Getting started with Azure is pretty straightforward, sign up for an account, provision your tenant, and you are off and running. But what about the Azure Portal, you know, that pane of information that comes up when you first log in? Here are some keys to understanding what you are seeing.

First, when you go to Azure you have a choice of signing in the portal or to cost management. Portal takes you to the services part of Azure – what services are you running, what do you want to spin up, what’s new, etc. The cost management tells you how much you are spending in Azure.

In the portal, you have a Dashboard in the central pane that tells you what services you are running and can be customized. I like to have quick-start tutorials, the Azure Marketplace, and Services Health in my main dashboard. Clicking on each of these will open up a new pane that you can close by simply clicking the X button in the upper right corner. Then you will be back to the main dashboard.

On the left is the services you can choose to deploy. You can customize this as well by adding the services to your favorites or removing from favorites. I like to keep the What’s New option at the top of my favorites. Clicking on each service will also bring up a new pane which can be closed by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

Finally, in the upper right window are the most important options. This is where you go for (from left to right) Alerts, Settings, Feedback, Help, Directory, and your account information which contains Password,
Contact Information, Billing, and more. When you feel lost, just to go the help icon and ask a questions.

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