I spend a lot of time working with partners and customers to set up and perform demos of Microsoft products and technologies.
In many cases, we are looking at features that are purely cloud-based – such as Skype for Business Cloud PBX or PSTN Conferencing. When that’s the case, I go to the Office 365 tenant that I have set up for my own testing and show everyone where things are configured or what features are available.
Occasionally, though, I am asked to set up a demo for a more complex type of environment that involves a set of virtual machines or a cloud product like Enterprise Mobility + Security.
I used to manually set up the lab virtual machines on my laptop, but I found a great new resource, called the cloud adoption Test Lab Guides. These guides let me build the environment in Microsoft Azure using a documented and scripted process. There are Test Lab Guides for setting up demonstration or dev/test environments for Office 365, the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Office Server products.
For example, if I want to demonstrate how a highly-available Microsoft SharePoint 2016 farm would be configured, the Test Lab Guide walks me through building an Azure environment that looks like this:
It’s a great option for those scenarios where you need to build a testing environment or as a way of demonstrating a product for customers. Advantages to this approach include:
- It frees up laptop resources. Virtual machines tend to be storage hogs and I have a limited amount of CPU and RAM available for building out scenarios
- I can access it from anywhere since the machines are in the cloud
- It gives me the chance to get more hands-on experience with Azure
You can build this in your own Azure environment so you always have a demo environment ready to go, or you can build it in your customer’s Azure environment as a leave-behind for them to play with. That also gives you the opportunity to talk to them about moving their existing on-premises workloads to Azure, or using Azure as a backup and recovery location, setting up test and dev environments in Azure, and many other scenarios.
The team that’s responsible for creating the cloud adoption Test Lab Guides is constantly creating new scenarios, so check back frequently to see which new scenarios they’ve created.