Azure – Host a static website in a storage account using Azure PowerShell.

What is a static website?

By the definition, the static website contains web pages with fixed content and displays the same content to every user on every visit, and static websites are very basic and easy to create.

Now static websites can be built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript and hosted on Azure Storage, and support client-side script execution but not server-side, if the static website needs some data processing or manipulation on server-side you can leverage it to Azure Cognitive Services or Azure Functions.

What is the use?

Static websites are very useful when it doesn’t require high bandwidth, backend support and targeted to limited audiences and mostly for the shorter duration of time.

Some useful areas are…

  • Explain about the project and the roadmap.
    • Just for the sake of presentation in the meeting, create some html documents with the necessary content, upload them to the Azure blob storage and simply access the url from anywhere in the world.
  • Showcase about the products, events and promotions.
    • Sales and marketing teams require nice and colorful web pages to walk through the concepts, so build a website using CSS & HTML, publish it on to Azure blob storage and share the link with the intended audience.
  • Technical Documents & Manuals
    • Host some technical documentation and manuals relating to your project, and share it with the team across the globe for their perusal.

How it works?

When the static website service is enabled on a Azure storage account you need to enter the default document name; and error document name as optional and when the feature is enabled a container named $web will be created if it doesn’t already exist to upload your website files. Files in the $web container are read only, case sensitive and available to access anonymously

How to access?

Available to the public web following this pattern:

Available through a Blob storage endpoint following this pattern:

It can also available with CDN and SSL support and custom domain name as well.

What is the pricing?

Azure Static website feature is free; the pricing is only for storage. But in addition to the storage costs, data egress will apply and in case Azure CDN is enabled to use a custom domain with an SSL certificate, that will also be applicable.

How to enable the Static Website feature and host a website using Azure PowerShell?

All you need is a valid Azure subscription and follow the steps (in PowerShell)…

  • Login into Azure account.
  • Select the required subscription.
  • Select/Create a Resource Group.
  • Select /Create a Storage Account (StorageV2).
  • Set the current storage account to enable the Static Website feature.
  • Enable the Static Website feature on the current storage account.
  • Upload the website files to the blob storage container ($web).
  • Verify the files uploaded successfully.
  • Retrieve the URL to access the static website.

With the glory of GitHub public repositories, I have cloned a simple website and created my profile page just like that and hosted it on my Azure Storage.


PowerShell – How to use splatting to pass parameters to commands

Many a times we might have come across the situation where we need to execute the lengthy CmdLets/functions having bunch of parameters and exceeds screen width and wrapped down to the next line or need to scroll towards end of the command or need to ignore the new line using the escape character (`).

Splatting, pass the parameter values as a collection in the form of name and value pair, as a hash table or array of values. It makes the command shorter, easy to read and can be re-used. It’s a hash table/array variable though, to pass the paramater values to the command @ sysbol will be used before the variable name instead of $.


$paramtable = @{
Name1 = 'Value1'
Name2 = 'Value2'
Name3 = 'Value3'
C:\> Sample-Command @paramtable
C:\> Sample-Command <optional parameters> @paramtable <optional paramaters>

To provide the named parameter values hash table can be used and to provide the positional parameters array can be used. When splatting, it is not necessary to use either hash table or an array only to pass the parameters, positional parameters and/or named parameters can also be used along with.

EXAMPLE: Splatting with hash table

Create a new file using New-Item CmdLet by passing necessary parameters…

EXAMPLE: Splatting with array

Copy a file from one location to other using Copy-Item CmdLet by passing necessary parameters…

An another example…

Just a tip #5 – Select-Object with calculated properties in PowerShell

Sometimes the value from the output might not be in the readable format, the header might be not appropriate for the value or the value is not straightforward, and sometimes there is a need of calculated field altogether…

# Get the total memory in GB from the local computer using the calculated property with Select-Object
Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem | Select-Object -Property PSComputerName, `
@{Name = 'Memory in GB'; Expression = {[Math]::Round($_.TotalVisibleMemorySize/1MB)}}

# Get the services where the names are starting with App, and display IsRunning with Yes/No using the calculated property
$IsRunning = @{
Label = "IsRunning"
Expression = {
if($_.Status -eq 'Running') { "Yes" }
else { "No" }
Get-Service -Name App* | Select-Object -Property Name, DisplayName, $IsRunning



Excel reports using ImportExcel module from PowerShell Gallery.

