Sign up for Microsoft Azure
To create a Microsoft Azure storage account first create a Microsoft Azure account. If you are an MSDN subscriber you may open an account without using a credit card and limit your usage to the MSDN provided $150 free monthly allowance.
Once you created your Microsoft Azure account open the Azure Management Console at
Create a storage account
- On the left side of the page select Storage
- Click Create a storage account
- Enter the first part of the URL for your storage
- Select the region where you want to create the storage
- If you want to save money for your test environment uncheck Enable Geo-Replication
- Click the Create storage account at the bottom
Get the Storage Access Keys
To access your storage area you need to use the 512 bit storage access keys. Azure already generated them:
- In the Azure Management Portal select All Items on the top of the left side
- Select the storage account you want to administer
- At the bottom of the page click Manage Access Keys
- Copy the primary and secondary key from the pop-up window
Get a Cloud Storage Management tool
Microsoft did not develop a management tool for its cloud storage solution, so you need to shop around an find a tool you trust. The MSDN web site contains an outdated list of Windows Azure Storage Explorers at
One new tool is Cloud Combine. It has a 30 day free trial period and a $9.99 price with unlimited lifetime usage and updates. You can get it at http://www.gapotchenko.com/cloudcombin This tool can also manage your Amazon S3 storage account.
In the next article we will create a .Net application to access the Azure Storage.