The Azure Virtual Machine Service
The Azure Virtual Machine Service

Microsoft Azure is one of the key platforms currently serving the cloud computing market. Since its launch in 2010, it has quickly matured, adding whole categories of critical services, including the flagship "Azure Virtual Machines" - an IaaS computing platform.

In this course, our Azure expert Ganapathi Subramanian will introduce the Azure Virtual Machine service and its features, focusing on Azure Windows and Linux virtual machines using Azure portal and powershell scripts, creating and managing custom Azure virtual machine images, configuring Azure virtual machines for high availability, understanding Azure virtual machine networking features, and configuring Azure virtual machine for monitoring and auto-scaling.

If you're not yet familiar with the platform, you might gain by taking Ganapathi's Introduction to Microsoft Azure before starting this course.

Do you have questions on this course? Contact our cloud experts in our community forum.


Virtual machines are infrastructure as a service based compute resources supported in Azure. Azure Virtual machines are similar to any on-premises servers. You're responsible for patching, updating and upgrading the virtual machine resources you use, but run in Microsoft Cloud. They do however offer much greater flexibility in managing resources. Virtual machines are ideal for running custom off-the-shelf solutions like Microsoft share-point.

Azure Virtual machines support both Windows and non-Windows based environments. Distributions of the windows operating system like Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 are available in Azure. Linux distributions such a Zeus and Ubuntu are also supported.

A virtual machine can be created using Azure management portal, rest APIs or for parashell scripts. Virtual machines can be created from the gallery which is a set of pre-built images, or using custom disks and images created by users. Once the virtual machines are created, they can be accessed using Windows remote desktop tools, and SSH Secure Shell protocols. The inbound ports for the virtual machines should be explicitly open through endpoint configuration for the traffic to flow.

Azure Virtual machines allow additional data disks to be attached in addition to the default ones. The additional disks are Azure storage based and can support large amounts of persistent data. Virtual machines also support D-series type images, which support solid-state drive, SSD, and 60% faster CPU performance.

Azure Virtual machines support two tiers, basic and standard. Basic tier provides an economical option for development or test environments. It does not support advanced features like load balancing, auto scaling, and memory intensive resources.

Standard tier is a recommended environment for deploying production of applications. Virtual machines are built on a per-minute basis. They can be stopped when not in use to avoid incurring charges.

About the Author

Trevor Sullivan is a Microsoft MVP for Windows PowerShell, and enjoys working with cloud and automation technologies. As a strong, vocal veteran of the Microsoft-centric IT field since 2004, Trevor has developed open source projects, provided significant amounts of product feedback, authored a large variety of training resources, and presented at IT functions including worldwide user groups and conferences.