Step-by-Step: Build a FREE SharePoint 2013 Dev/Test Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services


RECENT UPDATES:

  • This Step-by-Step Guide has been leveraged to define a new Windows Azure Deployment Planning Service ( AZDPS ) for Microsoft Partners and Customers: Implementing Develop and Test Scenarios on Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Customers can now engage authorized partners for planning and delivery of this solution AND customers with Software Assurance ( SA ) benefits attached to a Volume Licensing ( VL ) agreement can leverage SA to pay for all or part of this partner engagement.  You can find full details on this new AZDPS offer at:
     
    Windows Azure Deployment Planning Service: Implementing Develop and Test Scenarios on Windows Azure Virtual Machines
     
    You can find a partner that is authorized to deliver this service at the Software Assurance Planning Service Providers portal page below:
     
    Software Assurance Planning Service Providers
     
  • At the end of this step-by-step article, I’ve also included a downloadable lab guide and130-line PowerShell script for initial provisioning.  The PowerShell script helps to reduce the initial configuration time by automating the provisioning of a new Windows Azure Storage account, Virtual Network and Virtual Machines – after running the script, you’ll just need to Remote Desktop into each VM to finish the OS and application-level configuration tasks. 

Hope you enjoy!


Get Started with your Lab in the Cloud for FREE!

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. 

Configuring SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services

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).

Prerequisites

The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:

  • A Windows Azure subscription with the Virtual Machines Preview enabled.
     
    DO IT: Sign up for a FREE Trial of Windows Azure
     
    NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time. 
     
  • Completion of the Getting Started tasks in the following article:
     
    DO IT: Getting Started with Servers in the Cloud
     
  • This step-by-step guide assumes that the reader is already somewhat familiar with configuring Windows Server Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint Server in an on-premise installation. This guide focuses on the unique aspects associated with configuring these components on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
     

Let’s Get Started!

In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to:

  • Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure
  • Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure
  • Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM

Exercise 1: Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure

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:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Register DNS Server.
     
  4. Complete the DNS Server fields as follows:
     
    NAME: XXXlabdns01
    DNS Server IP Address: 10.0.0.4
     
  5. Click the REGISTER DNS SERVER button.

Exercise 2: Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure

Define a common virtual network in Windows Azure for running Active Directory, Database and SharePoint virtual machines by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Quick Create.
     
  4. Complete the Virtual Network fields as follows:
     
    NAME: XXXlabnet01
    Address Space: 10.—.—.—
    Maximum VM Count: 4096 [CIDR: /20]
    Affinity Group: Select the Affinity Group defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    Connect to Existing DNS: Select XXXlabdns01 – the DNS Server registered in Exercise 1 above.
     
  5. Click the CREATE A VIRTUAL NETWORK button.

Exercise 3: Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM

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:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
     
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select Windows Server 2012 Datacenter and click the Next button.
     
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:
     
    Version Release Date: Select the latest version release date to build a new VM with the latest OS updates applied.
    Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabad01 
    New User Name: Choose a secure local Administrator user account to provision.
    New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    Size: Small (1 core, 1.75GB Memory)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     
    Note: It is suggested to use secure passwords for Administrator users and service accounts, as Windows Azure virtual machines could be accessible from the Internet knowing just their DNS.  You can also read this document on the Microsoft Security website that will help you select a secure password: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/passwords-create.aspx.
     
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:
     
    Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    DNS Name: XXXlabad01.cloudapp.net
    Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.
     
    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
     
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabad01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
     
  9. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabad01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page located on the right-side of the page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.4
     
    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
     
  10. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabad01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:
     
    Name: XXXlabad01-data01
    Size: 10 GB
    Host Cache Preference: None
     
    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabad01.
     
  11. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabad01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
     
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabad01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.  This volume will be used for NTDS DIT database, log and SYSVOL folder locations.
     
