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Managing Azure Virtual Machines

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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.


In this lecture, we'll see how custom virtual images can be created and added to the Azure image gallery.

Virtual machines can be created either by using pre-existing images supported by Azure or by using a custom image which is created and uploaded by the user. In this section, we'll create a custom virtual machine image and upload it to the Azure portal. These are the steps involved in creating a custom virtual machine image, create and prepare the virtual hard disk image, create a storage account to upload the image, establish trust and connect to Azure, upload the image to Azure storage, create an instance from the uploaded custom image. Let's go through the steps in detail.

The first step in the custom image creation process is to create a virtual hard disk, VHD, from an existing image. There are many tools available to create a VHD within the windows environment. The VHD must also be generalized by running a Sysprep tool on it. For this demo, we'll use an existing VHD. Azure custom image VHDs are stored in Azure storage, the storage should have a blob-container to upload the VHD image.

Let's go ahead and create a storage account and blob-container using Azure portal. Let's upload the image to storage using a PowerShell script. Once the image is uploaded to storage, it needs to be configured to appear in the image gallery. In the portal, go to virtual machines, disk tabs, and then create a new disk for the VHD we've created.

Once the disk is added, we can recreate a virtual machine using the image by clicking the virtual machines new option.

The newly added disk image will be available in the my-disk section of the virtual machine gallery. We'll select the custom image disk and provision a virtual machine. Once the virtual machine is provisioned, we'll log into it using remote desktop and verify the settings.

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.