You know why Excel is still one of the popular reporting tools because it is very easy to use, customizable as per your needs and moreover it is interactive. There are many ways that you can generate excel reports programmatically, but especially when you are using a scripting language like PowerShell there are tons of modules are already available with sophisticated features in the public repositories to reuse in your code, and they are very easy and simple to use.

Please be careful when you are installing the modules from the public repositories, because people around the world they publish their code into the repositories which work for them as per their environment and settings, but it may harmful for your environment. So please ensure the scripts work fine for you in your test environment first and then use it in your production environment.

ImportExcel PowerShell Module by Doug Finke from PowerShellGallery is a very popular and much helpful module, it works even without Excel installed on your computer, and again it’s an open source project in GitHub. This module is very rich in features and compact to use in your code, and I find this module is very useful and helpful.

Now let’s get started with ImportModule module in PowerShell Core

SincePowerShellGalleryis a default repository in PowerShell, you don’t need to set the repository again, just ensure that you havePSGalleryas a default repository…


Now it’s time to get the module installed and imported to the session…

# Find the module
Find-Module -Name ImportModule

# Install the modules
Find-Module -Name ImportModule | Install-Module 
Install-Module -Name Install-Module

# Update the module
Update-Module -Name ImportExcel

# Verify the module is installed
Get-Module -Name ImportExcel -ListAvailable

# Import the module
Import-Module -Name ImportExcel


To check the CmdLets available in the ImportExcel module, run the CmdLet below…

Get-Command -Module ImportExcel

Now let’s see how to export the data to excel and various options…

Export-Excel CmdLet will do all the magic with various parameters; to simply export the data to excel, just pipe the output to Export-Excel, this will export the data to excel, apply filters, auto size the columns and pop up the excel window, but this will not save the file to disk.

Get-Service | Select Name, DisplayName, Status | Export-Excel


… just to export the data to excel and save the file to disk, use -Path flag with Export-Excel …

Get-Service | Select Name, DisplayName, Status | Export-Excel -Path C:\Test.xlsx


Observe the data in the excel opened after the file was created, where the columns are compact, not readable and no filters applied. By default without any parameters Export-ExcelCmdLet will not save the file to disk, show the window, apply filters, auto size the columns, but if we use -Path and want to pop up the window, apply filters and auto size the columns we need to use the -Show, -AutoSize, -AutoFilter flags…

# To Show the window after the file save to disk
Get-Service | Select Name, DisplayName, Status | Export-Excel -Path .\Test.xlsx -Show

# To apply filters, and allow autosize the columns
Get-Service | Select Name, DisplayName, Status | Export-Excel -Path .\Test.xlsx -Show -AutoSize -AutoFilter

Now let’s see formating the text in the excel reports…

# Get the services exported to excel and highlight the services state seperately for services running and services are stopped.
$ConTxt1 = New-ConditionalText -Text 'Stopped' -ConditionalTextColor Red -BackgroundColor Yellow
$ConTxt2 = New-ConditionalText -Text 'Running' -ConditionalTextColor Yellow -BackgroundColor Green
Get-Service | Select Status, Name, DisplayName | Export-Excel -Path .\Test.xlsx -AutoSize -Show -ConditionalFormat $ConTxt1, $ConTxt2
# '-ConditionalFormat' parameter accepts arrays

import-excel-6Setting the icons to the values to represent the changes with in the given range…

# Get the processes, and represent the changes in the memory with the icons
$ConFmt = New-ConditionalFormattingIconSet -Range "C:C" -ConditionalFormat FiveIconSet -IconType Arrows
Get-Process | Select Company, Name, PM, Handles | Export-Excel -Path .\Process.xlsx -Show -AutoSize -AutoFilter -ConditionalFormat $ConFmt

# Also club it with the conditional text
$ConTxt = New-ConditionalText -Text 'Microsoft' -ConditionalTextColor Yellow -BackgroundColor Green
Get-Process | Select Company, Name, PM, Handles | Export-Excel -Path .\Process.xlsx -Show -AutoSize -AutoFilter -ConditionalFormat $ConFmt, $ConTxt


