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Step-by-Step: Build a SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud on Windows Azure

Leverage Windows Azure as your Lab in the Cloud!

My good friend and colleague, Tommy Patterson, recently blogged about leveraging the Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) preview offering to build a FREE lab environment in the Cloud.  You can read Tommy’s step-by-step article at:

What about a SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud?
Now that SharePoint Server 2013 has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built for studying, testing and/or performing a proof-of-concept.  You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.

This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-day Trial Offer to build a free lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud.  Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 that will be accessible for approximately 105 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you under the 90-day Trial Offer.

After the 90-day trial period is up, you can choose if you’d like to convert to a full paid subscription.  If you choose to convert to a paid subscription, this lab environment will cost approximately $0.56 USD per hour of compute usage ( that’s right – just 56 cents per hour ) plus associated storage and networking costs ( which can typically be less than $10 USD per month for a lab of this nature ). These estimated costs are based on published Pay-As-You-Go pricing for Windows Azure that is current as of this article’s date.

Note: If you are testing advanced SharePoint 2013 scenarios and need more resources than available in the lab configuration below, you can certainly scale-up or scale-out elastically by provisioning larger VMs or additional SharePoint web and application server VMs.  To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.

SharePoint 2013 Lab Scenario
To deliver a functional and expandable lab environment, I’ll be walking through the approach of provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure VMs as depicted in the following configuration diagram that will require three (3) VMs on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network.

SP2013onAzureScenario

Lab Scenario: SharePoint 2013 on Windows Azure VM

In this lab, we’ll be using a naming convention of XXXlabYYY01, where XXX will be replaced with your unique initials and YYY will be replaced with an abbreviation representing the function of a virtual machine or Windows Azure configuration component (ie., ad, db or app).

Note: This study lab configuration is suitable for study, functional testing and basic proof-of-concept usage.  This configuration is not currently supported for pilot or production SharePoint 2013 farm environments.

Prerequisites

The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:

  • A Windows Azure subscription with the Virtual Machines Preview enabled.

    DO IT: Sign up for a FREE Trial of Windows Azure

    NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time. 
  • Completion of the Getting Started tasks in the following article:

    DO IT: Getting Started with Servers in the Cloud
  • This step-by-step guide assumes that the reader is already familiar with configuring Windows Server Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint Server 2013 in an on-premise installation. This guide focuses on the unique aspects associated with configuring these components on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

Let’s Get Started!
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to:

  • Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure
  • Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure
  • Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM
  • Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM
  • Export / Import Lab Environment via PowerShell

Exercise 1: Register a DNS Server in Windows Azure

Register the internal IP address that our domain controller VM will be using for Active Directory-integrated Dynamic DNS services by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Register DNS Server.
  4. Complete the DNS Server fields as follows:

    - NAME: XXXlabdns01
    - DNS Server IP Address: 10.0.0.4
  5. Click the REGISTER DNS SERVER button.

Exercise 2: Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure

Define a common virtual network in Windows Azure for running Active Directory, Database and SharePoint virtual machines by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Networks located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Networks | Virtual Network | Quick Create.
  4. Complete the Virtual Network fields as follows:

    - NAME: XXXlabnet01
    - Address Space: 10.---.---.---
    - Maximum VM Count: 4096 [CIDR: /20]
    - Affinity Group: Select the Affinity Group defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Connect to Existing DNS: Select XXXlabdns01 – the DNS Server registered in Exercise 1 above.
  5. Click the CREATE A VIRTUAL NETWORK button.

Exercise 3: Configure Windows Server Active Directory in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run a Windows Server Active Directory domain controller in a new Active Directory forest by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select Windows Server 2012, December 2012 and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabad01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Small (1 core, 1.75GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.

    Note: It is suggested to use secure passwords for Administrator users and service accounts, as Windows Azure virtual machines could be accessible from the Internet knowing just their DNS.  You can also read this document on the Microsoft Security website that will help you select a secure password: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/passwords-create.aspx.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabad01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabad01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.4

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabad01-data01
    - Size: 10 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabad01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabad01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabad01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.  This volume will be used for NTDS DIT database, log and SYSVOL folder locations.