    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Configure Local Storage
     
  13. Using the Server Manager tool, install Active Directory Domain Services and promote this server to a domain controller in a new forest with the following parameters:
     
    Active Directory Forest name: contoso.com
    Volume Location for NTDS database, log and SYSVOL folders: F:
     
    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory
     
  14. After Active Directory has been installed, create the following user accounts that will be used when installing and configuring SharePoint Server 2013 later in this step-by-step guide:

    CONTOSO\sp_farm – SharePoint Farm Data Access Account
    CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps – SharePoint Farm Service Applications Account
     
    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 4: Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SQL Server 2012 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
     
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select SQL Server 2012 SP1 Enterprise and click the Next button.
     
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows: 

    Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabdb01 
    New User Name: Choose a secure local Administrator user account to provision.
    New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    Size: Medium (2 cores, 3.5GB Memory)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     

  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:
     
    Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    DNS Name: XXXlabdb01.cloudapp.net
    Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.
     
    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
     
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabdb01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
     
  9. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabdb01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.5
     
    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
     
  10. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabdb01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:
     
    Name: XXXlabdb01-data01
    Size: 50 GB
    Host Cache Preference: None
     
    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabdb01.
     
  11. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabdb01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
     
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabdb01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume. After formatting this new volume, create the following folders:
     
    1. Create F:\MSSQL folder
       
    2. Create F:\MSSQL\DATA folder
       
    3. Create F:\MSSQL\LOGS folder
       
    4. Create F:\MSSQL\BACKUP folder
  13. 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.

    1. Connect to the SQL Server 2012 default instance using your Windows Account.
       
    2. Now, you will update the database’s default locations for DATA, LOGS and BACKUP folders. To do this, right click on your SQL Server instance and select Properties.
       
    3. Select Database Settings from the left side pane.
       
    4. Locate the Database default locations section and update the default values for each path to point to the new folder paths defined above in Step 12.
       
    5. Close SQL Server Management Studio.
  14. 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.

    1. Select Inbound Rules node, right-click it and select New Rule to open the New Inbound Rule Wizard.

    2. In the Rule Type page, select Port and click Next.

    3. In Protocols and Ports page, leave TCP selected, select Specific local ports, and set its value to 1433. Click Next to continue.

    4. In the Action page, make sure that Allow the connection is selected and click Next.

    5. In the Profile page, leave the default values and click Next.

    6. In the Name page, set the Inbound Rule’s Name to SQLServerRule and click Finish

    7. Close Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window.

  15. Using the Server Manager tool, join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. Expand Security folder within the SQL Server instance. Right-click Logins folder and select New Login.

    2. In the General section, set the Login name to CONTOSO\Administrator, and select the Windows Authentication option.

    3. Click Server Roles on the left pane.  Select the checkbox for the Sysadmin server role.

    4. Click the OK button and close SQL Server Management Studio.

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 5: Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SharePoint Server 2013 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
     
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select SharePoint Server 2013 Trial and click the Next button.
     
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows: 
      
    Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabapp01 
    New User Name: Choose a secure local Administrator user account to provision.
    New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    Size: Large (4 cores, 7GB Memory)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:
     
    Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    DNS Name: XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net
    Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)
     
    Click the Next button to continue.
     
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.
     
    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
     
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabapp01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
     
  9. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabapp01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.6
     
    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, and go back to Exercise 2,  Exercise 3 and Exercise 4 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly. 
     
  10. On the virtual machine Dashboard page for XXXlabapp01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above. 
     
  11. In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and click on the Workgroup option.  Join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
     
  12. After the server restarts, re-establish a Remote Desktop connection to the server and logon with the CONTOSO\Administrator domain user credentials defined earlier in Exercise 3.
  13. 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.

  14. 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. 

  15. In the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard, when prompted on the Connect to server farm dialog, select the option to Create a new server farm.
     
  16. On the Specify Configuration Database Settings, specify the following values for each field:
     
    Database Server: XXXlabdb01
    Username: CONTOSO\sp_farm
    Password: Type the password specified when the sp_farm domain user account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
     
  17. Click the Next > button and accept all other default values in the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.  Click the Finish button when prompted to complete the wizard.
     
