The Azure marketplace provides hundreds of Windows and Linux images that include a variety of common applications already preinstalled, such as SQL Server, Office, and more. When you create your lab, you can select an image from the marketplace and then customize it further by installing additional software based on the unique needs for your class. You can then export this custom image to the Shared Image Gallery so that you can reuse your image to create other labs. This is the easiest approach for creating and reusing a custom image and is well-suited for most types of classes.
Even with the wide selection of images in the marketplace and the ability to customize them, you may still run into scenarios where this doesn’t suit your needs. In this case, you have a couple of options that give you flexibility to use other types of images in your lab:
Since both options are technically advanced scenarios, we recommend engaging with your IT department if you choose to pursue either of these.
This post will show how to use a Docker container image in your lab. In a future blog post, we will show how to use VHD images.
Using a Docker container image may be a suitable option when an image that you need isn’t currently available in the marketplace. Let’s look at an example of this with a lab that needs to be created based on the Linux distro, Fedora. Here are some things to note about Fedora:
However, Fedora does provide an official Docker container image that you can use to run Fedora within a Docker container on each student’s VM. Each Docker container provides its own isolated environment for software applications to run inside. Conceptually, Docker containers are like nested VMs and can be used to easily deploy and run a wide variety of software applications based on container images provided by Docker Hub and other container registries.
The above diagram shows how this configured – here are key points:
Last but not least, if you have images that you would like to see in the marketplace that aren’t currently available, we would be interested to know this – please let us know by leaving a comment here and we’ll follow up with you. Thanks!
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