Microsoft Azure For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Article Index
Microsoft Azure For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapters 4 - 10
Chapters 11 - 15
Chapters 16 - 18; Conclusion

Author: Jack A. Hyman
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-1119898061
Kindle: B0BNWG1HYK
Audience: Azure novices?!
Rating: 1 or 4.5 (see review)
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

This book aims to provide a gentle yet thorough introduction to Microsoft Azure, how does it fare? 

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing offering. Increasingly, businesses are moving to the cloud, due to its many advantages (e.g. fast scalability). IT professionals are encouraged to keep up to date with cloud-based technology, if they want jobs in the future. The book is aimed at various types of reader, including: IT professionals that may or may not have used Azure, IT newcomers that want to future-proof their careers, and readers taking Azure certifications. 

Below is a chapter-by-chapter exploration of the topics covered.


Chapter 1: Introducing Microsoft Azure

The book opens with a look at what is cloud computing. Some business terms are defined (e.g. CapEx), before moving onto the advantages of using the cloud (e.g. rapid scalability, potential cost savings). 

The various cloud computing models are discussed (i.e. public, private, hybrid), before moving onto the service delivery models (i.e. SaaS, PaaS, IaaS). Next, there’s a look at some of the more common Azure Services.

There’s a very useful section on setting up an Azure subscription, including a step-by-step walkthrough on creating a free Azure account, to allow you to follow along with the book’s examples.

For me, the ‘Dummies book series’ tend to make very few assumptions, and typically take you from zero or little knowledge to mid-level knowledge of a topic. This book is not a typical dummies book, instead it assumes you are familiar with IT systems, and perhaps some cloud work too – which might explain why terms are used but not defined (e.g. telemetry, multitenant, VPN tunnel). The book tries to cover a great many incidental items, where I think a more general approach, leaving out the extra details, might be more advantageous to the beginner. It reminds me of whenever I start a new contract, I am forever asking people to ‘only tell me what I need to know’. These traits apply to the whole of the book.

Chapter 2: Exploring Azure Resource Manager

There are many tools in Azure to create resources, however all these tools do their work by interacting with a common Azure Resource Manager (ARM). ARM is an API to create resources, with the data stored in JSON format. JSON ARM templates can be used to provide a consistent and reliable approach to creating resources.

Next, there’s a discussion about the hierarchy of resource locations i.e. Geographies (compliance grouping), Regions (location), and Availability Zones (for High Availability [HA]). I’m not sure if a chapter on ARM is the right place to discuss the location of Azure resources (seems it should belong in an Introduction to Azure chapter).

The chapter continues with a look at various Azure management tools, including:

  • Azure Portal – graphical tool 

  • Azure PowerShell – automation language 

  • Azure CLI – like PowerShell but often faster

The chapter next discusses a mixture of topics including: Azure SDKs (in various languages that interact with Azure resources), ARM REST API (low level coding), and Azure Storage Explorer.

It’s interesting the author says “Don’t get bogged down with the HTTP verbs I describe them here only to give you a fuller context” – I would prefer to only be told what I need to know… too often in this book we are given additional information that really is not required in an introductory book.

The author mentions opening an elevated PowerShell console but doesn’t explain what elevated means – again assuming too much knowledge of the reader.

Chapter 3: Managing Storage in Azure

Storage is needed to persist data. The chapter opens with a look at the 3 types of storage data types and how they are stored/processed:

  • Unstructured – binary data, blob storage

  • Semi-structured – key/value pairs

  • Structured – tabular, relational databases

There’s a helpful walkthrough on setting up and working with a storage account, and a useful section on installing the Azure Storge Explorer (yes, this is the place for it, not the earlier chapter 2). There’s an eclectic mix of topics concerning storage tiers (hot, cool, archive), pricing, and creating a container and uploading files. There’s a helpful table comparing the various storage types.

The chapter ends with an exercise to create a resource group and a Virtual Machine (VM).

Overall, a useful chapter about Azure storage, with some helpful step-by-step walkthroughs. The author uses the term schema, but doesn’t explain it.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 June 2023 )