Running SharePoint 2013 in the Cloud

This is the first in a series of @Codefry team technical write-ups on various Cloud providers. I did a quick evaluation of Azure (Microsoft), AWS (Amazon Web Services), IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud platform. Azure turned out to be the lucky winner.

So, how easy or difficult is it to run your infrastructure and applications in the cloud? Well, I will describe the kind of work and setup that was necessary to have SharePoint 2013 running in cloud.
Things do seem to sound "easy" and "simple" when Cloud computing is mentioned, but is that really the case? You be the judge. This detailed step-by-step guide contains all steps involved in the SharePoint 2013 cloud environment setup.

I will be touching on Azure's Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Outlined below are the steps I had to execute in order to build the functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013.
The setup included the creation of three (3) VMs (virtual machines) running on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network.

In a nutshell, these were the necessary setup steps before my SharePoint 2013 cloud environment was running properly:

1. Sign up for Azure Trial

2. Define new Windows Azure Affinity group

3. Create Azure storage account

4. Download and configure Azure PowerShell management tools

5. Create VM#1
- Register DNS Server in Azure
- Define Virtual network in Azure
- Configure Windows Server 2012 Active Directory Services (ADDS)

6. Create VM#2
- Configure SQL Server 2012 in Azure

7. Create VM#3
Configure SharePoint Server 2013 in Azure

Below is a quick rundown on the pros and cons of setting up SharePoint 2013 that I thought were worth mentioning.

Pros:
● No need to worry about infrastructure or patching servers
● Ease of cloud based configuration – “a la carte” menu of infrastructure, OS, and software options
● Elasticity – it was easy to scale up and down computing power, server types, and storage
● Quick application deployment

Cons:
● Slowness during provisioning
● Occasional Portal errors that went away upon screen refresh
● Setup complexity (well, this one applies to an on-premises environment too)

I am providing a detailed step-by-step guide for anyone interested in checking what was involved in this exercise with a number of screenshots. Get it here. This guide may also help in potentially replicating the creation of SharePoint 2013 environment on Azure platform. Feel free to get in touch with me if any assistance is needed.

I was running out of credit and had to temporarily shut down the VMs – but I can bring them online any time if you are interested in a live demo.

~ ado trakic