memory size. Here I suggest you to choose an Ubuntu or Linux server (this is because you can directly ssh a Ubuntu/Linux server, but not a Windows server) and choose the memory 3.5G (should be enough for your course project).

Set the user name if asked (on Ubuntu/Linux machine the user name is already set as “azureuser”) and password. And then click the “CREATE A VIRTUAL MACHINE” button to create your virtual machine.

Azure3.png

It takes a while for Azure to start the machine, if status of the machine changes from “Starting” to “Running”, then you are ready to use the virtual machine as your server. The domain name of your server will be servername.cloudapp.net.

4. By default, you can connect to your server via ssh (On windows machines, you can use PuTTY, on Linux/Mac, directly use the terminal).

To access your server, type the command “ssh username@servername.cloudapp.net”, and then type your password. Now you are logged in the machine.

Azure4.png

5. When you create a virtual machine in the Azure portal, the endpoint for Secure Shell (SSH) is automatically created. Endpoints are the points of entry to the server. They make your service accessible to the client application. The server can have multiple endpoints in order to make it available using different protocols. For example, if you want to access the virtual machine using a web browser, then you should set up endpoint for HTTP.

You can configure additional endpoints (e.g. HTTP) while creating the virtual machine or afterwards as needed. For detailed instructions on adding new endpoints, please refer to: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-set-up-endpoints/