UPDATE: Now includes System Center 2012 SP1 CU2 along with the following new articles ...
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 ( “ConfigMgr 2012 SP1” ) offers lots of great new capabilities for IT Pros, but building a lab to evaluate, test and study ConfigMgr can be challenging if you don’t have spare hardware capacity in your data center. In this Step-by-Step Guide, I’ll walk through the steps that I used to build my ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 demo and study lab in the cloud on the Windows Azure platform.
This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE Trial Offer to build your lab environment for FREE in the cloud. Using the configuration outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a functional lab environment that will be accessible during the free trial period. After the free trial period is over, you can choose if you’d like to convert to a full paid subscription. If you choose to convert to a paid subscription, this lab environment will cost approximately $0.45 USD per hour of compute usage ( that’s right – just 45 cents per hour ) plus associated storage and networking costs ( which can typically be less than $10 USD per month for a lab of this nature ). These estimated costs are based on published Pay-As-You-Go pricing for Windows Azure that is current as of this article’s date.
NOTE: If you are testing advanced ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 scenarios and need more resources than available in the lab configuration below, you can certainly scale-up or scale-out elastically by provisioning larger VMs or additional VMs for distributed site system roles. To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.
In this Step-by-Step Guide, you will be provisioning a stand-alone ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 primary site server that is joined to an Active Directory domain.
Lab Scenario: ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 in the Cloud
Lab Scenario: ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 in the Cloud
This lab scenario will also serve as the basis for future Step-by-Step Guides where we’ll be expanding the configuration to encompass additional site system roles and capabilities.
In ConfigMgr 2012, a stand-alone primary site can support up to 100,000 clients. If you are testing a lab configuration that will need to scale beyond 100,000 clients when deployed in production, see Site and Site System Role Scalability for details on the supported scalability limits when choosing an alternate lab topology.
The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:
In this Step-by-Step Guide, you will complete the following exercises to configure a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 stand-alone primary site server as a cloud-based lab on the Windows Azure platform:
Estimated Time to Complete: 90 minutes
In this exercise, you will provision a new Windows Azure VM to run a Windows Server 2012 on the Windows Azure Virtual Network provisioned in the prior Step-by-Step Guides listed above in the Prerequisites section of this article.
You have completed the initial provisioning of a new virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
In this exercise, you will prepare this virtual machine with the prerequisites needed to successfully install System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 later in this Step-by-Step Guide.
The XXXlabcm01 virtual machine is now prepared for installing System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1.
In this exercise, you will install System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 on virtual machine XXXlabcm01 and configure it as a stand-alone primary site server.
The installation of XXXlabcm01 as a Configuration Manager stand-alone primary site server is now complete. Be sure to shutdown your lab VMs from the Windows Azure Management Portal when not in use to save on compute charges.
The installation and configuration of a new System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 stand-alone primary site server running on Windows Azure is now complete. To continue your learning about System Center 2012, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure, explore these other great resources:
Do you have an interesting or unique scenario that you are evaluating on the Windows Azure cloud platform? Feel free to leave your comments, feedback and ideas below to share across our IT Pro community!
Be sure to check out these additional resources:
Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Cloud and Enterprise platforms. Keith has over 20 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT Pros worldwide on design of enterprise technology solutions.
Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including Private Cloud, System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from VMware, IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.
You can contact Keith online at http://aka.ms/AskKeith.