Work with compute resources in Azure Machine Learning

One of the key benefits of the cloud is the ability to use scalable, on-demand compute resources for cost-effective processing of large data.

In this exercise, you’ll learn how to use cloud compute in Azure Machine Learning to run experiments and production code at scale.

Before you start

You’ll need an Azure subscription in which you have administrative-level access.

Provision an Azure Machine Learning workspace

An Azure Machine Learning workspace provides a central place for managing all resources and assets you need to train and manage your models. You can interact with the Azure Machine Learning workspace through the studio, Python SDK, and Azure CLI.

To create the Azure Machine Learning workspace, you’ll use the Azure CLI. All necessary commands are grouped in a Shell script for you to execute.

  1. In a browser, open the Azure portal at, signing in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Select the [>_] (Cloud Shell) button at the top of the page to the right of the search box. This opens a Cloud Shell pane at the bottom of the portal.
  3. Select Bash if asked. The first time you open the cloud shell, you will be asked to choose the type of shell you want to use (Bash or PowerShell).
  4. Check that the correct subscription is specified and select Create storage if you are asked to create storage for your cloud shell. Wait for the storage to be created.
  5. To avoid any conflicts with previous versions, remove any ML CLI extensions (both version 1 and 2) by running this command in the terminal:

     az extension remove -n azure-cli-ml
     az extension remove -n ml

    Use SHIFT + INSERT to paste your copied code into the Cloud Shell.

    Ignore any (error) messages that say that the extensions were not installed.

  6. Install the Azure Machine Learning (v2) extension with the following command:

     az extension add -n ml -y
  7. Create a resource group. Choose a location close to you.

     az group create --name "rg-dp100-labs" --location "eastus"
  8. Create a workspace:

     az ml workspace create --name "mlw-dp100-labs" -g "rg-dp100-labs"
  9. Wait for the command to complete - this typically takes around 5-10 minutes.

Create the compute setup script

To run notebooks within the Azure Machine Learning workspace, you’ll need a compute instance. You can use a setup script to configure the compute instance on creation.

  1. In the Azure portal, navigate to the Azure Machine Learning workspace named mlw-dp100-labs.
  2. Select the Azure Machine Learning workspace, and in its Overview page, select Launch studio. Another tab will open in your browser to open the Azure Machine Learning studio.
  3. Close any pop-ups that appear in the studio.
  4. Within the Azure Machine Learning studio, navigate to the Notebooks page.
  5. In the Files pane, select the ⨁ icon to Add files.
  6. Select Create new file.
  7. Verify that the file location is Users/your-user-name.
  8. Change the file type to Bash (*.sh).
  9. Change the file name to
  10. Open the newly created file and paste the following to its content:

     # clone repository
     git clone azure-ml-labs
  11. Save the file.

Create the compute instance

To create the compute instance, you can use the studio, Python SDK, or Azure CLI. You’ll use the studio to create the compute instance with the setup script you just created.

  1. Navigate to the Compute page, using the menu on the left.
  2. In the Compute instances tab, select New.
  3. Configure (don’t create yet) the compute instance with the following settings:
    • Compute name: enter a unique name
    • Virtual machine type: CPU
    • Virtual machine size: Standard_DS11_v2
  4. Select Next: Advanced settings.
  5. Select Add schedule and configure the schedule to stop the compute instance every day at 18:00 or 6:00 PM.
  6. Select the toggle for Provision with setup script.
  7. Select the script you created previously.
  8. Review the other advanced settings but do not select them:
    • Enable SSH access: You can use this to enable direct access to the virtual machine using an SSH client.
    • Enable virtual network: You would typically use this in an enterprise environment to enhance network security.
    • Assign to another user: You can use this to assign a compute instance to another data scientist.
  9. Create the compute instance and wait for it to start and its state to change to Running.
  10. When the compute instance is running, navigate to the Notebooks page. In the Files pane, click to refresh the view and verify that a new Users/your-user-name/dp100-azure-ml-labs folder has been created.

Configure the compute instance

When you’ve created the the compute instance, you can run notebooks on it. You may need to install certain packages to run the code you want. You can include packages in the setup script, or install them using the terminal.

  1. In the Compute instances tab, find your compute instance, and select the Terminal application.
  2. In the terminal, install the Python SDK on the compute instance by running the following commands in the terminal:

     pip uninstall azure-ai-ml
     pip install azure-ai-ml

    Ignore any (error) messages that say that the packages were not installed.

  3. When the packages are installed, you can close the tab to terminate the terminal.

Create a compute cluster

Notebooks are ideal for development or iterative work during experimentation. When experimenting, you’ll want to run notebooks on a compute instance to quickly test and review code. When moving to production, you’ll want to run scripts on a compute cluster. You’ll create a compute cluster with the Python SDK, and then use it to run a script as a job.

  1. Open the Labs/04/Work with compute.ipynb notebook.

    Select Authenticate and follow the necessary steps if a notification appears asking you to authenticate.

  2. Verify that the notebook uses the Python 3.8 - AzureML kernel.
  3. Run all cells in the notebook.

Delete Azure resources

When you finish exploring Azure Machine Learning, you should delete the resources you’ve created to avoid unnecessary Azure costs.

  1. Close the Azure Machine Learning studio tab and return to the Azure portal.
  2. In the Azure portal, on the Home page, select Resource groups.
  3. Select the rg-dp100-labs resource group.
  4. At the top of the Overview page for your resource group, select Delete resource group.
  5. Enter the resource group name to confirm you want to delete it, and select Delete.