In the introduction to this series, I introduced you to my not-so-fictitious Client, which was using different toolsets for image creation and replication.

The question we are trying to answer (or at least provide clarity on), is: Should we create a custom image, or use the Azure Marketplace image?

We’ve already considered the value, steps, and things to be aware of, in relation to using Custom Images and also the Azure Marketplace Images.

So, which is the right answer?

Well, in the traditional IT Consultant answer: it depends.

To help, here’s a table listing the Pro’s and Con’s for each option, to help you decide.

Custom vs Marketplace Image

Custom ImageFull control
Pre-install agents, tools, etc.
Reusable across environments
Many steps required to prepare/upload and use in Azure
Multiple versions/editions to create and manage monthly
Fixed OS disk size
Marketplace ImagePre-prepared/optimized image for Azure
Patches already applied
Extensible with on-demand components
No monthly build/release maintenance
Less control
All patches applied
Must trust Microsoft's image development

I hope this series has provided you with enough information, on both sides, to help you in your decision.