  18. The SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web page should launch automatically.  When prompted, click the Start the Wizard button to begin the Initial Farm Configuration Wizard.
     
  19. When prompted for Service Account, type the CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps domain username and password specified when this account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
     
  20. Accept all other default values and click the Next > button to continue.
     
  21. On the Create a Site Collection page, create a new top-level Intranet site collection using the following field values:
     
    Title and Description: Enter your preferred Title and Description for the new site collection
    URL: Select the root URL path – http://XXXlabapp01/
    – Select experience version:
    2013
    Select a template: Publishing | Publishing Portal
     
    Click the OK button to provision a new top-level Intranet site collection. 
     
    After the new top-level Intranet site collection is provisioned, test navigating to the URL for this site collection from within the Remote Desktop session to the server.
     
  22. On the SharePoint 2013 Central Administration site, configure a Public URL alternate access mapping for accessing the new top-level Intranet site collection from the Internet.
     
    1. On the Central Administration site home page, click the Configure alternate access mappings link.
       
    2. On the Alternate Access Mappings page, click the Edit Public URLs link.
       
    3. On the Edit Public Zone URLs page, select and specify the following values:
       
      Alternate Access Mapping Collection: SharePoint – 80
      Internet: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net
       
      Click the Save button to complete the Alternate Access Mapping configuration.
       
  23. Close the Remote Desktop session to the server.
     
  24. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free Windows Azure Trial.
     
  25. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
     
  26. On the Virtual Machines page, click on the name of the SharePoint virtual machine – XXXlabapp01.
     
  27. On the XXXlabapp01 virtual machine details page, click on Endpoints in the top navigation area of the page.
     
  28. Click the +Add Endpoint button in the bottom navigation bar of the page to define a new virtual machine endpoint that will permit HTTP web traffic inbound to the SharePoint virtual machine. 
     
  29. On the Add an endpoint to a virtual machine form, select the Add Endpoint option and click the Next button to continue.
     
  30. On the Specify the details of the endpoint form, specify the following field values:
     
    Name: WebHTTP
    Protocol: TCP
    Public Port: 80
    Private Port: 80
     
    Click the Checkmark button to create a new endpoint definition that will permit inbound web traffic to the SharePoint virtual machine.
     
  31. After the endpoint configuration has been successfully applied, test browsing to the following public URL to confirm that you are able to access the Intranet site collection that is configured on SharePoint:
     
    URL: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net

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.

Get the associated 16-Page Step-by-Step Lab Guide and 130-line PowerShell Provisioning Script for FREE …

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!

  1. Activate a FREE Windows Azure Trial Evaluation Kit. ( You’ll need this to build out your own SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud )
     
  2. Shortly after activating your Windows Azure Evaluation Kit, you’ll receive an email titled “Welcome to 3-Month Free Trial”
     
  3. Forward the email received in Step 2 above to:
    EarlyExperts@Microsoft.com.

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.

What’s Next? Keep Learning!

Now that your SharePoint Server 2013 lab environment is running in the cloud, be sure to explore the resources below to continue your learning:

Comments (69)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Very good content. Good Job.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi HC,

    Great suggestion to add Office Web Apps to the scenario – I'll work on getting this step-by-step lab guide updated to accommodate this.

    Thanks!

    Keith

  3. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft announced in the TechEd Keynote that Azure no longer charges for stopped virtual machines. When a customer stops using one, billing stops. Also billing is now by the minute, instead of by the hour.

  4. Anonymous says:

    i am stuck here:

    16.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.

    error says "Access Denied" any help is appreciated

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Gaurav,

    No problem – if the only the October edition is available in your region, you can select that release instead.  The lab will still work fine.

