Over the last days i had to install some BizTalk one boxes as development server and i got a bit tired of the process, so i looked around and found the DevTest Lab within Azure.It looks promising with features like pay as you need and auto-shutdown to control the resources. With the monthly credit you get from your visual studio subscription its possible to play around with it. First you need to create a DevTest Lab resources, the Lab acts as a container for all VMs.
Under My virtual machines you can start with adding a new VM, in the frist step you choose a base image. Next to plenty of pre installed gallery images you can build a Formula your self that you can choose there.
Some interesting example here are BizTalk Server 2013 and BizTalk Server 2016 in different editions, a variety of Unix version and different MSSQL Server versions. Sadly the BizTalk gallery images that are just configured Windows VMs where the ISO of the BizTalk version is downloaded, not installed. This would be good if you only need a BizTalk Box and want to at it to a cluster or existing MSSQL Server but for my case i wanted a all in one box with BizTalk and MSSQL server. So the base image wasn't really useful, since i had to install the DB on there and BizTalk. So to speed that up i choose the MSSQL Server gallery image, after that you can select the virtual machine size and add more artifacts. The list of artifacts is short but there are some useful programs that can be added like 7 zip, chrome and nodepad++, also some IDEs can be selected. The artifacts will be automatically installed after the VM is created and booted up.
Under Advanced settings its possible to configure detail network options, but for testing the default, a shared open IP address works just fine.
With creating the VM Azure will add a new resource group that contains the VM elements like Load balancer, Public IP address, Network interface and a availability set.
The VM comes with a 128gb vhd that is automaticly added to the DevTest Lab storage account.
Now the VM is ready to use, a rdp file can be downloaded for easy connect. After that you need to download and install BizTalk and other Dev Tools.
After that the box is ready to use, if the auto shutdown is enable it saves money but you have to go into the azure portal and start the vm each day again.
A next step would be to get BizTalk and all other tools installed and configured automatically. Perhaps this could be achieved with the help of packer.io. The concept behind that is to keep all configurations within your version control (VC). When you do so you only need to modify the installation setup to change from local to ad users or add/remove software. You could also have a config for Dev, Test and Prod in VC. This will come very handy when you need to rebuild a system.