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Virtual Machines

Create Linux and Windows virtual machines (VMs) in seconds and reduce costs.

Choose the right VM for your workload and reduce costs

Migrate your business- and mission-critical workloads to Azure infrastructure and improve operational efficiency. Run SQL ServerSAPOracle® software and high-performance computing applications on Azure Virtual Machines. Choose your favorite Linux distribution or Windows Server.

Deploy virtual machines featuring up to 416 vCPUs and 12 TB of memory. Get up to 3.7 million local storage IOPS per VM. Take advantage of up to 30 Gbps Ethernet and cloud’s first deployment of 200 Gbps InfiniBand. Select the underlying processors – AMD, Ampere (Arm-based), or Intel - that best meet your requirements.

A cloud of logos including IBM, Oracle, SAP, SQL, Windows, Red Hat and more

Keep your budget in check with low-cost, per-second billing. You only pay for the compute time you use

Scale from one to thousands of VM instances in minutes with Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets

Encrypt sensitive data, protect VMs from malicious threats, secure network traffic, and meet regulatory and compliance requirements

Choose Linux or Windows. Deploy your own VM image or download images from the Azure Marketplace

Optimize your infrastructure and save money

Reduce costs—up to 72 percent compared to pay-as-you-go prices—with term pricing through Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances. Re-use your on-premises licenses to run Windows Server VMs on Azure with Azure Hybrid Benefit and combine with reserved instances to save up to 80 percent. Take advantage of spot pricing on Azure VMs and scale sets to run interruptible workloads at deep discounts compared to pay-as-you-go rates. Optimize your cloud spend with Azure Cost Management. Get three more years of free extended security updates for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 when you migrate to Azure.

Cost savings vs. pay-as-you-go pricing diagram

Experience what's new in Azure Compute

Use Virtual Machine Scale Sets to build scalable applications. Reduce your cloud spend with Azure Spot Virtual Machines and reserved instances. Build your private cloud with Azure Dedicated Host. Run mission-critical applications in Azure to increase resiliency.

Azure compute—virtualization and scalability

Azure compute—virtualization and scalability

Discover the broad range of compute options that Microsoft Azure offers and tap into a diversified portfolio of Azure virtual machines able to accommodate every workload, including the applications you create. In this video, you'll get an overview of the Azure core compute capabilities and gain confidence in the security and management offerings that Azure provides.

The webinar titled Insights and Practices to Run Business-Critical Apps on Azure

Insights and practices to run business-critical apps on Azure

Organizations migrate mission-critical workloads to the cloud to increase compliance, improve their security posture, and capitalize on operational advantages. Hear real-world examples and learn best practices.

Build automatically scalable application

Build scalable applications with VM scale sets

Develop dynamically scalable applications with Virtual Machine Scale Sets. Rightsize your infrastructure based on demand while optimizing costs. Simplify management and increase the resiliency of your business-critical applications at scale.

Govern, monitor, and back up your VM environments

Ensure compliance and deploy applications to production faster across your entire business with Azure Blueprints. Get recommendations for high availability, security, performance, and cost for all of your VMs with Azure Advisor. Safeguard your data against ransomware with Azure Backup. Proactively identify issues and gain intelligent insights with Azure Monitor. Reserve compute capacity ahead of VM deployments with on-demand capacity reservations.

Advisor recommendations based on subscriptions in Azure
A resource dashboard in Azure

Embrace consistent hybrid cloud technologies

Extend the capacity of your datacenter with Azure VMs and access on-demand, high-performance computing capabilities in the cloud. Develop, test, run, and operate hybrid cloud applications consistently across Azure and your on-premises environment. Adopt simple and cost-effective cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions to avoid business interruptions. Meet regulatory and policy requirements for your VMs by developing in Azure and deploying on premises with Azure Stack.

