Prerequisites for creating VM images

In this document, the scope of Azure Marketplace is China, and “mirror image” or “image” mean the same thing.

1. Download and install the tools

Before starting, install the following tools:

2. Supported platforms

You can develop Azure VMs using Windows or Linux, but there are some issues during the publication process—for example if you are creating an Azure-compatible virtual hard disk (VHD), the tools used and steps depend on the operating system you use:

  • If you use Linux, please refer to Azure-approved Linux release.

  • If you are creating a Windows image, ensure that you are using the correct base VHD.

    The VM image operating system VHD must be based on an Azure-approved base image (including Windows Server or SQL Server). When starting, create the VM from an image located on the Azure portal. These images can also be found on the Azure Marketplace Windows Server and SQL Server.

    The Windows operating system VHD in the VM image should be created as a 128 GB fixed-format VHD. If the size is less than 128 GB, then the VHD should be sparse. The base Windows and SQL Server image already meets these requirements, so do not change the format or size of the VHD obtained.

  • If you are creating a Windows image, please install the latest Windows patches.

    The base image includes the latest patches up to the release date. Before publishing the created operating system VHD, ensure that Windows Update has been run and the latest “Critical” and “Important” security updates have been installed. Please refer to the document Prepare a Windows VHD or VHDX to upload to Azure “Install Windows Updates” section.

  • If you are creating a Windows image, you can implement other configurations or schedule tasks as needed. If you need another configuration, consider running scheduled tasks at startup, so that after the VM is deployed it can execute the latest changes:

    A best practice is to have it delete itself after successfully executing.

    Configurations should not rely on disks other than C or D because these two disks are the only ones guaranteed to exist. Disk C is the operating system disk and disk D is the temporary local disk.

To create an image with a high level of security, please refer to Security Recommendations for Azure Marketplace Images.

3. Product image requirements

The product image must meet the following requirements. Ensure that:

  • The image is suitable for use with production environments, because the Azure Marketplace does not put up test versions of products on principle.
  • The image is a self-contained image that contains all the software components on which it depends, including the client.
  • The image does not contain any known defects, malicious software, or viruses.
  • The image has undergone stringent testing to ensure its usability.
  • The root logon is disabled by default for Linux images.
  • For Linux images, the image does not contain any user authentication key details.
  • VHD image files must be between 1GB and 1TB in size.

4. Azure subscription

If you don’t have an Azure subscription, please refer to the Azure Marketplace Publisher Guide.

Next steps


  • If you have any questions about this documentation, please submit user feedback in the Azure Marketplace.
  • You can also look for solutions in the FAQs.