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Now that Windows Azure Infrastructure Services has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built in the cloud for studying, testing, demos, developer environments and/or performing a proof-of-concept for production usage. You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.
This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE Trial Offer to get started building a free Dev/Test lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud. Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 with your free trial subscription for Windows Azure.
Note: If you are testing advanced SharePoint 2013 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 SharePoint web and application server VMs. To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels after your free trial has concluded, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.
To deliver a functional and expandable lab environment, this article provides step-by-step details for provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure VMs that will require three (3) VMs on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network. Watch this short video for a quick primer on the configuration we'll be using:
In this lab, we’ll be using a naming convention of XXXlabYYY01, where XXX will be replaced with your unique initials and YYY will be replaced with an abbreviation representing the function of a virtual machine or Windows Azure configuration component (ie., ad, db or app).
The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to:
Register the internal IP address that our domain controller VM will be using for Active Directory-integrated Dynamic DNS services by performing the following steps:
Define a common virtual network in Windows Azure for running Active Directory, Database and SharePoint virtual machines by performing the following steps:
Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run a Windows Server Active Directory domain controller in a new Active Directory forest by performing the following steps:
The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.
Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SQL Server 2012 by performing the following steps:
Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and update default folder locations to the F: volume.
In order to allow SharePoint to connect to the SQL Server, you will need to add an Inbound Rule for the SQL Server requests in the Windows Firewall. To do this, open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security from Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools.
Select Inbound Rules node, right-click it and select New Rule to open the New Inbound Rule Wizard.
In the Rule Type page, select Port and click Next.
In Protocols and Ports page, leave TCP selected, select Specific local ports, and set its value to 1433. Click Next to continue.
In the Action page, make sure that Allow the connection is selected and click Next.
In the Profile page, leave the default values and click Next.
In the Name page, set the Inbound Rule's Name to SQLServerRule and click Finish
Close Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window.
After the server restarts, connect again via Remote Desktop to the server’s console and login with the local Administrator credentials defined above in Step 5.
Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and add the CONTOSO\Administrator user to SQL Server with the Sysadmin server role selected.
Expand Security folder within the SQL Server instance. Right-click Logins folder and select New Login.
In the General section, set the Login name to CONTOSO\Administrator, and select the Windows Authentication option.
Click Server Roles on the left pane. Select the checkbox for the Sysadmin server role.
Click the OK button and close SQL Server Management Studio.
Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SharePoint Server 2013 by performing the following steps:
In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and select IE Enhanced Security Configuration. Turn off enhanced security for Administrators and click the OK button. Note: Modifying Internet Explorer Enhanced Security configurations is not good practice for production environments and is only for the purpose of this particular step-by-step lab guide.
On the Desktop, double-click on the SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard shortcut to launch the configuration wizard. Click the Next button to continue. If prompted to start or reset services, click the Yes button.
The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide. Be sure to shutdown your lab VMs from the Windows Azure Management Portal when not in use to save on compute charges.
If you'd like a copy of the 16-Page Step-by-Step Lab Guide and 130-line PowerShell Provisioning Script that is associated with this article for reference when building our your own SharePoint Server 2013 Lab in the Cloud ... just follow the easy steps below to get it sent to you!
You'll receive an email in response with your 16-Page Lab Guide Attached, the 130-line PowerShell Provisioning Script and additional FREE resources for continued learning about Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Now that your SharePoint Server 2013 lab environment is running in the cloud, be sure to explore the resources below to continue your learning:
Be sure to check out these additional resources:
Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. 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.