Jasmine
Jasmine
Mar 5 · 4 min read
Photo Credit: The Awesome Daily

Azure has quite a number of services you can create, but if you spend a lot of time in the portal, how do you keep track of them all? If this sounds like a problem you’re facing, then using the portal dashboard is the answer for you. The dashboard is a central location of shortcuts to resources in Azure, making it easy to organize, visualize, and access. The dashboard can be customized, so you can have a familiar experience and direct access to your favorite resources every time you log into the portal. Ready to do some organizing? Let’s walk through some of the features that allow you to make the dashboard yours.

Pinning to the Dashboard

Typical location of a pin in the Azure portal

Ever notice that pin in the upper right of the current view of your Azure resource? Clicking on that pin adds that resource to your dashboard in a view called a tile, which are squares of varying sizes that fill the dashboard. Clicking on tiles representing Azure resources will open up that resource within the portal. Need to pin all of the resources under one resource group? You can pin the entire resource group to the dashboard, just open it up in the portal and you will find the pin in the same location in the upper right.

Resources aren’t the only thing you can pin, the tile gallery has a number of different tiles you can add to your dashboard. Use the gallery to customize even further with a display of clocks at different time zones, a markdown file of some personal notes, logs, or a live graph of detailed telemetry or metrics of the Azure services you’re using. The edit button at the top of the dashboard allows you to add new tiles from the gallery, and reorganize, resize, or delete tiles.

Multiple Dashboards

If you’d like multiple dashboard views, you can make additional dashboards or make a clone of an existing one. You can find both of these options at the top of the dashboard. Just switch to your desired dashboard to start pinning or making additional changes.

Sharing

If you’re on a team accessing the same resources, you can create a dashboard that all of you can share. Sharing, available at the top of the dashboard will publish the current private dashboard view and make it available to others to use, in addition to setting who and how they can interact with a shared dashboard.

Dashboard as code

Dashboards can be represented programmatically as JSON. This will look similar to what you’d find in an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Template, and you can deploy a new dashboard within this template. The easiest way to see your dashboard this way is to access it through the Resource Explorer in the portal. You’ll need to share and publish the dashboard before you can see it in the resource explorer.

A Cloud Advocate’s Dashboard

I spend a lot of time in Azure and have quite a few projects that point to a number of resources. I’ll walk through a few of my usual dashboard setups.

Home

Author’s Home Dashboard

This dashboard that has some clocks of various time zones, and a markdown file with the sole purpose of displaying a gif that greets me every time I open the portal. I use this dashboard to pin anything I am currently working on and as a central location for any unpinned resources under my subscription.

Sandbox

Author’s Sandbox Dashboard

An experimental dashboard where I pin resources where I’m trying out a proof of concept, walking through tutorial instructions, or for general testing.

Demos

Where sandbox experiments graduate to as a completed proof of concept.

[Presentation/Conference Name] Demo

Used for speaking engagements, and always titled as either the conference or name of the presentation. Before a presentation, I’ll pin any resources needed for my demo, and sometimes have a markdown file with external links for additional demo setup. If there are a large number of resources used for this demo, I will pin the entire resource group, then any key individual resources. If I’m co-presenting, I’ll share this dashboard with the other presenters.

Getting started

Resources

If you’d like to learn more, check out the documentation on customizing the portal. If you’d like to learn more about the portal, this Microsoft Learn Module introduces and walks you through some of the portal’s key elements, including the dashboard.

Try my dashboard

Want to use my Home dashboard? I’ve created an ARM template so you can deploy it. Paste the following into your Cloud Shell:

az group create --name DashboardGroup --location "Central US"
az group deployment create \
--name DashboardDeployment --resource-group DashboardGroup \
--template-uri "https://gist.githubusercontent.com/paladique/474f2300719053cb9c6e1c6efb433723/raw/7360b185b31aa4acfcccc970c37aa6865cc02047/homeDashboard.json" \
--parameters dashboardName=DeployedHomeDashboard

**Note: You can also deploy this through the portal.

If you’ve ever customized your favorite IDE or text editor, you’re familiar with how those changes can complement your working style and enhance your productivity. Taking advantage of the customization features of the dashboard can have a similar effect on your day to day tasks with Azure. If you spend a lot of time in the portal, the dashboard can help you get organized and give you faster access to the things that are important to you.

Microsoft Azure

Any language. Any platform. Our team is focused on making the world more amazing for developers and IT operations communities with the best that Microsoft Azure can provide. If you want to contribute in this journey with us, contact us at medium@microsoft.com

Jasmine

Written by

Jasmine

Really into code, the cloud, and showing others how to have fun with both. Cloud Advocate @ Microsoft

Microsoft Azure

Any language. Any platform. Our team is focused on making the world more amazing for developers and IT operations communities with the best that Microsoft Azure can provide. If you want to contribute in this journey with us, contact us at medium@microsoft.com

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