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A quick glance at Azure DevTest Labs at //Build 2016

This post outlines the improvements to DevTest Labs for //Build 2016.

Azure DevTest Labs is a service that helps developers and testers quickly create environments in Azure with reusable templates, while minimizing waste and controlling cost. With //Build 2016, we are very excited to announce Azure DevTest Labs enhances its capabilities in the following four buckets:

  • Easier VM image preparation
  • Virtual network settings
  • Cost control and monitoring
  • Reusable templates for faster VM creation

In this post, we will share with you all the highlights on these four areas. If you are interested in knowing more details about the enhancements, check out our deep dive post on the Azure DevTest Labs team blog.

Easier VM image preparation

For lab admins, Azure DevTest Labs becomes an even better place to get your VM images ready to use, basically through the following two ways:

  • Prepare your custom images (VHD files) shared in the lab
  • Use VM images from Azure Marketplace

Azure DevTest Labs makes it super easy for you to create a new custom image from a VM in the lab. After you provision and verify a VM in DevTest Labs, you can run the Create custom image command to generate the VHD and make it available as a VM base automatically for all the lab users to create VMs.

In addition, you can create a VM for your DevTest environments by simply picking one from the Azure Marketplace if it meets the need, or alter your VM configuration to create a custom image in the lab from an Azure Marketplace image.

As a lab admin, you can specify whether you allow any Azure Marketplace images to be used in the lab and which images are allowed,

Virtual network settings

As a lab admin, if you’ve got a virtual network already set up (with Azure ExpressRoute, with site-to-site VPN, or for any other purposes), you can configure your lab to allow that virtual network to be used in Azure DevTest Labs, as long as it’s in the same region and subscription.

In addition, the DevTest Labs also enables you to apply some rules how the virtual network to be used. You can specify, for each subnet in the virtual network, whether public IP addresses are allowed, whether the subnet can be used when lab users create a VM, and the maximum number of VMs can be created in that subnet for each lab user.

Cost control and monitoring

In addition to all the policy settings that helps on controlling the cost in the lab, Azure DevTest Labs also offers the capability to visualize the lab spending. The Cost threshold in the lab Settings shows you the total estimated cost based on the regular retail pricing for the current month, along with a chart that gives you an idea on the trending of the spending.

As its name indicates, visualizing the spending is just the first step. The cost threshold will allow you to specify your target spending in the future and enable more capabilities to help you track the cost.

Reusable templates for faster VM creation

As described earlier in the post, Azure DevTest Labs enables quick VM provisioning thanks to the reusable templates (custom images, artifacts, etc.). To save more of your time when creating a VM, we introduced formula in this //Build release. As a lab user, you can save the settings used in VM creating (i.e. base image, VM size, artifacts, etc.) from a lab VM blade even after the VM is created. Saved formula is shared within the lab and available to use as a VM Base, so next time when any lab users want to create a VM with the same settings they can pick the formula as the VM base, and then create the VM without filling all the other details again.


Azure DevTest Labs was announced as Public Preview at AzureCon last year. In the past few months, the team was super passionate about delivering all the features (including the above ones) to create your fast, easy and lean DevTest environments. With more and more high-quality features shipped towards to our goal, we find the service very close to point of GA.

This will be our major focus in the next one or two months. If you want to keep up-to-date on the new things introduced in Azure DevTest Labs, please check out our Azure DevTest Labs team blog.

If you are running your DevTest environments in the cloud, or have been considering about it, we’d love you try Azure DevTest Labs and share with you about your thoughts. If you have an idea for how to make it work better for you, submit your feedback (or vote for others) at the Azure DevTest Labs feedback forum.

Have a question? Check out answers or ask a new question at the MSDN Community forum.


-The DevTest Labs Team