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Running Debian in Azure

Posted on 6 januar, 2016

Senior Program Manager, Open Source Technology Center

Debian is one of the most popular Linux distributions currently available, and is composed entirely of free and open-source software, most of which is under the GNU General Public License, and packaged by a group of individuals known as the Debian Project.

Microsoft partnered with Credativ, a member of the Linux Foundation, to bring Debian into the Microsoft Azure Marketplace as one of the Azure-endorsed Linux distributions. With the availability of Debian in the Azure Marketplace, you can run Debian on Azure with support from Microsoft. In this article, we will walk through the steps on how to run Debian in Azure. This article assumes the audience has an Azure subscription and has experience in using a Linux VM in Azure.

Get setup with an Azure Subscription and how to create a VM in Azure.

Create Debian VM from the Azure Marketplace

While you can bring your own Debian image into Azure, it is recommended to use the pre-created images already available in the Azure Marketplace. These images have been created by Credativ, have been tested by Credativ and Microsoft, and are supported by Microsoft Azure’s Linux and open source developer support teams as outlined in our support policy.  Microsoft and Credativ work together to offer the most updated Debian versions in Azure going forward. Currently, the Debian images in Azure are stable release: Debian 7 (codename “Wheezy”) and Debian 8 (codename “Jessie”).

Login to the Azure management portal using your Azure subscription:

  • Search for “Debian” from the Marketplace in the Azure portal, and select your preferred Debian version from the list:

newportal4

  • Select a deployment mode (either Classic or Resource Manager) in the drop down list on the right down corner. Resource Manager is the preferred deployment mode, as it supports the most recent Azure platform features. Learn more about Resource Manager here.

image

  • Click the Create button to create your Debian VM, providing the required information (VM name, user, password, region, etc.).

A note about Debian 7 “Wheezy” in Azure Marketplace

Debian 7 “Wheezy” is based off of the 3.2 kernel, which does not have the latest Linux Integration Services included which are required to properly run in Azure. To address this problem, we have packaged the Debian 7 “Wheezy” image in Azure with the 3.16 kernel from Debian backports which is the same kernel version as Debian 8 “Jessie” but adjusted and recompiled for Debian 7 “Wheezy”, which has been tested and is supported on Azure. Below are the kernel versions of each stable release in Azure:

Debian in Azure Kernel version
Debian 7 ( “wheezy”) 3.16.0-0.bpo.4-amd64
Debian 8 (“Jessie”) 3.16.0-4-amd64

For more information about the newer software in Debian, see Debian backports.

Bring your own Debian in Azure

If you prefer to create your own Debian image in Azure, there are several important things to do before you bring your image into Azure:

  •     Make sure your Network is configured
  •     Update the Kernel boot line in grub configuration to include additional kernel parameters for Azure
  •     Install Azure Linux Agent
  •     Install and enable SSH server
  •     Make sure swap space is not created on OS disk
  •     Make sure the VM is de-provisioned before shut down

For a more detailed step-by-step technical guidance on creating your Debian VHD and uploading it to Azure, check out the documentation page.