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Build Your First FREE Cloud Server and Infrastructure Step-By-Step

It is time to build your first cloud server.  It is easy to create a virtual machine that is running the Windows Server operating system when you use the Image Gallery in the Windows Azure Management Portal. This tutorial will teach you how to create a virtual machine running Windows Server in the cloud that you can then access and customize. You do not need prior experience with Windows Azure to use this tutorial.

 

Windows Azure Infrastructure Services provides cloud-based storage, virtual networks and virtual machines that can be provisioned on-demand to support lab, pilot or production application workloads. In this Step-By-Step hands on lab format we will walk you through the entire process of creating your first server in Windows Azure.

Exercise 1: Get Started with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services

In this exercise, you will activate a free Windows Azure Trial Subscription and then setup two components that will be needed for the other exercises in this lab: a Windows Azure Affinity Group and a Windows Azure Storage Account.

  1. Sign-up for your FREE Windows Azure Trial Account.
    1. When signing up for a Free Trial subscription, you will be prompted to login with Microsoft Account (formerly Windows Live ID) credentials. If you do not have valid Microsoft Account credentials, you may create new credentials at https://signup.live.com. For step-by-step instructions see How To Sign up for a Free Microsoft Account (aka LiveID)
    2. Sign-up for a FREE trial of Windows Azure at http://aka.ms/iaas so that you can follow along with the steps in this Hands-on Lab.  For step-by-step instructions see Getting Started With Windows Azure–Step-By-Step Free Cloud Server Hours!
    3. Note: During the Free Trial sign-up process, you will be asked for credit card information to confirm that you are a legitimate free trial subscriber.  Your credit card information is only used to confirm your identity and you will NOT be charged for any Windows Azure services unless you explicitly convert your trial subscription to a paid subscription at a later date.
  2. Login to the Windows Azure Management Portal.
    Login to the web-based Windows Azure Management Portal at http://manage.windowsazure.com with the same logon credentials you used to sign-up for the FREE Trial above.

    1. Once you’ve logged in, you should see the main Windows Azure Management portal dashboard.
    2. On the blue side navigation bar of the Windows Azure Management Portal, you’ll find the options for managing Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, Storage and Settings in the cloud.  These are the items we’ll be primarily working with in this hands-on lab.
    3. You may need to scroll the blue side navigation bar up and down to see all of the options.
  3. Define a new Windows Azure Affinity Group.
    Affinity Groups in Windows Azure are used to group your cloud-based services together, such as Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks and Storage, in order to achieve optimal performance. When you use an affinity group, Windows Azure will keep all services that belong to your affinity group running within the same data center as close as possible to each other to reduce latency and increase performance.

    1. Create a new Affinity Group by selecting Settings from the blue side navigation bar in the Windows Azure Management Portal.  You may need to scroll the blue side navigation bar down to see this selection.
    2. On the Settings page, select the Affinity Groups tab on the top navigation bar (you will probably have to scroll down; scroll bar is hidden and can be found by hovering over the right part of the blue NAV pane on the left.
    3. Click the +ADD button on the bottom navigation bar.
    4. On the Create Affinity Group form, enter the following details:
      Name: Enter a unique name for your new Affinity Group, such as XXXlab01 (where XXX is replaced with your initials)  NOTE: if someone else has already done this lab that has the same initials as you, you will need to use something other than your initials in place of XXX in this lab. Just pick another set of letters/numbers to use for the prefix.
      Region: Select the “East US” datacenter sub-region.
      Click the button to create a new Affinity Group.
  4. Create a new Windows Azure Storage Account.
    Virtual Machines that are provisioned in Windows Azure are stored in the world-wide cloud-based Windows Azure Storage service.  In terms of high availability, the Storage service provides built-in storage replication capability – where every VM is replicated to three separate locations within the Windows Azure data center region you select.  In addition, Windows Azure Storage provides a geo-replication feature for also replicating your VMs to a remote data center region.

