Exploring Virtual Machine offers in the Azure marketplace
Published Mar 27 2023 08:34 AM 1,845 Views
Microsoft

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Overview

Virtual Machine (VM) offers in the Azure Marketplace provide users with pre-configured, ready-to-deploy virtual machine images for various operating systems, applications, and configurations. VM offers enable quickly spinning up new VMs in the customer’s Azure cloud environment, saving both time and effort.

 

We will delve into the other offer types (SaaS offers, Container offers, and Azure Managed Application offers) in future articles, providing more detail, insights, and best practices for those looking to create marketplace offers.

 

How to build a custom VM

Creating a custom virtual machine (VM) for the Azure Marketplace is a crucial step for publishers looking to offer their pre-configured software solutions to customers in the Azure ecosystem. In this section, we guide you through the process of building a custom VM, from selecting the base image to testing the final VM.

 

The first step in building a custom VM is selecting an appropriate base image from the Azure Marketplace. Microsoft Azure offers a variety of base images, including Windows Server and Linux distributions. Using these base images is recommended to ensure compatibility and support for your virtual machine along with the latest security patches.

 

Once you have chosen the base image, install your software solution and configure the VM according to your specific requirements. This involves installing any supporting software or applications, as well as adjusting system settings. It’s also important to apply the latest updates and security patches or your VM offer may not pass the marketplace certification process.

 

After setting up the virtual machine, it must be generalized to create an image that can be used for multiple deployments. Generalizing a VM refers to the process of removing machine-specific information from the VM, preparing it to be used as a template for creating multiple new instances. When a VM is generalized, system identifiers, user profiles, and other unique settings are removed or reset, ensuring that the VM image can be deployed into the customer’s environment without conflicts or issues.

 

By generalizing the VM, publishers can create a single image that can be used to deploy multiple instances with similar configurations, software, and applications, but without duplicating unique system settings or identifiers.

 

The ‘Sysprep’ tool is used to generalize Windows VMs, while the 'waagent' command is utilized for Linux-based VMs. Both tools help create a clean and reusable image that can be deployed multiple times without causing conflicts, ultimately simplifying the process of offering custom virtual machines in the Azure Marketplace.

 

With the virtual machine generalized, the next step is to capture the image using the Azure Portal or Azure CLI. This is like serializing the VM into a file or a set of files containing the complete state of a virtual machine at a specific point in time. You’ll create an Azure Compute Gallery to store your image, which is essentially a private repository of custom images you and your organization create and manage. This private gallery allows you to store, manage, and share your custom VM images with the marketplace when you set up the VM offer in Partner Center.

 

The final step before configuring Partner Center is testing the VM image. Deploy a new virtual machine using the captured image and ensure that it functions correctly. This step is crucial to guarantee that your VM offer works as intended for your customers, allowing them to deploy and use your software solution seamlessly.

 

Configuring Partner Center

After your VM image is ready to offer to customers, it’s time to configure Partner Center to point to your image as part of your offer. This is done for each plan included in your marketplace offer.

 

First, sign in to the Partner Center Marketplace offers dashboard and create a new offer by selecting 'New Offer' and then choosing 'Virtual Machine'. Fill in the required offer information, including a descriptive title and summary for your offer to help potential customers understand its purpose. Non-technical aspects of creating an offer include adding marketing collateral such as images and videos, descriptions of the offer and of each plan, and your contact information for customers.

 

Create one or more plans for your offer, specifying the pricing model, VM image, and technical details such as the amount of storage and recommended compute resources. After configuring at least one plan for your offer, select ‘Review and publish’ to confirm all sections of your offer are configured properly and to then publish the offer.

 

After publication, the offer will go through a series of automated tests before moving into a ‘Preview’ stage at which point you may take on the role of the customer and buy your VM in a controlled test environment. This helps ensure your VM will deploy properly for future customers. It is recommended to use a private plan that costs $0 to test your offer so as to not be charged during testing.

 

Once all the required information is provided, submit your offer for approval by clicking the ‘Go live’ button. The marketplace team will review and approve your offer if it meets their requirements. Once approved, your offer will be live and available for purchase in the Azure Marketplace.

 

Conclusion

Creating a VM offer in the Azure marketplace enables publishers to make their software solutions easily accessible to customers. By building custom VMs and configuring offers in Partner Center, publishers can capitalize on the growing demand for cloud-based solutions. Additionally, customers benefit from the ease of deployment and management that comes with pre-configured VM offers, allowing them to focus on their core business needs.

 

Learn more about building a VM offer from the Mastering the Marketplace on-demand course for VM offers.

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Last update:
‎Mar 30 2023 07:57 PM
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