PowerShell Pitfalls for Managing Multiple Azure Accounts

Or PPMMAA for short . . .

Many (Most?) of the PowerShell and scripting examples for Azure management via PowerShell start with a command sequence that looks like either this:


Or this:


In either case, when you are finished and you run


You get a result set that looks like this:

If you look closely at the output you’ll notice that in addition to the expected properties for each subscription, like “SubscriptionName” and “SubscriptionId” there are two unloved little properties near the bottom of the list for each subscription “IsCurrent” and “IsDefault”. These two are important to use when are using the Microsoft Azure PowerShell console for Azure Management.

Basically, anytime you run an Azure management cmdlet, unless it has a switch that allows you to manually set an account or subscription to run against, ANNNNNDDDDD you happen to use that switch to specify a subscription, any cmdlet you run will execute against the current subscription, i.e. the one that has “IsCurrent: True”. By default, the subscription that has the “IsDefault” property equal to “True” will be the current account. (Funny how that works out, eh?). Which is all well and groovy if you happen to be managing VMs, networks and services in that subscription.

But James, what if I don’t want to manage that subscription? I need to manage one of the others. What shall I do?

Fortunately, we have the means to change the current and default subscriptions. And it is fairly easy to do.

The basic syntax to change the focus to a particular subscription is as follows:

Select-AzureSubscription -Name <SubscriptionName> -Current

The focus for your Azure cmdlets will now be on that subscription until you change it by using the Select-AzureSubscription or until you close the PowerShell console you’re working in. A new console will load up the default subscription as the focus

If you would like a particular subscription to be one that is the defaults in the future, it would be this:

Select-AzureSubscription -Name <SubscriptionName> -Default

After you have ran these cmdlets, run the Get-AzureSubscription cmdlet again to verify that the subscription you identified has now been set as either the current or default subscription. Once it is you are now free to go ahead and manage away!


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