Microsoft Adds an Interactive Shell to Azure Command Line Tool

Azure Command Line gains an interactive interface for users who are still learning the ropes.

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Microsoft is following up the February release of Azure Command Line (CLI) 2.0 with a new interface that helps users familiarize themselves with the tool's command structures, output formats and general capabilities.

This week, the company released a preview version of Azure CLI Shell, which extends Azure CLI with a new interactive experience that can help users master the tool and enter Bash or POSIX commands with less trial and error.

"Azure CLI Shell (az-shell) provides an interactive mode in which to run Azure CLI 2.0 commands," explained Microsoft principal program manager Kamaljit Bath in an April 13 announcement. "It provides autocomplete dropdowns, auto-cached suggestions combined with on the fly documentation, including examples of how each command is used. Azure CLI Shell provides an experience that makes it easier to learn and use Azure CLI commands."

Additionally, Microsoft released a batch of command modules that expand the number of Azure cloud services users can configure and manage with Azure CLI 2.0.

Following last week's Azure Container Registry launch, a new set of related commands enable developers to create and manage their Docker container images stored on the service. Also available are commands for Azure Batch, the company's batch processing platform for high-performance computing and large-scale parallel applications. Customers can now create, manage and schedule batch jobs, as well as create a Batch account along with the applications packages therein.

New Azure SQL Database commands allow users to spin up, manage and scale databases and data warehouses. Finally, Azure CLI 2.0 can be used by security administrators to generate, store and access cryptographic keys in the Azure Key Vault service, added Bath. Previews of Azure DevTest Labs and Azure Monitor commands are also available.

Another new command, "az find," helps users search the Azure CLI 2.0 command set using simple text. Using the "az configure" command, users can now set the scope and global defaults for specific resources and variables that are used multiple times within a CLI session and specify multiple defaults Bath said.

Elsewhere in Microsoft's cloud ecosystem, the company released a new version of the Search Traffic Analytics feature set in Azure Application Insights, allowing customers to draw clearer insights on user behavior so that they can tailor their search app's content, UI or other elements accordingly.

Berni Torres Garayar, an Azure Search software engineer, described the solution as "a pattern on how to structure, instrument, and monitor search queries and clicks, that will provide you with actionable insights about your search application," in a blog post.

Microsoft this week is also nudging customers who are taking their time transitioning to Azure a free Cloud Migration Assessment service that helps businesses determine the cost of transitioning their on-premises server workloads to the company's cloud.

The company also made it easier to activate the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, a discount on Azure-hosted Windows Server virtual machines (VMs), from within the Azure Management Portal. Microsoft has also teased an upcoming virtual machine tagging feature in Azure Site Recovery that helps streamline the process of migrating Windows Server virtual machines.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...