Enable Cross-Premises Network Connectivity to Windows Azure with Windows Server 2012 R2

Editor’s note: In partnership with Microsoft Press, now celebrating their 30th year, MVPs have been contributing to an ongoing guest series on their official team blog. Today’s article is from Enterprise Security MVP Richard Hicks which is the 38th in the series.


If you are an IT professional, no doubt you have a lab environment to perform development, pre-production testing, quality assurance (QA), and many other things I’m sure. With the introduction of Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), IT pros can now leverage the flexibility and near-limitless capacity of the public cloud to serve this purpose much more effectively. However, lab environments often require access to resources and data not easily migrated to the cloud. In addition, if your testing requires specialized hardware configurations (e.g. multiple network adapters, hardware security modules, physical HBAs, etc.) then moving your entire lab to the cloud won’t be possible. You can, however, extend your lab environment to include resources in Windows Azure to provide additional capacity as needed. In this article I’ll demonstrate how you can use the site-to-site VPN feature of the Routing and Remote Access (RRAS) role in Windows Server 2012 R2 to serve as a gateway to enable cross-premises network connectivity between your on-premises lab network and your Windows Azure virtual networks. 

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 About the author

Richard Hicks (MCP, MCSE, MCTS, and MCITP Enterprise Administrator) is a network and information security expert specializing in Microsoft technologies. As a five-time Microsoft MVP, he has traveled around the world speaking to network engineers, security administrators, and IT professionals about Microsoft security solutions. Richard has nearly 20 years of experience working in large scale corporate computing environments and has designed and deployed perimeter defense and secure remote access solutions for some of the largest companies in the world. Richard is currently the Director of Sales Engineering for Iron Networks, a Microsoft OEM partner developing secure remote access, network virtualization, and converged cloud infrastructure solutions. You can keep up with Richard at www.richardhicks.com and follow him on Twitter @richardhicks.

About MVP Monday

The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

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