    Best regards,

    Keith

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Gaurav,

    If you accidentally deleted the original VM, your virtual hard disks should still be sitting in your storage account ( on the Virtual Machines tab, check the Disks tab to confirm ).  When a VM is deleted, the VHDs are not automatically deleted.  If your VHDs are still present, you should be able to recreate the VM using the New->Compute->Virtual Machine->From Gallery->My Disks choice to save needing to reconfigure the VM from scratch.

    On the other hand, if you suspect that the OS inside a VM is not restarting properly, you can also use the Shutdown / Restart buttons on the bottom toolbar to attempt to force a shutdown and startup of the VM.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  7. Anonymous says:

    Excellent article!  You represent one of the giants upon whose shoulders I will be standing.  All credit goes back to you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great article. Worked like a charm! One question: I'm interested to extend this setup to work on SharePoint Development using Visual Studio. Is this fairly straightforward to do to an existing machine on your Azure server or do you have to start from a brand new server from the gallery?

    Thanks!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Devendra,

    If the VMs are completely deleted and do not appear in your Windows Azure Management Portal, there will be no accumulating compute charges for them.  If you're seeing something different, I recommend opening a ticket with the Windows Azure support team at http://www.windowsazure.com/…/contact, as they can review your subscription configuration with you.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Frank,

    What error or message are you receiving when running the Stop-AzureVM and Export-AzureVM cmdlets?

    Thanks!

    Keith

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Nik,

    Yes to all, except the SQL Cluster.  Today, clustering is not supported in Windows Azure, but you could certainly use an alternative to SQL Clustering, such as DB mirroring, etc to achieve a similar level of high availability for the database.  For load balancing the other roles, the approach would be to include each type of load balanced role ( wfe, app, etc ) inside a common Cloud Service definition for each role type.

    I'll see if I can writeup a more complex environment step-by-step in the near future.  In the meantime, let me know if I can assist with additional questions.

    Best regards,

    Keith

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sharad,

    Try performing an "iisreset /noforce" to see if that resolves the issue.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  13. Anonymous says:

    Awesome guide, thanks a bunch Keith! When I de-provision the VMs, there are 3 cloud services running. However, MSFT is still charging the cloud service compute hours. Is there a way to stop those cloud service?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi Keith,

    First, an excellent blog to learn to handle the many components in Azure. I was sailing fairly smoothly following your steps until in Exercise 4 Step 15 –  joining SQL VM to contoso.com domain

    In my case, I have actually used a different domain name, e.g. "MyDomain.com". The Domain Controller was setup in Exercise 3 without setting up the DNS server role. Now for some reason the SQL VM is unable to contact MyDomain.com when trying to join. I have verified the IP addresses of all the servers and it's been setup to start from 10.0.0.4 and following on. Would you have any idea why the SQL server behaves like this? Help is much appreciated.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Here is the complete error message:

    The following error occurred when DNS was queried for the service location (SRV) resource record used to locate an Active Directory Domain Controller (AD DC) for domain "MyDomain.com":

    The error was: "DNS name does not exist."

    (error code 0x0000232B RCODE_NAME_ERROR)

    The query was for the SRV record for _ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.MyDomain.com

    Common causes of this error include the following:

    – The DNS SRV records required to locate a AD DC for the domain are not registered in DNS. These records are registered with a DNS server automatically when a AD DC is added to a domain. They are updated by the AD DC at set intervals. This computer is configured to use DNS servers with the following IP addresses:

    10.0.0.4

    – One or more of the following zones do not include delegation to its child zone:

    MyDomain.com

    com

    . (the root zone)

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Regards, Sabs

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi Tárik,

    It sounds like Exercise 4, Step 15 may not have been performed?  Can you go back and confirm that the SQL Server VM has been joined to the CONTOSO Active Directory domain?

    Thanks!

