Create a Configuration Manager lab in Azure

Applies to: Configuration Manager (current branch, technical preview branch)

This guide describes how to build a Configuration Manager lab environment in Microsoft Azure. It uses Azure templates to simplify and automate the creation of a lab using Azure resources. Two Azure templates are provided:

  • Configuration Manager technical preview Azure template installs the latest version of the Configuration Manager technical preview branch.
  • Configuration Manager current branch Azure template installs the evaluation of the latest version of Configuration Manager current branch.

For more information, see Configuration Manager on Azure.


This process requires an Azure subscription in which you can create the following objects:

  • Two Standard_B2s virtual machines for domain controller, management point, and distribution point.
  • Zero to three virtual machines for client devices.
  • One Standard_B2ms virtual machine for the primary site server and the SQL Server database server
  • If you choose to create a hierarchy, one other Standard_B2ms virtual machine for the central administration site.
  • Standard_LRS storage account.


To help determine potential costs, see the Azure pricing calculator.


  1. Go to the Configuration Manager technical preview template or Configuration Manager current branch template.

  2. Select Deploy to Azure, which opens the Azure portal.

  3. Complete the Azure quickstart template with the following information:

    • Basics

      • Subscription: The name of the subscription in which to create the VMs

      • Resource group: Select a resource group to use for these VMs

      • Location: Select an Azure data center to host this lab environment

    • Settings

      • Prefix: The prefix name of the machines. For more information, see Azure VM info.

      • Admin Username: The name of a user on the VMs with administrative rights. You use this user to sign in to the VMs.

      • Admin Password: The password must meet the Azure complexity requirements. For more information, see adminPassword.

      • Configuration: You can choose "Standalone" or "Hierarchy". This setting is available for the current branch template only.


    The following settings are required by Azure. Use the default values. Don't change these values.

    • _artifacts Location: The location of the scripts for this template

    • _artifacts Location Sas Token: The sasToken is required to access the artifacts location

    • Location: The location for all resources


    If you edited the Azure template before you deployed it, then you need to change the _artifactsLocation value.

    • For the technical preview template, the value is
    • For the current branch template, the value is
  4. Read the terms and conditions. If you agree, select I agree to the terms and conditions stated above. Then select Purchase to continue.

Azure validates the settings, and then begins the deployment. Check the status of the deployment in the Azure portal.


The process can take 2-4 hours. Even when the Azure portal shows successful deployment, configuration scripts continue to run. Don't restart the VMs during the process.

To see the status of the configuration scripts, connect to the <prefix>PS01 server, and view the following file: %windir%\TEMP\ProvisionScript\PS01.json. If it shows all steps as complete, the process is done.


When you use the current branch template, it uses the CAS.json file at the same location on the <prefix>CS01 server.

To connect to the VMs, first get from the Azure portal the public IP addresses for each VM. When you connect to the VM, the domain name is Use the credentials that you specified in the deployment template. For more information, see How to connect and log on to an Azure virtual machine running Windows.

Azure VM info

All VMs have the following specifications:

  • 150 GB of disk space
  • Both a public and private IP address. The public IPs are in a network security group that only allows remote desktop connections on TCP port 3389.

The prefix that you specified in the deployment template is the VM name prefix. For example, if you set "contoso" as the prefix, then the domain controller machine name is contosoDC.


  • Active Directory domain controller
  • Standard_B2s, which has two processors and 4 GB of memory
  • Windows Server 2022 Datacenter edition

Windows features and roles

  • Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS)
  • .NET
  • Remote Differential Compression (RDC)


  • Standard_B2ms, which has two processors and 8 GB of memory
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition
  • SQL Server
  • Windows 10 ADK with Windows PE
  • Configuration Manager primary site

Windows features and roles

  • .NET
  • Remote Differential Compression (RDC)
  • Internet Information Service (IIS)


  • Standard_B2s, which has two processors and 4 GB of memory
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition
  • Distribution point
  • Management point

Windows features and roles

  • .NET
  • Remote Differential Compression (RDC)
  • Internet Information Service (IIS)
  • Background intelligent transfer service (BITS)


  • Only for Configuration Manager current branch evaluation template
  • Windows 10
  • Configuration Manager client