WimAsAService vs. Azure Image Builder

Windows Imaging is always a topic, when companies want to configure their devices in a standardized way according to their own guidelines. Once a reference image has been created, it can be used to install the devices with it. This ensures that the devices that have gone through the installation process are already configured to fully comply with company guidelines.

WimAsAService, a product of baseVISION AG and Azure Image Builder from Microsoft are products that help you create Windows images.

In this Blogpost we will explain you the differences and benefits of each solution.

Basic reasons for Windows Imaging

Some of the challenges todays IT departments must face, are that they do not have enough staff and they don’t have enough time to deal with all the tasks they should be handling. Security is getting more and more important, users are working from everywhere and company data and devices are no longer protected behind our firewalls.

Having a standardized base image brings several advantages and significantly helps with overcoming those challenges.

Advantage Effect Category
Windows Updates are pre-installed
Critical security updates are already installed the first time the device gets used.
Standard applications are pre-installed
Large standard applications such as Microsoft Office do not need to be downloaded and installed. Such Images can also be very helpful for VDI or Terminal Server scenarios.
Time saving
Device settings are preconfigured
This has practical and safety benefits. Security gaps can be reduced to a minimum and company-specific adaptations such as Company Branding are preconfigured.
Language packs already available
In multilingual countries such as Switzerland or companies that operate globally, it is useful to provide several languages to the users without having them to download and install those.
Time saving

Ways to use a Windows Reference Image

Typically, the build process uses a virtual machine on which an operating system is installed and configured as desired. Once this has been completed, the status of the machine is saved using sysprep. This results in a WIM, ISO or VHD file which can later be used for various purposes. To choose the right solution and the correct file type, it must be clear which file type is used for which scenario.

Use File type
Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager
Bootable USB stick
Delivering Images to HW Manufacturers
Terminal Servers
Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365
Windows Autopilot

Scenarios supported by Solution


WimAsAService is a web application that provides the intuitive creation of so-called image types. An image type is to be understood as a recipe for a menu. Available base images are Windows Server and Windows 10 versions. After selecting the base image, you can make any adjustments to the Windows image. WimAsAService offers a wide range of already available configuration options, such as a Modern App List for uninstalling built in standard apps, language packs, Global Standard Applications and a PowerShell script to optimize the image for Azure Virtual Desktop. It also enables the customer to upload own applications, PowerShell scripts and PPKG files himself. This gives the customer maximum flexibility in creating Windows images. You can benefit from the toolset provided by baseVISION AG and as well make configuration changes to the reference image to make it fit your needs. In the Image Type configuration, you can specify which file types should be available at the end of the generation. Possible file types are WIM, ISO and VHD files.

If you want to use your images in your Azure Tenant for Azure Virtual Desktop or other use cases, WimAsAService offers the possibility to automatically or on demand copy files to a specified Azure Storage Account. From there you can easily use them as Azure Images and make them available in an Azure Shared Image Gallery.

If you wish to recreate the image types monthly, WimAsAService offers the Scheduler function, which makes it possible to start the generation once a month fully automatically.

During generation, important status changes are communicated directly to our customers. This enables highly efficient task scheduling for our customers, who can carry out follow-up actions after notifications. If something fails, our baseVISION support is immediately informed and can start an investigation of the occurred problem.

A documentation is available for each image generation, this makes it possible to know which configurations the image contains. Old images can be compared with new ones and any deviations can be identified.



Azure Image Builder

Azure Image Builder is a function in an Azure Tenant that can be used to generate Windows images. This solution is especially useful when Using Azure Virtual Desktop. An Azure Resource Manager template starts a build VM. The base image can be obtained directly from the Azure Market Place. Azure Image Builder also makes it possible to use an already customized reference image in the form of a managed image or from a shared image gallery as a base image. The template in JSON format defines which adjustments are to be made during the build process. In general, 4 customizers are available for this purpose:

Customizer Description
PowerShell / Shell
To run scripts directly or run them from a public repository
Copy files under 20MB from a storage account
Restart the capture VM
Installing Windows Updates

With the help of these customizers, all configurations can be implemented. Applications can be installed, scripts can be executed, Windows updates can be installed and all kinds of files can be downloaded. As you may already guess, these actions cannot be used ready for use. The process must be designed with the help of these customizers. For example, for an application installation over 20MB, a storage account with SAS token must be used to securely copy files. It also needs another customizer, which starts the installation. Azure Image Builder offers three possible output types, all of them are based on VHD files. The managed images can later be used to create virtual machines. The images in the Azure Share Image Gallery can also be used to create Virtual Machine Scale Sets, which are essential for Azure Virtual Desktop. The possibility to create a simple VHD also exists. However, this currently still has to be copied manually from the temporary resource Group.

If the generation is started, the build VM is started based on the image template and everything is set up in a Temporary Resource Group. Logs and resources will be visible there during the build process. Once the generation is complete, the desired output format is saved to the Resource Group as a managed  image or to an Azure Shared Image Gallery as a new version.




WimAsAService scores with its maturity and ease of use. Both solutions offer a wide range of configuration options, with Azure Image Builder being much more complex to use. Another point where WimAsAService is clearly superior to Azure Image Builder is the file types that can be created. WimAsAService is designed for many more installation scenarios and therefore offers excellent flexibility. Azure Image Builder can score points in terms of costs, which are relatively small. Both solutions offer direct integration with the Azure Tenant and are very interesting for environments with Azure Virtual Desktop or Microsoft 365. For tech-savvy users, Azure Image Builder can be a good alternative in some scenarios. For companies that rely on a solid, extensive, user-friendly and reliable imaging process, WimAsAService is certainly the better choice.

Get to know everything about Syntaro WimAsAService. Our team will be pleased to assist you with any questions.

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