Creating SharePoint 2013 Farms on Windows Azure

Windows Azure

Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure before March 25, 2014) is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.

To find more please visit http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/what-is-azure/

For free training please check Azure Training Kit and the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

MSDN and Windows Azure Subscription

A Windows azure subscription is required. There are two options for you to get it.

  • Use a Trial Account
  • Use your company provide MSDN Account.

Getting a company provided MSDN Subscription with activating Windows Azure

  1. Request to request your official MSDN Subscription
  2. You will get confirmation email in 2 to 3 days that your account has will get subscription email with a link to activate your subscription.


  1. Once activated click on My Account Activate Windows Azure


Fill up the farm and validate your account by Text or call me. It will take couple of minutes for this process to complete.


Windows Azure Trial

  1. While you wait for the Company provided MSDN you can still get a trail to perform this testing. You need to go to http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
  2. Click Try it now.
  3. You have to login with your Microsoft Live account.
  4. Enter your information and verify that you are a human using SMS or Call me


Logging into Windows Azure Portal

There are two portals for Windows Azure.

Traditional Portal

Preview Portal

This is a the traditional portal that provides access to Windows Azure objects. Please note that understanding or core services is required to use this portal. This preview portal is more automated and User interface has been enhanced to provide more control over your cloud based environments but allow you to configure things quickly without going to small details.
https://manage.windowsazure.com https://portal.azure.com/

Note: For this lab we will be using the preview portal.


SharePoint Farm Types

There are two options to create the SharePoint Farm.

  1. A basic two tier SharePoint 2013 farm
    1. Single SharePoint Server
    2. Single SQL Server
    3. Single Domain Controller


  1. Highly available SharePoint Farm.
    1. 2 SharePoint WFEs
    2. 2 SharePoint APP Servers
    3. 2 SQL (Extra SQL for Always-on Availability)
    4. 2 Domain Controllers


Let’s create the highly available farm first then we can delete and create the small farm topology. If you want to create a small farm please skip this and go to Creating Small farm.

Creating a Highly Available Farm

Click on New Button with


We need to have naming convention for this Farm.

Resource Group
Resource Group
User Name
Password
 Highly Available
Domain Controllers

Scroll down and click on Domain Controllers.

Host Name Prefix Set to Unique name. I am using –DC Next to my Host name prefix for better understanding. You can leave it as is if you want.
Forest Root Domain Enter any name of your choice. I used proctorgamble.com
Pricing Tier Click on Standard A1 to see the description of server used for this server. Click “SELECT”
Click OK in domain Controllers Section
Configuring SQL Servers
Enter Host Name prefix e.g. HPSQL14-HA (Must be Unique). You can leave it as is if you want.
Click Pricinging Tier if you want to change the server types.

You can use the same password as administrator or your new. You can also change the service account for SQL Server.

Click OK
Configuring SharePoint Servers
Enter a unique Host name prefix.

  1. Enter setup user account e.g. svc_spadmin_01
  2. Enter Farm Account as svc_spfarm_01
  3. Leave the use the administrator password checked.
  1. Click OK.
Review Virtual Network, Storage, diagnostic area.

I do not recommend making any changes here as you are creating a test farm.

Click OK.
Location

Choose the location that is nearest to your environment. I am in eastern US so I am choosing it.

Click OK.
Click Create

This process can take around 1 to 2 hours as Windows Azure will Provision all these servers for you. To see the actual progress if you open the Triditional Azure Portal you will see something like this.

Once the process is complete. You will see the following on the home of Azure Portal. Click on the Icon to see description.


To find details of Servers and other services involved click on Resources Icon on top of the page.

To Access Central Administration and Root Site collection created for you Click on Deployment History Microsoft.SharePointFarm

Copy the Central Administration Url and paste it in browser
Please note that the farm will not have any service application.
Opening the Site Collection

Copy the Site Collection Url and paste it browser window.


   

Enter the Setup User

Choose Team Site and Click OK.


Site Collection will be created in few minutes

Click OK on Setup Group Page


If you want to Login to a Virtual Machine using Remote Desktop for better performance and easy access to SharePoint Resource.

Click on Virtual Machine Then Click on the VM you want to Connection

Click On Connection from Left Top of the VM



Enter User Name and password when Prompted.

Press Windows Button and type “SharePoint” and Click on SharePoint Central Administration


Click on Manage Servers in the Farm Once Central Administration Shows up.

VM Also got internet so you can download anything and practice.

The response time for opening site collection on the server will also be very quick on the Remote Desktop.

Deleting the Highly Avaiable Farm

As you do not want your 150 USD Credit to Finish faster you can delete the Farm after testing. Simply Click Farm Name and then Click Delete from top Link. The farm and all its services will be delete automatically. (Leaving Farm running will charge you)

Now For Confirmation you have to type the Resource Group Name

Click Delete

Notification area will show the link

Creating a Small Farm

  1. Click New SharePoint Server Farm
    1. Enter Resource Group name
    2. Enter User Name and password.
    3. DO NOT Check Enable High Availability
Click on Domain Controllers

Enter Forest Root Domain Name

Click OK.

Click on SQL Server

Change anything if needed.

Click On SharePoint Servers and Change anything if required.


Click OK.

Change Location to your preffered location.

Leave all cofiguration as default. Click Create.

You could see that my two farms are now being provisioned. I will check back in 1 hour to see the status.

Notification aread will show successed once done.

Go to Page 14 to read about how to connect to your Site Collection and Central Administration.
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