SharePoint farm in Azure
can be build in a few clicks and even for free. As I mentioned in my other posts I’ve been blessed with MSDN subscription, and thanks to this I have some bucks to spend on Azure. How to get Azure and how to activate it I wrote in my other post here and here. Now let me show you how to build your own SharePoint farm in Azure. As you know SharePoint has high hardware requirements. So when we play with our own installation we build single virtual machine which handle all roles: domain controller, sql server and SharePoint server. Sometime we would like to play with farm where there’s more servers, 3 or more. And that’s way Azure can be very useful for us. OK, let’s see how we can build our own SharePoint farm in Azure.
- In the first step we have to prepare our Azure installation for our domain. At the beginning we will need our own network, so our servers will be able to communicate each other. It’s important to check some guidelines, to check what’s options we have. Next step should be Affinity Group.
Affinity Group group place our severs, storage, etc. in the same data center, which give us better performance and reduce costs of the installation. We would like to avoid situation when our SharePoint server is in UK and SQL server in North Europe. It’s important to mention that if we want to run A4 machine (for SQL server for example) we can’t create Affinity Group in North Europe, there’s no such machine type. For my installation I used West Europe data center. And then it’s time to create our service in the cloud service.
Cloud services is container, where our farm will be stored. Also it grabs all information in nice dashboard, where we can see how many resources is used by our installation, also with just a few clicks we can increase power of our servers.
Before we start active directory installation we have to set up static IP address for our virtual machine. To do this we have to use Azure PowerShell. After that we can start installation of our domain: wingtip.com or contoso.com – it’s up to you. I will not write about it as there’s a lot of manuals about it. There’s important thing to after that. We have to update our virtual network setting to point DNS ip address to our new domain controller. Without that other members of our SharePoint farm in Azure will not be able authenticate in our domain as they will not able to find DC. More information you can find here.
And that’s all. As you can see the process itself is very simple. And also much faster than installing everything on your servers. Provisioning single machine will take around 5 minutes. Probably more time you will spend with SharePoint configuration. With this approach, when you build SharePoint farm in Azure, you can really play with a lot of options which usually are too expensive for us to test.