Monday, May 12, 2014

Creating a SharePoint Virtual Machine in the Windows Azure Cloud

If you have an active MSDN Subscription, you already have the Windows Azure Cloud benefit available to you!

You can activate your MSDN Benefit by going into My Account and then clicking on the "Activate Microsoft Azure" link.

With this Windows Azure Cloud benefit, you have an allocation of a certain number of dollars a month (based on your subscription level) to use towards Windows Azure hosting including the creation of Virtual Machines such as a SharePoint Virtual Machine.

Below are the steps for how to create a SharePoint 2013 Virtual Machine in the Windows Azure Cloud:

  1. Log into the Windows Azure Cloud using your Windows Live ID at
  2. Click on the link in the navigation for Virtual Machines
  3. Click on the link to Create a Virtual Machine
  4. When presented with options for creating virtual machines, select the option "From Gallery"
  5. From the Gallery, you can then select a SharePoint Server 2013 Trial Virtual Machine
  6. Follow the steps in the Wizard to create your virtual machine
  7. Wait until the virtual machine has been provisioned and you should then be able to Remote Desktop into your virtual machine to begin configuring it further and using it!

Of course, the server is a Standalone installation and is therefore not part of a Domain.  In fact, only the SharePoint 2013 binaries have been installed on the system and the SharePoint installation has not even been configured!

Even SQL Server or SQL Server Express has not been installed on the system!
So, before you proceed with running the SharePoint Product Configuration Wizard to set up your SharePoint server, you will have to download and install SQL Server 2012 with SP1 (SQL Server 2012 Express with SP1 should be fine for a standalone installation):

NOTE: You will want to download either SQLEXPRWT_x64_ENU.exe or
SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe so that you get the SQL Server Express Engine as well as SQL Server Management Studio.

Once you have installed SQL Server 2012 installed, because the server belongs only to a workgroup, you will have to run the following PowerShell script:

$userName = "sp2013_service"

$password = "MySPp@ssword!"

$SPPassword = "MySPp@ssword!"

$DatabaseServer = "SP2013DEV"

$DatabaseName = "SharePoint_Config"


#Convert the passwords to Secure Strings

$FarmPassword = ConvertTo-SecureString -String $password -AsPlainText $true

$Passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString -String $SPPassword -AsPlainText $true

#Write-Host $FarmPassword

#Write-Host $Passphrase

#Create the Farm credential object

$FarmCredential = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential $userName, $FarmPassword


#Create the new SharePoint Configuration Database

New-SPConfigurationDatabase -DatabaseName $DatabaseName -DatabaseServer $DatabaseServer  -FarmCredentials $FarmCredential -Passphrase $Passphrase

Once the SharePoint Configuration database has been created, you can then run the SharePoint Product Configuration Wizard to complete the configuration of SharePoint by connecting to an existing server farm.

Since this is an RTM installation, you will probably want to also install SP1:
Of course, since the installation in the virtual machine is a Trial License, you will probably want to convert the Trial License to a full version Enterprise License by going into Central Administration and selecting "Convert farm license type".  You can then enter the SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Product Key from your MSDN Subscription.

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