Ways to create a SharePoint 2013 in Azure dev/test or IT testing environment


Hey SharePoint and Azure fans,

With the publication of the Set up a SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud for testing topic, I thought I would step back and summarize the different ways that you can create an environment for testing or developing an application for a SharePoint Server 2013 farm running in Microsoft Azure.

The four main configurations are:

  • Basic configuration of the SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal
  • High availability configuration of the SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal
  • SharePoint 3-tier farm in Azure Test Lab Guide (TLG)
  • SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud

Basic configuration of the SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal

With the SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal, you can create a simple, 2-tier SharePoint farm easily by specifying very few configuration settings and letting the Preview Portal perform the computer and farm configuration for you.

  

The intended use for this configuration is an Internet-facing test farm using a cloud-only Azure virtual network. This farm is not connected back to your organization network through a site-to-site VPN connection.

High availability configuration of the SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal

The SharePoint Server Farm template in the Azure Preview Portal also allows you to create a high-availability, 3-tier SharePoint farm, complete with a SQL Server cluster and an AlwaysOn availability group. This can save you a lot of configuration time, but you will need an Azure subscription that supports the number of servers and cores in this configuration.

  

Like the basic configuration above, the intended use for this configuration is an Internet-facing test farm using a cloud-only Azure virtual network. This farm is not connected back to your organization network through a site-to-site VPN connection.

SharePoint 3-tier farm in Azure Test Lab Guide

The SharePoint 3-tier farm in Azure TLG builds a simple 3-tier farm, complete with a client computer, and is an Azure-based alternative to building a SharePoint test lab using on-premises computers or virtual machines.

  

The intended use of this configuration is an intranet test farm using a cloud-only Azure virtual network. It emulates an intranet farm relative to the CLIENT1 computer, rather than from your organization intranet. Unlike the SharePoint Server Farm template configurations, there is no Internet access to the resources of the SharePoint farm.

The advantage to this configuration is that you can use a set of existing SharePoint TLGs to configure permissions, authentication, profile synchronization, and social networking. For more information, see SharePoint Server 2013 Test Lab in Azure.

SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud

The SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud topics build a simple 2-tier farm, complete with a simplified on-premises organization network containing a domain controller and client computer.

  

The intended use of this configuration is an intranet test farm using a cross-premises Azure virtual network. It emulates an intranet farm relative to the CLIENT1 computer on your simplified on-premises network. There is no Internet access to the SharePoint farm.

The advantage to this configuration is the inclusion of a site-to-site VPN connection and the ability to experience the performance and administration of an emulated intranet SharePoint farm relative to your location on the Internet.

 

Hopefully, these topics and facilities will fit your needs for either a quick and easy SharePoint farm test or development environment in the cloud or a hosted configuration where you can do deeper learning and experimentation.

 

Enjoy!

 

Joe Davies


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