This tutorial shows you how easy it is to create an Azure virtual machine (VM) in just a few minutes in the preview portal. We'll use a Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter image as an example to create the VM in Azure Resource Manager, but that's just one of the many images Azure offers. Note that your image choices depend on your subscription. For example, desktop images may be available to MSDN subscribers.
You can also create VMs using your own images, with Resource Manager templates, or with automation tools. To learn about the different methods, see Different Ways to Create a Windows Virtual Machine.
You can open an Azure account for free: You get credits you can use to try out paid Azure services, and even after they're used up you can keep the account and use free Azure services, such as Websites. Your credit card will never be charged, unless you explicitly change your settings and ask to be charged.
You can activate MSDN subscriber benefits: Your MSDN subscription gives you credits every month that you can use for paid Azure services.
Go to the Azure Marketplace in the preview portal to find the Windows Server VM image you want.
Sign in to the preview portal.
On the Hub menu, click New > Compute > Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter.
On the Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter page, select Use the Resource Manager stack to create the VM in Azure Resource Manager. (For most new workloads we recommend the Resource Manager stack. For considerations see Azure Compute, Network & Storage Providers under the Azure Resource Manager.) Then click Create.
After you select the image, you can use Azure's default settings for most of the configuration and quickly create the VM.
On the Create virtual machine blade, click Basics. Enter a Name you want for the VM, the administrative User name, and a strong Password. If you have more than one subscription, specify the one for the new VM, as well as a new or existing Resource group and an Azure datacenter Location.
Click Size and select an appropriate VM size for your needs. Each size specifies the number of compute cores, memory, and other features, such as support for Premium Storage, which will affect the price. Azure recommends certain sizes automatically depending on the image you choose.
Premium storage is available for DS-series virtual machines in certain regions. Premium storage is the best storage option for data intensive workloads such as a database. For details, see Premium Storage: High-Performance Storage for Azure Virtual Machine Workloads.
Click Settings to see storage and networking settings for the new VM. For a first VM you can generally accept the default settings. If you selected a VM size that supports it, you can try out Premium Storage by selecting Premium (SSD) under Disk type.
Click Summary to review your configuration choices. When you're done reviewing or updating the settings, click Create.
While Azure creates the VM, you can track the progress in Notifications, in the Hub menu. After Azure creates the VM, you'll see it on your Startboard unless you cleared Pin to Startboard in the Create virtual machine blade.
After you create the VM, you'll want to log on to it so you can manage its settings and the applications that you'll run on it.
For requirements and troubleshooting tips, see Connect to an Azure virtual machine with RDP or SSH.
If you haven't already done so, sign in to the preview portal.
Click your VM on the Startboard. If you need to find it, click Browse All > Recent or Browse All > Virtual machines. Then, select your VM from the list.
On the VM blade, click Connect.
Click Open to use the Remote Desktop Protocol file that's automatically created for the Windows Server virtual machine.
Type the user name and password you set when you created the virtual machine, and then click OK.
Click Yes to verify the identity of the virtual machine.
You can now work with the virtual machine just as you would with any other server.