Today I am pleased to announce the public preview of a new feature in Azure Virtual Desktop called Custom image templates.
Custom image templates allows admins to build a custom “golden image” with the added capability to include Azure Virtual Desktop built-in customizations as well as your own customization scripts to install other applications or set of configurations.
This feature is a wrapper for the Azure Image Builder (AIB) service. It takes the elements that you want to include in your build, and ships it to the AIB service which builds the image including any additional customizations you have either selected from the AVD built in customizations or those of your own. AIB will then distribute the resulting image to either a managed image or to the Azure Compute Gallery which supports capabilities such as automated versioning and image replication across any Azure region.
We have created a number of "built-in" customizations that you can easily select to include into your image. These cover typical installations and configurations used in golden images for which you would need to write your own PowerShell scripts to configure if using other tooling to create images. This saves you time as we have automated these installations and configurations for you.
These cover but are not limited to:
- Installing Language packs
- Installing FSLogix
- Installing Teams and configuring optimizations
- Installing and configuring multimedia redirection
- Configuring Screen capture protection
- Configuring session timeouts
- Configuring RDP Shortpath
- Installing any outstanding Windows updates.
This list will grow as we add additional items.
Once this golden image has been created you can then create a host pool from this image.
You can also use any existing tooling to use this image and update your existing session hosts within a host pool.
As this feature uses Azure Image Builder behind the scenes it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this capability.
This is our first entry into features offering image management capabilities natively within Azure Virtual Desktop. Expect many improvements and future enhancements to this service in the future. We are planning to add features that would enable automated scheduled recurring image creation, integration with App stores to install applications into the image and many others.
The Custom image template documentation is available here.
Also check out this new video from the Azure Academy
Entitled "The AVD Admins Super Power!!!" it walks you through the process of using Custom image templates.
As this feature is in preview we recommend you use this for testing purposes as we continue to make improvements and fixes.
We are aware of a couple of small known issues which will be resolved shortly. The first is that Windows Updates are not applying for Windows 11 OS images and setting the time zone in the "Set default OS language" customization is not working. Please use the "Timezone redirection" customization in the Other scripts section instead, which will ultimately replace this one.
We hope that you will try out this new feature to alleviate the burden of managing a complicated manual image creation process.
Please provide any feedback in the Azure Virtual Desktop feedback portal using the idea label: "Custom image templates"