DevTest Labs is one of Azure services by Microsoft and is mainly used to create virtual machines for test environments or development environments. By using “Templates”, you can easily prepare a new environment. Distinguished from the normal Azure VM, you can automate startup and shutdown times, as well us utilizing “Artifact” function to have the Azure VM already installed with prerequisite software.

In this article, I will show you using DevTest labs on how to deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition with self-shutdown enabled.


Deploy the DevTest Labs

From the Azure Portal, go to “view” and select “DevTest Labs”


Click on “Add”


Once “Create a DevTest Lab” is shown, enter the desired DevTest lab name with “Auto Shutdown” set to “Enabled”. By doing so will now set any VMs created in this lab with auto-shutdown enabled.


Now the DevTest Lab is deployed.


Deploy an Azure VM inside the DevTest Labs

From the DevTest Labs, click on “Lab VM” to add a new Azure VM.


“Choose a base” will appear so now search “windows server 2012 r2 datacenter”


Once the search results are shown, click on the listed “Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter”

Enter the desired Lab VM Name along with the user/passwords etc.


Select the VM Size. In this How-To, I will choose “Standard_A0”.


In the “Artifacts” section, you can choose which applications or components to install along with the VM deployment.


In this example, I have chosen “Azure PowerShell”, “Firefox”, and “7-ZIP”.


When the artifacts are selected, a message with “XX artifacts selected” is shown. If you click on the message, the selected artifacts are listed.


Deployment will start once you press “Create”.


When complete, the status will be shown as “Running”.


Going back to the DevTest Labs, if you select the “Auto Start” section, you can set the startup times separately for each day.


“Auto Shutdown” is set at a fixed time same for any day.

Setting this up will prevent forgetting to shutdown the servers and leave it running throughout the night.


“Auto Start” and “Auto Shutdown” can be enabled or disabled per each VM within the DevTest Labs.


In the “user” section, there is a new role “DevTest Labs User” specifically to allow users to access only the DevTest Labs environment – making easier management for developers.


Although I have only shown how to deploy the standard Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter in this article, you can also create or use existing “Custom Image” to deploy the VMs as you can see from below.