SharePoint 2013 on Azure-it is easy now to try it out


Since some time we have more and more ways to host our SharePoint:

– On-premises in an own datacenter, server-room or another place where we have a cold room with good infrastructure to get power and network.
– Third-Party vendor offers it as a service to let SharePoint run in they datacenter.
and a couple of other ways matching your business needs.

Last but not least our SharePoint Online running on Office365 or dedicated services offered by Microsoft.

What’s about: I have an idea and want to try it out, but we do not have enough space in our Virtual Environment where all our Servers are running? The answer is easy now and will also not take you budget to the bottom. Lent some resources on Azure, would be the answer and next question is from where I get licenses etc. I would need to Activate those virtual machines? It’s included I would say when you go the way I am describing now:

Prerequisites:
– You have already an Azure subscription.
– You will use the trial period to test how it works.
– You have an MSDN Enterprise subscription. With this you can work a month with a budget of 150 USD, so it would need some steps to not reach the bottom before the month comes to an end.

Remark: This post explains how it works today and due to our fast-changing IT world it might happen that the steps are different in the future and the Offers on Azure as well.

Make you familiar with Azure: http://azure.microsoft.com/

Manage your MSDN Enterprise subscription: https://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/manage/

We will start here: https://portal.azure.com/

Click the image on the left side.

You will see: image and click it.

What does it contain?
– Domain Controller with DNS onboard to manage IP addresses for the virtual environment. No DNS manage UI and also no Manage User and Computer UI. Use PowerShell instead.
– SQL Server to store the SharePoint data. Here we will have the SQL Management Console.
– SharePoint 2013 SP1, preconfigured and already contains a Central Admin site.

 

Enter all fields similar to my example:

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Give it a Name you want to identify your SharePoint on Azure Manage Portal.

This login-alias will be used as the Enterprise Admin in your own Forest/Domain; not the “Administrator”. Remember: when using contoso.com as the AD Domain, the login will be contoso\MyName later.          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
         

 

Now we are going through each section to check customizations:

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Host Name Prefix:
This unique identifier is appended with the virtual machine type suffix to create a unique name for your virtual machine.

This Active Directory Domain name is used internal only and has nothing to do how (http://…) you access the environment from anywhere.           

Using Pricing Standard A1 should be OK when everything runs fine, but I gave all machines more RAM until it has been built up. Suggestion by me is to use Standard A2.

 

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A5 is OK to build everything up and later could be D2 enough for that machine.

That service account will automatically created and set for SQL.

 

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A2 is Ok to build the machine, later D2 might be enough when not using Search Service Application. Otherwise it depends on your scenario.

That service account will automatically created and set for SharePoint.

That service account will automatically created and set for SharePoint.

 

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Some basic network things.

 

A storage account is needed to store the VM’s virtual hard disks. Click on it to enlarge the picture.

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Using default settings for Diagnostic until you need more information.

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Now where you want to let the environment run?

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Once the environment has been built, takes ~1.5h, you should be able to connect to the machines and test your scenario(s). Please have in your mind that these machines are for testing and to understand as Trial versions, rather than to migrate these to a production environment later. To reach the SharePoint Server 2013 from anywhere I created a HNSC (host-named-site-collection) and had no issues regarding the AAM settings. You want to use SSL? That may create issues because of the used domain cloudapp.net, but we never know what comes in the future to also ask for those certificates. In case you want to use your own DNS server hosting your own domain MyOwnDomain.com, feel free to configure it. There are so many ways to configure a SharePoint environments, please excuse me that this is just one little example, but an easy, cheap and a very fast one.

You may go to https://manage.windowsazure.com and manage from there a shutdown or start, also to save money when machines are not running over-night/weekend.

Other ways to manage start and shutdown of Azure VM’s is using PowerShell. So I did it this way; color coding comes from PowerShell-ISE:

# First you need the certificate so that the access is easy using PowerShell

# More please check here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn495224.aspx

# Load the certificate

Import-AzurePublishSettingsFile -PublishSettingsFile "C:\MyOwnFolder\Azure\Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN-1-5-2015-credentials.publishsettings"

 

# Stop all machines; may be need to check whether one is down then the next one can be called to shutdown.

# There will be an additional dialog, click Yes and the resources are completely down at lowest cost you can get.

Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare" -Name "MyOwnShare-SP" # Stop the SP box

 

Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare-SQL" -Name "MyOwnShare-SQL" # Stop the SQL box

 

Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare-DC" -Name "MyOwnShare-DC" # Stop the DC box

 

 

# Start the machines one by one.

Start-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare-DC" -Name "MyOwnShare-DC"

Start-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare-SQL" -Name "MyOwnShare-SQL"

Start-AzureVM -ServiceName "MyOwnShare" -Name "MyOwnShare-SP"

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