Azure Lab Services is a cloud based classroom enabling students and instructors to access virtual machines (VM's) for lab assignments within iSchool courses. If you are an instructor for an iSchool (IST) course and are interested in having a VM provisioned for your students, please contact iSchool's Technology Services team by emailing

Accessing Azure Lab Services

  • Before instructors can access Azure Lab Services they must work with the iSchool's Technology Services team to have a lab environment created in Azure and a base virtual machine setup for the instructor to configure and serve as a starting template --to be duplicated and distributed to each student in their course.
  • After Technology Services has created the lab environment, you can log into Azure Lab services by navigating to and providing your Syracuse University email address and password.

Add Students to the Lab

By default IT will add all students from your class roster. You can add/remove as needed.
  • Select Users on the left menu. By default, the Restrict access option is enabled. When this setting is on, a user can't register with the lab even if the user has the registration link unless the user is in the list of users. Only users in the list can register with the lab by using the registration link you send. In this procedure, you add users to the list. Alternatively, you can turn off Restrict access, which allows users to register with the lab as long as they have the registration link.

  • Select Add users on the toolbar, and then select Add by email address.

  • On the Add users page, enter email addresses of users in separate lines or in a single line separated by semicolons. You can also copy/paste from a list or upload a CSV.

In the Users view:

  • You will see names of students in the list after they are registered to the lab.
  • You can also delete students by selecting their name and choose Delete. This action will also remove their assigned VM.

Sending invitation emails to Students

  • Switch to the Users view if you are not on the page already, and select Invite all on the toolbar.
  • On the Send invitation by email page, enter an optional message, and then select Send. The email automatically includes the registration link. You can get this registration link by selecting ... (ellipsis) on the toolbar, and Registration link.
  • You see the status of invitation in the Users list. The status should change to Sending and then to Sent on <date>.
  • As Students registered to the lab, they will get assigned a VM. 
  • Student guide to include in the invite:

Configuring Lab Template

  • On the left side navigation pane, select Template.
  •  Start your template.

It will take a few minutes for your template to start up.
  • When your template has finished starting, and changed to 'running', click Connect to Template in the toolbar.

This will present you with a download screen, looking to save an RDP file.
  • On windows you can open with the native Remote Desktop Connection application.
  • Mac users will need to install the Microsoft Remote Desktop application from the Apple App store to use the RDP protocol.
  • After you connect to your lab template, configure this template machine for your course.
  • Any changes you make within this machine can be 'published' to the whole class --creating a base template image for your course.
  • After you have made your changes, stop your running template by selecting the 'stop template' button in the toolbar.

Publish Lab Template

When your template has been configured and stopped, you can then publish the updated template to your class.

This will delete all existing student machines and deploy a new set of machines based on the latest, published, template. The publish button is on the tool bar. Publishing a template, in a course of 30 students, takes roughly 1 hour.

Once you publish, you can't unpublish.
  • On the Publish template page, enter the number of virtual machines you want to create in the lab (based on your class roster), and then select Publish
  • You can see how many VMs to provision by looking at the Users count on the main dashboard.

  • Wait until the publishing is complete and then switch to the Virtual machines pool page by selecting Virtual machines on the left menu or by selecting Virtual machines tile.

  • Confirm that you see virtual machines that are in Unassigned state. These VMs are not assigned to students yet. They should be in Stopped state. You can start a student VM, connect to the VM, stop the VM, and delete the VM on this page. You can start them in this page or let your students start the VMs.

Interacting with Student VMs

  • Switch to the Virtual machines pool page by selecting Virtual machines on the left menu or by selecting Virtual machines tile.
  • You can start a student VM, connect to the VM, stop the VM, and delete the VM on this page. You can start them in this page or let your students start the VMs.

Quota for a user specifies the number of lab hours available to the user outside of the scheduled class time.

  • When an educator turns on a student VM, quota for the student isn't affected.
  • Each class section is budgeted and charged based on 150 quota hours per week assigned to each student for the entire duration of the class.  
  • Please do not change the total quota of your class.  IT provides reports on lab spending and will investigate usage that exceeds normal costs.

Important Information

  • As mentioned above, please manage the quota hours for your students and lab according to the needs and staying within budget.
  • Template VMs incur cost when running, so ensure that the template VM is shutdown when you don’t need it to be running.
  • Automatic shutdown & disconnect options should alway be checked and set at 15 minutes.

  • Please reach out to with any issues or questions regarding Azure Lab Services.
    • Exporting  a modified Lab Template. This request can be triggered by a sudden change in the lab workflow. The change resulted in a new lab deployment to all sections of a course.
    • Scheduling an Asynchronous Lab Session. This request can be triggered by the need to speed up the boot up process if the Instructor have a planned lab session during a class hours.