The Microsoft Azure portal makes it relatively easy to set up storage in the cloud. Even so, provisioning storage in the usual way might not always be the best option. For one thing, manual provisioning is not particularly scalable. It’s one thing to set up storage; it’s quite another thing to repeat the process a hundred times. Another issue with manual cloud storage provisioning is that, as with any other manual process, it is susceptible to human error. Thankfully, Microsoft allows you to shortcut the storage provisioning process through the use of Azure Quickstart Templates.
The best part about Azure Quickstart Templates is that they can be used for far more than just storage provisioning. There are hundreds of Azure Quickstart templates available, and they can be used for anything from creating a standard storage account to deploying Azure SQL Server in a way that is pre-configured to write auditing data to blob storage. You can find the Azure Quickstart templates here. Storage Although the templates can be found on the Azure.Microsoft.com Website, most of the templates have been developed by individual users as opposed to being created by Microsoft. You can see a sampling of the available templates in Figure 1.
This is what the Azure Quickstart Templates page looks like.
When you click on a template, you will be taken to a screen that is similar to the one that is shown in Figure 2. This screen provides you with several important pieces of information.
The template description provides the information that you will need in order to use the template.
As you look at the screen capture shown above, you will see that this page lists the template name, as well as the name of the author who created the template. You will also find a brief description of what the template does. The most important thing found on this page, however, is the Parameters list.
Whenever you create an object in Azure, whatever that object may be, you typically have to provide a few pieces of information. The required information varies based on the object type, of course. This same concept also applies when you use a template to create an object within Azure. You need to populate the template with some basic information that it needs to do its job. The required information is listed in the Parameters section. If you look back at the previous screen capture, for example, you can see that if you want to use this template to create a standard storage account, you have to provide Azure with information about the type of storage account that you want to create and specify the location within which you want the account to be created.
If you look toward the bottom of the screen capture, you'll notice that you can use the template in conjunction with PowerShell. The full command is provided. Although it is cut off in the screen capture, there is also an option to use the template from the command line.
The easiest way to make use of an Azure Quickstart template is to simply click the Deploy to Azure button, which is shown in the previous screen capture. Upon doing so, you will be prompted to log into your Azure account (if necessary), and will then be taken into the Azure portal.
At this point, you should see a screen that is directly related to the template that you have chosen. In Figure 3, for example, you can see that the options shown within the Azure portal are related to creating a storage account using the template. Notice in the figure that there are options for specifying the storage account type and location, as described on the template’s Webpage.
This is how the template is displayed within the Azure portal.
Completing the deployment process is a simple matter. All you have to do is to select your subscription, resource group,and location, and then provide the information required by the template. Finally, click on the I Agree to the Terms and Conditions checkbox and click the Purchase button. That’s all there is to it.
Although I have used the process of creating a storage account from a template as an example, the process works in essentially the same way for any template that you choose.