Deploy Windows Server Azure Edition VMs

Applies to: Azure Stack HCI, versions 22H2 and 21H2

The Windows Server Azure Edition operating system can be deployed as a guest virtual machine (VM) on Azure Stack HCI. This article describes how to deploy and hotpatch Windows Server Azure Edition VMs starting with an image in Azure Stack HCI marketplace or an image in Azure Marketplace.

Azure Stack HCI is the only on-premises platform to run Windows Server Azure Edition with Azure Automanage. Azure Automanage brings new capabilities specifically to Windows Server Azure Edition, including Hotpatch, SMB over QUIC, and Extended network for Azure.

To upgrade an existing VM to Windows Server Azure Edition, see Upgrade VMs to Windows Server Azure Edition.


To use Windows Server Azure Edition on your Azure Stack HCI environment, here are a couple of considerations:

  • Azure Stack HCI host version: Windows Server Azure Edition can be deployed only on Azure Stack HCI version 21H2 and Azure Stack HCI version 22H2.

  • VM licensing: Windows Server Azure Edition can be licensed with either:

    • Windows Server subscription: Turn on the subscription on your Azure Stack HCI cluster, then apply AVMA client keys on the guest. To learn more, see Windows Server subscription.

    • Bring Your Own License (BYOL): If you have a valid Windows Server Datacenter license with active Software Assurance (SA), you can use AVMA or KMS for guest activation.


    If you already have Windows Server Datacenter licenses with active Software Assurance, you can also turn on Windows Server subscription at no additional cost through Azure Hybrid Benefit. This is more convenient and allows you to save more.

  • Azure Benefits: You'll need to enable Azure Benefits on your cluster. Azure Benefits is an attestation feature on Azure Stack HCI that makes it possible to run supported Azure-exclusive workloads like Windows Server Azure Edition. For specific information, see Azure Benefits on Azure Stack HCI.


While Windows Server Azure Edition and Hotpatch are available on the Azure public cloud (Azure IaaS), this experience is in preview for this Azure Stack HCI release.

Deploy the OS

Windows Server Azure Edition can be deployed as a guest VM using either an HCI Marketplace VHD image or an Azure Marketplace VHD image.

You can provision a Windows Server Azure Edition VM using an HCI Marketplace image in conjunction with VM provisioning using Azure portal.

You do this by following these steps:

  1. Deploy Azure Arc VM management on your Azure Stack HCI.

  2. Learn about how certain Azure Marketplace images can now be used to create VMs on Azure Stack HCI.

  3. Configure a new Azure Stack HCI gallery OS image for Windows Server Azure Edition that links to the corresponding Azure Marketplace OS image.

  4. Use the Windows Server Azure Edition HCI gallery OS image to provision a VM.

Using Hotpatch

There are a few important differences using Hotpatch with Azure Edition guest VMs on Azure Stack HCI in this preview release as compared to using Hotpatch with Azure Edition guest VMs on Azure IaaS.

These differences include the following limitations for this preview release:

  • Hotpatch configuration isn't available using Azure Update Manager.
  • Hotpatch can't be disabled.
  • Automatic Patching orchestration isn't available.
  • Orchestration must be performed manually, such as by using Windows Update with SConfig.

Next steps

Learn more about Azure Automanage for Windows Server.