How Do I Create a Golden Image Template for a Virtual Machine?

Using automation, MyCloudIT will create a Golden Image that you can customize and deploy. Once created, you can re-use it so you save deployment and configuration time.

This article refers to the MyCloudIT Gen 2 platform, which was launched in 2015. Look for MyCloudIT Gen 3 to be launched in early 2020.

Overview

Golden Image is a template for a virtual machine given in ‘VHD‘ format that can be used as a configuration base to create new virtual machines while providing consistency across a set of servers. In an RDS environment, it is used to create multiple session host servers with a basic custom configuration or an application set already installed. Using Golden Image will help you save a lot of deployment and configuration time.

1. Go to Marketplace > Virtual Machines > Golden Image Virtual Machine
2. Fill Out Details
3. Connect and Customize
4. Capture VM Image
5. Deploy with Your New Golden Image

Capture Your Own Custom Virtual Machine Image 

      1. From the Dashboard, go to Marketplace > Virtual Machines > Golden Image Virtual Machine
      2. Fill out the deployment details: Azure subscription, Virtual Machine Name, Location, Admin Username, Password, DNS Name Prefix, and Desktop Experience. Click “Submit” button and waiting for this Golden Image Virtual Machine creating successfully.
      3. Go to Deployment, click the Golden Image VM you just created
      4. In the “Details” page, click “Connect” rectangle shape. This step will show you the VM in the Azure Resource Group.
      5. Click “Connect” button on the top, and it will download a RDP file. Open the RDP file, fill out the Username and Password when you creating that Golden Image VM, then click “OK”. So far, you are logged in your Windows Server VM on Azure.
      6. You can customize the way you want. After that, you are ready to transform it as a VM image. To do so, you need a tool called sysprep. Open a PowerShell window as administrator and execute the following:
        & “$Env:SystemRoot\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe” /generalize /oobe /shutdown

        golden-image-virtual-machine-1

        You will see a dialog telling you that Sysprep is working, it will take at least 2-3 minutes.

        golden-image-virtual-machine-2

        The /shutdown parameter will shutdown the VM when sysprep is done generalizing the VM.

        Allow a minute or two so that you can see that your VM status is really marked as Stopped in the portal.

        golden-image-virtual-machine-3

      7. Then you need to capture VM image with ARM ExplorerStart by opening the ARM Explorer website. We’ll do more than GET operations in ARM Explorer so we need to allow PUT and POST verbs by enabling write mode (it is Read Only* by default). At the top right of the site, ensure Read/Write is selected. At the top, you’ll find a search box, type the name of your virtual machine and select it from the drop down. If you can’t find the VM in search bar, please expand subscriptions on the left pane > expand your subscription > expand resourceGroups  > expand Microsoft.Commpute > find your VM.golden-image-virtual-machine-4Click Actions (POST, DELETE), you’ll see a lot of action that you can perform on your virtual machine …golden-image-virtual-machine-5
        • Click the Deallocate button
        • The status of the VM should go from Stopped to Updating to Stopped (deallocated)
        • Now that your VM is deallocated, click the Generalize button
        • Your VM OSState should now be marked as OSState/generalized
          golden-image-virtual-machine-6
          {
          “code”: “OSState/generalized”,
          “level”: “Info”,
          “displayStatus”: “VM generalized”
          }
        • Still in the Actions (POST, DELETE) section, scroll to the capture operation and fill the required information:
          {
          “vhdPrefix”: “template“,
          “destinationContainerName”: “mytemplates“,
          “overwriteVhds”: “false“
          }
        • Click the Capture button
          golden-image-virtual-machine-7

How to Check My Golden Image Name?

Go to the Azure Resource Manager and type the Golden Image VM name. In the Overview page, find the Storage account under the Type column. Sometimes there is more than 1 storage account there. If so, you need to click each of them until you find “system” along with “vhds”. That Storage account name is the Image’s name.
Once you know where your Golden Image is stored and the image’s name, let’s start creating new deployments with it.

Deploy with Your Golden Image VM

Log in to the MyCloudIT portal > Marketplace, select whatever template you want to deploy golden image, and fill out the deployment details as follow:

  1. Select the Azure Subscription you want to use
  2. Select Session Host Image Source as “Golden Image
  3. Type the RDS Deployment Name and Public DNS Name
  4. Set Location and Time Zone
  5. Fill out the AD Domain Name, AD Admin Username, and AD Admin Password
  6. Select Golden Image Resource Group: find the Golden Image you created
  7. Select Golden Image Storage Account: select the name of the storage account (If you forget it, please refer to How to Check My Golden Image Name)
  8. Select Golden Image Container: choose “system
  9. Select Golden Image Name
  10. Select Management VM OS version
  11. Fill out the number of users
  12. Select Storage per user
  13. Finally, click “Submit” and wait for about 1 hour for the deployment to be created

If you have any questions about the deployment process, feel free to email support@mycloudit.com.