Free ebook: Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure, Second Edition

We’re happy to announce the availability of our newest free ebook, Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure, Second Edition (ISBN 9781509302963), by Michael Collier and Robin Shahan.


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 book 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 book 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 book discusses common tools useful in creating and managing Azure-based solutions. The book wraps up by providing details on a few common business scenarios where Azure can provide compelling and valuable solutions, as well as a chapter providing overviews of some of the commonly used services not covered in the book.

Who should read this book

This book 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 chapter is standalone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any particular chapter.


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 book, but having some knowledge of the topic of each chapter will help you gain a deeper understanding. For example, the chapter on virtual networks will make more sense if you have some understanding of networking, and the chapter on databases will be more useful if you understand what a database is and why you might use one. Web development skills will provide a good background for understanding Azure Web Apps, and some understanding of identity will be helpful when studying the chapter on Active Directory.

This book might not be for you if…

This book 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 book

This book explores six foundational features of the Microsoft Azure platform, along with insights on getting started with Azure, management tools, and common business scenarios. This book also includes a chapter with overviews of some of the more commonly used services, such as HDInsight (Azure’s Hadoop service) and Service Bus, but there are many services in the Azure platform that are not in the scope of this book, such as Azure Batch, Data Lake Analytics, and Azure DNS, just to mention a few. To learn about all of the services available in the Azure platform, start your journey at Also, there is a web application that shows the many services of Azure and allows you to drill down to learn move. See

The topics explored in this book include:

  • Getting started with Azure: Understand what cloud computing is, learn about Azure Resource Manager and Role-Based Access Control, visit the management portals, learn about billing, find out how you can contribute to the Azure documentation and code samples.
  • Azure App Service and Web Apps: Learn about the Azure App Service, consisting of Web Apps, Logic Apps, Mobile Apps, API Apps, and Function Apps. We will focus on Web Apps and how they work with the App Service and App Service plans, covering the topic from deployment to monitoring and scaling.
  • 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, as well as some of the options available such as Premium Storage and Cool Storage.
  • 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 2015 and the Azure SDK, Azure PowerShell cmdlets, and the Cross-Platform Command-Line Interface.
  • Additional Azure services: Get an overview about Azure services not covered in the book that may be fundamental to you now or in the future, such as Azure Service Fabric and Azure Container Service.
  • Business Scenarios: Explore five common scenarios for utilizing Azure features: development and test, hybrid, application and infrastructure modernization, and Azure Mobile Apps, and Machine Learning.

About the authors

Michael S. Collier is currently a Senior Software Development Engineer in the DX TED Commercial ISV team at Microsoft, and previously served as a Cloud Solution Architect. Prior to joining Microsoft in January 2015, Michael was a five-time Azure MVP and served as a Principal Cloud Architect with Aditi Technologies. He has over 15 years of experience with various consulting and technology firms where he was instrumental in leading and developing solutions for a wide range of clients. He has a vast amount of experience in helping companies determine the best strategy for adopting cloud computing, and providing the insight and hands-on experience to ensure they are successful. Michael is also a respected technology community leader, and is often found sharing his Microsoft Azure insights and experiences at regional and national conferences. Michael is also the co-founder of CloudDevelop Conference in Columbus, OH. You can follow Michael’s experiences with Azure on his blog at and on Twitter at @MichaelCollier ( Michael lives in Marysville, Ohio with his wife and two sons. He is a 2003 graduate of The Ohio State University and is a passionate Buckeyes fan. Michael is also an avid golfer, although golf doesn’t always like him.

Robin E. Shahan has over 25 years of experience developing complex, business-critical applications for Fortune 100 companies. As President of Nightbird Consulting, she provided training and helped companies architect and develop scalable, efficient solutions on the Azure platform. She is a six-time Microsoft MVP, and now works for Microsoft as a Sr. Content Developer for Azure Storage.

Robin regularly speaks about Microsoft Azure at various .NET User Groups and Code Camps and runs the San Francisco Azure meetup. She can be found on Twitter as @RobinDotNet, and you can read her articles about Microsoft Azure (and other subjects) at You can reach her via e-mail at

Comments (47)
  1. Awesome, thankyou just what I was looking for

  2. Ankush Chouha says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful guide.

  3. Steve lee says:

    What is new in the 2nd ed?

    1. Diego says:

      What I could notice, most of the content are the same with updates on services names, like Web Sites now are Web Apps, etc.
      Some services changed names or features, seems just an updated guide.

