Launching Ray Clusters on Azure

This guide details the steps needed to start a Ray cluster on Azure.

There are two ways to start an Azure Ray cluster.

  • Launch through Ray cluster launcher.

  • Deploy a cluster using Azure portal.


The Azure integration is community-maintained. Please reach out to the integration maintainers on Github if you run into any problems: gramhagen, eisber, ijrsvt.

Using Ray cluster launcher

Install Ray cluster launcher

The Ray cluster launcher is part of the ray CLI. Use the CLI to start, stop and attach to a running ray cluster using commands such as ray up, ray down and ray attach. You can use pip to install the ray CLI with cluster launcher support. Follow the Ray installation documentation for more detailed instructions.

# install ray
pip install -U ray[default]

Install and Configure Azure CLI

Next, install the Azure CLI (pip install -U azure-cli azure-identity) and login using az login.

# Install azure cli.
pip install azure-cli azure-identity

# Login to azure. This will redirect you to your web browser.
az login

Start Ray with the Ray cluster launcher

The provided cluster config file will create a small cluster with a Standard DS2v3 on-demand head node that is configured to autoscale to up to two Standard DS2v3 spot-instance worker nodes.

Note that you’ll need to fill in your Azure resource_group and location in those templates. You also need set the subscription to use. You can do this from the command line with az account set -s <subscription_id> or by filling in the subscription_id in the cluster config file.

Test that it works by running the following commands from your local machine:

# Download the example-full.yaml

# Update the example-full.yaml to update resource_group, location, and subscription_id.
# vi example-full.yaml

# Create or update the cluster. When the command finishes, it will print
# out the command that can be used to SSH into the cluster head node.
ray up example-full.yaml

# Get a remote screen on the head node.
ray attach example-full.yaml
# Try running a Ray program.

# Tear down the cluster.
ray down example-full.yaml

Congratulations, you have started a Ray cluster on Azure!

Using Azure portal

Alternatively, you can deploy a cluster using Azure portal directly. Please note that autoscaling is done using Azure VM Scale Sets and not through the Ray autoscaler. This will deploy Azure Data Science VMs (DSVM) for both the head node and the auto-scalable cluster managed by Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets. The head node conveniently exposes both SSH as well as JupyterLab.

Once the template is successfully deployed the deployment Outputs page provides the ssh command to connect and the link to the JupyterHub on the head node (username/password as specified on the template input). Use the following code in a Jupyter notebook (using the conda environment specified in the template input, py38_tensorflow by default) to connect to the Ray cluster.

import ray; ray.init()

Under the hood, the script is executed and performs the following actions:

  1. Activates one of the conda environments available on DSVM

  2. Installs Ray and any other user-specified dependencies

  3. Sets up a systemd task (/lib/systemd/system/ray.service) to start Ray in head or worker mode