For people that works with development, testing or training Azure Lab Services is what you’ve been waiting for. It still has some limitations compared to native Azure, but the Cloud evolves very fast and they continue to add new features.
So what’s the difference between native and Azure Labs? I would say simplicity. You should judge for your self, check the video “Azure Lab Services the hidden gem of Azure” from E2EVC below.
Creating the Template
In this blog post I’m going to show you how to create a template with Hyper-V with NAT configuration which is the most flexible solution in my opinion. We’re going to use the Large VM with 8 core 32 GB on Windows 2016 at $0.42 USD per hour.
First you need to create your Azure Lab Services account and then create a Lab with the VM size as shown above.
With the Template VM running, connect through RDP and download the Windows 2019 ISO from Microsoft Evaluation Center. When the super quick download is completed you’ll need to upgrade Windows 2016 to Windows 2019. This will take some time, so grab a cup of coffee.
Now with the VM upgraded to Windows 2019 we’re going to enable Hyper-V and Data Deduplication.
After the reboot it’s time to setup NAT so all VM’s running on Hyper-V will get internet access. Simply run these three PowerShell commands.
New-VMSwitch –SwitchName "NATSwitch" –SwitchType Internal
New-NetIPAddress –IPAddress 192.168.1.1 -PrefixLength 24 -InterfaceAlias "vEthernet (NATSwitch)"
New-NetNat –Name MyNATnetwork –InternalIPInterfaceAddressPrefix 192.168.1.0/24
To use Data Deduplications for our Hyper-V VM’s we need to shrink the existing C: drive with 90000 MB and then create a new E: drive (Dedup is not supported for the System drive).
With the new drive in place you’ll need to change the default location in the Hyper-V Settings.
Enable Data Deplications is done through Server Manager – File and Storage Services – Volumes – Disks. Make sure to select “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) server”.
It’s also a good idea to setup the Deduplication schedule.
The final configuration of my VM template is to install Google Chrome Chrome before Publishing the template.
You can make changes to the template anytime, just be aware that when you republish the template all already existing VM’s will be deleted and recreated based upon the new template.