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Configure Local Storage
  13. Using the Server Manager tool, install Active Directory Domain Services and promote this server to a domain controller in a new forest with the following parameters:

    - Active Directory Forest name: contoso.com
    - Volume Location for NTDS database, log and SYSVOL folders: F:

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory
  14. After Active Directory has been installed, create the following user accounts that will be used when installing and configuring SharePoint Server 2013 later in this step-by-step guide:

    - CONTOSO\sp_farm – SharePoint Farm Data Access Account
    - CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps – SharePoint Farm Service Applications Account

    If you need additional guidance to complete this step, feel free to leverage the following study guide for assistance: Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge – Install and Administer Active Directory

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 4: Configure SQL Server 2012 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SQL Server 2012 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select SQL Server 2012 Evaluation Edition and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabdb01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Medium (2 cores, 3.5GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabdb01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabdb01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.5

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, and go back to Exercise 2 and Exercise 3 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabdb01-data01
    - Size: 50 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabdb01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabdb01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabdb01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.
  13. Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and update default folder locations to the F: volume.

    1. Connect to the SQL Server 2012 default instance using your Windows Account.
    2. Now, you will update the database's default locations for DATA, LOGS and BACKUP folders. To do this, right click on your SQL Server instance and select Properties.
    3. Select Database Settings from the left side pane.
    4. Locate the Database default locations section and update the default values for each path to point to the F: volume you previously formatted.
    5. Close SQL Server Management Studio.
  14. In order to allow SharePoint to connect to the SQL Server, you will need to add an Inbound Rule for the SQL Server requests in the Windows Firewall. To do this, open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security from Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools.

    1. Select Inbound Rules node, right-click it and select New Rule to open the New Inbound Rule Wizard.

    2. In the Rule Type page, select Port and click Next.

    3. In Protocols and Ports page, leave TCP selected, select Specific local ports, and set its value to 1433. Click Next to continue.

    4. In the Action page, make sure that Allow the connection is selected and click Next.

    5. In the Profile page, leave the default values and click Next.

    6. In the Name page, set the Inbound Rule's Name to SQLServerRule and click Finish

    7. Close Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window.

  15. Using the Server Manager tool, join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
  16. After the server restarts, connect again via Remote Desktop to the server’s console and login with the local Administrator credentials defined above in Step 5.

  17. Open SQL Server Management Studio from Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server Management Studio and add the CONTOSO\Administrator user to SQL Server with the Sysadmin server role selected.

    1. Expand Security folder within the SQL Server instance. Right-click Logins folder and select New Login.

    2. In the General section, set the Login name to CONTOSO\Administrator, and select the Windows Authentication option.

    3. Click Server Roles on the left pane.  Select the checkbox for the Sysadmin server role.

    4. Click the OK button and close SQL Server Management Studio.

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 5: Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in a Windows Azure VM

Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run SharePoint Server 2013 by performing the following steps:

  1. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  2. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  3. Click the +NEW button located on the bottom navigation bar and select Compute | Virtual Machines | From Gallery.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Operating System Selection list, select Windows Server 2012, December 2012 and click the Next button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabapp01
    - New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password.
    - Size: Large (4 cores, 7GB Memory)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Mode page, complete the fields as follows:

    - Standalone Virtual Machine: Selected
    - DNS Name: XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net
    - Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in the Getting Started steps from the Prerequisites section above.
    - Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 2 above.
    - Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)

    Click the Next button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Options page, click the Checkmark button to begin provisioning the new virtual machine.

    As the new virtual machine is being provisioned, you will see the Status column on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal cycle through several values including Stopped, Stopped (Provisioning), and Running (Provisioning).  When provisioning for this new Virtual Machine is completed, the Status column will display a value of Running and you may continue with the next step in this guide.
  8. After the new virtual machine has finished provisioning, click on the name ( XXXlabapp01 ) of the new Virtual Machine displayed on the Virtual Machines page of the Windows Azure Management Portal.
  9. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page.  This IP address should be listed as 10.0.0.6

