Right-clicking on a given window pins it to the start board. Charts can be edited to show, say, CPU percentage, pricing, disk usage and more. “Don’t discount the portal quite yet; it’s fantastic,” said Hanselman.

5. Keyboard shortcuts
Every computer user knows the mouse can be deadly, in terms of ergonomics and efficiency. The best economy of movement is achieved with keyboard shortcuts. Launched with version 5.0 of the Azure Portal, the shortcut menu can be accessed by hitting shift + ?. Luckily, there aren’t too many to memorize. You’ll want to use these and more:

Hubs (left menu) shortcuts:
H – show startboard
N – open Notifications hub
A – open Active Journeys hub (a Journey is the current opened group of blades; a blade is card/tab/subpage that contains some group of tiles, e.g. website properties or analytics)
/ – open Browse/Search hub
B – open Billing hub
C – open Create/New hub

Changing focus between blades shortcuts:
J – move focus to the previous blade
K – move focus to the next blade
F – move focus to the first blade
L – move focus to the last blade

6. Azure resource manager
The complexity of managing websites, virtual machines and databases just got a little simpler with the addition of the resource manager in the new Azure Portal. Group and view resources (such as an instance of Application Insights along with a Web application and SQL database) as a single resource group. Deployment templates in Visual Studio are also aided by IntelliSense that surfaces new resource providers and template language functions to you as you write deployment templates, avoiding pesky naming errors.

“Azure resource manager has an exciting, growing community,” said Sanders. “We’re seeing in templates for the resource manager—starting about six months ago—a pretty exciting pickup in the community. We seeded GitHub with a set of these templates and put them all out fully open source. Now we have over 140 contributors and more than 200 templates available. It’s a delightful outcome to see this service that we didn’t do a huge amount of coverage on get this kind of response.
7. Scale Sets
Do you have Big Data or container-based workloads? You may want to orchestrate these complex, large-scale deployments with Scale Sets. Also in public preview, Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets let you manage and configure virtual machines as a set of identical Windows or Linux images.

“A customer can come in and say, ‘I want VM Scale Sets in groups of 10, and I want to configure them all with a tool like Chef or Puppet,’ ” said Sanders. “The other aspect with Scale Sets that’s exciting is the deep integration with Azure Insights autoscale, which restricts cost and spending by only using the compute resources you need, responding to traffic changes.”

8. Security
A Denial of Service attack can hurt your wallet, hamstring your business and harm your customers. Like other cloud providers, Microsoft aims to share its security knowledge as well as build in basic protections. Azure Security Center’s view lets you set policies across all your subscriptions and monitor security configurations. The good news is, the days of accidentally raising DDOS flags by testing or polling your own app are over, thanks to cutting-edge threat intelligence around malformed requests and traffic sources.

9. Site extensions
Another powerful way to add custom administration features to your Web apps is with site extensions. Write them yourself or choose from the new Site Extensions Galler These live on the SCM (site control manager) site for administration and debugging that runs over SSL and is created with every Azure website. The URL for your SCM site is the hostname plus “scm”. Thus, “sdtimes.azurewebsites.net” would have a corresponding SCM site at “sdtimes.scm.azurewebsites.net”.