This is a follow-up to my post and video on Creating a BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP Virtual Machine in Windows Azure. 

I hope most of you have reviewed my earlier posts on Creating a Windows Azure Virtual Machine running BizTalk Server 2010 R2 CTP. So now what?

You can create a Syspreped image of the Virtual Machine to be used over and over again to create new BizTalk instances. This would be very handy if you wanted to role this out to 20 new developers on a project (more detail on this here) with all the required software already installed.  These images show up under Virtual Machines – Images.

Another option is Windows Azure allows you to download the Virtual Machine to run locally in Hyper-V or VMware 8 (not tested this with the new VMware 9 but it should work as outlined below).  This could be useful to work locally on a plane or if you do not want to pay for bandwidth and operation costs for the Virtual Machine.  Just remember, once you run locally you lose some of the benefits of the cloud like using cloud computing resources and having VHD replication. 

The Virtual Hard Disk created for BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP is 50 GB.  When downloading this from your storage account, you will be charged (or counted against your quota) for the bandwidth.

CAUTION: With the free 3-month Trial of Windows Azure you only get 20 GB of region specific outbound bandwidth.  Downloading a VHD created in Azure will take 50 GB.  The download will complete (at least mine did) but soon after your account will be locked and you will need to either start paying for overages (note once you remove the spending limit cap you can not add it back) or wait until next month to keep using some Azure features.  Once I removed the spending limit, I was charged $1.45 for the 32 GB of overage. 

LICENSING: I am not even going to begin to speculate on the licensing terms of the Virtual Machine you download and run locally for Windows Azure.

Downing the VHD from Windows Azure

Here are the steps to download your VHD.

1.  Ensure you have everything you want installed and copied to your Virtual Machine.

2.  Shut down the Virtual Machine.

3.  Locate the VHD storage location and disk name used by the Virtual Machine you want to download.  Look under the Virtual Machine setting under Disks.

4.  You can also find the VHD’s under the storage account.  Drill down into the storage account created when you created the Virtual Machine.  Click on Containers.  You will see VHDS.  Drill down into this for a list of VHDs.  Make sure you know what disk you want to download if you have more than one.

5.  While under the Storage Account used by the Virtual Machine, click on Manage Keys on the bottom. 

6.  Use the key information to connect to the Storage Account using a client tool.  I used CloudXplorer by ClumsyLeaf software.  You will need the Storage Account Name and Primary or Secondary Access Key. 

7.  Below is the view from the client once you are connected to your Storage Account.

8.  Select the VHD you want to download and right-click.  Save to someplace you have 50 GB of free space.

9.  Wait, wait, and wait.  my downloads ran at 2.5 MB/sec. 

10.  Six hours or so later you will have your VHD locally.  Once you have the VHD, you can decide if you want to use it with Hyper-V or VMware 8+.

Using the VHD with Windows Hyper-V

Once you download the VHD, setting it up inside Hyper-V is as easy as adding the VHD to a new Virtual Machine.

1.  Create a new Virtual Machine using Hyper-V.  Select the amount of local RAM you want to use.

2.  On the Connect Virtual Hard Disk screen, select “use an Existing Virtual Hard Disk”.  Select the disk you downloaded.

3.  Click Finish.  It is that simple.  You are now running locally with Hyper-V.


Using the VHD with VMware 8

First off, I am by no means a VMware expert.  These are the steps I used to get the Windows Azure VHD to work inside VMware 8 but it is possible someone else has a better, simpler way to go about this. I will say, from my experience, the Virtual Machine experience in Hyper-V is much better than in VMware for VHD’s downloaded from Windows Azure.  I keep having screen re-sizing issues in VMware for some reason. 

The VHD downloaded from Windows Azure needs to be converted to VMware format, VMDK.  I used a tool called WinImage for this.  They offer a free 30-day evaluation. 

Once converted, simply setup a new Virtual Machine in VMware and select the newly converted disk.  Detailed steps are below.

1.  Open VMware 8 and select File, New Virtual Machine.  Select Custom (advanced) and click Next.

2.  Leave the default Hardware compatibility of Workstation 8.0 selected, click Next.

3.  Select “I will install the operation system later”.  Click Next.

4.  Select Microsoft Windows – Version Windows Server 2008 R2 x64.  Click Next.

5.  Name your Virtual Machine and set the Location.

6.  Select the number of Processors and Cores.  This will be based on your existing system resources.  Click Next.

7.  Select the amount of RAM, again based on your available system resources.  Click Next.

8.  Select your Network Type, I generally use NAT for running a local Virtual Machine.  Click Next.

9. Select LSI Logic SAS as the SCSI Controller.  Click Next.

10.  On select a disk, select “Use an existing virtual disk”.  Select the VHD you downloaded and converted from Windows Azure.  Click Next.

11.  Click Finish on the next screen. 

12.  Once you start the Virtual Machine, make sure you install the VMware Tools.