Azure Lab Services: Enable multi-VM environments through nested virtualization


Currently Azure Lab Services enables you to set up one template virtual machine in a lab and make a single copy available to each of your user. But if you are a professor teaching an IT class on how to set up firewalls or servers, you may need to provide each of your students with an environment in which multiple virtual machines can talk to each other over a network.

Nested virtualization enables you to create a multi-VM environment inside a lab’s template virtual machine. Publishing the template will provide each user in the lab with a virtual machine set up with multiple VMs within it.

What is nested virtualization?

Nested virtualization enables you to create virtual machines within a virtual machine. One thing to note is that nested virtualization is done through Hyper-V, and is only available on Windows VMs.

You can read more about nested virtualization on Azure:

How to use nested virtualization in Azure Lab Services

  1. In https://labs.azure.com, create a lab. You can only create a lab if you are part of a lab account. If you are not, learn how to set up a lab account.
  2. When setting up your lab, choose the Large virtual machine size. Only the Large size supports nested virtualization at this time.
  3. Choose a virtual machine image that is a Windows image. Nested virtualization is only available in Windows machines.
  4. Once the lab’s template virtual machine has been created, connect to it to configure nested virtualization.
  5. Inside the template virtual machine, set up nested virtualization and configure a virtual network and multiple virtual machines. Detailed setup instructions are available in the “How to enable nested virtualization in an Azure VM” documentation. Here’s a quick summary:
    1. Enable the Hyper-V feature in the template virtual machine.
    2. Set up an internal virtual network with internet connectivity for the nested virtual machines
    3. Create virtual machines through the Hyper-V Manager
    4. Assign an IP address to the virtual machines
  6. Once you finish setting up the environment inside the lab’s template virtual machine, publish the template. Each user now gets a single virtual machine that includes the multi-VM environment within it.

We hope you find this new feature useful! As always, we love your feedback. Please leave any questions or comments below!

 


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