Deploy a GCP Windows instance and connect it to Azure Arc using a Terraform plan

The following Jumpstart scenario will guide you on how to use the provided Terraform plan to deploy a Windows Server GCP virtual machine and connect it as an Azure Arc-enabled server resource.


  • Clone the Azure Arc Jumpstart repository

    git clone
  • Install or update Azure CLI to version 2.49.0 and above. Use the below command to check your current installed version.

    az --version
  • Install Terraform >=1.1.9

  • Google Cloud account with billing enabled - Create a free trial account. To create Windows Server virtual machines, you must upgraded your account to enable billing. Click Billing from the menu and then select Upgrade in the lower right.

    Screenshot showing how to enable billing on GCP account

    Screenshot showing how to enable billing on GCP account

    Screenshot showing how to enable billing on GCP account

    Disclaimer - To prevent unexpected charges, please follow the “Delete the deployment” section at the end of this README

  • Create Azure service principal (SP)

    To connect the GCP virtual machine to Azure Arc, an Azure service principal assigned with the “Contributor” role is required. To create it, login to your Azure account run the below command (this can also be done in Azure Cloud Shell).

    az login
    subscriptionId=$(az account show --query id --output tsv)
    az ad sp create-for-rbac -n "<Unique SP Name>" --role "Contributor" --scopes /subscriptions/$subscriptionId

    For example:

    az login
    subscriptionId=$(az account show --query id --output tsv)
    az ad sp create-for-rbac -n "JumpstartArc" --role "Contributor" --scopes /subscriptions/$subscriptionId

    Output should look like this:

    "displayName": "JumpstartArc",

    NOTE: If you create multiple subsequent role assignments on the same service principal, your client secret (password) will be destroyed and recreated each time. Therefore, make sure you grab the correct password.

    NOTE: The Jumpstart scenarios are designed with as much ease of use in-mind and adhering to security-related best practices whenever possible. It is optional but highly recommended to scope the service principal to a specific Azure subscription and resource group as well considering using a less privileged service principal account

  • Azure Arc-enabled servers depends on the following Azure resource providers in your subscription in order to use this service. Registration is an asynchronous process, and registration may take approximately 10 minutes.

    • Microsoft.HybridCompute

    • Microsoft.GuestConfiguration

    • Microsoft.HybridConnectivity

      az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridCompute'
      az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.GuestConfiguration'
      az provider register --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridConnectivity'

      You can monitor the registration process with the following commands:

      az provider show --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridCompute'
      az provider show --namespace 'Microsoft.GuestConfiguration'
      az provider show --namespace 'Microsoft.HybridConnectivity'

Automation Flow

For you to get familiar with the automation and deployment flow, below is an explanation.

  1. User creates and configures a new GCP project along with a Service Account key which Terraform will use to create and manage resources

  2. User edits the tfvars to match the environment.

  3. User runs terraform init to download the required terraform providers

  4. User runs the automation. The terraform plan will:

    • Create a Windows Server VM in GCP
    • Create an Azure Resource Group
    • Install the Azure Connected Machine agent by executing a PowerShell script when the VM is first booted. Optionally a semi-automated deployment is provided if you want to demo/control the actual registration process.
  5. User verifies the VM is create in GCP and the new Azure Arc-enabled resource in the Azure portal.

Create a new GCP Project

  • Browse to and login with your Google Cloud account. Once logged in, create a new project named “Azure Arc Demo”. After creating it, be sure to copy down the project id as it is usually different than the project name.

    Screenshot of GCP Cloud console create project screen

    Screenshot of GCP cloud new project screen

  • Once the new project is created and selected in the dropdown at the top of the page, you must enable Compute Engine API access for the project. Click on “Enable APIs and Services” and search for “Compute Engine”. Then click Enable to enable API access.

    Screenshot of GCP console showing enabling Compute Engine API

    Screenshot of GCP console showing enabling Compute Engine API

  • Next, set up a service account key, which Terraform will use to create and manage resources in your GCP project. Go to the create service account key page. Select “New Service Account” from the dropdown, give it a name, select Project then Owner as the role, JSON as the key type, and click Create. This downloads a JSON file with all the credentials that will be needed for Terraform to manage the resources. Copy the downloaded JSON file to the azure_arc_servers_jumpstart/gcp/windows/terraform directory.

    Screenshot of GCP cloud console showing creation of service account

    Screenshot of GCP cloud console showing creation of service account


The only thing you need to do before executing the Terraform plan is to edit the tfvars file which will be used by the plan to customize it to your environment.

  • Navigate to the terraform folder and fill in the terraform.tfvars file with the values for your environment.

  • Run the terraform init command which will download the required terraform providers.

  • Next, run the terraform apply --auto-approve command and wait for the plan to finish. Upon completion of the Terraform script, you will have deployed a GCP Windows Server 2019 VM and initiated a script to download the Azure Arc agent to the VM and connect the VM as a new Azure Arc-enabled server inside a new Azure resource group. It will take a few minutes for the agent to finish provisioning.

    Screenshot of terraform apply being run

  • After a few minutes, you should be able to open the Azure portal and navigate to the resource group “Arc-GCP-Demo”. The Windows Server virtual machine created in GCP will be visible as a resource.

    Screenshot of Azure Portal showing Azure Arc-enabled server

Semi-Automated Deployment (Optional)

  • The Terraform plan automatically installs the Azure Connected Machine agent and connects the VM to Azure as a managed resource by executing a PowerShell script when the VM is first booted.

    Screenshot showing azcmagent connect script

  • If you want to demo/control the actual registration process, do the following:

  • Before running the terraform apply command, open and comment out the windows-startup-script-ps1 = local_file.install_arc_agent_ps1.content line and save the file.

    Screenshot showing being commented to disable automatic onboarding of Azure Arc agent

  • Run terraform apply --auto-approve as instructed above.

  • Open the Google Cloud console and navigate to the Compute Instance page, then click on the VM that was created.

    Screenshot showing GCP cloud console with GCP server

    Screenshot showing how to reset password of GCP Windows server

  • Create a user and password for the VM by clicking “Set Password” and specifying a username.

    Screenshot showing setting username and password of GCP server

  • RDP into the VM by clicking the RDP button from the VM page in Google Cloud console, and login with the username and password you just created.

    Screenshot showing how to RDP into GCP instance

  • Once logged in, open PowerShell ISE as Administrator. Make sure you are running the x64 version of PowerShell ISE and not x86. Once open, select File->New to create an empty .ps1 file. Then paste in the entire contents of ./scripts/install_arc_agent.ps1]. Click the play button to execute the script. When complete, you should see the output showing successful onboarding of the machine.

    Screenshot showing Powershell ISE with Azure Arc agent connection script

Delete the deployment

  • To delete all the resources you created as part of this demo use the terraform destroy --auto-approve command as shown below.

    Screenshot showing terraform destroy being run

  • Alternatively, you can delete the GCP VM directly from GCP Console.

    Screenshot showing how to delete GCP VM from cloud console