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Lars’ cloud playlist: Hands-on labs for Azure fundamentals

Get real-life experience with Microsoft Azure. These hands-on labs are designed to help novices explore the fundamental cloud services of Microsoft Azure.

Jul 06, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

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This post shares six hands-on labs that will help you get real-life experience with the Microsoft Azure services. These hands-on labs are a great way to put your learning into practice while exploring the fundamental cloud services of Microsoft Azure.

Hands. They’re not just great for eating a slice of pizza or dramatically removing sunglasses. They’re also super useful for learning to cloud. Why? Because getting hands-on experience with the cloud is essential for understanding the cloud. 

To give you a hand with that, A Cloud Guru offers a few (like 1,800 or so) hands-on labs. These guided, hands-on exercises walk you through real-world objectives in safe cloud environments. You’re at the wheel; we’re the passenger helping with navigation.

In this blog post, I’ll share six ACG hands-on labs that are perfect for cloud and/or Microsoft Azure newcomers looking to pick up the Azure fundamentals. 

Why you should learn Azure

People have been investing in cloud like Elon Musk just tweeted about it for years now, and Azure (one of the biggest public clouds on the planet) is a popular pick for businesses and enterprise organizations. Demand for cloud talent and people with Azure skills continues to outpace supply.

What’s all that mean for you? It means Azure can lead you down a path to some of the top-paying certifications and jobs in tech.

Whether you’re totally new to cloud and still wondering what Microsoft Azure is or you have some cloud understanding and are ready to put it into practice, these hands-on labs are sure to come in handy.

Is AWS more your jam? Check out Ryan’s cloud playlist: Hands-on labs for learning AWS essentials.

The Azure Fundamentals playlist

The Azure Fundamentals playlist is my recommended first set of labs for the Azure learner. You’ll come in with little or no prior cloud knowledge and come out with practical experience that you can apply to your first Azure project in just a few hours. Get ready to jam!

Suggested Music Pairings: 

Note: To get started with the hands-on labs below, you’ll need to have an ACG account or start a free trial.

1. Accessing and Using the Azure Portal

As a first-time Azure user, you’ll want to get familiar with the Azure Portal and customize dashboards. To do this, you’ll log in to the Azure Portal, familiarize yourself with the layout and navigation, and create and customize dashboards showing helpful information. 

This 30-minute hands-on lab will help you successfully connect to the Azure Portal and create and customize your dashboards. There’s no need to worry about setting up an Azure account or incurring additional costs. A Cloud Guru cloud playgrounds provide you with a safe space in real cloud environments to sharpen your skills without security risks or surprise bills. 

Already an ACG member? Start this lab here.

2. Accessing and Using the Azure Cloud Shell

This 30-minute hands-on lab will introduce you to Azure Cloud Shell, a web-based virtual terminal that allows you full access to Azure PowerShell and the CLI right from your browser. There’s nothing to install and no plugins — just scripting goodness. 

We’ll take a look at how to set up Cloud Shell and run a few commands in both the Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell. When we’re finished, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to run Cloud Shell in your own Azure subscription. 

ACG member? Check out the lab here.

3. Deploying Your First Azure Virtual Machine

In this 30-minute hands-on lab, we’ll use the Azure Portal to create and use a virtual machine. We’ll log in to the Azure Portal and create a virtual machine, a virtual network, and a network interface card for the virtual machine. 

We’ll also connect to the virtual machine via RDP, and use the Azure Portal to turn the virtual machine off. After completing this lab, you’ll have gained the experience required to create and use your first virtual machine using the Azure Portal.

Signed into ACG? Fire up this lab here.

4. Creating Azure Virtual Networks

As an Azure user, you’ll want to use the Azure Portal to create and use your first virtual network. To do this, you’ll need to log in to the Azure Portal and create a virtual network, subnets, and a network security group. And that’s exactly what you’ll do in this 30-minute hands-on lab.

After completing this hands-on lab, you’ll have gained the experience required to create and use your first virtual network using the Azure Portal!

Already an ACG member? Start this lab here.

cloud hiring

WATCH: Solving The "No Experience" Cloud Hiring Problem
You can’t get experience without a job. But who’ll hire you without experience? Conundrum! Watch this free, on-demand webinar featuring a panel discussion on cloud career development and getting your first cloud job. 

5. Create Azure Blob Storage and Upload a Blob

In this 30-minute hands-on lab, we walk through setting up Azure Blob storage in Azure. This beginner-level hands-on lab covers several concepts: Azure storage accounts, Azure containers, and Azure Blobs.

We’ll create a storage account, create a blog container, and then upload a blob. This hands-on lab uses the Azure Portal, so you don’t have to install any software. Just follow along by using the web browser!

Signed into your ACG account? Get hands-on here.

6. Create a Group and Add a Member in Azure Active Directory (AAD)

In the scenario for this 30-minute hands-on lab, your company is expanding. They’ve added a new Research and Development (R&D) department to invest in future capabilities, allowing them to make more strategic decisions. The company has asked you to create the Azure Active Directory (AAD) group and add yourself to it. You’ll need to log in to the Azure portal, navigate to the Azure Active Directory (AAD) service, and perform the necessary steps to create the group and add your lab user as a member of the group.

ACG member? Check out the lab here.

Recommended next steps

  • If you’re new to cloud, start with ACG’s AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals course. It’s an outstanding, no-experience-needed intro to Azure and the cloud. 
  • Once you get these labs down to a science, you can crank the difficulty up a notch. Many of the above labs can be taken on using our new Challenge Mode option.
Lars Klint

Lars K.

Lars is an author, trainer, Microsoft MVP, community leader, authority on all things Windows Platform, and part time crocodile wrangler. He is heavily involved in the space of HoloLens and mixed reality, as well as a published Pluralsight author, freelance solution architect, and writer for numerous publications.

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