Updated: December 24, 2014
This page has links to tutorials and other content to help you learn about, create, and maintain a virtual machine in Azure. The Azure Virtual Machines service provides on-demand, scalable computing resources. A virtual machine is a software version of a computer that you configure and maintain according to your needs. An Azure virtual machine gives you the flexibility of virtualization without the expense of buying and maintaining the hardware to host it.
The Azure Virtual Machines service is one of several types of on-demand, scalable computing services available through Azure. For example, there are several ways you can host a web site in Azure. For details, see Azure Websites, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines comparison.
A collection of content organized for developer and enterprise audiences is available in the Documentation section on Azure web site.
For server operating systems, roles and workloads that are supported or endorsed for use with Azure VMs, see the following:
For Windows VMs -- Microsoft server software support for Windows Azure Virtual Machines
For Linux VMs -- Linux on Windows Azure-Endorsed Distributions
Connect to the virtual machine remotely to log on to it. The way you connect depends on whether the virtual machine runs Windows or Linux.
A virtual machine running Windows uses Remote Desktop. In the Management Portal, click Connect to start a Remote Desktop Connection. For instructions, see How to Log on to a Virtual Machine Running Windows Server.
A virtual machine running the Linux operating system uses a Secure Shell (SSH) client. You’ll need to install an SSH client on the computer you’ll use to log on to the virtual machine. There are many SSH client programs available. Some choices are:
For a computer running a Windows operating system, you can use PuTTY. For instructions, see the PuTTY Download Page.
On a computer running a Linux operating system, you might want to use an SSH client such as OpenSSH. For more information, see OpenSSH.
For general instructions, see How to Log on to a Virtual Machine Running Linux
For an overview of requirements and troubleshooting tips, see Connect to an Azure virtual machine with RDP or SSH.
The VM Access cmdlets are available to help you reset your password or reconfigure RDP or SSH access. See VMAccessAgent (Windows) or How to Reset a Password or SSH for Linux Virtual Machines.
Many extensions are available to help you use your virtual machine. For example, when you can't access the guest OS because of a forgotten password, an extension can reset the password. This is important because you can't connect directly to the console of a virtual machine. For a list of extensions by category, see Azure VM Extensions and Features
These extensions are installed and managed through an agent. The agent can be installed on both existing and new virtual machines. For details, see VM Agent and VM Extensions Overview.
You can stop or restart your Azure virtual machine when you need to, and this is generally similar to stopping or restarting a physical computer. In general, it’s obvious that the state of the virtual machine can impact services that rely on it. But certain states introduce not-so-obvious changes that you’ll want to be aware of so you can prevent or plan for their impact. For details, see About starting, stopping, and restarting an Azure VM.