Deploying Azure QuickStart Templates

>>> from simpleazure import SimpleAzure
>>> saz = SimpleAzure()
>>> vm_sshkey_template = saz.aqst.get_template('101-vm-sshkey')
>>> saz.arm.load_template(vm_sshkey_template)
>>> saz.arm.add_parameter({"sshKeyData": "ssh-rsa AAAB... hrlee@quickstart"})
>>> saz.arm.deploy()

Azure offers Power Shell and CLI tool to deploy community templates [1] from starting a single virtual machine (e.g. 101-vm-sshkey) to building hadoop clusters with Apache Spark (e.g. hdinsight-apache-spark) with limited helper functions. Simple Azure supports deploying these templates in Python with powerful functions: import, export, edit, store, review, compare(diff), deploy and search.

The example above shows that Simple Azure loads 101-vm-sshkey template (which creates a VM with ssh access) from the azure-quickstart-templates github repository (which is included in Simple Azure) and deploys a virtual machine with a required parameter, ssh public key string (sshKeyData).

[1]as of 10/13/2016 from


This page describes basic use of Azure QuickStart Templates with Simple Azure Python library which supports - template search, import, export, edit, store, review, compare(diff), and deploy functions.

QuickStart Directory Structure

A template in the azure quickstart is served in a single directory with required json files to describe resource deployments.

100-blank-template   (directory name)
\- azuredeploy.json  (main template to deploy)
\- azuredeploy.parameters.json       (required parameter definitions)
\- metadata.json     (template description)

Note that the directory name here (i.e. 100-blank-template) is an index of a template that Simple Azure uses.

Template Information

Azure QuickStart Templates are written by community therefore descriptions are necessary to understand resource deployments with properties and required parameters. Simple Azure reads template information based on the directory name and files in the directory. Metadata, for example, is retrieved by:

>>> vm_sshkey_template.metadata()
dateUpdated                                               2015-06-05
description        This template allows you to create a Virtual M...
githubUsername                                             squillace
itemDisplayName     Deploy a Virtual Machine with SSH rsa public key
summary             Deploy a Virtual Machine with SSH rsa public key

We can find this template is about a virtual machine deployment with ssh key from summary and itemDisplayName. Other information such as written date, author, and long description is also provided. According to the description, SSH public key will be required as a parameter because ssh key string should be injected when a virtual machine is booted. Parameter options can be retrieved by:

>>> vm_sshkey_template.parameters()
adminUsername          azureuser
sshKeyData       GEN-SSH-PUB-KEY

101-vm-sshkey template requires sshKeyData parameter to obtain ssh public key string from users otherwise this template won’t deploy a virtual machine with a ssh access.

Template List

get_templates() lists all templates from Azure QuickStart Templates github repository and ten() pages its listing with 10 counts. twenty() is also provided with 20 counts.

>>> templates = saz.aqst.get_templates()
>>> templates.ten()
100-blank-template                                                                  Blank Template
101-acs-dcos                                                       Azure Container Service - DC/OS
101-acs-mesos                                                      Azure Container Service - DC/OS
101-acs-swarm                                                      Azure Container Service - Swarm
101-app-service-certificate-standard             Create and assign a standard App Service Certi...
101-app-service-certificate-wildcard             Create and assign a wildcard App Service Certi...
101-application-gateway-create                                       Create an Application Gateway
101-application-gateway-public-ip                     Create an Application Gateway with Public IP
101-application-gateway-public-ip-ssl-offload         Create an Application Gateway with Public IP
101-automation-runbook-getvms                    Create Azure Automation Runbook to retrieve Az...

Choose one of the templates with its directory name, for example, 101-acs-dcos template (2nd template in the listing) is selected by:

>>> templates['101-acs-dcos'].metadata()
dateUpdated                                               2016-02-18
description        Deploy an Azure Container Service instance for...
githubUsername                                              rgardler
itemDisplayName                      Azure Container Service - DC/OS
summary            Azure Container Service optimizes the configur...

>>> templates['101-acs-dcos'].resources()
Microsoft.ContainerService/containerServices    {u'properties': {u'masterProfile': {u'count': ...

We find that 101-acs-dcos template is a Azure Container Service from its description and resource definition.

More options are available to search, load and deploy templates via Simple Azure and the following sections demonstrate these options with examples.

Searching Template

Try a template search with a keyword(s) to find an interesting template. For example, search ‘rhel’ keyword to find Red Hat Enterprise Linux templates.

