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How to Deploy a Windows Server 2016 as an Azure VM

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

For many Windows systems administrators, deploying services to the Microsoft Azure cloud makes a lot of sense. Here's how to deploy Windows Server virtual machines to the Microsoft Azure cloud.

What experience do you have in creating and managing Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) in an on-premises environment? If you have prior experience, then you'll find that deploying VMs to the Microsoft Azure public cloud is a (generally) intuitive experience. The reasons why you might want to stand up one or more Azure VMs are manifold:

  • To host line of business (LOB) applications that require deeper management control than the Azure App Service
  • To add redundancy to your on-premises Windows Server physical or virtual machines
  • To make it easier to develop and test "born in the cloud" services that may interface with business partners or Internet-based customers

Before you can deploy your first Windows Server-based Azure VM, you'll need a Microsoft Azure subscription. The good news is that, as of this writing, the Azure team gives you a $200 credit trial toward Azure services. Although you need a valid credit card (not a prepaid card) to complete your trial sign-up, Azure won't charge it. It just validates your identity.

Azure has two deployment models:

For this tutorial, we deployed our Windows Server VM by using the ARM deployment model.

MORE: Windows Azure: News, Tips and More

Deploy our Virtual Machine

From the ARM portal, click New > Virtual Machines > See All to view the Azure VM Marketplace.

The Azure VM Marketplace in the ARM portal.The Azure VM Marketplace in the ARM portal.Azure offers you VMs running Windows Server, Linux and other specialized operating systems.

Click in the Search Virtual Machines box and type Windows Server 2016 to see available images.

As of this writing, I saw a number of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview (TP5) VM images:

  • Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5
  • Windows Server 2016 Core with Containers Tech Preview 5
  • Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 - Nano Server

Click Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5, verify that the Select a deployment model drop-down list is set to Resource Manager, and click Create.

To deploy the new Azure VM, you'll need to complete several configuration fields. These fields are broken down into the following sections:

Basics

  • Name: Host name of the VM
  • User name: Default administrator. Don't use "Administrator," "Admin," or anything of the like for security reasons
  • Password/confirm: Choose a strong password to protect the default admin account
  • Subscription: Your trial Azure subscription
  • Resource group: The container that will organize all Azure VM assets (of which there are many, believe me)
  • Location: Choose an Azure region that's geographically close to you to minimize latency

Size

This is the instance size for your new VM. Instance sizes give you a certain allotment of compute power (CPU cores, RAM, disk storage, etc.) for a particular per-minute rate. For our purposes, choose DS1-V2 and click Select.

Settings

  • Disk type: Make sure to choose Standard (Premium (SSD) is much more expensive)
  • Storage account: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Virtual network: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Subnet: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Public IP address: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Network security group: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Extensions: Leave at default
  • Diagnostics: Disable this option; we don't need diagnostic metering for our purposes
  • Diagnostics storage account: Let Azure auto-provision
  • Availability set: Leave at default

Summary

ARM has a broad and deep resource validation system. Assuming your new VM configuration request passes muster, you can click OK to submit the deployment. The Azure Resource Manager portal has a nifty alerting system to keep you current as to deployment progress and status.

Connect and Manage Our New VM

After your deployment succeeds, it's time to create a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection to the new VM.

In the ARM portal, navigate to the Virtual Machines node and click your new VM.

Inspecting Azure VM properties in the ARM portal.Inspecting Azure VM properties in the ARM portal.Note the Connect button. Click that and retrieve the .RDP connection file that will download to your browser's default download location.

Connected to an Azure cloud-based VM.Connected to an Azure cloud-based VM.You'll find that interacting with your Azure VM behaves identically to doing so via RDP to your on-premises Windows Server machines.

When you're finished, make sure to shut down the VM from the ARM portal. This is important because the VM must be listed in the Stopped (Deallocated) state in order not to accrue per-minute run charges.

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