Now let’s see some creating pivot tables and charts…

# Get the services and identify the number of service are running & stopped and the services count per start type
$Data = Get-Service | Select-Object Status, Name, DisplayName, StartType | Sort-Object StartType

# Parmaters in a hashtable
$Param = @{
Show = $true
AutoSize = $true
IncludePivotTable = $true
PivotRows = 'StartType' 
PivotData = 'StartType' 
PivotColumns = 'Status'

# Create the pivot table
$Data | Export-Excel -Path C:\GitRepo\Test.xlsx @Param


# Get the services and identify the number of service are running & stopped and the services count per start type
$Data = Get-Service | Select-Object Status, Name, DisplayName, StartType | Sort-Object StartType

# Parmaters in a hashtable
$Param = @{
Show = $true
AutoSize = $true
PivotRows = 'StartType' 
PivotData = 'StartType'
IncludePivotChart = $true
ChartType = 'PieExploded3D'

# Create the pivot charts
$Data | Export-Excel -Path C:\GitRepo\Test.xlsx @Param


There are plenty of options are available, so please explore the all the features in the ImportExcel and make the best use of this module. You can also achive the same by writting your own code, but this is very compact and easy to use.

Many thanks to Doug Finke! #ImportExcel


‘Clear-RecycleBin’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet in PowerShell Core

Recently I have upgraded to PowerShell Core and slowly switching from Windows PowerShell to PowerShell Core. I have noticed quite a few CmdLets are missing in the PowerShell Core, since it became an open source and supports on cross-platform most of the platform dependent CmdLets won’t work on the other platforms. I usually clear my temp folders and recyclebin in all my computers frequently, and noticed Clear-RecycleBin CmdLet is not a valid CmdLet in PowerShell Core…

Clear-RecycleBin : The term 'Clear-RecycleBin' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program.
Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
At line:1 char:1
+ Clear-RecycleBin -Force
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (Clear-RecycleBin:String) [], CommandNotFoundException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException

So I have decided to create a PowerShell function to achieve almost the the same functionality of Clear-RecycleBin using .NET class, and here is the function…



Note: I have not added the -DriveLetter flag, since I want to clear the recyclebin from all the drives, if you want clear the recyclebin from a specific drive, you need add the driveLetter argument to the Empty method in the C# code and add the -DriveLetter parameter to the PowerShell function.

Thank you.

Just a tip #4 – Download a zip file from the internet and extract using PowerShell.

The code below will download the .zip file from the internet, then extracts the files from the zip and opens the extracted folder…

$Url = ''
$ZipFile = 'C:\ZipFolder\' + $(Split-Path -Path $Url -Leaf)
$Destination= 'C:\Extracted\'

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $Url -OutFile $ZipFile

$ExtractShell = New-Object -ComObject Shell.Application
$Files = $ExtractShell.Namespace($ZipFile).Items()
Start-Process $Destination

Create new Azure VM using PowerShell (Az)

Deploying the Virtual Machines in the Azure cloud using the templates is the best way to create the VM to satisfy the attributes like quick, consistent, reusable and handles the dependency among the resources. However PowerShell has the flexibility to deploy the VMs with ease and allows the user to choose the required parameters necessary for the particular deployment alone without even touching the code. Ofcourse this approach is also quick and reusable, but the user has to ensure the consistency and dependency among the resources if required while creating the resources in the Azure cloud.

Since the new Azure PowerShell Module Az 1.0.1 is released, I have written the scripts using the Az module CmdLets. So please install Az module on Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core, import the module and connect to Azure account using ‘Connect-AzAccount’.

Add required parameters to the script…

#requires -Modules Az
[string] $ResourceGroupName, # Resource Group
[string] $VMName, # VM Name
[string] $Location, # Location
[string] $OSType, # OS Type (Windows/Linux)
[string] $VirtualNetworkName, # VNet
[string] $SubnetName, # Subnet
[string] $SecurityGroupName, # NSG
[string] $VMSize, # VM Size
[switch] $AssignPublicIP, # Assign PIP
[pscredential]$VMCredential, # VM login credential
[Int[]] $AllowedPorts # NSG rules

Ensure you are connected to Azure subscription, if the script exits then connect to Azure subscription using Connect-AzAccount CmdLet, and this is a browser-based authentication.