    Keith

  16. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like it's hitting a different website in IIS other than your SharePoint – 80 web site.  Check that the correct Public URL is configured and verify that this public URL externally is resolving to the Public IP Address assigned to the SharePoint App VM.  You may also want to try performing an "iisreset /noforce" to reset IIS.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Once the VM's are de-provisioned, you'll be left with empty Cloud Services – these are the Cloud Services that previously hosted the VMs.  Because the Cloud Services are not running any active roles or VMs, there's no cost associated with these empty Cloud Services.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  18. Anonymous says:

    Great work Keith:

    couple of things I found:

    1. If you can't get your new VMs to join your newly setup domain, edit the network ipv4 settings to use your AD server as your DNS server.  Otherwise, for me at least, it wasn't able to find the domain. Likely to do with the way Azure provides DHCP/DNS outside of your AD server…

    2. I used the SQL2012 Server 2012 image for my SQL VM, which doesn't have the described start menu.  So I had to go via Charms | Search | Tag each SQL app and right-click add to Start/Taskbar. (note: I've not found a nice way to to this on my SurfaceRT, it kicks in the local charms….)

    Thanks

    Craig

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sabsync,

    Check your DNS Server configuration in the DNS Management tool that your domain is listed as an AD-integrated domain, is enabled for Dynamic DNS registration and that your Domain Controller points to itself for DNS name resolution. You may need to run ipconfig /registerdns on the Domain Controller to register the necessary DNS records.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi Marlon,

    Double-check to make sure that the C:ExportVMs folder exists.

    Thanks!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi Keith,

    I want to add functionality for my sites (mysites-XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net) and app hosting (apps-XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net). How do I create CNAME DNS recrods for these to point to XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net ? I look through almost every Aure window and could not find a way to add DNS records. Please advise.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hi LZandman,

    You are correct that compute charges no longer apply for Stopped VMs when they are shutdown via the portal – as announced on June 3rd at TechEd 2013.  As a result, the last exercise in this step-by-step guide is no longer required.

    However, this is conditional on how VMs are shutdown … get the full details at blogs.technet.com/…/windows-azure-virtual-machines-there-s-more-than-1-way-to-shutdown-a-vm.aspx

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi Essam,

    The re-provisioning script is included in my article above.  

    In terms of provisioning a new set of VMs completely from scratch via a script … this is now possible with the newly updated PowerShell module from Windows Azure.  If you haven't recently ( in the past few days ) downloaded the modules, be sure to download it again to get the latest module.  When provisioning a new VM, it automatically opens a PSRemoting endpoint into the VM OS itself so that you can write a single script that not only provisions the VMs and Virtual Networks, but also configures the OS and applications inside each VM.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hi Raut,

    If you want to run Visual Studio on a VM within Azure, I'd recommend preparing a new VM in your virtual network from the Windows Server 2012 platform image.  You'll likely want to customize it a bit to act more like a development client environment – check out my prior article at blogs.technet.com/…/step-by-step-building-a-free-windows-8-app-dev-lab-in-the-cloud-with-windows-azure-virtual-machines.aspx for the steps.  This article if primarily oriented towards setting up a Windows 8 App Development environment on Azure, but a full copy of Visual Studio with SharePoint development support could easily be substituted at the end of the article instead of using Visual Studio Express.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  25. Anonymous says:

    Very useful information. Thanks for Sharing this.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ralph,

    Thanks very much for your feedback and I'm sorry to hear that you ran into a bit a difficulty when exporting the VMs.  Based on your feedback, I've updated the last exercise to better highlight the note on confirming that the $ExportPath folder location exists, and I've also separated the snippets for exporting vs removing VMs into two separate snippets for safety.

    I'm glad that you enjoyed this lab!

    Best regards,

    Keith

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hi Tárik,

    That's the correct spot – you should've changed the domain to "contoso.com" and been prompted to enter your Active Directory admin credentials.  After restarting the SQL Server, it should be a member of the contoso.com domain.