    1. Create a new Storage account by clicking the +NEW button on the bottom toolbar in the Windows Azure Management Portal and then click Data Services | Storage | Quick Create.
    2. Complete the following fields for creating your Storage account:
      1. URL: Enter a unique name for your new storage account, such as XXXlabstor01 (where XXX is replaced with your initials)
        Region/Affinity Group: Select the Affinity Group you created in Step 3 above.
        Enable Geo-Replication: By default, this option is selected.  Leave the default option in place.
        Click the CREATE STORAGE ACCOUNT button to create your new Windows Azure Storage account.

Exercise 2: 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 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 click
    Networks | Virtual Network | Register DNS Server.
  4. Complete the DNS Server fields as follows:
    1. NAME: XXXlabdns01
    2. DNS Server IP Address: 10.0.0.4
  5. Click the REGISTER DNS SERVER button.

Next Step: Define a Virtual Network in Windows Azure

Exercise 3: 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 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:
    1. NAME: XXXlabnet01
    2. Address Space: 10.—.—.—
    3. Maximum VM Count: 4096 [CIDR: /20]
    4. Affinity Group: Select the Affinity Group defined in Exercise 1 above.
    5. DNS Server: Select XXXlabdns01 – the DNS Server registered in Exercise 2 above.
  5. Click the CREATE A VIRTUAL NETWORK button.

Exercise 4: 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 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 Datacenter and click the button.
  5. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:
    1. Version Release Date: Select the latest version release date to build a new VM with the latest OS updates applied.
    2. Virtual Machine Name: XXXlabad01
      Size: Small (1 core, 1.75GB Memory)
    3. New User Name: Choose a secure local Administrator user account to provision.
    4. New Password and Confirm Password fields: Choose and confirm a new local Administrator password. Click the 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 Configuration page, complete the fields as follows:
    1. Cloud Service: Create a new cloud service
    2. Cloud Service DNS Name: XXXlabad.cloudapp.net
    3. Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network: Select XXXlabnet01 – the Virtual Network defined in Exercise 3 above.
    4. Virtual Network Subnets: Select Subnet-1 (10.0.0.0/23)
      Storage Account: Select the Storage Account defined in Exercise 1 above.
      Availability Set: Create an availability set
      Availability Set Name: XXXlabad
      Click the button to continue.
  7. On the Virtual Machine Configuration – Endpoints page, click the button to accept the default firewall endpoint values and 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 Dashboard page for XXXlabad01, make note of the Internal IP Address displayed on this page located on the right-side of the 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 Dashboard 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:
    1. File Name: XXXlabad01-data01
    2. Size: 10 GB
    3. Host Cache Preference: None
      Click the button to create and attach the new virtual hard disk to virtual machine XXXlabad01.
  11. On the virtual machine Dashboard 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. Accept authorization message(s)
  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. Step-By-Step: Once inside Server Manager, go to Tools (upper right corner menu) then select Computer Management. Inside Computer Management select Disk Management. An “Initialize Disk” window will pop up, make sure the new disk is selected and click OK. Right click unallocated space on Disk 2 and select “New Simple Volume…” Click Next: then Next for the Specify Volume Size. The drive letter should be preconfigured to “F”, click Next: Change the Volume Label to DATA and click Next: Click Finish.
    (it may take a bit to see the drive in computer explorer). Once you see the new F: drive in the upper volume window you can close computer management.
  13. Using the Server Manager tool, install Active Directory Domain Services Step-by-Step:
    1. Active Directory domain services is installed by simply adding the role:
    2. In Server Manager, click Manage (upper right corner menu) then click Add Roles and Features to start the Add Roles & Features Wizard.
    3. On the Before you begin page, click Next.
    4. On the Select installation type page, click Role-based or feature-based installation and then click Next.
    5. The current server should already be selected, click Next.
    6. On the Select server roles page, click Active Directory Domain Services, then on the Add Roles and Features Wizard dialog box, click Add Features, and then click Next.
    7. On the Select features page, click Next.
    8. On the Active Directory Domain Services page, click Next.
    9. On the Confirm installation selections page, Turn on the “Restart the destination server automatically if required” check box. On the restart popup alert, select Yes. Then click Install. It could take a few minutes to do the install.
    10. Once installation finishes, Click Close. We will configure AD in the next step.
  14. 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:

