Using a Windows Azure hosted VM for development

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A recent blogpost from Scott Hanselman "Using a Surface 2 (RT/ARM) to get actual work done + Remote Desktop + Visual Studio + Azure" showed how to create your development environment inside a Windows Azure hosted VM.

 

I found this idea appealing and decided to give it a try for myself. I went for a 4-core machine with 7GB memory. I won't use the 7GB but i want to have more than 2 cores since i need this to test my development-work for Royal TS which is heavily based on doing multithreading stuff in the background (to not block the UI thread)

 

Optimizing the Azure VM for performance

I created a fresh VM in Windows Azure which has Visual Studio 2013 already installed and added another empty disk with 64GB space for my code, tools and other stuff. 

This is described in detail in the before mentioned blogpost

 

As a starting point, I imported the RDP file, that was generated by the Windows Azure portal and made a few tweaks:  First make sure, you have your Windows Keys redirected, else you will end up with a Disk Management Window from your LOCAL machine. This could be a bit confusing... 

Make sure, your Windows Keys are passed to the VM (Screenshot was done with Royal TS V3)

Make sure, your Windows Keys are passed to the VM (Screenshot was done with Royal TS V3)

Also, check the Clipboard Redirection to get a smooth working experience: 

 

Clipboard redirection configured in Royal TS for sharing the clipboard between host and VM

Clipboard redirection configured in Royal TS for sharing the clipboard between host and VM

I tried to install the Desktop Experience feature as well, since my VM is based on a Windows  Server 2013 image. 

 

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After rebooting Windows tried to configure the changes, got some error and reverted the changes. After a reboot i got again the message 

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I found the following error in the "Setup" Windows Eventlog:

 

Update InkAndHandwritingServices of package InkAndHandwritingServices failed to be turned on. Status: 0x800f0922.

 

I will keep you posted on how performant the VM while doing real work is. 

 

One moe thing...

 

Starting a stopped VM takes a good couple of minutes - so prepare to fetch yourself a cup of coffee before you can actually start working. Of course this applies only, if you want to stop and start your VM over night - which makes sense, since you don't get charged for a stopped VM since a couple of months.

 

Posted on November 5, 2013 and filed under code4ward, development, productivity, Windows Azure.