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Snapshots and Images


Course Introduction
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This course covers disks, snapshots, and images in Azure. We'll explore the benefits of managed disks and the types of encryption you can use with them, before moving on to look at the different disk types that are available in Microsoft Azure. A guided demo from the Azure portal will show you how to add a data disk to an Azure VM.

We'll then dive into snapshots and images, where you'll learn about disk snapshots, custom images, and the differences between them. We’ll wrap things up with a few demos, where you'll get to see how to restore a VM from a snapshot and how to create a VM from a generalized image.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the benefits of managed disks, the different disks available in Azure, and how to add a disk to an Azure VM
  • Learn about snapshots and images and their characteristics
  • Restore a VM from a Snapshot
  • Create a VM from a Generalized Image

Intended Audience

This course is intended for those who wish to learn about disks, snapshots, and images in Microsoft Azure.


To get the most out of this course, you should have some basic knowledge of working with Azure.


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
Thomas Mitchell
Learning Paths

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.