    2. Robin Shahan says:

      There are a lot of changes, as Azure changes very quickly these days. Just to mention a few: we have added RBAC and the Resource Manager deployment profile to the first chapter, and we carry this through the other chapters as well. We have updated everything to use the Azure portal rather than the classic Portal where we can. The chapter on Azure Storage has been updated to include the new storage accounts for Cool storage, as well as premium storage. The chapter on App Services and Web Apps has been completely gutted and replaced. I think it’s like 60 pages long now, and covers as much of those two topics as we could, including App service plans, scaling, monitoring, etc. The other chapters have been updated to include new features; features no longer available have been removed. We cover how to set up a point-to-site network using PowerShell rather than the classic Portal. We also added a chapter listing some of the more useful and common services that we don’t cover in depth in the book, and added a machine learning section to the Business Cases chapter. Hope it’s helpful to you. (disclaimer: I’m one of the authors.)

  4. Is the link not working anymore? Not working for me.

    1. Hi Annie,
      Can you check again? All of the links are working for us.

    2. Mr. K. S. Orton says:

      If link is not working try the following : –
      1) Do a “good” virus scan.
      2) Do a “professional” Defrag.
      3) Scan your operating system and your Device Manager……

    3. +1 Error downloading the PDF: “You don’t have permission to access “” on this server” after the redirect. And KS Orton, don’t tell me to defrag my hard drive

      1. John F. says:

        Defrag… People from the ’90s still stuck in the past. The links have issues for many people and viruses and fragmented drives have nothing to do with it.

        Besides, you don’t defrag SSD drives.

        1. M Bover says:

          I’m from 90/00 gen, whay a pitty for my contempos, still thinking in defrag, clear temp, run scandisk? , reboot… ={ =) constructive criticism

        2. AP1987 says:

          lol how come you still need to defrag RAM but not SSD?

          Doesn’t matter whether it is a SSD, HDD or any other type of D; one of the purposes of defrag is to maximize free space by combining lil gaps between files that occur when you delete some of them, in to bigger chunks of free space.

          It can be a virus, it can be a plugin, or an Ad. blocker.

      2. Hi Larry,
        These downloads are working for us. Can you please try again?

  5. Ilmari Sepponen says:

    Downloading doesn’t work.

    1. Mr. K. S. Orton says:

      Try upgrading your Operating System…. Do a Defrag on your Discs…. Scan your Device Manager for changes
      also… there are other solutions such as check your incoming signal strength and its stability…..

  6. Sunai Arasan says:

    Awesome!.. Thanks team.

  7. Mr. K. S. Orton says:

    A very professional guide…… nice one ……….

  8. Dr Abduljabbar Dayeh says:

    The book may not be for me

    1. Hi John,
      These downloads are working for us. Can you please try again?


    Very much useful add like this

  10. Robert says:

    this seems to be good book looking to learn more from it.

    1. Sergio says:

      Hey! Are you actually thinking on Reading it?
      Like i just got a task on and need to Deep into SQL Azure Data Factory, by the time I read the book my deadline will be well passed. I wonder if it’s worth to read it all, by Reading it certainly won’t make us completely capable of providing Azure based Solutions.

  11. Hernan Linares says:

    Thank you, will learn about

  12. sudeep says:

    Thanks a lot

  13. NIJIN GANGA says:

    Awesome! Thanks a lot team.

  14. ilayaraja says:

    I learned more about cloud systems and cloud fundamentals from this e-book.
    Lot of thanks to microsoft azure

    1. Sergio says:

      Did you read it completely?
      778 pages is alot! is it worth it?
      I’m following now some videos at because I need to quick jump for a task at but I don’t know if I should read all this book.

  15. Agha Zaib says:

    Thank you i have got it now

  16. Abdul Rauf says:

    Thanks for sharing

  17. Mo Co says:


  18. Cheikh FAYE says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful tool !

  19. Paul Meems says:

    Thanks for the book.
    Will the next edition also show how to get an Angular2 web app deployed on Azure using Continuous Deployment, including transpiling ts-files?
    We ‘re really struggling with this. Locally it is all working but on Azure not.

  20. IRENE GLENDAR says:


  21. Roger Alizaga says:

    Thanks a lot. This is quite useful !

  22. Wow this is great I will learn a lot out of it thanks Microsoft team

  23. Henry Ross says:

    Very helpful thank you very much Team!

  24. B.Swaile says:

    Comprehensive documentation is so rare these days

  25. Ben Ng says:


  26. Augustus says:

    Thanks for the Azure essentials although I was so much involved into networking as well as cloud but I quit all these to concentrate on Medical. But just to have a fundamental idea of Azure it’s OK.

  27. Very Informative …Thank you for this

  28. John Abrahamson says:

    Nice work guys… This resource is badly needed and will assist in the competency of our user community.

  29. Shamsher says:

    Thanks 🙂

  30. Omar says:

    Does anyone knows if is there are a spanish version available for this book?

  31. MSURA says:

    Thank you so much this is exactly what i needed appreciate your support

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