Whether you are going to use Windows Azure in your environment or not, it is a good idea to get familiarize with the technology. I have received a few emails about testing Windows Azure and creating some test VMs in the cloud. You can always get a free trail membership from the Microsoft site. More information is available in the following location:
If you are a Visual Studio Professional, Premium or Ultimate with MSDN subscriber, you will get some free credits for Windows Azure services. Review the following link for more details:
Once you create a trail membership using your Windows Live ID, you can create and manage VMs and services from the Windows Azure console (https://manage.windowsazure.com). Once you login, you will see all the available services on the left pane as shown in the following screenshot:
If you need to crate a new Virtual Machine, click on Virtual Machines and then New option.
It will bring up another window with Quick Create and From Gallery options for new VMs.
You can select different types of images from Gallery option as shown in the following screen:
Once you select the correct image, it will ask you to enter the server name, password etc. and go through a provisioning process. Keep in mind that the DNS name has to be queue and you will be using this name to manage these servers remotely. DNS and Server Name can be different. After this stage, you should be able manage your Azure virtual servers from an RDP session.
You can manage Azure virtual machines using a RDP session. From Virtual Machines window, click on Connect button, to generate a RDP file which can can use to remote into these machines.
or you can open a RDP window and enter the Fully Qualified DNS name and port number (vmname.cloudapp.net:port). Keep in mind that Azure VMs doesn't use the default 3389 RDP port and it has public and private port as shown in the following screenshot:
Migrating from Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Sever 2012?