We often hear from our Windows Azure customers who are using new preview feature “Windows Azure Virtual Machines” that they created a VM and one fine day, it suddenly disappeared or gone. I’m writing this post to give few details about the issue and what steps can be performed to recover from the situation.

 

Symptoms

You have created a VM and it worked fine for few days and all of a sudden VM is not being listed in the portal and it appears to be gone. There are two common reasons we see why the VMs are deleted.

Reason#1 VM is created under a trial subscription and the trial quotas are reached

This is by design behavior to ensure your account is not billed after the quotas are reached. Trial quotas are documented here. If the VMs are deleted due to quotas, an email will be send to account administrator and also, you can navigate to account.windowsazure.com to verify if the quotas are indeed reached.

Note: New preview portal now gives notification message when the trial period is about to end. 

Workaround: Though the VMs are deleted to ensure the account is not billed, the data(VHDs) itself is persisted to Windows Azure Storage and we can use these VHDs/Disks to create a new VM. To create a VM based on the disk, use the following steps. Also ensure that you enable charges on your subscription before you follow these steps so that you will not encounter the same problem again.

  • Navigate to new preview portal (Note: if you are using the OrgId, you need to append the OrgId to the URL)
  • Choose “Virtual Machines” , Select “New”
  • Select “From Gallery” , Select “My Disks”
  • Select the disk that was created for previous VM(which was missing from the list)
  • Follow the wizard to complete other steps to create virtual machine.

Note: 1) If you do not see the disk in the list, it is possible that lease on VHD is not removed. You can follow this thread to break lease on the VHD.

2) To use the DNS name that was created for original VM, you need to delete the cloud service before creating the new virtual machine. Otherwise, you would get an error stating DNS name is already in use.

*** Efforts are in progress to improve the user experience for this issue.***

 

Reason#2 User performed capture operation on a VM

This is by design too. Capture operation is meant to create an image(or template) based on which multiple VMs can be created. Part of the process involves user to sysprep the VM which strips out system specific information (i.e. system name, etc.) from VM , so that it can be used as an Image. Since the system specific information is removed, VM cannot continue as-is. To create a new VM based on the image which was captured, use the following steps.

  • Navigate to new preview portal (Note: if you are using the OrgId, you need to append the OrgId to the URL)
  • Choose “Virtual Machines” , Select “New”
  • Select “From Gallery” , Select “My Images”
  • Select the Image that was created using “Capture” operation
  • Follow the wizard to complete other steps to create virtual machine.

 I've posted another blog post about Windows Azure Virtual Machines - common issues, questions, gotchas that may be helpful.

     

Applies To : Windows Azure Virtual Machines

Key words : VM is missing, VM gone, Virtual Machine, Disappeared, Windows Azure