Scale your infrastructure without adding complexity

Set up highly available, centrally managed, and scalable services for computationally intensive, big data, and container workloads with Virtual Machine Scale Sets. Reduce cost and time to reimage your VMs for your stateless applications with Ephemeral OS disks. Manage global replication and sharing of images at scale with shared image galleries. Use generation 2 VMs to improve boot and installation times. Get extreme computing power for your artificial intelligence (AI) and remote visualization workloads with GPU-enabled VMs.

Comprehensive security and compliance, built in

  • Microsoft invests more than USD$1 billion annually on cybersecurity research and development.

  • We employ more than 3,500 security experts who are dedicated to data security and privacy.

  • Azure has more certifications than any other cloud provider. View the comprehensive list.

Enhance security and compliance

Protect your VMs against bootkits, rootkits, and kernel-level malware with trusted launch. Safeguard your VM data while in use with Azure confidential computing. Monitor your workloads and find and fix vulnerabilities with Azure Security Center. Meet a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO 27001, HIPAA, FedRAMP, and SOC 2. Deploy your Azure VMs on Azure Dedicated Host, a physical server used only by your organization. Take advantage of a broad range of VM service-level agreements (SLAs), from single-instance VMs at 99.9 percent, up to 99.99 percent for VMs deployed across two or more Azure Availability Zones.

A security center overview in Azure showing policy and compliance data and resource security hygiene

Get started with an Azure free account


Start free. Get USD$200 credit to use within 30 days. While you have your credit, get free amounts of many of our most popular services, plus free amounts of 55+ other services that are always free.


After your credit, move to pay as you go to keep building with the same free services. Pay only if you use more than your free monthly amounts.


After 12 months, you'll keep getting 55+ always-free services—and still pay only for what you use beyond your free monthly amounts.

Trusted by companies of all sizes

"With Azure, we make decisions based on what we want to spend on the application, without restricting performance. As a result, we've seen a 30 percent reduction in infrastructure costs."

Matt Douglas, Chief Enterprise Architect, Sentara Healthcare

The New York City skyline

Seeking reliability, security, and performance

Not wanting to be constrained by the limitations of on-premises infrastructure, Pearson VUE created a five-year plan to migrate legacy on-premises applications and data to the cloud.

Cloud-based power and accessibility

Accela uses Microsoft Azure to help build and deliver its suite of modern, digital government services solutions.

Accela uses Microsoft Azure

A trip to the cloud

Forever 21 scaled up to 120,000 concurrent sessions to meet seasonal demand. The result was unprecedented revenue. And after the holiday, it scaled down to just 16 servers, lowering costs and generating savings that it passes on to customers.

Forever 21
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Documentation, training, and migration resources

5-minute quickstarts


Build an NGINX web-server within an Ubuntu VM using:

Azure CLI

Azure portal

Azure PowerShell


Build an Internet Information Services (IIS) web server within a Windows Server 2016 VM using:

Azure CLI

Azure portal

Azure PowerShell

Learning modules

Learn how to provision VMs on Azure with step-by-step guidance from Microsoft Learn.

Create a Linux VM

Create a Windows VM

Explore all Azure courses and learning paths

Community and Azure support

Ask questions and get support from Microsoft engineers and Azure community experts.

Azure Community Support

Chat with an Azure support specialist

Pre-provisioned VMs and partner solutions

Connect with certified partners and choose from thousands of apps and VM images:

Microsoft AppSource for line of business apps and services

Azure Marketplace for infrastructure apps and services

Frequently asked questions about Azure and Azure VMs

  • Azure Virtual Machines are image service instances that provide on-demand and scalable computing resources with usage-based pricing.

    More broadly, a virtual machine behaves like a server: It's a computer within a computer that provides the user the same experience they would have on the host operating system itself. In general, virtual machines are sandboxed from the rest of the system, meaning that the software inside a virtual machine can’t escape or tamper with the underlying server itself.

    Each virtual machine provides its own virtual hardware including CPUs, memory, hard drives, network interfaces, and other devices.

