What is Azure PowerShell?

Microsoft provides a powerful framework with PowerShell to automate tasks and manage configurations. PowerShell is a command-line interface that provides developers with tools and mechanisms for dealing with structured information in the form of objects for automating tasks. This is done using cmdlets which are commands on PowerShell for specific actions. While the framework was originally built for performing administrative tasks on Windows, this capability was extended to Azure as well. With Azure PowerShell, resources on Azure can be managed directly using PowerShell cmdlets. Now that we understand what Azure PowerShell is, let us explore how we can use it.

What Can Be Done Using Azure PowerShell?

Admins can use the cmdlets in the Azure PowerShell Az module and Azure RM module to take full advantage of the various services available with an Azure cloud subscription. Here are some of the tasks that can be performed with Azure PowerShell.

  • Creating Storage Accounts

    Admins can create Azure storage accounts with Azure PowerShell. Cmdlets can be used to specify the parameters for resource groups such as the Azure region for the account, the replication option, and the type of storage account. Similarly, it is possible to delete specific resources, resource groups, or even entire accounts with Azure PowerShell.

  • Managing Blobs with PowerShell

    Azure Blob Storage relies on containers for deployment and management. Azure PowerShell cmdlets provide a flexible method to create containers and organize the data in a fashion similar to storing computer files in folders. Lists of blobs stored in a container can be generated using Azure PowerShell and the blobs themselves can be downloaded and transferred using scripts.

  • Storing Confidential Information in Azure Key Vault

    Azure Key Vault is a service for storing confidential information such as passwords, certificates, and application keys securely on the Azure cloud. Azure PowerShell cmdlets can be used to create vaults for this information by specifying parameters such as vault name, the resource group, and the region of the Azure service. Subsequently, secret values can be added to these newly created vaults that can be retrieved and removed equally easily.

  • Deploying Databases and Configuring Firewall Rules

    Azure PowerShell can be used to create servers for hosting databases and elastic pools. Similarly, cmdlets can be used for creating SQL databases on the server that can be accessed from other Azure services and IP addresses that have been configured for accessing these resources. Additionally, it is also possible to create server-level firewall rules using Azure PowerShell to safeguard resources.

  • Deploying and Managing Virtual Machines

    Admins can create and deploy virtual machine sets that can be scaled automatically based on factors such as resource consumption, CPU requirements, and traffic. Web applications can eventually be load balanced on the virtual machine instances within the same scale set. With Azure PowerShell, admins can create VM scale sets, install web applications on VM instances, and create rules for manipulating traffic.

In addition to these capabilities, you can even manage your Azure subscription or create service principals using Azure PowerShell.

How Can Azure PowerShell Be Accessed?

You will need an Azure tenant to work with Azure PowerShell. There are two ways of accessing the system.

  • Access Through PowerShell on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms

    Azure PowerShell modules can be installed on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Update PowerShell and the .Net Framework to the latest version and use PowerShellGet to install the Azure PowerShell modules. Sign in to your Azure account and start using Azure PowerShell to manage your resources.

  • Access Through Azure Cloud Shell

    Azure Cloud Shell is the easier alternative to access Azure PowerShell with a browser-based shell that is interactive, secure, and does not need additional Azure authentication. This works independent of the local machine. Users can even alternate between PowerShell and Bash for an optimal experience.

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