Tutorial: Create and Manage Windows VMs with Azure PowerShell

Azure virtual machines provide a fully configurable and flexible computing environment. This tutorial covers basic Azure virtual machine deployment items such as selecting a VM size, selecting a VM image, and deploying a VM. You learn how to:

  • Create and connect to a VM
  • Select and use VM images
  • View and use specific VM sizes
  • Resize a VM
  • View and understand VM state

Launch Azure Cloud Shell

The Azure Cloud Shell is a free interactive shell that you can use to run the steps in this article. It has common Azure tools preinstalled and configured to use with your account. Just click the Copy to copy the code, paste it into the Cloud Shell, and then press enter to run it. There are a few ways to launch the Cloud Shell:

Click Try It in the upper right corner of a code block. Cloud Shell in this article
Open Cloud Shell in your browser. https://shell.azure.com/powershell
Click the Cloud Shell button on the menu in the upper right of the Azure portal. Cloud Shell in the portal

If you choose to install and use the PowerShell locally, this tutorial requires the Azure PowerShell module version 5.7.0 or later. Run Get-Module -ListAvailable AzureRM to find the version. If you need to upgrade, see Install Azure PowerShell module. If you are running PowerShell locally, you also need to run Connect-AzureRmAccount to create a connection with Azure.

Create resource group

Create a resource group with the New-AzureRmResourceGroup command.

An Azure resource group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed. A resource group must be created before a virtual machine. In the following example, a resource group named myResourceGroupVM is created in the EastUS region:

New-AzureRmResourceGroup -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" -Location "EastUS"

The resource group is specified when creating or modifying a VM, which can be seen throughout this tutorial.

Create virtual machine

When creating a virtual machine, several options are available such as operating system image, network configuration, and administrative credentials. In this example, a virtual machine is created with a name of myVM running the default latest version of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.

Set the username and password needed for the administrator account on the virtual machine with Get-Credential:

$cred = Get-Credential

Create the virtual machine with New-AzureRmVM.

New-AzureRmVm `
    -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" `
    -Name "myVM" `
    -Location "EastUS" `
    -VirtualNetworkName "myVnet" `
    -SubnetName "mySubnet" `
    -SecurityGroupName "myNetworkSecurityGroup" `
    -PublicIpAddressName "myPublicIpAddress" `
    -Credential $cred

Connect to VM

After the deployment has completed, create a remote desktop connection with the virtual machine.

Run the following commands to return the public IP address of the virtual machine. Take note of this IP Address so you can connect to it with your browser to test web connectivity in a future step.

Get-AzureRmPublicIpAddress -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"  | Select IpAddress

Use the following command, on your local machine, to create a remote desktop session with the virtual machine. Replace the IP address with the publicIPAddress of your virtual machine. When prompted, enter the credentials used when creating the virtual machine.

mstsc /v:<publicIpAddress>

In the Windows Security window, select More choices and then Use a different account. Type the username and password you created for the virtual machine and then click OK.

Understand VM images

The Azure marketplace includes many virtual machine images that can be used to create a new virtual machine. In the previous steps, a virtual machine was created using the Windows Server 2016 Datacenter image. In this step, the PowerShell module is used to search the marketplace for other Windows images, which can also be used as a base for new VMs. This process consists of finding the publisher, offer, SKU, and optionally a version number to identify the image.

Use the Get-AzureRmVMImagePublisher command to return a list of image publishers:

Get-AzureRmVMImagePublisher -Location "EastUS"

Use the Get-AzureRmVMImageOffer to return a list of image offers. With this command, the returned list is filtered on the specified publisher:

Get-AzureRmVMImageOffer -Location "EastUS" -PublisherName "MicrosoftWindowsServer"
Offer             PublisherName          Location
-----             -------------          --------
Windows-HUB       MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
WindowsServer     MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
WindowsServer-HUB MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS

The Get-AzureRmVMImageSku command will then filter on the publisher and offer name to return a list of image names.

Get-AzureRmVMImageSku -Location "EastUS" -PublisherName "MicrosoftWindowsServer" -Offer "WindowsServer"
Skus                                      Offer         PublisherName          Location
----                                      -----         -------------          --------
2008-R2-SP1                               WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2008-R2-SP1-smalldisk                     WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2012-Datacenter                           WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2012-Datacenter-smalldisk                 WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2012-R2-Datacenter                        WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2012-R2-Datacenter-smalldisk              WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2016-Datacenter                           WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2016-Datacenter-Server-Core               WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS  
2016-Datacenter-Server-Core-smalldisk     WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
2016-Datacenter-smalldisk                 WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
2016-Datacenter-with-Containers           WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
2016-Datacenter-with-Containers-smalldisk WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
2016-Datacenter-with-RDSH                 WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS
2016-Nano-Server                          WindowsServer MicrosoftWindowsServer EastUS

This information can be used to deploy a VM with a specific image. This example deploys a virtual machine using the latest version of a Windows Server 2016 with Containers image.