    Try logging in via the RDP session to the SQL Server as CONTOSOAdministrator to make sure it's communicating properly with Active Directory.  The issue you're experiencing seems like it's not able to connect with the domain controller running in the AD virtual machine.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hi Frank,

    VM snapshots, per-se, are not currently supported on the Windows Azure Infrastructure Services platform.  However, you can perform BLOB storage snapshots using either the storage API or 3rd party tools, such as CloudXplorer.  However, these storage snapshot operations are only safe to perform when the VM is in a stopped state, because BLOB snapshots are not aware of VM and application state.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hi Tárik,

    It sounds like the SQL Server was not successfully added to the Active Directory domain.  Try removing the SQL Server from the domain, restart it, login as local Administrator, re-add to the AD domain, and restart again.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi Vishal,

    Azure defines a random public port to pass through RDP traffic to VMs  – by default, it is a high-numbered port that may be blocked outbound by some firewalls.  In the details of each VM on the Azure Management Portal, try editing the RemoteDesktop endpoint ( on the Endpoints tab ) and change the public port to 3389 or another port that your firewall is passing for outbound traffic.  After this change is saved, try establishing a connection again.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hi Rod,

    In exercise 4, step12 – try right-clicking on the disk and select the option to Initialize the disk and bring online.

    In exercise 4, step 15 – you can join to a domain using Server Manager by clicking on the Local Server page and then clicking on the link located next to the "WORKGROUP"

    Note, that you'll not want to store any persistent data on the D: volume of an Azure VM, as this volume is intended only for temporary storage files and does not persist if the VM is moved to another compute node in the future.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hi Keith,

    thank you very much for this wonderful explanation. It was very easy to follow, except one step: Eager to get it running I didn't pay attention to the line "confirm that the $ExportPath location" in Exercise 6. step 1, which resulted in having all these VMs deleted and no backup XML-file to restore it. It took quite a while and strange tools to get the orphaned VHDs going again, so maybe you could make it bold or write a line about how to restore it properly – I guess my proceedings are not recommendable.

    Many thanks, one of the best labs I've ever read.

    Ralph

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Double-check your settings in Exercise 4 to make sure you've given the sysadmin role to CONTOSOAdministrator and that your firewall rule is configured correctly.  Also, confirm the paths that you've set for the DATA and LOG folders and that these paths exist on the Database server.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mayk2,

    Make sure you've logged in to the Remote Desktop console on the SharePoint VM as CONTOSOAdministrator rather than your local Admin user account.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  35. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Dillon!

    I've updated the PowerShell code in the re-provisioning step above to reflect a change that's needed due to post GA updates of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.  This should correct the issue you were experiencing.  Let me know if you're successful.

    Thanks!

    Keith

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hi MSIH,

    To configure custom DNS entries for SharePoint 2013 running inside an Azure VM, you'd use the same general steps as when running SharePoint on-premise – configure additional A records in public DNS for the hostnames you wish to register, and then set up the appropriate hostnames as host headers for the new site collections and/or web apps.  If using different internal vs external hostnames, you'll need to configure alternate access mappings.

    In this case, Azure doesn't add any additional configuration complexity for setting this up – note that the VM itself will still be available by RDP'ing to the *.cloudapp.net public DNS name for administrative purposes as well.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  37. Anonymous says:

    Hi Hassan,

    Step through the following KB article to see if any of the issues explained track back to your environment:

    How to troubleshoot SQL Server Error 15401

    support.microsoft.com/…/324321

    Hope this helps!

    Keith

  38. Anonymous says:

    Great work, thanks a lot for sharing this

  39. Pratyush says:

    Very helpful. Got me started with Azure. Enjoying every bit of it !!

  40. azam says:

    Hi Keith

    Great article. Many thanks

    Azam

  41. rkeinc says:

    Keith,

    Great post and everything was going along great until step 12 and 15 of Exercise 4.  Could you please review my issues below and provide some help?  Thanks so much!

    (1) Exercise 4 step 12.  When I went to my Remote Desktop console for my labdb and when trying to format as a new partition F:NTFS volume on the additional data disk, I couldn't for the life of me do that.  The disk was there but I tried everything and the disks (I rebuild my labdb virtual and added 2 additional disks and still could not use them.  I went ahead and added the directories to the D: dirve and continued.  Any idea why that happened?

