Getting an Azure subscription is a good start. Then you can run through this page to set up your laptop ready for many of the labs on the Citadel site.


If you do not have a GitHub ID already then sign up.

MacOS or Linux

If you are working on MacOS or a Linux distro then you can just use Bash in your preferred terminal. Skip the WSL step and install the binaries.

Windows 10

We recommend using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and installing the binaries into linux rather than at the Windows OS level. This page assumes that you will take that route.

If your personal preference is to work within Windows and to use PowerShell then we understand. You can install both git and az at the OS level instead and then skip to vscode. However you should be aware that you won’t be able to use some of the examples in the labs as they are based on Ubuntu 20.04 running in WSL and use pipelines in Bash.

If you have no preference on a distro then we recommend Ubuntu 20.04. Where the prereqs mention installing into Ubuntu then this assumes WSL.



  • git
  • jq
  • tree
  • stress

E.g., for Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install jq git tree stress

Includes WSL. Use equivalent yum or zypper commands on other distros.


jq --help
tree ~

You may want to add export JQ_COLORS="1;90:0;35:0;35:0;91:0;33:1;37:1;37" to your ~/.bashrc file to improve the colours.

Azure CLI

You will need the Azure CLI.


az version
az login
az account show --output jsonc
az account show --output json | jq -r

Windows Terminal

For standard CLI use we favour the Windows Terminal on Windows 10. It will pick up on all of your WSL distros as well as creating profiles for Command Prompt, PowerShell and Cloud Shell.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (vscode) is assumed as our default IDE.

Remote Development in WSL

For Windows 10 WSL users only. All others can skip.

Integrate vscode with WSL so you can use the application as a front end which connects to the vscode engine running. Install the Remote Development for WSL and then open from the subsystem.

  • Install the Remote Development extension pack

    • CTRL+SHIFT+X to bring up Extensions
    • Search on ms-vscode-remote.vscode-remote-extensionpack and install
  • Close vscode

  • Open Ubuntu in Windows Terminal

  • Type code . to open up vscode with the extension, installing the vscode-engine.


  • Is “WSL: <distro>” shown at the bottom left?

  • Open Source Control (CTRL+SHIFT+G)

  • Click on the ellipsis () at the top of the sidebar

  • Click on Show Git Output

  • Does the top of the output look similar to this?

    Looking for git in: git
    Using git 2.25.1 from git

Visual Studio Code Extensions

  • Install additional extensions

    Use the shortcodes to quickly find the right extension. Some will install into the front end and some directly into WSL.

    Extension Shortcode
    Azure Account
    Azure Resource Manager tools msazurermtools.azurerm-vscode-tools
    Azure Policy azurepolicy.azurepolicyextension
    Hashicorp Terraform hashicorp.terraform
    JSON Tools eriklynd.json-tools
    Live Share ms-vsliveshare.vsliveshare


You can either install it manually or using the provided script.

  • Manual
    • Download Terraform
    • Move the binary to a directory
    • Make it executable
    • Ensure the directory is in your path

– or –

  • Scripted

    Use the following command on Ubuntu to install into /usr/local/bin:

    curl -sSL | sudo -E bash -s terraform

    The script uses sudo so you will be prompted for your password. (Unless you have set /etc/sudoers for passwordless sudo.)


terraform --version


The install process is the same for Packer as it is for Terraform.

  • Manual
    • Download Packer
    • Move the binary to a directory
    • Make it executable
    • Ensure the directory is in your path

– or –

  • Scripted

    Use the following command on Ubuntu to install into /usr/local/bin:

    curl -sSL | sudo -E bash -s packer


packer --version


Ansible is used in a few of the labs. per the Ansible docs, Ansible on Azure is installed using the Python installer, pip. It is preinstalled in the Cloud Shell’s container image.

  • Install PIP

    sudo apt update && sudo apt install -y python3-pip
  • Install Ansible

    pip3 install ansible[azure]

The remaining steps are option if you are familiar with Ansible and wish to configure it yourself. If you would like a default config then feel free to continue.

  • Create the ansible config file and directory structure

    umask 022
    cat << ANSIBLE_CFG > ~/.ansible.cfg
    inventory = ~/ansible/hosts
    roles_path = ~/ansible/roles
    nocows = 1
    mkdir -pm 755 ~/ansible/roles && cd ~/ansible
    cat << ANSIBLE_HOSTS > ~/ansible/hosts
  • Install the Ansible collection for Azure

    ansible-galaxy collection install azure.azcollection
  • Install Azure modules

    sudo pip3 install -r requirements-azure.txt


Most of this site has a slight bias towards OSS technologies rather than traditional Windows Server and PowerShell. Most Linux users will prefer to use the Azure CLI. Having said that, it is always useful to have the PowerShell Az module installed as there are some operations that can only be achieved with PowerShell cmdlets. The good news is that PowerShell and the PowerShell Az module are cross platform.

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