>>> rhel_templates ="rhel")

>>> rhel_templates.count()

It found 13 templates and the first ten items are:

>>> rhel_templates.ten()
101-vm-full-disk-encrypted-rhel       Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 VM (Fully Encrypted)
101-vm-simple-rhel                    Red Hat Enterprise Linux VM (RHEL 7.2 or RHEL ...
201-encrypt-running-linux-vm                   Enable encryption on a running Linux VM.
create-hpc-cluster-linux-cn              Create an HPC cluster with Linux compute nodes
intel-lustre-clients-on-centos          Intel Lustre clients using CentOS gallery image
intel-lustre-clients-vmss-centos       Azure VM Scale Set as clients of Intel Lustre
openshift-origin-rhel                 OpenShift Origin on RHEL (On Demand image) or ...
sap-2-tier-marketplace-image            2-tier configuration for use with SAP NetWeaver

Next items are displayed by calling ten() again:

>>> rhel_templates.ten()
== End of page ! ==
sap-3-tier-marketplace-image         3-tier configuration for use with SAP NetWeaver
vsts-tomcat-redhat-vm                 Red Hat Tomcat server for use with Team Servic...

Resource types can be used to search, for example, if virtualMachines and publicipaddresses are given:

>>> vms_with_public_ips ='virtualMachines publicipaddresses')

>>> vms_with_public_ips.ten()
201-customscript-extension-azure-storage-on-ubuntu                Custom Script extension on a Ubuntu VM
201-customscript-extension-public-storage-on-ubuntu               Custom Script extension on a Ubuntu VM
201-dependency-between-scripts-using-extensions        Use script extensions to install Mongo DB on U...
201-oms-extension-ubuntu-vm                                    Deploy a Ubuntu VM with the OMS extension
201-vm-winrm-windows                                   Deploy a Windows VM and configures WinRM https...
anti-malware-extension-windows-vm                      Create a Windows VM with Anti-Malware extensio...
apache2-on-ubuntu-vm                                                       Apache Webserver on Ubuntu VM
azure-jenkins                                          Deploy instance of Jenkins targeting Azure Pla...
bitcore-centos-vm                                      Bitcore Node and Utilities for Bitcoin on Cent...
dtype: object

Let’s select the first template.

>>> vms_with_public_ips.ten['201-customscript-extension-azure-storage-on-ubuntu'].resources()
Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines               {u'name': u'[variables('vmName')]', u'apiVersi...
Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/extensions    {u'name': u'[concat(variables('vmName'),'/', v...
Microsoft.Network/networkInterfaces             {u'name': u'[variables('nicName')]', u'apiVers...
Microsoft.Network/publicIPAddresses             {u'properties': {u'publicIPAllocationMethod': ...
Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks               {u'properties': {u'subnets': [{u'name': u"[var...
Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts               {u'properties': {u'accountType': u'[variables(...

Indeed, it has virtualMachines and publicIPAddresses resource types.

Template Details

Template consists of key elements: metadata, parameters, resources, and dependson (dependencies) to describe resource deployments. Simple Azure Template() object functions offer to review these template elements and visualize dependencies. The available functions are:

  • [template object].metadata()
  • [template object].parameters()
  • [template object].resources()
  • [template object].dependson()
  • [template object].dependson_print()


See metadata of the template 101-vm-simple-rhel from the search results above:

>>> rhel_templates['101-vm-simple-rhel'].metadata()
dateUpdated                                               2016-02-23
description        This template will deploy a Red Hat Enterprise...
githubUsername                                            BorisB2015
itemDisplayName    Red Hat Enterprise Linux VM (RHEL 7.2 or RHEL ...
summary            This template will deploy RedHat (RHEL) VM, us...

>>> rhel_templates['101-vm-simple-rhel'].metadata().description
u'This template will deploy a Red Hat Enterprise Linux VM (RHEL 7.2 or
RHEL 6.7), using the Pay-As-You-Go RHEL VM image for the selected
version on Standard D1 VM in the location of your chosen resource group
with an additional 100 GiB data disk attached to the VM. Additional
charges apply to this image - consult Azure VM Pricing page for

Here, metadata() returns 101-vm-simple-rhel template description in Pandas Series format and full description text is visible like python class variable (metadata().description).

This information is from matadata.json and returned by Pandas Series

[template object].metadata()            # pandas Series


We may want to know what parameters are necessary to deploy for this template:

>>> rhel_templates['101-vm-simple-rhel'].parameters()

These three parameters need to be set before deploying the template and we will find out how to set parameters using Simple Azure later in this page.

