Now that SharePoint Server 2013 has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built for studying, testing and/or performing a proof-of-concept. You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.
This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-day Trial Offer to build a free lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud. Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 that will be accessible for approximately 105 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you under the 90-day Trial Offer.
After the 90-day trial period is up, you can choose if you’d like to convert to a full paid subscription. If you choose to convert to a paid subscription, this lab environment will cost approximately $0.56 USD per hour of compute usage ( that’s right – just 56 cents per hour ) plus associated storage and networking costs ( which can typically be less than $10 USD per month for a lab of this nature ). These estimated costs are based on published Pay-As-You-Go pricing for Windows Azure that is current as of this article’s date.
Note: If you are testing advanced SharePoint 2013 scenarios and need more resources than available in the lab configuration below, you can certainly scale-up or scale-out elastically by provisioning larger VMs or additional SharePoint web and application server VMs. To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.
SharePoint 2013 Lab Scenario
To deliver a functional and expandable lab environment, I’ll be walking through the approach of provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure VMs as depicted in the following configuration diagram that will require three (3) VMs on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network.
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