Why Use Windows PowerShell to Manage Azure (Apr 16, 2017)

PowerShell for Windows was released in November of 2006. It has evolved into a powerful command-line configuration environment that sys admins are becoming reliant on to perform their systems management tasks. PowerShell is also available to configure and manage many aspects of Azure, including virtual machine and storage provisioning, and network configuration.

Today, using PowerShell, it is possible to do everything from the command line that is possible in the Azure Portal. In fact, many tasks can only be performed using PowerShell, and some tasks can be managed more granularly using PowerShell.

In this article we will see why we should using PowerShell in Azure.


Provision VMs Quickly

So using PowerShell you can manage environments much more effectively, and you can also use PowerShell to provision VMs and configure them using either desired state configuration or using PowerShell remoting. So one example of that I use a PowerShell script to provision Active Directory domain controllers and it’’s quite a time-consuming task if you’’re going to do everything using the Azure Portal, and then go into the VM itself and configure Active Directory. You can do the whole operation using PowerShell, press one button, the script runs, and you can go away and after half an hour come back and you’’ve got a working Active Directory domain controller. So that’’s one very good example of where PowerShell comes into play.


Advanced Azure Features

There are some features in Azure that can only be accessed using PowerShell. For example, if you are managing Azure Active Directory and you want to manage groups and users, in the Azure Portal there is a limited feature set available and most of advanced user management features can only be accessed using PowerShell. That is the case for many Azure’’s features that only a limited features set is exposed in the Azure Portal and if you really want to use all of the functionality, you have no choice but to use PowerShell to manage those features.


Run multiple operations in Parallel

Trying to perform more than one operation at a time with the Azure Portal is quite a frustrating experience and PowerShell can help you manage that so that you can run multiple operations all at the same time. For example you can use PowerShell jobs to run operations in parallel rather than serially in the Azure Portal.


Desired State Configuration (DSC)

Finally Desired State Configuration (DSC) which is a technology brought over rom Windows Server 2012, which allows you to define the configuration state of an operating system running in you VM. This is based on PowerShell, so you need to understand PowerShell in order to be able to use that feature, so it’’s a good reason to also understand the syntax and to use PowerShell for Azure management.


Azure Automation

Azure Automation also relies on PowerShell for runbooks and workflows, which are PowerShell scripts with a few minor alterations here and there. You can automate repetitive tasks and learn how build advanced reproducible deployments so you can save time and money while working in the cloud.


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