Compare managed and DevTest labs in Azure Lab Services

You can create two types of labs, managed labs with Azure Lab Services, and custom labs with Azure DevTest Labs. If you want to just input what you need in a lab and let the service set up and manage infrastructure required for the lab, choose from one of the managed labs. Currently, classroom lab is the only type of managed lab that you can create with Azure Lab Services. If you want to manage your own infrastructure, create a custom lab by using Azure DevTest Labs.

The following sections provide more details about these labs.

Managed labs

Managed labs offer different types of labs that fit for your specific need. Currently, Azure Lab Services supports only classroom lab as a managed lab. Managed labs enable you to get started right away, with minimal setup. The service itself handles all the management of the infrastructure for the lab, from spinning up the VMs to handling errors, and scaling the infrastructure. To create a managed lab, you need to create a lab account for your organization first. The lab account serves as the central account in which all labs in the organization are managed.

When you create and use Azure resources in these managed labs, the service creates and manages resources in internal Microsoft subscriptions. They are not created in your own Azure subscription. The service keeps track of usage of these resources in internal Microsoft subscriptions. This usage is billed back to your Azure subscription that contains the lab account.

Here are some of the use cases for managed labs:

  • Provide students with a lab of virtual machines that are configured with exactly what’s needed for a class. Give each student a limited number of hours for using the VMs for homework or personal projects.
  • Set up a pool of high performance compute VMs to perform compute-intensive or graphics-intensive research. Run the VMs as needed, and clean up the machines once you are done.
  • Move your school’s physical computer lab into the cloud. Automatically scale the number of VMs only to the maximum usage and cost threshold that you set on the lab.
  • Quickly provision a lab of virtual machines for hosting a hackathon. Delete the lab with a single click once you’re done.

DevTest labs

You may have scenarios where you want to manage all infrastructure and configuration yourself, within your own subscription. To do so, you can create a custom lab with Azure DevTest Labs in the Azure portal. For these labs, you do not need to create a lab account. These labs do not show up in the lab account (which exists for the managed labs).

Here are some of the use cases for using DevTest labs:

  • Quickly provision a lab of virtual machines to host a hackathon or a hands-on session at a conference. Delete the lab with a single click once you’re done.
  • Create a pool of VMs configured with your application, and let your team easily use a virtual machine for bug-bashes.
  • Provide developers with virtual machines configured with all the tools they need. Schedule automatic start and shut down to minimize cost.
  • Repeatedly create a lab of test machines as part of your deployment. Test your latest bits and clean up the test machines once you are done.
  • Set up a variety of differently configured virtual machines and multiple test agents for scale and performance testing.
  • Offer training sessions to your customers using a lab configured with the latest version of your product. Give each customer limited number of hours for using in the lab.

Managed labs vs. DevTest labs

The following table compares two types of labs that are supported by Azure Lab Services:

Features Managed labs DevTest labs
Management of Azure infrastructure in the lab. Automatically managed by the service You manage on your own
Built-in resiliency to infrastructure issues Automatically handled by the service You manage on your own
Subscription management Service handles allocation of resources within Microsoft subscriptions backing the service. Scaling is automatically handled by the service. You manage on your own in your own Azure subscription. No auto-scaling of subscriptions.
Azure Resource Manager deployment within the lab Not available Available

Next steps

Get started with setting up a lab using Azure Lab Services: