I have decided to use Windows Azure as my lab environment because it is the fastest and most accessible way for me to work on this from anywhere in the world. I travel a lot so I want to be able to access the lab while on the road. This is a self-contained lab environment that for right now is just for my PowerShell learning. But it has the potential to be used for other lab scenarios and is completely expandable.

I am using the following book to teach myself more about PowerShell -

“Learn Windows PowerShell 3 In A Month Of Lunches” by Don Jones and Jeffery D. Hicks

I have decided to use Windows Azure as my lab environment because it is the fastest and most accessible way for me to work on this from anywhere in the world. I travel a lot so I want to be able to access the lab while on the road. This is a self-contained lab environment that for right now is just for my PowerShell learning. But it has the potential to be used for other lab scenarios and is completely expandable.

You can create your own Windows Azure Lab by following along. The first step is to get signed up for a Free Windows Azure Trial account here -

To create the lab environment, we have to build out a few different pieces -

Part 1 of 3 – Speed Build a Virtual Network

Part 2 of 3 - Create the base Virtual Machines (we will use 3 for our base lab)

Part 3 of 3 - Configure the Virtual Machines – One (1) Domain Controller and Two (2) Domain Joined Member Servers

Ongoing summary posts of what I learn as I read the book and learn more about PowerShell.

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Quick and dirty creation of what we need to establish the virtual machines we will use in the lab

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Create Storage Account

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In the lower left of the portal, select New –> Data Services –> Storage –> Quick Create

Fill in the following items using your own unique information except where specified -

URL – Unique DNS name for storage account

Location/Affinity Group – Use the Dropdown to select the affinity Group you created earlier

*** Remove the check box from Geo-Replication ***

Verify your information then click – Create Storage Account

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    Start building the virtual machines

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We are finally at the point where we will create the virtual machines we will use for our PowerShell training. I recommend creating Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview virtual machines because - 1) You get to see the new Windows Server and 2) the book suggests that some PowerShell functions are only available in Windows Server 2012 and later.

In the lower left of the portal, select New –> Compute –> Virtual Machine –> From Gallery

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Choose an appropriate virtual machine template. Again, I suggest using Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

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Fill in the following items using your own unique information except where specified -

Virtual Machine Name – Unique DNS name for VM

*** Important *** - This first virtual machine will be used as a domain controller. This is important because the network configuration we made in Part 1 comes into play here. As such, you should give this VM a name that easily identifies it as a domain controller.

Size – Small (1 Core….)

New User Name – You must provide an administrative account user name *** Do NOT forget this name! ***

Passwords - ** Do NOT forget this ***

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Fill in the following items using your own unique information except where specified -

Cloud Service – Create a new cloud service

Cloud Service DNS Name – Unique DNS name for your cloud service

Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network*** Important *** Be sure to choose the VIRTUAL NETWORK name that you created above, otherwise, networking may not function properly 

Virtual Network Subnets – 10.0.0.0/23

Storage Account – Use the storage account name we created above

Availability Set – (none)

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Do not make any changes on this next page.

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Click the Check Box in the lower right to create the virtual machine.

 

At this point, we have created everything we need for the lab. However, I would like to use 3 total machines in my Lab – One Domain Controller, Two Domain Joined Servers to use as workstations. To create the additional two machines, just repeat the process above two more times.

*** Important *** - If you will not actively be using the virtual machines, be sure to shut down the VM’s so they do not use up time on your trial. 

Congratulations!  You now you have the bare minimum configuration to run your PowerShell Lab for testing and learning as well as some hands-on experience with Windows Azure! In the next post we will go a bit further and create a Domain Controller and Join some additional machines to the domain so we can better simulate a real network environment. I want to be able to apply what I am learning to the real world so I want a more realistic network.

 

-Cheers!