Run VirtualBox On An Azure Virtual Machine

I’m currently doing a Data Science on Coursera ( that requires me to complete assignments using a provided virtual machine. The easiest option for playing the VM seems to be VirtualBox however I can’t install it on my PC. So I’m going to try to get it running on an Azure VM instead (essentially running a VM within a VM).

First, set up a new Azure VM (e.g. DataSciServer) – I’ve detailed how to do this in a previous post. On DataSciServer, download VirtualBox from & install.
1 vbox_install_1
2 vbox_install_2
3 vbox_install_3
4 vbox_install_4
5 vbox_installed_5
Download data science VM (.ova file format). Launch VirtualBox, click the File menu & Import Appliance. In the Import Virtual Appliance window, enter .ova file location & click Next.
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In the Appliance Settings window, click Import.
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8 vbox_importing_ova
Once imported, you should see the VM details in the VirtualBox screen.
9 vbox_imported_vm
Highlight the VM & click Start.
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This is the point at which we find out if running VirtualBox in an Azure VM is possible…
11 vbox_vm_running



  1. Hi, I tried to do similar with genymotion which is run under virtual box.. but with no success Just wondering is there anything special for .ova?

    1. Hi Budi. There was nothing special about the .ova I used as far as I’m aware. It was provided to me, rather than one I had created myself so I can’t say if the creator set any special properties on it.

  2. Wan Arif · · Reply


    I have setup a virtual machine in Azure running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, and also installed VirtualBox on top of it.
    I managed to import .ova file, but failed to start/power_on the appliance. Got this error:

    “This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU but only detected an i686 CPU. Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.”

    My research on internet showed some instructions to activate hardware virtualization in the BIOS setup for 64bit machine, assuming I have control to the physical machine. As you are aware I am in Azure virtual machine. Is it possible to activate hardware virtualization on Azure virtual machine? Sounds strange, but if possible, please show me the way …..

    Thanks a lot.

    Wan Arif

    1. Hi. I’m not aware of a way to get this working with a 64-bit machine. If you find a way of doing so, it’d be great to hear how you did it. Thanks.

  3. He’s referring to Intel VT-x features being checked in the bios option, if available. This allows x64 to operate. If you use containers like docker you’ll need Hyper-v which will conflict with x64 also.

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Kevin Kline

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