Windows Azure Pack – Part 1

So a while ago Microsoft released the “Windows Azure Pack“. This pack is for on-premises environments, and provisions various components that are used within the Azure Cloud. As I have a spare server, I thought I would see how easy it is to setup and use.

Firstly you will need to have a “Windows Server 2012 R2” machine to run the installer on. Secondly you need to download the pack using this link.

Once you have downloaded the file, simply to run it and you will be presented the installer for the “Windows Azure Pack: Portal and API Express“.

Click the “Install” button and leaving it going. Before we do that though, what is it going to install? If you click the link “Items to be installed” it will outline them for you.

Notice also the “Direct Download Link” for the actual files. Accept the install.

Now go do something else while it runs through, configuring server roles, downloading files and configuring everything it needs. Once it is done it should return and display this.

To give you an idea of what was installed you can see the full list.

When you click to continue, it should load the browser and probably display an SSL certificate error.

Click to access the site and you should see the following.

Setup needs to provision the core SQL Database that will be used by the entire platform. For this I already have SQL running on my Server. This could be on the same box if you are running the Express version like I am, or a central SQL platform somewhere in your data center.

I simply added a specific SQL account this, added the details, then generated a secure passphrase. Be aware the passphrase has validation for the following.

The user login for SQL also has live validation, checking the password is correct. Outside of the password being wrong, make sure that your SQL Server is configured for SQL Authentication if you are using that option.

Once the password and the passphrase have been validated then continue on and you can decide of you want to be part of the customer experience program.

The next step is the actual configuration and provisioning piece. It will deploy the following components.

What you need to see if the following once it has been deployed.

We are now able to load the Administration site and start to look at what we can do. Firstly however let’s look deeper at what is deployed. Within IIS we should now have a series of sites.

There are also the following databases created.

If we now launch the “https://{server}:30091/” we should then get the following loaded.

Click through the steps which is just a quick tour and then you get your very own management site.

Look familiar? Of course this is the current version of the Administration Portal for Windows Azure, almost the same to the one I use to manage my cloud services. There is still some configuration to do, but you get where we are going right now.

If you browse to the following URL “https://{server}:30081/” you access the tenant site.

Based on me not having any accounts there is nothing for me to log into right now. To at least have a user login experience you need to firstly create a plan. From the management site click the “PLANS” option.

Select to create a new plan. I used the following details.

Once created it should be shown as below.

Now we can go back to “USER ACCOUNTS” and create a user.

Now that the account is created and usable, we can go back to the tenant administration site and login. This takes me to the tenant version of the administration site with only “SQL Server Databases” being an option to use as per the subscription I created.

I hope you can see where this going, your own private Azure Cloud!! To make this all work there is quite a lot of configuration left to do, such as working with System Center Components and changing the self-signed SSL certificates, which we will look at in another blog posts.

Liam Cleary

I work as an Associate Director for Protiviti in Virginia. My main focus is to ensure that SharePoint can either natively or with minimal customization meet the business requirement securely. I am currently a SharePoint MVP focused on Architecture but also cross the boundary into Development and Security. I am often found at user groups, conferences speaking, offering advice, spending time in the community, teaching my kids how to code, raspberry PI programming, hacking the planet and sometimes building Lego robots.

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