As you all know I love talking about the Azure DevTest Labs environments. These prebuilt VMs and service environments are so perfect for education. They provide a full self-service sandbox environment in Azure which allow you to quickly create Dev/Test environments while minimizing waste and controlling costs. So as an academic or IT team you can simply provision space and services for students to utilise and then tear them down refresh them, allowing the next set of student to utilise the next services without massive issues of reimagining or refreshing physical lab PCs, so a true Lab in the cloud environment.
Azure Dev Test Labs Templates and Machines
The reusable templates which are available in the DevTest Labs environment such as my favourite the Data Science Virtual Machine. Simply help solve the majority of problems that academics face with IT teams such as delays in getting a working environment, time-consuming environment configuration, production fidelity issues, and high maintenance cost. The utilisation of these by IT teams, simply demonstrates how customer centric they are and true service providers facilitating access to resources for teaching, learning and research.
With the availability of APIs, PowerShell cmdlets and VSTS extensions this make it perfect solution and Dev/Test environments. It allows them to easily become a replacement for physical lab machines. Azure DevTest Labs can also be used in other scenarios like training and hackathon. Last month we trailed this service with University College London for an academic machine learning workshop, we had great success.
If you aren’t using it turn it off
Well saving costs is key to all of us and the No1 facility in Azure Dev Test labs is the ability to auto-shutdown.
The auto shutdown feature is now also available under the setting of VM auto-shutdown, this feature is now available on Azure which are purposed via ARM Azure Resource Manager based Azure Virtual Machines. I have covered ARM in a number of previous blogs.
With this new feature, setting auto-shutdown is simply done in a small number of steps:
Setting Up Auto Shutdown on ARM Based Virtual Machines in Azure
Step 1. Go to your VM blade in Azure portal.
Step 2. Click Auto-shutdown in the resource menu on the left-side.
Step 3. You will see an auto-shutdown settings page expanded, where you can specify the auto-shutdown time and time zone. You can also configure to send notification to your webhook URL 15 minutes before auto-shutdown. This post illustrates how you can set up an Azure logic app to send auto-shutdown notification.
Interested in Azure Dev Test Labs? check out the learning resources below
To learn more about this feature or see what’s more Azure DevTest Labs can do for you, please check out our announcement on the Azure DevTest Labs team blog.
For more information about its value propositions, please check out our GA announcement blog post.
If you are interested in how DevTest Labs can help for training, check out this article to use Azure DevTest Labs for training.