Create DevTest Labs VMs by using Azure PowerShell

This article shows you how to create an Azure DevTest Labs virtual machine (VM) in a lab by using Azure PowerShell. You can use PowerShell scripts to automate lab VM creation.


You need the following prerequisites to work through this article:

PowerShell VM creation script

The PowerShell Invoke-AzResourceAction cmdlet invokes the createEnvironment action with the lab's resource ID and VM parameters. The parameters are in a hash table that contains all the VM properties. The properties are different for each type of VM. To get the properties for the VM type you want, see Get VM properties.

This sample script creates a Windows Server 2019 Datacenter VM. The sample also includes properties to add a second data disk under dataDiskParameters.


[Parameter(Mandatory = $false)]  $SubscriptionId,
[Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]   $LabResourceGroup,
[Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]   $LabName,
[Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]   $NewVmName,
[Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]   $UserName,
[Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]   $Password

pushd $PSScriptRoot

try {
    if ($SubscriptionId -eq $null) {
        $SubscriptionId = (Get-AzContext).Subscription.SubscriptionId

    $API_VERSION = '2016-05-15'
    $lab = Get-AzResource -ResourceId "/subscriptions/$SubscriptionId/resourceGroups/$LabResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.DevTestLab/labs/$LabName"

    if ($lab -eq $null) {
       throw "Unable to find lab $LabName resource group $LabResourceGroup in subscription $SubscriptionId."

    $virtualNetwork = @(Get-AzResource -ResourceType  'Microsoft.DevTestLab/labs/virtualnetworks' -ResourceName $LabName -ResourceGroupName $lab.ResourceGroupName -ApiVersion $API_VERSION)[0]

    #The preceding command puts the VM in the first allowed subnet in the first virtual network for the lab.
    #If you need to use a specific virtual network, use | to find the network. For example:
    #$virtualNetwork = @(Get-AzResource -ResourceType  'Microsoft.DevTestLab/labs/virtualnetworks' -ResourceName $LabName -ResourceGroupName $lab.ResourceGroupName -ApiVersion $API_VERSION) | Where-Object Name -EQ "SpecificVNetName"

    $labSubnetName = $[0].labSubnetName

    #Prepare all the properties needed for the createEnvironment call.
    # The properties are slightly different depending on the type of VM base.
    # The virtual network setup might also affect the properties.

    $parameters = @{
       "name"      = $NewVmName;
       "location"  = $lab.Location;
       "properties" = @{
          "labVirtualNetworkId"     = $virtualNetwork.ResourceId;
          "labSubnetName"           = $labSubnetName;
          "notes"                   = "Windows Server 2019 Datacenter";
          "osType"                  = "windows"
          "expirationDate"          = "2022-12-01"
          "galleryImageReference"   = @{
             "offer"     = "WindowsServer";
             "publisher" = "MicrosoftWindowsServer";
             "sku"       = "2019-Datacenter";
             "osType"    = "Windows";
             "version"   = "latest"
          "size"                    = "Standard_DS2_v2";
          "userName"                = $UserName;
          "password"                = $Password;
          "disallowPublicIpAddress" = $true;
          "dataDiskParameters" = @(@{
            "attachNewDataDiskOptions" = @{
                "diskName" = "adddatadisk"
                "diskSizeGiB" = "1023"
                "diskType" = "Standard"
          "hostCaching" = "ReadWrite"

    #The following line has the same effect as invoking the
    #!/Labs/Labs_CreateEnvironment REST API

    Invoke-AzResourceAction -ResourceId $lab.ResourceId -Action 'createEnvironment' -Parameters $parameters -ApiVersion $API_VERSION -Force -Verbose
finally {

Save the preceding script in a file named Create-LabVirtualMachine.ps1. Run the script by using the following command. Enter your own values for the placeholders.

.\Create-LabVirtualMachine.ps1 -ResourceGroupName '<lab resource group name>' -LabName '<lab name>' -userName '<VM administrative username>' -password '<VM admin password>' -VMName '<VM name to create>'

Get VM properties

This section shows how to get the specific properties for the type of VM you want to create. You can get the properties from an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template in the Azure portal, or by calling the DevTest Labs Azure REST API.

