Find Ubuntu Images on Microsoft Azure

Back to all posts


October 21, 2020ubuntu

Canonical is the publisher of official Ubuntu images on Microsoft Azure. Users can find the latest Ubuntu images in the Azure Marketplace when using the web interface. For a programmatic interface, users can use Microsoft’s Azure CLI. All images published by Canonical are discoverable using the following command:

az vm image list --all --publisher Canonical

The output will produce JSON output with the following information for each image:

{
  "offer": "0001-com-ubuntu-server-focal",
  "publisher": "Canonical",
  "sku": "20_04-lts-gen2",
  "urn": "Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-server-focal:20_04-lts-gen2:20.04.202010140",
  "version": "20.04.202010140"
}

Launching Azure instances via the Azure CLI is possible with the az vm create command. The --image parameter is used to launch a specific image. The parameter takes the urn value from the above output.

Using the above command lists every single image ever published by Canonical on Azure. In order to find the latest, specific image type users can filter based on the sku value. The offer value can change over time and is not suggested for filtering.

Below is a breakdown of how to find each of the image types Canonical offers on Azure.

Release Images

On Microsoft Azure, Canonical produces a standard image for use with all VM sizes, as well as an image that supports generation 2 virtual machines. Both image offerings are updated periodically with the latest Azure custom kernel, security updates, and bug fixes.

Images produced for each release are searchable with the following SKUs, one SKU for standard image and one for the gen2 image for each release:

"20_04-lts"
"20_04-lts-gen2"
"18.04-lts"
"18_04-lts-gen2"
"16.04-lts"
"16_04-lts-gen2"

NOTE: The 18.04-lts and 16.04-lts SKUs were setup before a change in SKU format. Going forward any new SKUs are not allowed to contain a period charachter and will instead use an underscore. However, the previously mentioned SKUs will continue to use the period.

The following is an example of how to find the latest image for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS:

$ az vm image list --all --publisher Canonical | \
    jq '[.[] | select(.sku=="20_04-lts")]| max_by(.version)'
{
  "offer": "0001-com-ubuntu-server-focal",
  "publisher": "Canonical",
  "sku": "20_04-lts",
  "urn": "Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-server-focal:20_04-lts:20.04.202010140",
  "version": "20.04.202010140"
}

The target SKU string can be replaced with a different release or append -gen2 for generation 2 virtual machine images.

Daily Images

Daily images are untested images that are generated whenever a package inside the image changes in the Ubuntu archive. These images are meant for development environments and testing. These images also include the development release of Ubuntu.

Daily image SKUs have -daily added to the SKU and also offer the standard and gen2 image for each release:

"20_10-daily"
"20_10-daily-gen2"
"20_04-daily-lts"
"20_04-daily-lts-gen2"
"18.04-daily-lts"
"18_04-daily-lts-gen2"
"16.04-daily-lts"
"16_04-daily-lts-gen2"

NOTE: The 18.04-daily-lts and 16.04-daily-lts SKUs were setup before a change in SKU format. Going forward any new SKUs are not allowed to contain a period charachter and will instead use the underscore. However, the previously mentioned SKUs will continue to use the period.

Ubuntu Pro Images

Ubuntu Pro for Azure is a premium image offered by Canonical containing access to additional security and compliance features. Ubuntu Pro images are offered across all LTS releases:

The following SKUs make up the offerings for Ubuntu Pro for Azure:

"pro-20_04-lts"
"pro-18_04-lts"
"pro-16_04-lts"
"pro-14_04-lts"

Here is an example, to find the latest Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu Pro image:

$ az vm image list --all --publisher Canonical --sku "pro-16_04-lts" | \
    jq 'max_by(.version)'
{
  "offer": "0001-com-ubuntu-pro-xenial",
  "publisher": "Canonical",
  "sku": "pro-16_04-lts",
  "urn": "Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-pro-xenial:pro-16_04-lts:16.04.20201014",
  "version": "16.04.20201014"
}

Ubuntu Pro FIPS Images

Canonical also offers a FIPS specific image for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. These FIPS images use the following SKUs:

"pro-fips-18_04"
"pro-fips-16_04-private"

And below is an example to find the latest Ubuntu Pro FIPS image for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:

$ az vm image list --all --publisher Canonical --sku "pro-fips-18_04" | \
    jq 'max_by(.version)'
{
  "offer": "0001-com-ubuntu-pro-bionic-fips",
  "publisher": "Canonical",
  "sku": "pro-fips-18_04",
  "urn": "Canonical:0001-com-ubuntu-pro-bionic-fips:pro-fips-18_04:18.04.202010201",
  "version": "18.04.202010201"
}

Back to all posts

Related Posts