Azure Virtual Machines (VM) is one of several types of on-demand, scalable computing resources that Azure offers. Typically, you choose a VM when you need more control over the computing environment than the other choices offer (PaaS, SaaS).
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.
An Azure VM gives you the flexibility of virtualization without having to buy and maintain the physical hardware that runs it. However, you still need to maintain the VM by performing tasks, such as configuring, patching, and installing the software that runs on it.
Azure virtual machines can be used in various ways. Some examples are:
- Development and test – Azure VMs offer a quick and easy way to create a computer with specific configurations required to code and test an application.
- Applications in the cloud – Because demand for your application can fluctuate, it might make economic sense to run it on a VM in Azure. You pay for extra VMs when you need them and shut them down when you don’t.
Extended datacenter – Virtual machines in an Azure virtual network can easily be connected to your organization’s network.
The number of VMs that your application uses can scale up and out to whatever is required to meet your needs.
Azure Virtual Machines benefits
- 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
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.
Scale your infrastructure without adding complexity
Set up highly available, centrally managed, and scalable services for computationally intensive, big data, and container workloads with VM 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.
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.
Get the power, control, and customization you need at competitive prices
Our Bs-series VMs provide an economical, low-cost solution for workloads that normally don’t use a lot of
CPU, but occasionally need to burst to handle higher workloads. Free for 12 months.
- 1 vCPU(s)
- 1 GiB RAM
Starting from $0.008/hour
Raw compute power
Fsv2 is our newest compute-optimized VM family and uses the Intel Skylake processor. Fsv2 delivers the
latest Intel CPU for raw compute power.
- F2s v2
- 2 vCPU(s)
- 4 GiB RAM
Starting from $0.085/hour
Balanced CPU and memory
The Dv4 family is the latest generation of our general-purpose VMs. It’s appropriate for a variety of
- D2 v4
- 2 vCPU(s)
- 8 GiB RAM
Starting from $0.096/hour
High memory-to-core ratio
Ev4 is the latest memory-optimized VM. It’s great for relational database servers, caches, and in-memory
- E2 v4
- 2 vCPU(s)
- 16 GiB RAM
Starting from $0.126/hour