What is an image factory? How can it help get VMs ready faster? Simply speaking, An image factory is a configuration-as-code solution that builds and distributes images automatically on a regular basis with all the desired configurations baked in. The images in the image factory are always up-to-date, and the ongoing maintenance is almost zero once the whole process is automated. And, because all the required configuration has been baked into the image, it saves the time from manually configuring the system after a VM has been created with the base OS.
The big accelerator to get a Dev Desktop to a 'ready' state in DevTest Labs is using custom images. The downside of custom images is that there's something 'extra' to maintain in the lab (trial versions of products expire over time, newly released security updates aren't applied, etc) forcing us to refresh the custom image periodically. With an image factory, we have a definition of the image checked in to source code control and have an automated process to produce custom images based on the definition.
The solution we've implemented enables the speed of creating Virtual Machines from custom images while eliminating additional ongoing maintenance costs. With this, we can automatically cook up custom images, distribute them to other DevTest Labs and retire the old images. In this video you'll learn about the image factory, how it's implemented with DevTest Labs. All the Azure Powershell scripts are freely available and located here: http://aka.ms/dtlimagefactory