New content in the Microsoft Press Guided Tours app: Fundamentals of Azure


NOTE: The Microsoft Press Guided Tours app has been discontinued and is no longer available in the Windows Store. If you have already installed the app, you can continue to use it for as long as you like. All the tours will remain available for download from within the app.

The free Microsoft Press Guided Tours app is newly updated on Windows Store! The newest tour on our growing list is “Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure.”

In this Windows 8.1 app, Microsoft Press authors provide insightful coverage of new and evolving Microsoft technologies. You can use the app to explore technical topics in powerful new ways, and you can mark up content in multiple ways so that it’s more useful to you.

The following four free guided tours are included in our app – and more are coming soon!

  • Building cloud apps with Microsoft Azure (including best practices for DevOps, data storage, high availability, and more), by Scott Guthrie, Mark Simms, Tom Dykstra, Rick Anderson, and Mike Wasson
  • Programming Windows Store apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, by author Kraig Brockschmidt
  • Using Microsoft Azure HDInsight, by Avkash Chauhan, Valentine Fontama, Michele Hart, Wee Hyong Tok, and Buck Woody.
  • Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure, by Michael S. Collier and Robin E. Shahan

Download from Windows Store

Learn more about the app’s features in this previous blog post. Below is more detail on contents included in this newest tour.

Introduction

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, providing a wide variety of services you can use without purchasing and provisioning your own hardware. Azure enables the rapid development of solutions and provides the resources to accomplish tasks that may not be feasible in an on-premises environment. Azure’s compute, storage, network, and application services allow you to focus on building great solutions without the need to worry about how the physical infrastructure is assembled.

This guided tour covers the fundamentals of Azure you need to start developing solutions right away. It concentrates on the features of the Azure platform that you are most likely to need to know rather than on every feature and service available on the platform. This guided tour also provides several walkthroughs you can follow to learn how to create VMs and virtual networks, websites and storage accounts, and so on. In many cases, real-world tips are included to help you get the most out of your Azure experience.

In addition to its coverage of core Azure services, the guided tour discusses common tools useful in creating and managing Azure-based solutions. The guided tour wraps up by providing details on a few common business scenarios where Azure can provide compelling and valuable solutions.

Who should read this guided tour

This guided tour focuses on providing essential information about the key services of Azure for developers and IT professionals who are new to cloud computing. Detailed, step-by-step demonstrations are included to help the reader understand how to get started with each of the key services. This material is useful not only for those who have no prior experience with Azure, but also for those who need a refresher and those who may be familiar with one area but not others. Each section is standalone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous sections to understand any particular section.

Assumptions

We expect that you have at least a minimal understanding of virtualized environments and virtual machines. There are no specific skills required overall for this guided tour, but having some knowledge of the topic of each section will help you gain a deeper understanding. For example, the section on virtual networks will make more sense if you have some understanding of networking, and the section on databases will be more useful if you understand what a database is and for what you might use one. Web development skills will provide a good background for understanding websites, and some understanding of identity will be helpful when studying the section on Active Directory.

This guided tour might not be for you if…

This guided tour might not be for you if you are looking for an in-depth developer or architecture-focused discussion on a wide range of Azure features, or if you are looking for details on other public or private cloud platforms.

Organization of this guided tour

This guided tour explores six foundational features of the Microsoft Azure platform, along with insights on getting started with Azure, management tools, and common business scenarios. There are many services in the Azure platform that are not in the scope of this guided tour, such as HDInsight (Azure’s Hadoop service), Service Bus, and Azure Automation, to mention just a few. To learn about all of the services available in the Azure platform, start your journey at http://azure.microsoft.com.

The topics explored in this guided tour 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.
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