# Verify Login
if( -not $(Get-AzContext) ) { return }

Ensure that there is no existing vm with the same name in the resurce group. If there is a VM already exists then exit the script.

# Verify VM doesn't exist
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Compute.Models.PSVirtualMachine] `
$VM = Get-AzVM -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $VMName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if($null -ne $VM) { return }

Create VM login credentials, if not provided along with the script…

# Create user object
if (-not $PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('VMCredential'))
[pscredential] $VMCredential = Get-Credential -Message 'Please enter the vm credentials'

# Verify credential
if ($VMCredential.GetType().Name -ne "PSCredential") { return }

The script identifies the existing resources with the names provided, if exist then they will be used and if they don’t exist then will be created with different names.

Two things that you need to choose based on your requirements, one is the VM Size and the other is OS Image (Sku)…

# Lists all the VM Sizes available in South India region
PS C:\> Get-AzVMSize -Location southindia

To retrieve the OS Skus, I have written an another post ‘List of available Azure VM Image skus using new Azure PowerShell module Az.‘, please refer…

Now the main block starts from here…

Github Link:

# Verify/Create a resource group
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.ResourceManager.Cmdlets.SdkModels.PSResourceGroup] $ResourceGroup = Get-AzResourceGroup -Name $ResourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if ($null -eq $ResourceGroup)
$ResourceGroup = New-AzResourceGroup -Name $ResourceGroupName -Location $Location

# Verify the virtual network
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSVirtualNetwork] $VNet = Get-AzVirtualNetwork -Name $VirtualNetworkName -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if ($null -eq $VNet)
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSSubnet] $SubnetConfig = New-AzVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name $SubnetName -AddressPrefix
$VNet = New-AzVirtualNetwork -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -Name $VirtualNetworkName -AddressPrefix -Subnet $SubnetConfig
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSSubnet[]] $Subnets = Get-AzVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -VirtualNetwork $VNet
$SubnetConfig = $Subnets | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.Name -eq $SubnetName}
if ($null -eq $SubnetConfig)
$VNetAddressPrefixes = $VNet.AddressSpace.AddressPrefixes
$AddressPrefix = @($VNetAddressPrefixes.Split('.'))
$AddressPrefix[2] = [int]($Subnets.AddressPrefix|Measure-Object -Maximum).Maximum.ToString().Split('.')[2] + 1
$AddressPrefix = $AddressPrefix -join '.'
$VNet | Add-AzVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name $SubnetName -AddressPrefix $AddressPrefix | Set-AzVirtualNetwork

[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSSubnet] $Subnet = Get-AzVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name $SubnetName -VirtualNetwork $VNet

# Create a public IP address and specify a DNS name
if ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('AssignPublicIP'))
[string] $PipName = $VMName + '-pip'
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSPublicIpAddress] $VerifyPip = Get-AzPublicIpAddress -Name $PipName -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if ($null -ne $VerifyPip) 
$PipName = $VMName + '-pip-' + $(Get-Random).ToString()
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSPublicIpAddress] $PublicIP = New-AzPublicIpAddress -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -Name $PipName -AllocationMethod Static -IdleTimeoutInMinutes 4

# Create/Select a network security group
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSNetworkSecurityGroup] $NSG = Get-AzNetworkSecurityGroup -Name $SecurityGroupName -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if ($null -eq $NSG)
# Create an inbound network security group rules
if ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('AllowedPorts'))
[System.Array] $NsgRules = @()
[int] $Priority = 1000
foreach ($Port in $AllowedPorts)
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSSecurityRule] $Rule = New-AzNetworkSecurityRuleConfig -Name "Allow_$Port" -Protocol Tcp -Direction Inbound -Priority $Priority -SourceAddressPrefix * -SourcePortRange * -DestinationAddressPrefix * -DestinationPortRange $Port -Access Allow
$NsgRules += $Rule
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSNetworkSecurityGroup] $NSG = New-AzNetworkSecurityGroup -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -Name $SecurityGroupName -SecurityRules $NsgRules
$NSG = New-AzNetworkSecurityGroup -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -Name $SecurityGroupName
# Add an inbound network security group rules, if missing any
if ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('AllowedPorts'))
[int[]] $NSGAllowedPorts = $NSG.SecurityRules | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.Access -eq "Allow"} | Select-Object -ExpandProperty DestinationPortRange
[int[]] $PortsToAllow = $AllowedPorts | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_ -notin $NSGAllowedPorts}
[int] $Priority = ($NSG.SecurityRules.Priority|Measure-Object -Maximum).Maximum + 100
if ($PortsToAllow.Count -gt 0)
foreach($Port in $PortsToAllow)
$NSG | Add-AzNetworkSecurityRuleConfig -Name "Allow_$Port" -Protocol Tcp -Direction Inbound -Priority $Priority -SourceAddressPrefix * -SourcePortRange * -DestinationAddressPrefix * -DestinationPortRange $Port -Access Allow | Set-AzNetworkSecurityGroup