    (2) Exercise 4 step 15. I could not figure out how to join my server to the contoso.com domain.  I tried everything in "Server Manager" in my virtual and could not figure out how to join it.  Could you please help me?

    Thanks again for your help in advance.

    Sincerely,

    Rod (rkeinc@rke-inc.com)

  42. gaurav says:

    Keith – Thanks for this valuable information. I have one minor thing though:

    Instead of windows server 2012 December edition, I am able to see October edition in list of OS while creating new virtual machine. Is it a problem?

  43. Ganesh says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the great post.

  44. Internet facing site not working says:

    Thanks. I have configured everything and sites are working just fine. I have question at last step: I have created alternate access mappings and end point for making the site internet facing. When I am trying to open the internet site outside of VM and login with admin, it gives access denied page and sometimes it keeps on prompting for user id/pwd even if I entered it right. Am I missing something here.

    Thanks

  45. Nik Patel says:

    Great post.. I would love to give it a try. I wanted to see if you can install ADFS, Office Web Apps, and use SSL Certs in your SharePoint Lab environments in Azure.. Additionally, I am wondering if you build real world farm  with 2 load-balanced WFEs, 2 App Servers, 2 clustered SQL, 2 loadbalnced Office Web Apps in free trial or Are there any limitations on number of servers?

  46. Nik Patel says:

    Thanks Keith.. I guess we have no issues of number of servers running on free Azure trial as long as you adhere 105 hours of compute time per month… Great info..

  47. gaurav says:

    I have one ques: I have created all the VMs, but after some time I accidently deleted app VM from powershell commands. Now I have created new app VM and trying to run pre requisite installer. When the installer asks for the restart of the VM, it shows as restarting and gets disconnected. After that not able to connect to that VM. I am not sure if it is restarting properly. Can you please help here?

    Thanks Keith!

  48. Vishal says:

    Thanks for this great post. Very easy to follow and execute. I am stuck at point 11 where I am unable to Remotely access my VM. It gives me error "remote desktop can't connect to the remote computer for one of these reasons". I tried pinging the IP but it is giving request time out. I restarted the VM, doesn't help. tried a different listening port still didn't work.

  49. Marlon says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the post, everything works great except for Exercise 6. When I run the first script I get the following error for each server.

    Export-AzureVM : Could not find a part of the path 'C:ExportVMsExportAzureVM-msmlabapp01.xml'.

    At line:3 char:5

    +     Export-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM -Path $ExportPath

    +     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

       + CategoryInfo          : CloseError: (:) [Export-AzureVM], DirectoryNotFoundException

       + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.ServiceManagement.IaaS.ExportAzureVMCommand

    Do you have any ideas?

  50. gaurav says:

    Thanks Keith! Yes I was able to create that deleted VM again from the VHDs. I hope what ever I installed earlier on the VM will already be there.

  51. sarah says:

    Thanks for your post. When running the sharepoint wizard I get the message Failed to create the configuration database. Any ideas how to fix it?

  52. Frank says:

    Keith,

    I have ran your deprovision script over and over, and still cannot create the .xml file or stop the VM. And yes, the folder does exist.

    Any other suggestions you can provide would be grateful. If the VM is new, is there an allotted time I must wait in order to be able perform these steps, the scripts seems very basic.

    Thanks,

    Frank

  53. Frank says:

    It was my own issue, I discovered my servicname was not identical to my VM name, so I needed to create another variable for ServiceName and then all worked as expected.

    And I wasn't receiving any errors before, the script ran as though all was good. Too bad it hadn't indicated that there was no such ServiceName as my VM Name.

    And Thanks for the quick response.

  54. Frank says:

    One last questions, any suggestions on snapshots similar to they way HyperV does it? I know it can't be entirely the same, but it would be nice to somehow revert to another state.

