One of the things I like about working with a cloud platform is how frequently features are upgraded and improved. Recently a new Azure feature was announced, mobile services. It looks like all accounts and any new accounts automatically receive access to this new service which is great. Mobile services help developers of Windows 8 applications by providing the server side code to send application notification messages.
Along with this update I noticed a few changes to the portal. There are likely a number of them that I have not noticed and it is possible they have been there for a while.
Here are three new features you can check out in the Azure Management Portal.
1. Settings / Management Certificates
Once in a while I find myself switching back to the old portal to make a change to a feature that is not available in the new portal. As of now, adding and removing management certificates is no longer one of those missing features.
If you go to Settings you can upload or delete the management certificates registered on your Azure subscription
2. Upgraded Side-Navigation Panel
This is a small change but sometimes with user interfaces is is the small things that really make a difference. Now When you select one of the major areas of the portal you can see the sub-areas and the icons for the main areas. Previously you needed to click back to switch to the storage accounts from the VM area. This saves you a few clicks and is a great metro design example. Overall between the main areas, sub-areas, categories on the current item, create new menus at the bottom, and Azure global menus at the top the interface is still a bit hectic but this feature is an improvement.
3. Storage Editing
If you are like me and have been messing around with the Virtual Machines features, you likely have a number of disks you are no longer using. Previously, after removing the Disk from the Virtual Machines section you had to open an Azure Storage Editor and delete the .vhd file from blob storage. Now with the portal you can open a storage container and remove blobs without leaving this interface.
Once in the container you can select and remove any blob. If you try and remove a blob that is still being referenced by a VM Disk (even if it is not being used) the disk manager has a lease on that blob. Removing without the proper lease key will result in an error.
After removing the VM Disk entry you should be able to delete the blob.
Like I mentioned at the beginning there are likely more changes to the portal that I did not notice. Let me know in the comments if you see anything new or existing features you feel make Azure management easier.
Thanks for reading.