Playing around a bit last night with Azure I went to their portal.azure.com website. At first it seemed like a fancy front-end web app for their normal manage.windowsazure.com site, but upon investigation it’s so much more!
The Azure Portal is designed to be a powerful devops tool, giving advanced controls over not only deployment, but management, monitoring and reporting as well.
Using the portal you can do a lot of the normal “procurement” you may be used to doing with the manage.windowsazure.com website, but in a “prettier” way. I actually found the horizontal UI to be a bit distracting and unfamiliar, but it’s pretty well done once you get used to it.
Another cool feature is the ability to install packages for your application, similar to what the web platform installer does; you can procure a website and install a default configuration of wordpress in a matter of a few clicks. They have over 130 packages available to install this way.
The Portal gives a nice customizable dashboard with statistics on your current resources, your forecasted costs, and “web parts” for a number of monitoring statistics like number of requests, sessions per browser, page views, database size, service health, and more.
Check out the Azure Portal by going to portal.azure.com