  • A range of guest operating systems, including the Azure-endorsed Linux and Windows Server versions can be migrated to Azure. Migrate physical servers or virtual machines from VMware environments and Microsoft Hyper-V environments with Azure Migrate. VMs migrated from these on-premises virtualization platforms run as native Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) VMs and aren't dependent on the on-premises hypervisor.

  • vCPU stands for virtual central processing unit. A vCPU is a share of a physical CPU that is assigned to a virtual machine. An Azure VM can contain one or more vCPUs.

  • Some Azure Virtual Machines support hyperthreading. Hyperthreading improves parallelization of computations performed on x86 microprocessors. For each physical processor core, the operating system addresses two virtual cores and shares the workload between them. A list of Azure VMs supporting hyperthreading is available in Azure Virtual Machines documentation.

  • In addition to various Windows Server versions, Azure supports all the major Linux distributions, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, CoreOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

  • Azure offers a range of virtual machines—there’s a VM for every workload. View the entire set of Azure Virtual Machine Series or read the documentation for Linux VMs or Windows VMs to learn more.

  • The concept of Azure Compute Units (ACUs) provides a way of comparing compute (CPU) performance across Azure VM sizes. This helps to easily identify which Azure VM is most likely to satisfy your performance requirements. ACU is currently standardized on a Small (Standard_A1) VM being 100, with higher numbers representing approximately how much faster those products can run a standard benchmark.

  • There are several Microsoft and partner tools and a large ecosystem of partners to help migrate on-premises VMs to Azure. Visit the Azure migration center to learn more.

  • Availability sets are logical grouping capabilities to ensure that VM resources placed within them are isolated from each other when they are deployed within an Azure datacenter.

    Azure ensures that the VMs you place within availability sets run across multiple physical servers, compute racks, storage units, and network switches.

    If a hardware or Azure software failure occurs, only a subset of your VMs will be impacted. Availability sets are an essential capability for building reliable cloud solutions. To provide redundancy to your application, it is recommended that you group two or more virtual machines in an availability set.

  • Microsoft offers a range of OS-independent SLAs for Azure VMs. Read the SLA for Azure Virtual Machines.

  • Most Azure VMs come with temporary non-persistent local storage. Additionally, Azure offers HDD and SSD storage for data. Learn more about Azure Disk Storage. Read the technical documentation (for Linux VMs and Windows VMs) to learn about the Azure disks that are available for each VM series.

  • As you transition your workloads to Azure, take advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefit to reuse your existing Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance or Windows Server subscriptions for significant savings. For each license, Azure covers the cost of the OS, while you pay for just the VM compute costs. Additionally, through Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux, you can use your pre-existing on-premises Red Hat and SUSE software subscriptions on Azure. Learn more.

  • Virtual Machine Scale Sets help you create and manage a group of load-balanced and autoscaling VMs. Deploy VM scale sets using Azure Resource Manager templates, which support Windows and Linux platform images and custom images and extensions.

  • Of course. Create an Azure free account to learn how Azure works, try products and cloud services, and view tutorials on how to deploy your first solution in 10 minutes or less. Get started.

  • Security and privacy are built into the Azure platform. Microsoft is committed to the highest levels of trust, transparency, standards conformance, and regulatory compliance with the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider. Learn more.

  • With no upfront cost, you only pay for what you use. Azure provides flexible purchasing and pricing options for all your cloud scenarios, such as the Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances. Azure also offers a comprehensive set of tools to help manage your cloud spend. Learn more.

  • More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Azure. Azure has more global regions than any cloud provider and offers the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings. Azure offers built-in support for the most popular integrated development environments trusted by more than 20 million developers—Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. Compare Azure vs. AWS.

  • On-premises licenses for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Extended Security Updates will end on January 14, 2023. On-premises licenses SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Extended Security Updates will end on July 12, 2022. Read the complete details.

  • Yes, we'll offer Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. Free Extended Security Updates will be available for customers on Azure, which includes Azure Virtual Machines, SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMWare Solutions, Azure Nutanix Solution, and Azure Stack HCI. Read the complete details.

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