How to upgrade Azure DS Series VM to GS Series VM

Azure GS Series VM released on September 2nd 2015. G Series VM’s were released earlier this year.

GS Series added ability to use SSD backed premium storage to the largest/fastest virtual machines on Azure platform.

You can read more about them here:

GS Series VM’s are not available in all regions yet.

I had a DS Series VM running on “West US” region. This VM was in an availability set.

We needed to upgrade this VM to GS Series VM. When I looked at  and tried to resize the VM I did not see GS Series VM in the list upgrade options. I knew that GS Series was available in “West US” so I needed to find a way to resize my VM.

Azure Resource Explorer

If you are writing Azure Resource Management Templates you will find Azure resource explorer invaluable. Documentation for services is often incomplete so I create a resource using azure management portal. Once the resource has been created I use resource explorer to understand the properties of the resource. Majority of time I use resource explorer to read information. However in this particular case I used resource explorer to upgrade the VM. I only tried it in Dev and it worked.

Here is my DS1 instance running in West US.


Here is how this VM looks like in the resource explorer.


My VM was running. I tried updating the VM to Standard_GS1 using these steps:

1. You have to be appropriate access to the Azure subscription/resource group where the VM is running.

2. Log into resource explorer using “ReadWrite” mode and select the subscription, resource, compute and virtual machine.


3. Select the virtual machine and press the “Edit” button as shown.


4. Update the value of vmSize to Standard_GS1 as shown below and press “PUT”


5. The operation failed with this error below. I found that I had to stop/deallocate my VM even if it was not in the availability set. Error message was very descriptive.

1:  {  
2:   "error": {  
3:    "code": "OperationNotAllowed",  
4:    "target": "vmSize",  
5:    "message": "Unable to update the VM. The requested VM size 'Standard_GS1' may not be available in the resources supporting the existing allocation. Please try again later, try with a different VM size or create a VM with a new availability set or no availability set binding."  
6:   }  
7:  }  

6. I went to the preview portal and stopped the VM. The status of the VM will change to stopped (deallocated).

7. I refreshed the resource explorer to make sure it had the latest settings for the VM.

8. I repeated the steps 2, 3 and 4 again. This time there were no errors.

9. I verified in the portal that size had change to Standard_GS1 as shown below.


10. Don’t forget to shutdown the VM after your experiment is over.


Upgrading a DS Series VM to GS Series VM is possible however a reboot is required. Reboot is required if the VM is standalone or in an availability set. When new services are launched on Azure platform they may not have PowerShell or Azure CLI available or documented. Azure Resource Explorer allows us directly interact with the Azure platform. It can be used to manage resources.

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