Getting Started with Azure Lab Services for Classrooms


Pitt IT offers Microsoft Azure Lab Services at no cost* for use in computer programming, data science, cybersecurity, information science, systems administration, and other academic courses.

Azure Lab Services enables instructors to easily build a customized, cloud-based computing lab environment for their students. It provides a virtual sandbox where students can work directly in the system and make changes to better understand how IT concepts work in the real world. With Azure Lab Services, instructors can focus on teaching and hands-on application, while the service handles the infrastructure management.


Key Benefits

  • Easy, scalable setup: Instructors create a Virtual Machine (VM) template, configure it exactly as needed, and then easily replicate it for each student. Add and remove students and reuse templates for multiple courses or multiple sessions of the same course.
  • Simple, risk-free student experience: Student VMs can be deleted and reverted to the original instructor-configured state easily if they make an unrecoverable modification.
  • Cloud-based and available from anywhere: Log in from almost any device through Microsoft Remote Desktop. The software is installed on all Campus Computing Lab computers, many lab classrooms, and available for free for students’ personal devices such as computers, tablets, and phones.
  • Supports nested virtualization: Students can set up virtual machines within their virtual environment, so they can practice setting up servers, networks, and PCs from scratch.
  • Scheduled and free time: VMs can automatically power on during scheduled classes, and more hours can be allotted for students to work on assignments and projects outside of class.


Explore the Many Uses for Azure Lab Services

  • Computer programming or web development class: Provide a development environment, such as Visual Studio with various debugging tools\emulators, where students can make changes.
  • Data science class: Students can use deep learning frameworks and tools on individual machines for optimal performance.
  • Cybersecurity class: Provide practice scenarios where VMs demonstrate a vulnerability and students can learn how to exploit and remedy the vulnerability.
  • Systems Administration class: Students can create servers, domain controllers, and networks to learn about IT systems administration.



Getting Started

Azure Lab Services is available as a free service* for classroom instruction for most credited Pitt courses. To begin the process, submit a request to the Technology Help Desk to use Azure Lab Services in the classroom. When making a request, please include:

  • Class name and course number
  • Reason for wanting to use Azure Lab Services

Pitt IT will be in contact to begin the process.

*Cost Subsidy

Pitt IT provides Azure Lab Services at no cost for most credited Pitt courses.

  • Pitt IT will estimate the cost for the service request after gathering information regarding the class. Relevant factors include number of students, compute power and storage needs per VM, and usage hours allotted per student.
  • Additional fees for non-credited courses and/or resource-intensive courses may be funded directly by the sponsoring department.
  • Any additional software licensing or configuration is the responsibility of the faculty or department.


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Article ID: 297
Tue 8/8/23 11:26 AM
Tue 2/13/24 1:41 PM

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