    1. Server MangerFlag (upper right corner near Manage) – Post deployment configuration – Click “Promote this server to a domain controller”
    2. On the Deployment Configuration page click Add a new forest then type contoso.com for the Root domain name. then click Next
    3. On the Domain Controller options page type a secure password and confirm password (you will have to remember this) then click Next.
    4. On the DNS page, click Next (you can ignore the warning)
    5. On the Additional Options page, click Next
    6. On the Paths page, change the C:\… paths to F:\… then click Next
    7. On the Review Options page click Next
    8. On the Prerequisites Check page, review issues then click install. You can ignore the warnings; the last line should say all prerequisites checks passed successfully.
    9. This will take some time to complete and will reboot your server once complete
  15. After Active Directory has been installed!

We are not done yet!  There is one more simple task that you MUST perform.  It will highlight the jaw-dropping performance you can get out of windows Azure!

Exercise 5: Test The Jaw-Dropping Download Performance of Windows Azure

  1. You should still be logged into the virtual machine. Click Server ManagerLocal ServerIE Enhanced Security Configuration – change the On to Off for administratorsClose browser then reopen browser.
  2. Navigate to http://aka.ms/GetWin2012R2
    1. Login with your Microsoft Account (LiveID)
    2. on the download center page Select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter ISO Click GET STARTED NOW
      1. You may be prompted to update your information. By the time you have gotten here your profile should be up to date but please make sure your City, State, Zip are correct.  If you do not want to provide Microsoft with that information, just put in zip code of 02347 (Lakeville, MA). On the update information screens, click Continue.
  3. An Akamai NetSession Interface will likely come up asking you to download the installer.  It is fine to allow the Installer to download and install.  This is the Content Delivery Network Microsoft uses so the bits are downloaded close to your physical location.
    1. On Akamai NetSession Interface – Click here to begin: download the installer. OK to download and Install (this is Content Distribution Network)
    2. Click Run
    3. Click Agree on the license agreement page and click Next
    4. If you get prompted with a windows security alert for firewall access, you can turn on all networks and Allow Access
    5. Save to D: Temporary Storage 4GB download (this is temp storage and will be automatically deleted when you turn off the server)
    6. Notice on the right pane of the browser that download is running.  Look fast, because it will not be there long Smile

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Wow, Azure Rocks!  Check it out for yourself with a free account and step-by-step hands on lab by @itproguru http://aka.ms/azRocks

Download the Docx version from http://ITProGuru.com/downloads/hol/Build-Your-First-FREE-Cloud-Server-and-Infrastructure-Step-By-Step-AzRocks.docx

Source: http://itproguru.com/expert/2013/10/build-your-first-free-cloud-server-and-infrastructure-step-by-step/

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About Dan Stolts ITProGuru

Dan Stolts (The "ITProGuru") is a technology expert who is a master of systems management and security. He is proficient in many Microsoft products especially in the server area (Windows Server, System Center, Exchange, SharePoint, Virtualization, Etc) and holds many certifications including MCT, MCITP, MCSE, TS, etc. Dan is currently specializing in System Management and Security and is also very passionate about virtualization technologies. Dan is and has been a very active member of the community. He is president of Boston User Groups, Founder of Virtualization Group Boston, Founder of North East Leaders and serves on many IT Community group boards. He is in the process of writing his first book on building technology communities. He is a believer in social networking and can be reached on twitter @ITProGuru. He has participated in many non-technology community groups such as: Rotary Club, Lions Club, local Chambers of Commerce and is a mentor for the local high schools. Dan is an enthusiastic advocate of technology and is passionate about helping others. Dan's lifelong passion has been and continues to be to help and teach others!

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