Advanced users & Azure Portal

This information is out-of-date. Please note that we're creating a new knowledge base on This Help MyDRE website will be decommisioned in the next weeks.

For who?

The Azure DRE is available for users of any level. Some consider themselves as more advanced users. If you feel more advanced and work during off-hours for instance, then it might be interesting to know how to work in the Azure Portal. This will enable the researcher to take even more control of their workspace and self-service fix certain issues. These actions are confined to your own workspace and some features might not be available on a user level. In that case, please contact the Core Support Team to help out.

What can I do?

  • Starting and deallocating Virtual Machines

    • Fix status unknown

  • Gain insight on the costs generated by your workspace

  • Turn on/off the auto-shutdown

  • Create a blob storage container

Starting/deallocating Virtual Machines

Step 1. Log in on the Azure Portal.

Step 2. Under Resource groups you can find your workspaces.

Step 3. Locate your Virtual Machine (VM). This resource has the naming convention dwsxxxACRONYMServerx

Step 4. Check the status of the VM. If the status is Unknown, usually stopping (Press Stop at the top) and starting the VM (press Start at the top) again fixes the issue.

Step 5. Check whether you can log in now by going to the DRE Portal and log in as usual or straight from the Azure Portal by going to Connect (make sure your VM is on status running) and choose RDP and then Download RDP file which you can use to log in as usual.

Cost analysis

Step 1. Log in on the Azure Portal.

Step 2. Locate your workspace.

Step 3. Find Cost analysis under Cost Management on the left-hand menu.

Step 4. Here you can find all the costs generated by your workspace and per individual resource (i.e. VMs or storage accounts)

Turning on/off the auto-shutdown

Step 1. Log in on the Azure Portal.

Step 2. Locate your workspace.

Step 3. Locate the VM of which you want to turn on/off the auto-shutdown. This has to be done for each individual VM.

Step 4. Scroll down in the left-hand menu to find Auto-shutdown under Operations.

Step 5. Here you can turn on or off the auto-shutdown. BE AWARE! Turning off the auto-shutdown lets you run the virtual machine all the time. Forgetting to turn off the VM or turning the auto-shutdown function on again after use can lead to increased costs.

Step 6. Press Save

Here you can also:

  • Schedule a different time for shutdown

  • Select the time zone you are working in

  • If a notification should be sent prior to shutdown to one or more email addresses

Blob storage

What is blob storage?

Blob storage is a relatively cheap alternative to regular data storage, and can be used for large amounts of unstructured data. Using blob storage is not as intuitive as regular storage on a drive, where 'what you see is what you get'. Its contents can only be approached using code, for example in R or Python.

How do I use it?

Containers for your own workspaces can be created through the Azure portal. To approach the storage, you must create your own scripts and run them on a virtual machine in the DRE workspace. More information about using blob storage can be found on our applications page.

Please be aware that DRE support for blob storage is very limited. You must carefully consider the pros and cons (e.g., redundancy, efficiency, cost benefit), and be very cautious when setting it up. It may also be necessary to become aware of possible privacy issues (see also our considerations concerning Privacy Shield).