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Build SharePoint 2013 Prototypes Quickly and At Low Cost with Windows Azure

Virtual machines provide users with a number of high value advantages, not the least of which is freedom from the burden of underpinning development efforts with otherwise costly infrastructure components. Windows Azure is available to support a wide range of virtual machines, including SharePoint server 2013. We use CloudShare‘s Enterprise plan, which offers comparable features and pricing.

Microsoft Azure, in theory, can offer SharePoint users a lot of added benefit, beyond its competitors. After all, SharePoint Server 2013 and Microsoft Azure are related siblings within the Microsoft family of products. The reasoning goes like this: features should run better, costs should be lower, and the time it takes to put up a SharePoint Server 2013 prototype should be a fraction of what it would take to do the same in a competitive environment where support for the Microsoft platform of products is simply one of a number of other options (actually this platform agnosticism is the case with Microsoft Azure, as well).

Often, actual experience does not bear out the assumptions stakeholders make before embarking on a new project. In the Microsoft world this gap makes itself known, for example, when organizations spend considerable time putting together databases of information in Excel spreadsheets and, later, attempt to export the data, cleanly, over to an SQL Server database. This is merely one example of how presumably interrelated applications don’t play as nicely with one another as one would expect.

So it makes sense to bring a healthy skepticism to a review of whether or not SharePoint 2013 stakeholders will get what they are after if they look to Microsoft Azure for the prototyping support they need prior to implementing this computing platform. If an article titled New SharePoint Server 2013 3-tier farm test lab in Azure, which was written by Joe Davies, and published on April 18, 2014 on the Technet Blog, is any example, the notion of looking to Windows Azure as a the best venue for prototyping SharePoint, is a correct one.

Mr. Davis points out a number of very important benefits of opting to build one’s SharePoint Server 2013 prototype on Azure, not the least of which is little or no cost. A second benefit, undoubtedly important to IT organizations short on personnel, is the rapidity with which Mr. Davis claims the prototype environment can be put together.

SharePoint-Videos offers a number of video tutorials on a similar process, meaning an effort to put together a SharePoint Server 2013 prototype. The first of these tutorials is titled Creating a SharePoint 2013 testing environment – Part 1 – Setting up Windows 2008 properties. There are 10 of these video tutorials, in all. Anyone with a valid subscription to our site can access any of this training content as required, with unlimited viewing privileges.

Ira Michael Blonder

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