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Last week at //build Microsoft announced a new management portal coming to Azure. In fact, it's already there albeit in preview form as today it only covers Azure Websites and SQL databases. You can get to it at http://portal.azure.com whereas the existing portal we've been using, and is still to be used as it covers all resources and services, is still at http://manage.windowsazure.com.

I host my site using the open source OrchardCMS engine that's hosted in an Azure website as well as two SQL databases. Specifically it's a multi-tentant instance of OrchardCMS that has a single codebase serving up three different websites; one site is in one database and two are in another database. I took a few minutes to look at my resources as they are shown in the portal... so just for kicks, here's what a real-world production site looks like in the new Azure Management Portal

There are a few characteristics of the new Azure Management Portal that I find are incredibly cool. First, the customization...

Customization

The new portal is completely customizable. You can change the size of the tiles, you can pin graphs and views from deeper views in the portal (called blades) onto the dashboard. I customized my dashboard, as you can see below, to monitor the performance of my site as well as what my spend looks like when I login.

Cost Control and Monitoring

So far I've been keeping my costs in Azure under control but I'll be completely honest: I have no idea how much I spend each month on all my stuff in Azure... I just know that my entire Azure spend is consistently under a certain level by a good margin so I just assume all is good. I've always wanted to know exactly what each thing is costing me... check out the detail you get!

Console Access and Deployments

And this next part is just epic. A while back I wrote a post that demonstrated how you can use the Kudu command line tool to remote into the console of your Azure website to customize a git repository. Well now, you can even jump right to the console through the browser in the new portal!

And if you're using automated deployments to your website, like I am, you can also view all the deployments right from your website blade as you see here:

I'm thrilled with the new Azure Management Portal... you should check it out for your resources! Right now it's a bit limiting only covering basic account management, Azure websites and SQL databases. I'm really eager to see the improvements as they advance to add support for storage and virtual machines in the future!

If you're interested to learn more about what you can do with the new Azure Management Portal, check out these sessions from the \\build conference a last week:

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