Use the Azure portal to get VM properties

Creating a VM in the Azure portal generates an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template that shows the VM's properties. Once you choose a VM base, you can see the ARM template and get the properties without actually creating the VM. This method is the easiest way to get the JSON VM description if you don't already have a lab VM of that type.

  1. In the Azure portal, on the Overview page for your lab, select Add on the top toolbar.

  2. On the Choose a base page, select the VM type you want. Depending on lab settings, the VM base can be an Azure Marketplace image, a custom image, a formula, or an environment.

  3. On the Create lab resource page, optionally add artifacts and configure any other settings you want on the Basic settings and Advanced settings tabs.

  4. On the Advanced settings tab, select View ARM template at the bottom of the page.

  5. On the View Azure Resource Manager template page, review the JSON template for creating the VM. The resources section has the VM properties.

    For example, the following resources section has the properties for a Windows Server 2022 Datacenter VM:

      "resources": [
                "apiVersion": "2018-10-15-preview",
                "type": "Microsoft.DevTestLab/labs/virtualmachines",
                "name": "[variables('vmName')]",
                "location": "[resourceGroup().location]",
                "properties": {
                     "labVirtualNetworkId": "[variables('labVirtualNetworkId')]",
                     "notes": "Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition Core",
                     "galleryImageReference": {
                          "offer": "WindowsServer",
                          "publisher": "MicrosoftWindowsServer",
                          "sku": "2022-datacenter-azure-edition-core",
                          "osType": "Windows",
                          "version": "latest"
                     "size": "[parameters('size')]",
                     "userName": "[parameters('userName')]",
                     "password": "[parameters('password')]",
                     "isAuthenticationWithSshKey": false,
                     "labSubnetName": "[variables('labSubnetName')]",
                     "disallowPublicIpAddress": true,
                     "storageType": "Standard",
                     "allowClaim": false,
                     "networkInterface": {
                          "sharedPublicIpAddressConfiguration": {
                               "inboundNatRules": [
                                         "transportProtocol": "tcp",
                                         "backendPort": 3389
  6. Copy and save the template to use in future PowerShell automation, and transfer the properties to the PowerShell VM creation script.

Use the DevTest Labs Azure REST API to get VM properties

You can also call the DevTest Labs REST API to get the properties of existing lab VMs. You can use those properties to create more lab VMs of the same types.

  1. On the Virtual Machines - list page, select Try it above the first code block.
  2. On the REST API Try It page:
    • Under labName, enter your lab name.
    • Under labResourceGroup, enter the lab resource group name.
    • Under subscriptionId, select the lab's Azure subscription.
  3. Select Run.
  4. In the Response section under Body, view the properties for all the existing VMs in the lab.

Set VM expiration date

In training, demo, and trial scenarios, you can avoid unnecessary costs by deleting VMs automatically on a certain date. You can set the VM expirationDate property when you create a VM. The PowerShell VM creation script earlier in this article sets an expiration date under properties:

  "expirationDate": "2022-12-01"

You can also set expiration dates on existing VMs by using PowerShell. The following PowerShell script sets an expiration date for an existing lab VM if it doesn't already have an expiration date:

# Enter your own values:
$subscriptionId = '<Lab subscription Id>'
$labResourceGroup = '<Lab resource group>'
$labName = '<Lab name>'
$VmName = '<VM name>'
$expirationDate = '<Expiration date, such as 2022-12-16>'

# Sign in to your Azure account

Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionId $subscriptionId
$VmResourceId = "subscriptions/$subscriptionId/resourcegroups/$labResourceGroup/providers/microsoft.devtestlab/labs/$labName/virtualmachines/$VmName"

$vm = Get-AzResource -ResourceId $VmResourceId -ExpandProperties

# Get the Vm properties
$VmProperties = $vm.Properties

# Set the expirationDate property
If ($VmProperties.expirationDate -eq $null) {
    $VmProperties | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name expirationDate -Value $expirationDate -Force
} Else {
    $VmProperties.expirationDate = $expirationDate

Set-AzResource -ResourceId $VmResourceId -Properties $VmProperties -Force

Next steps

Az.DevTestLabs PowerShell reference