How to Create an ARM-Based Linux Virtual Machine With Azure


ARM computers are on the rise. If you want solid proof, look no further than the new ARM-based MacBooks or the pocket-sized Raspberry Pi.

Azure is one of the cloud providers that started offering ARM-based virtual machines (VMs) in their portfolio. The ARM architecture has been widely used in smartphones and is making its way into the PC market because of the advantages that it offers.

We’ll show you how you can set up an ARM-based Linux virtual machine with Azure.

Advantages of ARM-Based PCs

Some of the advantages that the ARM architecture offers in comparison to its traditional x86 counterparts such as Intel and AMD include:

  • Energy efficient: ARM processors consume less power and are more efficient than their x86 counterparts. This is because they use fewer transistors which consume less energy.
  • Longer battery life: Due to its energy-efficient design, the battery of an ARM device will last longer in comparison to other architectures.
  • Compact size: You can fit ARM processors on a small footprint since they contain relatively simple circuits. This makes them more compact and usable in small form factor devices such as mobile phones and the Raspberry Pi.
  • Cheaper to produce: Due to the simple design of ARM-based processors, they are relatively cheaper and less expensive to design and produce.

ARM processors are just as powerful and more efficient than x86-based processors. Here’s how you can create an ARM-based VM in Azure.

Step 1: Log In to Azure and Create a Resource

Head over to and log in. If you do not have an Azure account, go ahead and create a free trial account.

Once logged in, Click on the Create a resource button located under the Azure services header.

creating a resource in azure

Next, you’ll see a list of popular Azure services. Select the Virtual Machine service. Alternatively, just search for “Virtual machine” in the search box.

Step 2: Creating the ARM-Based Virtual Machine

azure vm creation page

On the Create Virtual Machine page, you need to fill out all the fields marked with an asterisk (*) according to your requirements.

Pay particular attention to the following fields:

  1. Image: Select the Linux distro image of your choice. It should be ARM64. Also, choose the appropriate VM image according to your computing needs. The VM images with high computing specs cost more.
  2. VM architecture: Make sure to select ARM64 to use an ARM-based processor.
  3. Run with Azure spot discount: Check this box to easily find ARM-based VMs. Due to the limited availability of ARM-based VMs, Azure allocates you space on an unused resource.
  4. Authentication type: Choose the Password option for this and enter your preferred username and password.

Azure can recall capacity for services using spot discounts, therefore you should not use spot discounts for critical systems.

Step 3: Validating the Virtual Machine Details

review and create azure vm page

Once you’ve filled out all the required information, click on the Review + create button located in the bottom left corner.

Azure will validate the VM details you’ve provided and advise if the validation passed or failed accordingly.

Take a look at the summary of the VM resource you’re about to create. At this stage, you can still make changes to your VM by clicking Previous and amending the configuration option you want to change.

If the validation failed, you’ll be guided on what you need to fix. Otherwise, if everything looks fine, click on the Create button.

Step 4: Accessing Your ARM-Based VM

Once created, click on the Go to resource button and note down the public IP address of the VM. You’ll use this IP address to access the VM via SSH from your PC using the following command format:

 ssh username@public_ip_address 

For example:

 ssh muo@ 

You can run and use the same old Linux commands you’re familiar with. The only difference is that the packages you install will be targeted toward ARM-based processors.

To confirm the architecture of your VM, use the uname command as follows:

 uname -m  
checking pc architecture Linux

The output aarch64 is short for ARM architecture 64-bit processing.

Get an ARM-Based Linux PC Instead!

ARM-based PCs are powerful, energy efficient, and emit less heat. Most major Linux distros can run on ARM-based processors.

Apart from using ARM-based virtual machines in the cloud, you can buy a dedicated ARM-based Linux desktop or laptop.


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