Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Activate new Visual Studio subscription and start using credits in a new Azure AD tenant

 If you want to test code in Azure or you just want a sandbox to try things out, then having a Visual Studio (VS) subscription (formerly MSDN) is a good idea. This gives you a certain amount of dollars (or credits) to spend each month in Azure.

There are two types of subscriptions:

  • Visual Studio Professional (50 USD/month in credits)
  • Visual Studio Enterprise (150 USD/month in credits)
The subscription is personal to the employee and is typically acquired by the employer and assigned to the employee on the employee email address (you will receive an email with activation info from Microsoft). See pricing details here.

Activate Visual Studio subscription

Once you have been assigned a VS subscription, it has to be activated. Go to below link to activate:

Log in with your company email, if you don't have an account already, then create one (using company email).

Activate the monthly credits under the Featured Benefits section, see below:

You can view your subscription details under the Subscriptions tab:

Create new Azure AD tenant

When you log into Azure using your company credentials, you will typically see the company's AD tenant under Azure Active Directory, e.g. Since you'll likely have limited permissions in this tenant (AD tenant is similar to an AD domain, just in the cloud. It's also referred to as Directory) and since the aim it to create an isolated sandbox for testing, then a new AD tenant has to be created and the VS subscription associated with this tenant.

To create a new AD tenant, go to:

Go to: Create a resource -> Identity -> Azure Active Directory (see below):

Give your new AD tenant (or organisation) a name and click create:

Note that this will not affect the existing company AD tenant. Even though you create it while logged in with your company email, it will have no cost for the company and will only be manageable by you. I note this as I have discussed this with both colleagues and clients where they worry that they might break something in the company Azure AD. They won't.

Move your VS subscription to the new AD tenant

Once your new Azure AD is created, you can go to your VS subscription and change the directory so that the subscription will be associated with your new tenant.

  • Go to Subscriptions and choose your VS subscription
  • Under "Overview" choose "Change directory"
  • Choose your newly create Azure AD tenant (as opposed to the company AD tenant)
  • Click OK, see below two screen dumps:

Note that it can take a few hours before the changes kick in.

To switch around between tenants and also to choose your default tenant, click on your profile in upper right corner and choose your directory/tenant and/or default tenant, see below:

That's it! Now you can start using your monthly credits in a tenant that you have full control over.

To get an overview of current spending and to know when the monthly credits reset, see this post.

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