    If a different internal IP address is displayed, the virtual network and/or virtual machine configuration was not completed correctly.  In this case, click the DELETE button located on the bottom toolbar of the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, and go back to Exercise 2,  Exercise 3 and Exercise 4 to confirm that all steps were completed correctly.
  10. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, click the Attach button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and select Attach Empty Disk.  Complete the following fields on the Attach an empty disk to the virtual machine form:

    - Name: XXXlabapp01-data01
    - Size: 50 GB
    - Host Cache Preference: None

    Click the Checkmark button to create and attach the a new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabapp01.
  11. On the virtual machine details page for XXXlabapp01, click the Connect button located on the bottom navigation toolbar and click the Open button to launch a Remote Desktop Connection to the console of this virtual machine.  Logon at the console of your virtual machine with the local Administrator credentials defined in Step 5 above.
  12. From the Remote Desktop console of XXXlabapp01, create a new partition on the additional data disk attached above in Step 10 and format this partition as a new F: NTFS volume.  
  13. In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and click on the Workgroup option.  Join this server to the contoso.com domain and restart the server to complete the domain join operation.
  14. After the server restarts, re-establish a Remote Desktop connection to the server and logon with the CONTOSO\Administrator domain user credentials defined earlier in Exercise 3.
  15. In the Server Manager tool, click on Local Server in the left navigation pane and select IE Enhanced Security Configuration. Turn off enhanced security for Administrators and click the OK button.

    Note: Modifying Internet Explorer Enhanced Security configurations is not good practice and is only for the purpose of this particular step-by-step guide. The correct approach should be to download files locally and then copy them to a shared folder or directly to the VM.

  16. Press the Windows key to switch to the Start Screen and launch Internet Explorer.  Download the following files to the F:\INSTALL folder:

    - SharePoint Server 2013 Evaluation Edition

    Make a note of the SharePoint Product Key listed on this page, as you’ll need it for the installation of SharePoint Server 2013.

    - ASP.NET 4.5 hotfix for Windows Server 2012 ( KB2765317 )

  17. Navigate to the F:\INSTALL folder and double-click on the downloaded .IMG file to mount it.  Copy all files and folders from the mounted .IMG file to F:\INSTALL.
  18. Install the SharePoint Server 2013 software prerequisites by running F:\INSTALL\prerequisiteinstaller.exe.  Note that this process may require multiple server restarts to complete.  After all required software is successfully installed, continue with the next step in this step-by-step guide.
  19. Install the ASP.NET 4.5 hotfix downloaded to the F:\INSTALL folder in Step 14 above.
  20. Run F:\INSTALL\setup.exe to launch the SharePoint Server 2013 installation process.
  21. When prompted, on the Server Type tab of the setup program, select the Complete installation option.
  22. On the File Location tab of the setup program, change the data path to use the F: volume formatted in Step 12 above.
  23. At the end of the installation process, ensure the checkbox is selected to Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard Now and click the Close button.
  24. In the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard, when prompted on the Connect to server farm dialog, select the option to Create a new server farm.
  25. On the Specify Configuration Database Settings, specify the following values for each field:

    - Database Server: XXXlabdb01
    - Username: CONTOSO\sp_farm
    - Password: Type the password specified when the sp_farm domain user account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
  26. Click the Next > button and accept all other default values in the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.  Click the Finish button when prompted to complete the wizard.
  27. The SharePoint 2013 Central Administration web page should launch automatically.  When prompted, click the Start the Wizard button to begin the Initial Farm Configuration Wizard.
  28. When prompted for Service Account, type the CONTOSO\sp_serviceapps domain username and password specified when this account was created earlier in Exercise 3, Step 14.
  29. Accept all other default values and click the Next > button to continue.
  30. On the Create a Site Collection page, create a new top-level Intranet site collection using the following field values:

    - Title and Description: Enter your preferred Title and Description for the new site collection
    - URL: Select the root URL path – http://XXXlabapp01/
    - Select experience version:
    2013
    - Select a template: Publishing | Publishing Portal

    Click the OK button to provision a new top-level Intranet site collection. 