  55. Essam says:

    Is it possible to share the re-provisioning script, and use it for creating a new environment directly instead of building it from scratch ?

  56. Dillon says:

    Hi Keith, fantastic post, thanks.

    I'm stuck on very last step. When I try to re-provision, I get an error

    "New-AzureVM : CurrentStorageAccount is not set. Use Set-AzureSubscription subname -CurrentStorageAccount storageaccount to set it"

    I tried Set-AzureSubscription and still get error.

    Suggestions? Thanks so much

  57. HC Hwa says:

    I like to add the Office Web App server into this Azure SharePoint lab environment as well.  Is there any step by step instruction on how to do that?  Thank you!

  58. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for great article!

    I have create VM's due to some problem i have deleted them and disks attached to the same also has been deleted but still the hours against them are getting accumulated.

    Can you please tell me what needs to be done?

    Thanks in advance.

    Devendra

  59. Randi1 says:

    Not sure why Frank's solution worked for me also, I must have mistyped my ad server name at some point, because it had a different service name.

    All of the troubleshooting was fun though, and I learned something. great article.

  60. Peter says:

    Hi Keith,

    this is a great series of steps you've provided and really useful for getting up to speed on Azure and SP2013.

    I was stuck for an hour or so on Exercise 4 – Step 15 – in case others are, the below may help:

    Problem: Couldn't connect the db server to the domain and the netlogon service was throwing errors on the AD DS server.  

    Solution: Added the DNS role to the AD DS server and starting the netlogon service(restarting if already started).

    Now the db server would connect to the domain.

    Regards, Peter

  61. Vipul Patel says:

    Excellent Lab. I will definitely give it a try within a week or so.

  62. Sharad says:

    Hi Keith,

    Very good post. Its very detailed. I am getting stuck right at end.

    For me everything worked as expected uptill Exercise 6 step 18. However when it is time to launch the SharePoint 2013 Central Administration, it indicates that there is server error. To see more details change the web.config settings. The port for admin is 20663. Any idea where things are going wrong. The wizard runs fine.

    Thanks

  63. Tárik says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thank you for the post, it's really helpful.

    I'm having a problem in Exercise 4 step 17. When I click OK i get the error message:

    Create failed for Login 'CONTOSOAdministrator'.  (Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo)

    An exception occurred while executing a Transact-SQL statement or batch. (Microsoft.SqlServer.ConnectionInfo)

    Any idea how to fix this?

    Thanks

  64. Tárik says:

    That might be the case. I wans't sure about that step.

    To perform step 15 I simply went to "Server Manager -> Local Server" and changed the "Domain" to contoso.com. Is that correct? Did i miss any action?

    Thanks for helping!

  65. Tárik says:

    Hi Keith,

    I believe step 15 was performed correctly then. The steps were exactly as you decribed.

    I tried logging in via the RDP session to the SQL Server as CONTOSOAdministrator and it didn't work. I checked one more detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to install the ADDS to make sure I did it properly and I couldn't find any mistake. Any help here?

    Thanks a lot for your time! I'm new to web development, sharepoint and MSSQL! Might be I'm making a pretty lame mistake. Sorry to bother you with this, but I need to learn this ASAP.

    Tárik

  66. hassan says:

    I am not sure my question got published hence asking again. Sorry if it duplicated.

    I am not able to add ContosoAdministrator to the SQL Server Login. Get following error. HassanLab is the domain I am using.

    Create failed for Login 'HASSANLABAdministrator'.  (Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo)

    ——————————

    Windows NT user or group 'HASSANLABAdministrator' not found. Check the name again. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 15401)

    I checked the server is in the HassanLab domain. Also checked on the AD server and the DB server shows up their as well. So I am assuming setting up of Domain for the DB server is working but now sure why I am not able to add HassanLabAdministrator. Is this a user that has to be explicitly created or am I just missing something big here.

    Please let me know what I am doing wrong. Thanks a ton.

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