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Deploy ArcGIS Desktop on Microsoft Azure

You can deploy a machine on Microsoft Azure to run ArcGIS Desktop clients (ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcGlobe, and ArcScene).

You need the following to deploy ArcGIS Desktop clients on Microsoft Azure:

Get a Microsoft Azure subscription

A Microsoft Azure subscription and account are required to use Microsoft Azure infrastructure and services. Contact Microsoft to purchase a subscription.

Enable programmatic deployment of ArcGIS images

Before you can use the images from the Azure Marketplace, you must enable the programmatic deployment of ArcGIS. An administrator of your Azure subscription must enable programmatic deployment once for each type of ArcGIS image. This enables all current and future ArcGIS images of that type on the Azure Marketplace.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Browse to the ArcGIS image in the Virtual Machine Marketplace.
    1. Click Marketplace on the home screen.
    2. Choose Virtual Machines.
    3. Type arcgis in the search text box.
  3. Choose the ArcGIS image you need from the search results.
  4. Click Want to deploy programatically? Get Started at the bottom of the pane.

    The Configure Programmatic Deployment pane appears.

  5. Read the legal terms and Azure Marketplace Terms. If you accept their conditions, proceed with enabling programmatic deployment.
  6. Click Enable for your subscription.
  7. Click Save.

Your Azure subscription is now set to use an Esri image from Cloud Builder.

Obtain a license from Esri

To deploy ArcGIS Pro or the ArcMap suite of products, you need an ArcGIS Desktop license.

Install ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure

Download the ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure installation file, and run it on a local Windows machine to install.

Deploy an ArcGIS Desktop client

Use ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure to create a machine containing ArcGIS Desktop clients.


To determine what machine types and options you need, see ArcMap minimum system requirements and ArcGIS Pro system requirements.

  1. Start ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure.
  2. Sign in to Microsoft Azure.

    If you want to use the Microsoft Azure Government cloud and have an Azure Government subscription, check U.S. Government Cloud.

  3. Choose the Azure subscription that contains the image you want to use and click next.
  4. Click deploy a new desktop.
  5. Click next to proceed to Image and Domain Options.
  6. Create a resource group for your site. Click the add button +.

    A resource group is a container that holds related resources for an application.

    1. Provide an intuitive name for the resource group. The name can contain alphanumeric characters, dashes (-), underscores (_), parentheses (()), and dots (.).
    2. Click Check Availability to ensure the name is unique and can be used for your resource group.
    3. Choose a region for the resource group.
    4. Click create.
    5. Once the resource group is created, click close.
  7. Choose the image to use: either an Esri image, an image in your subscription, or an image you create.
    • If you choose an Esri image, use the drop-down list in the To: field to specify the Azure region for your deployment.
    • To use a custom image in your subscription, click Image in this Azure Subscription and choose the image from the drop-down list.
    • To create an image from a source VHD file, follow these steps:
    1. Click the add button + under Image in this Azure Subscription.
    2. Type a name for the image and click Check Availability to be sure the name is unique.

      The image name can contain only letters, numbers, underscores (_), periods (.), or hyphens (-). The name must start with a letter or number and end with a letter, number, or underscore.

    3. Choose or create a resource group in which to store the image.
    4. Choose the region in which to create the image. Use the same region that contains the .VHD file.
    5. For Source Disk, click the button to browse to your .VHD file in your storage account. Choose the storage account the file is in, choose the file, and click ok.

      The storage accounts available on the Select Image Disk dialog box are based on the region you chose in the previous step.

    6. Choose the type of image to create.

      HDD uses magnetic storage. SSD images use faster, solid state drives.

    7. Choose the image Size.

      The image size determines the minimum size of the operating system disk (C:\) of the virtual machine created from the image. You can increase the size of the provisioned disk for the virtual machine created from the image, but you cannot decrease the size below the image size. See Azure Managed Disks Overview in the Microsoft Azure documentation for more information.

    8. Click create to create the image.
  8. Your machine requires a public IP address provided by Microsoft Azure, and the public IP address must have a DNS name associated with it. This name is in the format mydomain.<location> Either choose an existing public IP address or type a name for a new domain that ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure will create.

    Domain names must be unique within an Azure region. If you want ArcGIS Enterprise Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure to create the domain, click Check Availability to ensure the domain name is not in use. A check mark appears if your domain name is unique.


    To use a certificate authority issued SSL certificate, the domain name must match the CNAME mapping you configured for the certificate.

    Also note that the location prefix will reflect the region in which you deploy your machine.

  9. To avoid collision of Azure resource names within resource groups, Cloud Builder allows you to prefix resources with a specified string by checking Prefix Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Resource names with and providing up to three alphanumeric characters. Cloud Builder automatically populates this value with a random two-character string. If you want to change this, type a prefix to add to Azure resource names such as load balancers and availability sets.

    Prefixes must start with an alphabetic character.

    Adding a prefix avoids collision of resource names and allows you to categorize resources according to your requirements for managing in the Azure portal or billing.

  10. Click next to proceed to Machine Options.
  11. Type a user name and password for Machine Administrator.

    This is the Windows login you will use to administer the virtual machines in your site. The same login and password are used for all machines in your site.

    The user name must contain three or more characters, contain no spaces, and cannot be admin or administrator. The password must meet Windows Server complexity requirements.

  12. Choose the time zone you want your virtual machines to use.
  13. If you have an existing Windows Domain in your Azure environment to which you want to add your machine (or machines), click Domain Join Options.
    1. On the Domain Join Options dialog box, be sure the Join Existing Windows Domain? option is checked.
    2. Provide the name of the Active Directory domain.
    3. Provide the user name and password for the domain administrator.
    4. Click apply.
  14. Provide a name for the virtual machine.
  15. If you want Microsoft Windows to apply updates, check Enable Automatic Operating System Updates.
  16. Check the box to Enable Remote Desktop Access Using Port. You can use the default port or type a different one.

    The port shown in the UI is the port through which you will access your machine. You must enable remote desktop access to your ArcGIS Desktop machine on Azure to license and use the clients.

  17. Choose an existing virtual network from the drop-down list or click the Create button (+) to create a virtual network.
  18. To create a virtual network using Cloud Builder, specify the following:
    1. Type a name for the virtual network. Names must be unique within your Azure subscription.
    2. Click Check Availability to be sure the name you typed is unique. If the name is unique, a check mark appears in the Name field.
    3. Choose the range of TCP/IP addresses (the address space class) to be used by your virtual network. See Microsoft documentation for more information on address classes.
    4. Choose the CIDR value from the VM Count drop-down list to determine the maximum number of addresses to be used in your address space.
    5. Click create.
    6. Once the virtual network is created, click close.
  19. Choose whether to add your virtual machines to a virtual network.

    The virtual network and subnets must already exist. Specify them in the Virtual Network Options section.

  20. Click next to view a summary of your settings.
  21. Review the settings in the Summary pane. If anything needs to be changed, click back to go to the page where you need to change the information.


    Click save summary to save your site configuration information to a text file so you can refer to it for information such as user names or machine names.

  22. Click save automation artifacts to export an archive (.zip) file containing information and files you can use in automation scripts to re-create this deployment.
    1. Browse to a location on the local disk where the archive file will be created and type a name for the file.
    2. Choose the type automation format you will use.
    3. Click generate to create the file.
  23. When all settings are correct and you have saved the files you need, click finish to create the virtual machine containing the ArcGIS Desktop client installations.
  24. Make a remote desktop connection to your new machine and configure licensing.