    After the new top-level Intranet site collection is provisioned, test navigating to the URL for this site collection from within the Remote Desktop session to the server.
  31. On the SharePoint 2013 Central Administration site, configure a Public URL alternate access mapping for accessing the new top-level Intranet site collection from the Internet.
    1. On the Central Administration site home page, click the Configure alternate access mappings link.
    2. On the Alternate Access Mappings page, click the Edit Public URLs link.
    3. On the Edit Public Zone URLs page, select and specify the following values:

      - Alternate Access Mapping Collection: SharePoint - 80
      - Internet: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net

      Click the Save button to complete the Alternate Access Mapping configuration.
  32. Close the Remote Desktop session to the server.
  33. Sign in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the logon credentials used when you signed up for your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial.
  34. Select Virtual Machines located on the side navigation panel on the Windows Azure Management Portal page.
  35. On the Virtual Machines page, click on the name of the SharePoint virtual machine – XXXlabapp01.
  36. On the XXXlabapp01 virtual machine details page, click on Endpoints in the top navigation area of the page.
  37. Click the +Add Endpoint button in the bottom navigation bar of the page to define a new virtual machine endpoint that will permit HTTP web traffic inbound to the SharePoint virtual machine. 
  38. On the Add an endpoint to a virtual machine form, select the Add Endpoint option and click the Next button to continue.
  39. On the Specify the details of the endpoint form, specify the following field values:

    - Name: Web HTTP
    - Protocol: TCP
    - Public Port: 80
    - Private Port: 80

    Click the Checkmark button to create a new endpoint definition that will permit inbound web traffic to the SharePoint virtual machine.
  40. After the endpoint configuration has been successfully applied, test browsing to the following public URL to confirm that you are able to access the Intranet site collection that is configured on SharePoint:

    - URL: http://XXXlabapp01.cloudapp.net

The configuration for this virtual machine is now complete, and you may continue with the next exercise in this step-by-step guide.

Exercise 6: Export / Import Lab Environment via PowerShell

Our functional SharePoint lab environment is now complete, but if you’re like me, you won’t be using this lab environment 24x7 around-the-clock.  As long as the virtual machines are provisioned, they will continue to accumulate compute hours against your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial account regardless of virtual machine state – even in a shutdown state!

To preserve as many of your free compute hours for productive lab work, we can leverage the Windows Azure PowerShell module to de-provision our lab virtual machines when not in use and re-provision our lab virtual machines when we need them again.  Once you’ve configured the PowerShell scripts below, you’ll be able to spin up your SharePoint lab environment when needed in as little as 5-10 minutes!

Note: Prior to beginning this exercise, please ensure that you’ve downloaded, installed and configured the Windows Azure PowerShell module as outlined in the Getting Started article listed in the Prerequisite section of this step-by-step guide.

  1. De-provisioning your lab. Use the PowerShell snippet below to shutdown, export and de-provision your SharePoint lab environment when you’re not using it.  Prior to running this script, be sure to edit the first line to reflect the names of each of your VMs and confirm that the $ExportPath location exists.

    $myVMs = @("XXXlabapp01","XXXlabdb01","XXXlabad01")
    Foreach ( $myVM in $myVMs ) {
    Stop-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -Name $myVM
    $ExportPath = "C:\ExportVMs\ExportAzureVM-$myVM.xml"
    Export-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM -Path $ExportPath
    Remove-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM
    }

  2. Re-provisioning your lab. Use the PowerShell snippet below to import and re-provision your SharePoint lab environment when you’re ready to use it again.  Prior to running this script, be sure to edit the first two lines to reflect the names of your Virtual Network and VMs.

    $myVNet = "XXXlabnet01"
    $myVMs = @("XXXlabad01","XXXlabdb01","XXXlabapp01")
    Foreach ( $myVM in $myVMs ) {
    $ExportPath = "C:\ExportVMs\ExportAzureVM-$myVM.xml"    
    Import-AzureVM -Path $ExportPath | New-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -VNetName $myVNet
    Start-AzureVM -ServiceName $myVM -name $myVM
    }

To ensure safe de-provisioning and re-provisioning of your SharePoint lab environment, note that it is important to preserve the specific order of the VM names listed in both code snippets above to ensure that the dependency order across VMs is properly handled.

What’s Next? Keep Learning!

Now that your SharePoint Server 2013 lab environment is running in the cloud, be sure to explore the resources below to continue your learning:

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...