Detailed instructions/procedure for setting up a SharePoint 2016 development or test farm. This is a multi-part article. The following posts are part of this series:
- This page – Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Domain Controller
- Part 3: SQL Server
- Part 4: SharePoint 2016 Installation
In both cases, I walked through all the details including OS installation, Active Directory (domain controller) setup, SQL Server installation, and of course SharePoint installation. For both the SharePoint 2010 and 2013 articles, we used the awesome autospinstaller script to automate the SharePoint part of the farm setup.
This series of articles will discuss how to set up a SharePoint 2016 development or test farm. But this time, we will be creating the farm on Microsoft Azure (as opposed to creating a virtual machine on a local computer using virtual box – which was what we did for SharePoint 2010 and 2013).
Why I’m installing SharePoint 2016 on Azure cloud this time
I decided to go with Azure installation of my SharePoint development farm this time for the following reasons:
- To get (a) faster/better server(s): SharePoint 2016 Server and the associated software required to run it (SQL Server, etc.) is a heavy (resource intensive) product. I actually already have a local (virtual box) VM with SharePoint 2016 all set up. However, even with my relatively capable laptop (16GB RAM, etc.), I find that a standalone installation of SharePoint 2016 (and by “standalone” I mean… one server for everything – SharePoint, SQL Server, and AD DC), on top of local hardware, is probably not a good idea at all. The machine boots up too slowly and simple operations take forever.
- To take advantage of “free money”: I get $190 (CAD) monthly Azure credits as part of my Visual Studio Enterprise subscription with MSDN. This allows me to play with VMs and other Azure resources without additional cost. And since this farm will consist of 3 servers, it seems ideal to build it on top of Azure.
NOTE 1: A paid Azure subscription (or a subscription with “free” monthly credits – like in my case) is required in order to complete the steps in these articles. A free Azure subscription will not suffice.
NOTE 2: To avoid “burning a hole” in your credit card or exhausting your Azure credits, don’t forget to turn off the virtual machines you create when they are not in use!
- Dedicated servers for everything: Microsoft doesn’t exactly recommend standalone installations for any SharePoint Server version. And certainly not for SharePoint Server 2016. My virtual box installations of SharePoint have always been standalone systems. And while virtual box allows for the installation of multiple guest VMs in a network to allow for separate servers for different things, the resources available to all the servers (guests) still depends on available resources on the host pc. In addition, going the Azure route saves me the stress of configuring virtual networks within virtual box.
- An excuse to play with Azure: Because, well… Azure is awesome!
Why I’m NOT using autospinstaller this time
- For the SharePoint server, we will be using an OS image from Microsoft that comes bundled with SharePoint. While, we could probably still use autospinstaller for the after-installation configuration, I didn’t see too much added value.
- It can be argued that not using autospinstaller actually gives one more control – since you wouldn’t just be choosing values from a bunch of pre-defined options. I also think a better understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes can be acquired by going the manual route.
What we will be building
In this “tutorial”, we will build a single-server SharePoint Server 2016 farm inside a subnet of a Microsoft Azure virtual network. The purpose of this server will be for development and testing and as a basis for demonstrating what’s possible in SharePoint 2016.
Three virtual machines will be connected together in this environment:
- The active directory domain controller (adVM)
- The SQL Server virtual machine (sqlVM)
- The SharePoint 2016 Server virtual machine (spVM)
What you will need in order to complete the configuration steps
As earlier mentioned, to complete the steps outlined here, you will need either a paid Azure subscription or a subscription with “free” monthly credits (like the one you get if your organization is a Microsoft partner).
You will also need to have Azure PowerShell installed. While most (and maybe even all) of the steps involved in setting up our SharePoint development farm can be done from the UI on the Azure portal, it’s actually easier to just perform the configuration using Azure PowerShell commands. During the process, however, I will be throwing in a few screenshots from the Azure portal to show what our PowerShell commands are accomplishing.
Without further ado, let’s begin… Setting up a SharePoint 2016 dev farm in Azure – Part 2: Domain Controller