New-AzureRmVm `
    -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" `
    -Name "myVM2" `
    -Location "EastUS" `
    -VirtualNetworkName "myVnet" `
    -SubnetName "mySubnet" `
    -SecurityGroupName "myNetworkSecurityGroup" `
    -PublicIpAddressName "myPublicIpAddress2" `
    -ImageName "MicrosoftWindowsServer:WindowsServer:2016-Datacenter-with-Containers:latest" `
    -Credential $cred `

The -AsJob parameter creates the VM as a background task, so the PowerShell prompts return to you. You can view details of background jobs with the Get-Job cmdlet.

Understand VM sizes

A virtual machine size determines the amount of compute resources such as CPU, GPU, and memory that are made available to the virtual machine. Virtual machines need to be created with a size appropriate for the expect workload. If workload increases, an existing virtual machine can be resized.

VM Sizes

The following table categorizes sizes into use cases.

Type Common sizes Description
General purpose Dsv3, Dv3, DSv2, Dv2, DS, D, Av2, A0-7 Balanced CPU-to-memory. Ideal for dev / test and small to medium applications and data solutions.
Compute optimized Fs, F High CPU-to-memory. Good for medium traffic applications, network appliances, and batch processes.
Memory optimized Esv3, Ev3, M, GS, G, DSv2, DS, Dv2, D High memory-to-core. Great for relational databases, medium to large caches, and in-memory analytics.
Storage optimized Ls High disk throughput and IO. Ideal for Big Data, SQL, and NoSQL databases.
GPU NV, NC Specialized VMs targeted for heavy graphic rendering and video editing.
High performance H, A8-11 Our most powerful CPU VMs with optional high-throughput network interfaces (RDMA).

Find available VM sizes

To see a list of VM sizes available in a particular region, use the Get-AzureRmVMSize command.

Get-AzureRmVMSize -Location "EastUS"

Resize a VM

After a VM has been deployed, it can be resized to increase or decrease resource allocation.

Before resizing a VM, check if the desired size is available on the current VM cluster. The Get-AzureRmVMSize command returns a list of sizes.

Get-AzureRmVMSize -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" -VMName "myVM"

If the desired size is available, the VM can be resized from a powered-on state, however it is rebooted during the operation.

$vm = Get-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"  -VMName "myVM"
$vm.HardwareProfile.VmSize = "Standard_D4"
Update-AzureRmVM -VM $vm -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"

If the desired size is not on the current cluster, the VM needs to be deallocated before the resize operation can occur. Note, when the VM is powered back on, any data on the temp disk are removed, and the public IP address change unless a static IP address is being used.

Stop-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" -Name "myVM" -Force
$vm = Get-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"  -VMName "myVM"
$vm.HardwareProfile.VmSize = "Standard_F4s"
Update-AzureRmVM -VM $vm -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"
Start-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM"  -Name $vm.name

VM power states

An Azure VM can have one of many power states. This state represents the current state of the VM from the standpoint of the hypervisor.

Power states

Power State Description
Starting Indicates the virtual machine is being started.
Running Indicates that the virtual machine is running.
Stopping Indicates that the virtual machine is being stopped.
Stopped Indicates that the virtual machine is stopped. Note that virtual machines in the stopped state still incur compute charges.
Deallocating Indicates that the virtual machine is being deallocated.
Deallocated Indicates that the virtual machine is completely removed from the hypervisor but still available in the control plane. Virtual machines in the Deallocated state do not incur compute charges.
- Indicates that the power state of the virtual machine is unknown.

Find power state

To retrieve the state of a particular VM, use the Get-AzureRmVM command. Be sure to specify a valid name for a virtual machine and resource group.

Get-AzureRmVM `
    -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" `
    -Name "myVM" `
    -Status | Select @{n="Status"; e={$_.Statuses[1].Code}}



Management tasks

During the lifecycle of a virtual machine, you may want to run management tasks such as starting, stopping, or deleting a virtual machine. Additionally, you may want to create scripts to automate repetitive or complex tasks. Using Azure PowerShell, many common management tasks can be run from the command line or in scripts.

Stop virtual machine

Stop and deallocate a virtual machine with Stop-AzureRmVM:

Stop-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" -Name "myVM" -Force

If you want to keep the virtual machine in a provisioned state, use the -StayProvisioned parameter.

Start virtual machine

Start-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroupVM" -Name "myVM"

Delete resource group

Deleting a resource group also deletes all resources contained within.

Remove-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name "myResourceGroupVM" -Force

Next steps

In this tutorial, you learned about basic VM creation and management such as how to:

  • Create and connect to a VM
  • Select and use VM images
  • View and use specific VM sizes
  • Resize a VM
  • View and understand VM state

Advance to the next tutorial to learn about VM disks.