My first Windows Azure virtual machine

Microsoft recently launched a preview version of a new Azure cloud service named Windows Azure Virtual Machine (WAVM). This is an Infrastructure as a Service delivery model in which consumers can either provision a virtual machine from a catalogus or upload their own image in VHD format.

As Microsoft has a free trial for Azure I decided to start using Windows Azure Virtual Machines. This posting will report on my findings.

To use the 90-day free trial you need a mobile phone and a credit card. The mobile phone is needed during registration for verification purposes. The credit card is needed to charge you when the VMs are running after the 90-days are over or when more resources than the trial allows are consumed.

The trial offers for free:
compute / 750 small compute hours per month
storage / 35GB with 50,000,000 storage transactions
bandwidth / unlimited inbound & 25GB outbound

The registration process for the trial is very easy. Type in phone number for verification and you will get a Text message with a verification code. Type in address details, credit card and ready.

Within minutes the management portal is shown. From here a virtual machine can be provisioned. Windows Azure Virtual Machines offers Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and a couple of Linux distributions. At provisioning the servername, administrator password and the datacenter region where the VMs is created are asked.

A couple of minutes later the VM is ready. You can easily find the public facing IP-address of the VM in the Azure Management Portal. By selecting the VM and click on the Connect button on the lower screen a RDP file is created.

The Azure Management Portal is webbased. I noticed that   when using Mozilla Firefox I could not see the GUI option to attach a disk to the VM. When using Internet Explorer the option was showed.

Adding a disk is a very easy, straightforward process. Attach the empty disk or upload a VHD. Then in the guest of the VM do the usual stuff of creating a new volume, format etc.

It is not possible to define your own specifications of the VM like number of cores, amount of internal memory etc.
Windows Azure Virtual Machines has 5 flavours of virtual machine size n offer: extra small, small, medium, large and extra large. Change from one size to another can easily be done in the portal. Mind the VM will reboot after applying the changes.

My very first impression of Windows Azure Virtual Machines is good. In future posting I will dig deeper into this new Microsoft offering. Virtual Machines is currently in a Preview phase. When Azure Virtual Machines go General Available is unknown yet.

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