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Create a SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure Step by Step

16 Comments

This summer, the Microsoft Azure Team released a very interesting feature with the new feature in which you can create a full SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure with just a few clicks. Microsoft, however explicitly says that this is not for production, but only for evaluating SharePoint 2013 or testing your deployments on a SharePoint 2013 highly available (HA) environment.

Talking about HA, the SharePoint 2013 farm template comes in two flavors:

  • A basic two tier SharePoint 2013 farm (SP + SQL + DC)
    SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure

    Source: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-sharepoint-farm-azure-preview/

  • A Highly Available SharePoint Farm (2 WFE + 2 APP + 2 SQL + 2 DC)

Source: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-sharepoint-farm-azure-preview/

In this Blog Posts, I will show you a step by step on how to create your SharePoint 2013 farm in a few clicks and what result you get at the end! Before you start the tutorial, you might ask yourself “What exactly am I going to have after finishing this tutorial?”. It’s a great question, so here is the short version:

  • A SharePoint 2013 farm that represents one of the topologies above. You cannot customize the number of APP / WFE servers, the only two options are pictured above.
  • The farm will run on SharePoint 2013 Service pack 1.
  • No Service Applications or customizations.
  • SQL Server is running SQL Server 2014.
  • If you went for the high availability option, the databases will be in an AlwaysOn availability group.
  • 1 Webapp & 1 Site collection

Step by Step Guide

  1. Navigate to the Azure Portal (in Preview at the time of writing this posts) > https://portal.azure.com/

    SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure

  2. On the bottom left, click on the “New” green plus sign, and then select “SharePoint Server Farm”

  3. The first few questions will ask you to name your Resource Group as well as to create a User. Please remember this user, as you will need it to login to the servers later on! This screen will also ask you if you want to “Enable High Availability”. Although it’s just a simple checkbox, this is where you decide if you want the simple two-tier SharePoint or the Highly Available SharePoint three tier farm we saw above! For the purpose of this tutorial I went for the highly available option!

  1. Click on the Domain Controllers tab to configure settings. In this tab, you can select your Host name prefix as well as your forest root domain name. You can also modify the size of the Virtual Machines you want to create! If you want your credit to last longer, you can put a smaller size, however performance will suffer as well! When you’re done with your settings, press OK!

  2. After your DC’s are setup, click on the SQL Servers tab to setup your SQL Servers. In this tab you can setup your Host name Prefix again as well as select the size of your SQL VM’s. You can also change the SQL Service account and give it a different password. Since this is for a test, I just left the same password as the account I created in Step 3. Again, if you want your credits to last longer, you can choose smaller Virtual Machines in the Pricing Tier category, however your performance will suffer! The file Share witness, is the witness of your availability group. You can’t change any options on that one! Press OK when done

  1. After you’re done with the SQL, time to setup SharePoint Servers. In the SharePoint Servers tab you can again select what pricing tier you want your four virtual machines to use, as well as select the username and password for your two service accounts. Microsoft will only create two service accounts for you, since, as mentioned before, it won’t create any service applications! You can either use a custom password or the same one as the account in step 3.

  1. I didn’t list it in the steps, but in the Optional Configuration you can change your subnet and a lot of Network stuff. Since it’s only a test farm, I don’t recommend changing anything unless you really need to. In the Subscription tab, you must choose the subscription that will pay for this farm! Most people only have one, so not a lot of choices, but for other people they have one from the MCT and one from their partner MSDN for example! I choose my biggest one so I could at least finish this article before it runs out!

  1. The last Step before we hit the Create button is to select where do we want our farm to be hosted! Since I live in Montreal, I choose Eastern US since it’s the closest one to me!

 

  1. Click the Create Button!

 

  1. Wait! The whole process took about 1h30 for me

 

Let’s see the result

 

After waiting for the farm to create, you can see a new “tile” in your Azure Portal by the name of your farm. When you click on it you see all the information about your resource group.

For your SharePoint Farm, one important detail to check out is in the Deployment history. When you click on the tab, you will find out what the Central Admin URL is as well as your first Site Collection!