This information is from azuredeploy.parameters.json and returned by Pandas Series:

[template object].parameters()          # pandas Series


According to the metadata earlier, we know that 101-vm-simple-rhel deploys a virtual machine with Standard D1 but it isn’t clear what resources are used.

>>> rhel_templates['101-vm-simple-rhel'].resources()
Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines      {u'name': u'[parameters('vmName')]', u'apiVers...
Microsoft.Network/networkInterfaces    {u'name': u'[variables('nicName')]', u'apiVers...
Microsoft.Network/publicIPAddresses    {u'properties': {u'publicIPAllocationMethod': ...
Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks      {u'properties': {u'subnets': [{u'name': u"[var...
Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts      {u'properties': {u'accountType': u'[variables(...

There are five services (including virtualMachines in Compute service) are described in the template to deploy RHEL image on Microsoft Azure.

This information is from azuredeploy.json and returned by Pandas Series:

[template object].resources()           # pandas Series

Service Dependency

Services can be related to other services when it deploys, for example, publicIPAddresses and virtualNetworks services are depended on networkInterfaces resource in the 101-vm-simple-rhel template. Dependencies are not visible in resources() but in dependson() which returns its relation in python dict data type using pprint():

>>> rhel_templates['101-vm-simple-rhel'].dependson_print()
{u'Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines': {u'Microsoft.Network/networkInterfaces': {u'Microsoft.Network/publicIPAddresses': {u"[concat(uniquestring(parameters('vmName')), 'publicip')]": {}},
                                                                                 u'Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks': {u"[concat(uniquestring(parameters('vmName')), 'vnet')]": {}}},
                                                                                                                         u'Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts': {u"[concat(uniquestring(parameters('vmName')), 'storage')]": {}}}}

Note depicts the service dependency on the web like Simple Azure. For example, 101-vm-simple-rhel‘s dependency is displayed here

The dependencies are retrieved from dependsOn section in azuredeploy.json in Python dictionary format (dependson()) and in Pretty Print format (dependson_print()):

[template object].dependson()           # dict type return
[template object].dependson_print()     # pprint

Template Deployment


Basic template deployment on Simple Azure is available, see Deploying Azure Virtual Machine in Simple Azure ARM Mode

Simple Azure has a sub module for Azure Resource Manager (ARM) which deploys a template on Azure.

>>> from simpleazure import SimpleAzure
>>> saz = SimpleAzure() # Azure Resource Manager object

Next step is loading a template with a parameter.

Load Template

arm object needs to know which template will be used to deploy and we tell:

>>> saz.arm.load_template(rhel['101-vm-simple-rhel'])

Set Parameter

In our example of RHEL, three parameters need to be set before its deployment, adminPassword, adminUsername and vmName:

>>> saz.arm.set_parameters(

{'adminPassword': {'value': 'xxxxx'},
 'adminUsername': {'value': 'azureuser'},
 'vmName': {'value': 'saz-quickstart'}}

Python dict data type has updated with value key name like { '[parameter name]' : { 'value': '[parameter value'] }} and these parameter settings will be used when the template is deployed.


Use add_parameter(), if you have additional parameter to add in existing parameters, e.g. add_parameter({“dnsName”:”azure-preview”})


deploy() function runs a template with a parameter if they are already set.

>>> saz.arm.deploy()

Or you can directly deploy a template with parameters.

>>> saz.arm.deploy(rhel['101-vm-simple-rhel'], {"adminPassword":"xxxxx",
"adminUsername":"azureuser", "vmName":"saz-quickstart"})

It may take a few minutes to complete a deployment and give access to a virtual machine.


If a template is deployed with an access to virtual machines i.e. SSH via public IP addresses, view_info() returns an ip address in a same resource group. Microsoft.Network/PublicIPAddresses service is fetched in this example.

>>> saz.arm.view_info()

Use the same login user name and password from the parameters defined earlier:

$ ssh -l azureuser
  The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
  ECDSA key fingerprint is 64:fc:dd:7c:98:8c:ed:93:63:61:56:31:81:ad:cf:69.
  Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
  Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
  azureuser@'s password:
  [azureuser@simpleazure-quickstart-rhel ~]$

We confirm that the virutual machine is RHEL 7.2 by:

[azureuser@simpleazure-quickstart-rhel ~]$ cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 7.2 (Maipo)


Deleting a resource group where deployment is made terminates all services in the resource group.

>>> saz.arm.remove_resource_group()