Set up the development environment for SharePoint 2013 on Azure

Setting up development environment for SharePoint is easy, if you have right hardware and software and basic understanding of the configuration.

For SharePoint 2007, it was simple, the hardware requirements were basic and I managed to get it working with a laptop with simple configuration. SharePoint 2013 now supports ‘App’ development and other new features that require a lot of additional RAM and a lot more hardware. So I decided NOT TO upgrade my hardware, instead make use of Azure privileges that come with my MSDN subscription.

This blog post will guide you on how to set up your developer instance on Azure and unfortunately, does not cover configuring your developer VM step by step. If you are interested to build your VM from the scratch, please follow SharePoint 2013 Virtual Machine Set up Guide (Version 3.0) from Critical Path Training.

Note: This post assumes that you already have an active subscription with ‘Microsoft Azure’. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for a trial account or if you have an active ‘MSDN Subscription’ you can enjoy a recurring $150 credit per month that ships with your subscription. This is a great way to start and I am using my subscription for all my Azure development. You may visit  Microsoft Azure Free Trial: Try Azure | Azure Free Trial

Note: All the screen captures of Azure portal are valid only during the time of writing this blog post i.e. January 2015.  Microsoft is very aggressive not only adding new features to the portal but enhancing its user experience.

Step 1: Navigate to Windows Azure Management Portal

Step 2: Click the    Azure New Icon    icon at the bottom of the screen.

Step 3: You should see the following screen with an option to add a Virtual Machine from the Gallery

Select VM from Azure Gallery

Select VM from Azure Gallery

Step 4:  Choose the ‘Image’ of your choice, following is what I have chosen in the portal


Step 5: Perform the following actions.

  1. Appropriate Virtual Machine Name
  2. Select  ‘TIER’ as ‘Basic’
    1. The Basic tier provides an economical option for dev/test workloads, and other applications that don’t require load-balancing, auto-scaling, or memory-intensive virtual machines. The Standard tier is recommended option for all production workloads.
  3. Choose the ‘SIZE’ as A4
    1. Make sure you choose from Basic
    2. Below high-lighted is the VM configuration I have chosen.
      Azure Virtual Machine Pricing
  4. Provide new Username and Password.

Step 6: Choose appropriate ‘REGION/AFFINITY GROUP’ 


Step 7:  Finish the configuration


 Step 8: Make sure the VM is up and running

Azure VM is running

Step 9: Download RDP file and connect to the VM
Once the VM status is ‘Running’  you can ‘CONNECT’ using the following highlighted option. Clicking on ‘CONNECT’ will download the ‘RDP’ file, double click and following the screen and log on to the VM. You should be using the same ‘Username’ and ‘Password’ you have used while creating the VM on Azure Portal

Connect to Azure VM

Step 9: Run the PowerShell Scripts 

The VM will be shipped along with few PowerShell Scripts that you need to run, to install and configure SharePoint environment, SQL Server and all the other required software. Trust me! It can’t get simpler than this, running one script spun up the whole SharePoint environment! Neat!

You will find the below highlighted shortcut on the desktop,  where you will find the script ‘ConfigureSharePointFarm.psl’, Run it!

Snap25Once you ran the PowerShell script you will be asked for the ‘localSPFarmAccountName’
and ‘localSPFarmAccountPassword’, enter these and you are all set!


Step 10: Finally, you are ready. Remember to smile 🙂

Search for ‘Central’ in the installed apps on the server and you should see the gorgeous Central Admin icon, pin it to the desktop. You are all set, Happy Programming!


Note: Remember to turn the VM off, if you are not using it. Remember, you will be charged for every minute for you VM to be available  and running.

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