I love to write blog posts for beginners. Maybe because, I always feel happy and energized when I stumble upon a helpful blog post when I am learning a new subject. In this post, I will introduce you to AutoSPInstaller (http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com/ ), the framework for installing and configuring SharePoint using automated scripts. It is a great toolkit - whether for a test farm or a high-end production environment - AutoSPInstaller can save you time, effort, and bring consistency and predictability to your SharePoint works. Let's get started.
So what is AutoSPInstaller? it is a set of scripts, xml configuration files, and batch files to automate the installation and configuration of a SharePoint farm. From the AutoSPInstaller codeplex page:
"This project consists of PowerShell scripts, an XML input file, and a standard windows batch file (to kick off the process) which together provide a quick and near-unattended installation and initial configuration (Service Apps, My Sites) of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010/2013. Works on Windows 2008 (though I hardly test on that OS these days), 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 (x64 only of course).
Perfect for repeated Virtual Machine-based installs/tear-downs, etc., but also great for production installs where you want to guarantee consistency and minimize data entry glitches. The immediate value is for installing and configuring the first/only server in a farm, but also supports using either server-specific input files or a single, all-encompassing input file for running the script on all farm servers (with parameters - e.g. for the service apps - set according to your desired topology).
"But doesn't SharePoint 2010 have a nice wizard now that does all this for me??" - Yes, and it's a huge improvement over what was available in MOSS 2007. However if you've ever seen the 'DBA nightmare' left behind on your SQL server after the Farm Configuration Wizard has completed (GUID'ed databases with inconsistent naming, etc.):"
Two other tools support AutoSPInstaller which are the following:
- AutoSPSourceBuilder: which is a "utility for building a SharePoint 2010 / 2013 install source including prerequisites, service packs, language packs & cumulative updates". See http://autospsourcebuilder.codeplex.com/
- AutoSPInstallerGUI: which is a light-weight desktop tool used to edit the input configuration file of AutoSPInstaller. See https://autospinstallergui.codeplex.com/
So how does AutoSPInstaller works:
1. You download the AutoSPInstaller package and extract it. You get one folder "SP" and in this folder there are 3 subfolders:
- AutoSPInstaller, which has the scripts
- 2010, a folder where you place your SharePoint 2010 prerequisites, core binaries, and service packs, CUs, etc... (in case you are installing 2010)
- 2013, a folder where you place your SharePoint 2013 prerequisites, core binaries, and service packs, CUs, etc... (in case you are installing 2013)
2. You place the SharePoint prerequisites, core binaries, SPs, and CUs, etc... in their respective subfolders in the master folder of the version of choice (see above). Note: use AutoSPSourceBuilder to slipstream - build the source files.
3. You create all the prerequisite service accounts and install/configure SQL Server.
4. You modify the input file, which is AutoSPInstallerInput according to the desired topology, service accounts, web applications, service apps, etc...
5. You run the batch file AutoSPInstallerLaunch.bat and it works like magic. AutoSPInstaller will execute the file AutoSPInstallerMain and the referenced ps1 files and build/configure the farm.
Now, I have simplified the whole process in a few steps, but make sure to follow the SharePoint setup/configuration best practices and prepare everything needed for the farm in advance.
The AutoSPInstaller team did a great job and most of the problems/glitches you will run into are listed in the tool's codeplex site. This is an awesome tool and I recommend it for your SharePoint deployments.