# Create a virtual network card and associate with public IP address and NSG
[string] $NICName = "$VMName-nic"
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSNetworkInterface] $NIC = Get-AzNetworkInterface -Name $NICName -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
if ($null -ne $NIC)
$NICName = $VMName + "-nic-" + $(Get-Random).ToString()
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.Models.PSNetworkInterface] $NIC = New-AzNetworkInterface -Name $NICName -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -SubnetId $Subnet.Id -NetworkSecurityGroupId $NSG.Id 
if ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('AssignPublicIP'))
$NIC | Set-AzNetworkInterfaceIpConfig -Name $NIC.IpConfigurations[0].Name -PublicIpAddressId $PublicIP.Id -SubnetId $Subnet.Id | Set-AzNetworkInterface | Out-Null

# VM Size
if($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('VMSize') -eq $false )
$VMSize = 'Standard_A1'

# OS Type
[hashtable] $VMSourceImage = @{PublisherName='';Offer='';Sku=''}
switch ($OSType) {
'Windows' { $VMSourceImage.PublisherName = 'MicrosoftWindowsServer'
$VMSourceImage.Offer = 'WindowsServer'
$VMSourceImage.Sku = '2016-Datacenter'
$VMSourceImage.PublisherName = 'Canonical'
$VMSourceImage.Offer = 'UbuntuServer'
$VMSourceImage.Sku = '18.10-DAILY'

# Create a virtual machine configuration
[Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Compute.Models.PSVirtualMachine] $VMConfig = New-AzVMConfig -VMName $VMName -VMSize $VMSize 
if ($OSType -eq 'Windows')
$VMConfig | Set-AzVMOperatingSystem -Windows -ComputerName $VMName -Credential $VMCredential | Out-Null
$VMConfig | Set-AzVMOperatingSystem -Linux -ComputerName $VMName -Credential $VMCredential | Out-Null
$VMConfig | Set-AzVMSourceImage -PublisherName $VMSourceImage.PublisherName -Offer $VMSourceImage.Offer -Skus $VMSourceImage.Sku -Version latest | Out-Null
$VMConfig | Add-AzVMNetworkInterface -Id $NIC.Id | Out-Null
$VMConfig | Set-AzVMBootDiagnostics -Disable | Out-Null

# Create a virtual machine
New-AzVM -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup.ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -VM $VMConfig

To create a Windows VM…

.\Create-AzVM.ps1 -ResourceGroupName test-rg `
-VMName testvm -Location southindia `
-OSType Windows `
-VirtualNetworkName test-vnet `
-SubnetName testnet `
-SecurityGroupName test-nsg `
-AssignPublicIP `
-AllowedPorts 3389 `
-VMCredential $cred `

To create a Linux VM…

.\Create-AzVM.ps1 -ResourceGroupName test-rg `
-VMName testvm -Location southindia `
-OSType Linux `
-VirtualNetworkName test-vnet `
-SubnetName testnet `
-SecurityGroupName test-nsg `
-AssignPublicIP `
-AllowedPorts 22 `
-VMCredential $cred `


List of available Azure VM Image skus using new Azure PowerShell module Az.

As you might already know, Microsoft has released a new Azure PowerShell module Az to replace with AzureRM module in future. As of now both the versions are available for Windows PowerShell and PowerShellCore. But no further developments for AzureRM module except for bg fixes and all the updates and feature enchantments come along with the new modules Az itself.

Just to start with the Az module, lets retrieve the list of Azure VM Images (skus) available in a given location from the mentioned publisher with the offerings…