How to access & get started with the Azure Government Portal

Azure Government provides a dedicated cloud
with world-class security and compliance, enabling government agencies and
their partners to securely innovate and transform mission-critical
workloads to the cloud. To manage your cloud environment,
workloads, and applications, you can connect to the Azure Government
portal in a variety of ways. These include using a web-based management
portal, PowerShell, or a command-line interface. The Azure portal is the primary way most people
will connect to their Azure Government environment. To begin, simply connect to the
portal at https://portal.azure.us. From there, we’ll provide our
Login ID for authentication. This ID is unique for Azure Government,
ensuring safe and secure access. Next, we’ll be prompted
for our password. Now, we’ll just
click to sign in. The Azure management portal for
government cloud provides a similar user experience as Azure
for commercial customers. This portal is specifically dedicated to
government agencies and their partners. To get started, we’ll check the Service view and take a look at Azure Government
regions and their health status. Currently, you can choose from 6 available
government-only datacenter regions, including two regions granted a Department of
Defense Impact Level 5 Provisional Authorization. These regions are dedicated to
the US Department of Defense for workload and
application deployment. Two recently announced Azure
Secret regions are coming soon. Azure Government provides more than 50 primary cloud
services to meet your different agency requirements. This means you have one source
for comprehensive services: compute, storage, networking, application, database, data analytics, security, identity, IoT, and AI. Azure Government ensures you can run your critical
workloads and applications on a dedicated portal, while accessing all the services you’d
expect from a leading cloud provider. Now let’s look at other ways we can access Azure
services, in addition to the Azure portal. In our next example, we’ll see how
to transfer storage from on-premises to our Azure Government environment, and
how to manage the cloud storage we have. Azure Storage Explorer is a cross-platform
tool for working with Azure Storage. Government customers can now take
advantage of all the latest features of Azure Storage Explorer to
connect with Azure Government, including the ability to create and manage
blobs, queues, tables, and file shares. Connecting to Azure Government is as easy
as connecting to a commercial region. There’s no difference other
than the endpoint you choose. We’ll simply click on the dropdown
and choose Azure US Government. As this is an external tool
accessing our Azure environment, we must ensure our
identity remains secure. To do that, we’ll
add our user name. And our password. Now we’re fully connected and can
manage our Azure Government storage. Let’s look at some
of our blob storage. With Storage Explorer, you can view,
delete, and copy blobs and folders. From the same console, you can upload and
download blobs while maintaining data integrity. Storage Explorer also allows you
to manage your blob snapshots. Let’s explore another way to manage cloud
resources—the Azure command-line interface. The CLI enables users to interact
with Azure through Command Prompt, PowerShell, and
other mechanisms. This powerful tool enables efficient management,
scripting, and automation capabilities. Let’s start with Command Prompt. We’ve installed the Azure
CLI on our local machine, which is no different from the one we’d
use to access Azure commercial regions. To begin, we need to set
the active cloud location, which is the destination
we want to connect to. Like the Azure CLI, the command is no different
from how we’d connect to any Azure region. In this instance we’re just setting
our endpoint to Azure US Government. Okay. So, we’re now successfully connected
to the Azure Government endpoint. But before we can interact with the subscription,
just like the portal and Storage Explorer, we need to authenticate to
ensure security and protection. To do this, we simply use
the command az login. This provides the details of how to log in with
the respective URL and authentication code. Note the URL here is pointing
specifically to US Government. We simply enter that
URL into our browser. Then, we provide the authentication
code we were given by the CLI. This code ensures the source machine has
been verified to enable the connection. To further ensure security, we need to
authenticate with our Azure Government account. Once we have been successfully authenticated,
we can return to the Command Prompt interface. Now that we’re logged in, we can see
specific details like cloud name, user name, user type, and so on – any command we could use for
Azure commercial regions, we can also use with
Azure Government. There’s no difference. For example, we can list all the regions we have
access to with the simple az cloud list command. As you can see, the dashboard provides a complete list
of our available Azure regions for Government Cloud. And that’s a wrap! In this demo, we learned how to access
the dedicated Azure Government portal and discovered that it’s no different
from accessing Azure commercial regions. With a dedicated portal URL
and unique credentials, you can continue to use all the same tools for
cloud access, management, and development. Learn more on azure.com/gov

Stephen Childs

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