Use labs for trainings

In this article, you learn about the different features and steps for using Azure Lab Services for conducting classes. Azure Lab Services allows educators (teachers, professors, trainers, or teaching assistants, etc.) to quickly and easily create an online lab to provision pre-configured learning environments for the trainees. Each trainee can use identical and isolated environments for the training. Apply policies to ensure that the training environments are available to each trainee only when they need them, and contain enough resources - such as virtual machines - required for the training.

Conceptual artwork that shows a teacher and students in a classroom, using Azure Lab Services.

Labs meet the following requirements for conducting training in any virtual environment:

  • Trainees can quickly provision their training environments
  • Every training machine should be identical
  • Trainees can't see VMs created by other trainees
  • Control cost by ensuring that trainees can't get more VMs than they need for the training and also shutdown VMs when they aren't using them
  • Easily share the training lab with each trainee
  • Reuse the training lab again and again

Create the lab plan as a lab plan administrator

The first step in using Azure Lab Services is to create a lab plan in the Azure portal. After a lab plan administrator creates the lab plan, the admin adds the Lab Creator role to users who want to create labs, such as educators.

The lab creator can then create labs with virtual machines for students to do exercises for the course they're teaching. For details, see Create and manage lab plan.

Create and manage labs

If you have the Lab Creator role for a lab plan, you can create one or more labs in the lab plan. You create and configure a template VM with all the required software for doing exercises in your course. You select a ready-made image from the available images for creating a lab and then optionally customize it by installing the software required for the lab. For details, see Create and manage labs.

Set up and publish a template VM

A template VM in a lab is a base virtual machine image from which all users’ VMs are created. Set up the template VM so that it's configured with exactly what you want to provide to the training attendees. You can provide a name and description of the template that the lab users see.

Then, you publish the template to make instances of the template VM available to your lab users. When you publish a template, Azure Lab Services creates VMs in the lab by using the template. The number of VMs created in this process is the same as the maximum number of users allowed into the lab, which you can set in the usage policy of the lab. All virtual machines have the same configuration as the template. For details, see Set up and publish template virtual machines.

Configure usage settings and policies

The lab creator can add or remove users to the lab, get a registration link to invite lab users, set up policies such as setting individual quotas per user, update the number of VMs available in the lab, and more. For details, see Configure usage settings and policies.

Create and manage schedules

Schedules allow you to configure a lab such that VMs in the lab automatically start and shut down at a specified time. You can define a one-time schedule or a recurring schedule. For details, see Create and manage schedules for labs.

Use VMs in the lab

A student or training attendee registers to the lab by using the registration link they received from the lab creator. They can then connect to the VM to do the exercises for the course. For details, see How to access a lab.

Next steps