If you want to Remote Desktop into a Virtual Machine, click on the SharePointFarm1 resource group, then select the server you want to remote Desktop into, and lastly click on Connect.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this step by step tutorial and it will help you test drive Cumulative Updates, lab scenarios or anything before you send them in production! I think that this a great new feature in Azure from the Azure team and I will probably use it in the past! However, I wish we had the option to include Office Web Apps, as well as having all or at least some Service Application (ex; Search) coming configured out of the box!

What do you think about this feature?

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

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16 Comments

  • December 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I am using Azure as part of my MSDN subscription. I tried running the SharePoint Farm template and it stopped after about an hour with an error. I deleted the resource group everything was in which appeared to remove everything it created so I could start again. Ran the SharePoint Farm template a second time, same thing after an hour it stopped again with an error. It looks like it created the DC, SP and SQL servers but never finished adding the SP server to the domain and never finished configuring SharePoint. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • December 3, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Hey, I had the same problem as well s few times but there is nothing particular you can do to fix it… try again in 1 2 days. I know it’s not the solution you expected but don’t have much control in the cloud

      Reply
  • December 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm
    samir

    Hi Vlad,
    I tried this a couple of times this weekend and kept getting error (I assume this feature is still in preview). Google search led me to this blog post and wanted to ask if you or anyone else has had luck lately with this or if it’s something I’m missing with configuration.

    Thanks,
    Samir

    Reply
    • December 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Hello,

      I did the “3 server Farm” last week and worked perfectly! I guess it’s still in beta and doesn’t work as well as it should!

      Reply
  • May 28, 2015 at 6:57 am
    Kelvin

    I just created a 3 server Farm and it appeared to work beautifully. But when I try to access the SPFarm URL I get “Sorry, this site hasn’t been shared with you.” How do I fix this ?

    Reply
    • July 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      did you connect with the good username / pas that you created when creating your farm? Also try to log on remotely to the servers to access it that way.

      Reply
  • January 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm
    Amit

    there is another issue here-
    If deploying the sharepoint-three-vm template under a MSDN Azure
    subscription, how are the OS, SharePoint and SQL server platforms licensed? That is, are the charges only for Azure resources consumed as opposed to resources + MS licensing?
    • Reply•Share ›
    Avatar

    note that the template uses the SharePoint 2013 Trial Edition image to create the SharePoint server, which allows you to use it within the trial period without having to purchase a SharePoint license (for example, for a limited time dev/test environment). Joe

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-sharepoint-farm-azure-preview/#comments

    Reply
    • January 17, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Hey Amit,

      This is only for dev / test and not for production! When creating VMs in Azure however, the cost of licensing is in the cost/h. That’s why for example, a SQL VM is more expensive than a Windows VM!

      Reply
  • March 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm
    kesava velugubantla

    would be interested to see if you can provide similar results with SharePoint 2016 as well.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2016 at 12:12 am

      It’s not there in Azure yet. I will do a blog post when It’s available in SP 2016 as well!

      Reply
  • April 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm
    Thao

    After creating the non HA SharePoint the only account accessible to the site is my initial account I specified in the template. How can I add users to the new DC and domain the template created.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2016 at 12:12 am

      Check in your Virtual Machines, you should have a Domain Controller VM you can remote into!

      Reply
  • May 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm
    ITAdmin

    Hello Vlad,

    Why this shouldn’t be used for production ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • May 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      First of all.. because it creates a new AD, so you can’t use it with your existing users.

      Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 10:23 am
    Sorin

    Hi Vlad,
    I’ve created a new farm, now next. How can I create a new web app with a host name ? I’m asking because in DNS I cannot find out how they created the first one. Load balancer is outside. Do you have some steps ? Thank you !

    Reply
  • January 8, 2018 at 1:13 pm
    Neel

    Vlad, Great article, need your suggestions on sharepoint farm – I have created 3 VM’s – 1for ad, 1 for SP wfe, 1 for Sql all in azure same vnet, added all of them (joined) to same domain, configured the dns label names, firewall ports are open, created farm accounts in ad, now I am trying to install SP, I am not able to connect to SQL instance on the Sql VM from SP vm.. is there a solution or suggestions..thx neel

    Reply

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