By David Postlethwaite
The URL for Microsoft Azure is http://azure.microsoft.com.
Make sure you have an up to date browser because parts of this web site don’t work properly with Internet Explorer 8.The web site is full of articles, blogs and videos on Azure to help you get started and also plenty of Free Trial links to encourage you to have a go. You will require a Microsoft Live account to use Microsoft Azure, if you have an MSDN subscription then you have between €45and €100 per month credit on Azure for development and testing.If you use all your credit your service will be disabled for that month (as I have found out) or you can opt to pay for the extra usage.
If you don’t have an MSDN account you can create a trial account, which does require a credit card number for ID purposes, which you can try for a month.
Microsoft says they won’t take any money at the end of the trial they will just disable your services unless you choose to start paying.
(There is a new interface at https://portal.azure.com (still under preview as of April 2015) but personally I don’t like it)
Once you have an account you can login by clicking on “My Account” at the top of the screen
Then click on the “Management Portal” image. When you have logged in you will be presented with the main Azure screen - the Windows Azure Management Portal
The management portal is where you manage and create the different Azure services.
On the left is a list of the different services available – web site, virtual machine, SQL database, storage and many others, in the centre is the list of services that have been previously created and at the top is your credit status and a globe that allows you to change language.
One important bit that is easily missed is the grey area at the bottom. When making a change always check this area because this is where the Save button appears.