Provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure – Part II

Problem

When you initially attempt to configure SharePoint 2013 on Azure, it will point you to a SharePoint 2013 trial in the template gallery. This is not the correct way to configure an instance of SharePoint on Azure. This template virtual image is not meant for a single standalone SharePoint Server 2013 installation. Microsoft intends for you to use SharePoint Online or Office 365, or if you wan more control you need to crate an on-premise installation.

Solution

You need to “manually” create a SharePoint environment in Azure. As a minimum, there are 4 steps (with multiple sub-steps) that you will need to complete to properly provision a SharePoint  2013 environment on Windows Azure. Your environment is unique to your needs, but this should help you understand the general steps required.

  1. Create and Configure Network components
  2. Install and Configure Domain Controller
  3. Install and Configure SQL Server
  4. Install and Configure SharePoint Server 2013

Let’s go through these steps and see what is required to successfully work our way through this configuration. You can refer to Part I to get through step 1 shown above. Several people have written articles on this subject, so I’ll attempt to just summarize here. If you need details, I hope you will seek out the details and read more on this subject.

The next step is to install and configure a domain controller.

  • Create Domain Controller VM – Go to “New Virtual Machine” and choose “Windows Server 2012 DataCenter” from the Azure Gallery. Select the size (I suggest as medium) to begin the configuration.
    • Configuring Domain Controller –  Once the Domain Controller is provisioned, click on the “Connect” button and RDP into the new instance. Click on “Add Roles and Features” and follow the basic procedures to create a domain controller.
      1. In the Server Roles section, choose “Active Directory Domain Services”.
      2. Click on “Add Features” and then on the “Confirmation” tab click on “Install”. Once this is done you may be required to restart the server. Restart and again RDP into the instance. Near “Manage this server” click on the yellow triangle and click on “Promote to Domain Controller”.
      3. Add a new Forest. Mention the domain name you want to use.
      4. You can ignore the DNS Options error about “Parent Zone”.
      5. Change the paths, if required, for the ADDS Database folder, log files folder, and SYSVOL folder.
      6. Once you click on “Install”, the prerequisites will be installed and your Domain Controllert is ready to add users.
  • Add new user accounts to the domain – This is just like on-premise installation, so we will create 4 users to this new domain:
    • “sp_farm” to manage the SharePoint farm
    • “sp_farm_db” to have sysadmin rights on SQL Server instances.
    • “sp_install” to have domain administration rights needed for installing roles and features
    • “sqlserver” to have an identity that SQL instances can run as
  • sp_install user configuration – All the users can just be added normally (“Action” –> “New” –> “User”), except sp_install. We will specifically walk through creating this user since there are some extra steps required to properly configure this user. The other 3 users are simple user creations.
    • Add “sp_install” to the Domain Admin Group
    • Go to “Domain” –> “Properties” –> “Security Tab” then click the “Advanced” button then select the “Principle” link then type “sp_install”.
    • Select “Read All Properties” and “Create Computer Objects” from the options.

You can read more on this topic here.

In future articles, we will continue to work our way through the process until we have a working SharePoint instance on Azure.

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