Easy Deploy from VM Depot to Microsoft Azure

Create VM ButtonVM Depot’s Easy Deploy Feature streamlines the creation of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) using an image from VM Depot. There is an ever growing number of community provided open source images available on VM Depot. This tutorial explains how to use the Easy Deploy feature to create the virtual machine you need without leaving VM Depot web portal.

VM Depot images can also be deployed from within the Microsoft Azure Management Portal, the Microsoft Azure Preview Portal, as well as using a cross-platform command line tool for those who want to script the process.

Easy Deploy: Straight-forward the first time, even easier every other time

One fundamental function that makes this feature easy to use is contained within your initial setup. The first time you deploy an image using Easy Deploy, you will be requested to provide your Azure subscription details. If you do not already have an active Azure account, you can access a free trial subscription. Once your subscription is active the information you need can be readily obtained from Azure.

Once you have provided your subscription details your browser will cache them locally so that you do not need to provide them again in the future. Should the authentication contained within these settings be invalidated for some reason the Easy Deploy web tool will prompt you to update them.

This local caching of your Azure publish settings means that while your first use of the Easy Deploy feature will be, err… easy, while subsequent uses will be even easier. However, because the details are cached in your browser you will need to reconfigure them on each browser you use.

The Deployment Process

After you have identified a VM Depot image that you would like to deploy, click the "Create Virtual Machine" button.

VM Depot Home Page

As discussed above, the first time you use the VM Depot Easy Deploy feature you will be taken to a page where you provide your Azure Subscription profile settings. Simply drag and drop the appropriate file previously downloaded from Azure onto this page (or click to browse to the file).

If you have previously provided your publish settings file, you will bypass this step and skip straight ahead to the deployment configuration page.

Azure Subscription Profile Upload

The deployment configuration page requires you to, at a minimum, provide a password for the default "azureuser" account and accept the terms of use. This form displays default values for the DNS name and username, which can be edited if required. You can also see the VM name, VM Size and deployment Region settings that have been set for you, if you want to change these simply click on them.

NOTE: You may click on the “Advanced” link to access additional configuration options. More information about these options is detailed later in this document.

Easy Deploy Basic Form

Clicking “Create Virtual Machine” on the configuration page schedules the creation of your VM and brings you to a confirmation page which also includes a status section. Once you arrive at this screen you are done and can go about your business elsewhere. You will be notified via email at your registered email address when the VM is ready (usually between 15 and 25 minutes).

Easy Deploy StatusFor the curious the confirmation page will show real-time status updates pertaining to your deployment. Return to this page at any time by selecting "VM Deploy Status" in the "My Account" sidebar menu on the left side of the screen.

Easy Deploy Status Page

Advanced Configuration Options

As noted above, there are several advanced options for your VM that can be changed before you launch your machine. The screenshot below shows the options available:

Easy Deploy Advanced Configruation FormThe Azure Subscription you are using is defined by the selected value of the first dropdown. If you have a Microsoft account with multiple Azure subscriptions enabled, they will be listed in this dropdown. If you wish to use a subscription that is not listed you can select the “Use another Azure Profile” link to remove the current settings from the cache. You will then be requested to provide a new Azure publish settings file as described above

The “VM Name” field defines the name that will be assigned to this VM in the Azure portal. While default names may not very descriptive, they may be sufficient for a small number of VMs. For those who wish to do so you can configure the name here.

“VM Size” refers to the size of the Virtual Machine you create, in terms of processor, memory, disk size and maximum IOPS. The codes used within this field are described in the Azure documentation on Virtual Machine Sizes for Azure.

The “Region” field specifies the data-center that your image will be deployed to. The dropdown contains all valid regions for your deployment.

By default your deployment will use the first “Storage Account” it finds attached to your subscription. If you prefer to use a different account, simply select it from the options provided within the dropdown. Alternatively, you may create a new storage account using the text box provided.

Lastly, the “Endpoints” specified as open by default are those defined by the publisher in VM Depot. In most the majority of cases, this setting will remain unchanged. However, this can be modified as necessary.

Conclusion

The new Easy Deploy feature of VM Depot promises greater simplicity in the creation of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines from VM Depot. With an ever-growing number of images available, there may be several suitable images that suit your needs. We encourage you to try this Easy Deploy feature for yourself, and we welcome you to share feedback with us about your experiences.