Into the cloud in 30 minutes
The so-called Chinese walls between IT staff and managers in companies seem insurmountable. And this is even more true today than it was ten or twenty years ago. Knowledge of how to deal with modern IT is too specialized, it seems.
The facts at a glance
- The basis for good communication between management and the business department with their IT colleagues is a minimum of know-how about IT and the cloud. Despite the digital transformation, not all managers have the necessary basic knowledge.
- However, even non-IT people can get started in the cloud very easily: Internet access, a credit card and 30 minutes of time are all that is needed to set up a virtual machine (VM) in the cloud.
- AWS, Azure as well as Google Cloud Platform even offer the use of cloud resources for beginners free of charge in the first 12 months.
- We will show you how to set up a virtual machine on Azure in this article.
Digital Transformation without IT skills?
Many managers observe the necessary steps of digital transformation from a safe distance. They intuitively refuse to improve their IT skills or extend them to areas relevant to the company. Good communication between the business departments and IT areas is thus made more difficult - or is not even possible in the first place.
Terms like "virtual machines", "cloud servers" or "web applications" seem out of reach for many managers. Yet the first steps on the way to the cloud are not difficult at all. Every Internet user can see for themselves how quickly and easily a virtual machine can be started in the cloud.
Internet access + credit card - and off you go to the cloud
All you need is a computer with Internet access and a credit card. And you're ready to go. And the best thing is: the first steps are even free of charge!
It doesn't matter whether your first foray into the world of virtual machines starts at Microsoft (Azure), Google (Google Cloud Platform) or Amazon (AWS).
All major providers offer free starter packages that allow users to quickly get an overview of the cloud's capabilities and test them on their own.
The major providers are similar in their offerings in this respect
- Amazon Web Services offers a 12-month trial of cloud resources via the AWS home page. This provides the user with 750 hours of free data processing, 5 gigabytes of storage, and 750 hours of AWS database usage.
- Google is also offering a 12-month free trial on its Google Cloud Platforms (GCP). This includes a $300 credit and access to many popular cloud resources.
- Microsoft's Azure cloud platform also has a corresponding offer: Here, the user also has the option of using 55+ cloud services free of charge for 12 months. In addition, a credit of $200 is available.
To show how easily and quickly even non-IT people can get started in the public cloud, the following describes how to create a cloud account and use it to start an initial virtual machine (VM) at the provider Microsoft (Azure).
1. Unlocking the Microsoft account
The first step on the way to your first own cloud server is to register on the Azure website for access to the Azure cloud products.
To do this, first call up the start page (https://www.azure.com) and press the "Start-Free" button.
The user then goes through a registration process in which, among other things, credit card information is requested. Attention! The account is not debited in the process. Instead, a 0 USD transaction is performed to verify the user's identity.
A detailed description of the registration process can be found here.
2. Create new resources
On the start page of the Azure portal, things can get started right away: After logging in, the user is given the option to create a new resource.
If the user selects this option, he will receive different offers in the following - among others, the construction of an SQL database or the start of a DevOps project are available for selection.
However, to create a first virtual machine, the user selects the option: "Windows Server 2016 Datacenter".
3. Virtual machine configuration
On the next page, the user then already starts to configure his virtual machine. The "Free trial version" is selected as the subscription. In the subitem "Resource group", "Create new item" is selected and then "myResourceGroup" is typed in.
Under the instance details, further options for the configuration of the server can be selected. Among other things, the user gives his virtual server a name so that he can later select and control it accordingly. In all other fields of the instance details the preset configurations can be taken over.
In addition, the user is prompted to specify the credentials for the virtual server. For this purpose, he specifies a user name and a password.
Under "Rules for incoming ports", the user selects the option "Allow selected ports" for "Public incoming ports". The two options "HTML" and RDP (3389) are then specified in the drop-down menu. The other settings can remain unchanged.
In addition, the user must decide on a storage account under the "Administration" tab and give it an individual name.
4. Congratulations! You have initialized a VM in the cloud!
And then it's almost time: Before the process is complete, the user is once again given an overview of the options he or she has selected. If the user now clicks on "Create" and waits a few moments, it is done:
You have initialized your first virtual server in the cloud and can now access its computing power. Congratulations!
How such an access works is shown in numerous tutorials, for example in this one here.
Into the cloud with just a few clicks
Through their own Azure account, users have access to a dashboard that allows them to control and monitor their first virtual server.
And if the user has finally tested enough, he can switch off the server again with a mouse click on the "Exit" button.
So that's how easy it is to set up, configure and shut down virtual resources in the cloud.
With this new experience, the "Chinese Wall" between management, the business department and the IT department has certainly become a little smaller. And perhaps these first steps will provide the parties involved with a starting point at the next business lunch to discuss the possibilities and limits of using virtual machines and other services from the cloud.