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Snapshots and Images

The course is part of these learning paths

Microsoft Azure for Solution Architects
AZ-303 Exam Preparation: Technologies for Microsoft Azure Architects
AZ-104 Exam Preparation: Microsoft Azure Administrator
3 Pillars of the Azure Cloud
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Duration1h 33m


This course offers an in-depth look at VM scale sets, VM configuration management, VM storage options, and VM monitoring within Azure. We kick things off by looking at VM scale sets, vertical scaling, and horizontal scaling.

After that, you'll learn about the tools used for configuration management, as well as how to deploy software using VM extensions and how to deploy an Azure PowerShell DSC Configuration.

The course will then cover the wide range of VM storage options available in Microsoft Azure and show you how to use them. Finally, you'll learn about Azure Monitor, a service that allows you to monitor the performance and health of your VMs and VM scale sets.

This course is packed full of step-by-step demonstrations that you can follow along with, allowing you to see all of the above topics put into practice in real-life Azure environments.

For any feedback relating to this course, please feel free to contact us at support@cloudacademy.com.

Learning Objectives

  • Scale VMs using scale sets and understand the difference between vertical and horizontal scaling
  • Learn about the tools used for managing VM configurations
  • Deploy software using VM extensions and PowerShell DSC
  • Understand the various VM storage options available in Azure
  • Restore a VM from a snapshot
  • Create a VM from a generalized image
  • Learn about Azure Monitor and its uses

Intended Audience

  • Anyone interested in learning about scale sets, configuration management, storage, and monitoring for Azure VMs


To get the most from this course you should have a basic understanding of Microsoft Azure and of the Azure portal.


Hello and welcome to Snapshots and Images. In this lesson, we're going to take a look at disk snapshots, custom images, and the differences between the two.

When you take a managed disk snapshot, what you get is a crash-consistent copy of that disk. This crash-consistent copy is then stored as a standard managed disk. A snapshot is a good way to backup your managed disk prior to performing any kind of patching or upgrade on your virtual machine. By taking a snapshot of the OS disk of a VM prior to making changes, you can ensure you have an easy way to roll back your changes. You can even use snapshots to create new managed disks that you can attach to other virtual machines.

In addition to supporting snapshots, managed disks also support the creation of custom images. Custom images can be created from VHDs that reside in a storage account and from generalized virtual machines. When you capture an image of an Azure virtual machine, the image will contain all managed disks that are associated with the VM. This includes the OS disk and any other data disks that are attached.

Custom images are often used as gold images because once you have a generalized custom image, you can then deploy as many VMs as you need right from that single custom image.

I should point out that snapshots and images are often confused with one another or conflated, so let's set the record straight here. A snapshot is actually a copy of a specific disk at a specific point in time. That being the case, it applies to only one disk. If you have a VM with more than one managed disk attached, a single snapshot will only include the disk that you took the snapshot of.

An image of a VM, however, includes all disks that are attached to the VM being imaged. Over the next few demonstrations, I'll show you how to work with snapshots and images.

About the Author
Learning paths12

Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.