Cloud Computing

Deploy Windows Server 2012 in an Azure Virtual Machine

How do I go about deploying Windows Server 2012 in an Azure Virtual Machine?

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform provides organizations with the resources to deploy Windows Server 2012 virtual machines (VMs) quickly and with a variety of different hardware options. In this article, I will walk through the process of creating and connecting to a new Windows Server 2012 server virtual machine in Windows Azure.

Sign up for an Azure trial or paid subscription

If you’re completely new to Azure and just want to try it out, you can sign up for a free one-month subscription. I’d recommend that you take this option in the first instance to make sure that Azure meets your needs.

Create a new Windows Server 2012 virtual machine in Azure

Once you’ve successfully signed up for an Azure trial, log on to the Azure Management Portal to create a new Windows Server 2012 VM. Sign in to the management portal and then do the following.

  • Click the New icon in the bottom left corner of the Azure management console.
  • In the new pop-up pane, make sure that Compute is selected on the far left, then click Virtual Machine to the right.
  • Click From Gallery in the next column.
  • In the Create a Virtual Machine pop-up window, select Windows Server 2012 Datacenter in the central column and then click the next arrow in the bottom-right corner.
  • Under Virtual machine configuration, give the new VM a name.
  • In the Size drop-down menu, select the amount of memory and number of processor cores required.
  • Enter an administrator username and confirm a password for the new VM. Make sure that you remember this username and password. Click the next arrow in the bottom-right corner to continue.

Configure basic VM settings in Windows Azure

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  • In the Virtual machine mode window, select the default option for a Stand-Alone Virtual Machine. Enter a DNS name for the new VM, such as mywinsrv.cloudapp.net.
  • For the purposes of this simple demonstration, leave Azure to use an automatically generated storage account.
  • Set the Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network setting to the region most suited to your geographical location.

An Affinity Group allows you to group resources so that they remain located as close as physically possible to each other for best performance.

  • In the Subscription drop-down menu, select your trial or paid subscription and then click the next arrow in the bottom-right corner.
  • On the final screen, you can create an availability set to which you can add your new VM, allowing you to separate VMs into different fault and update domains for maxim uptime. If you choose to create an availability set at this point, all you need to do is give it a name.
  • On the final screen, you can also choose to enable PowerShell remoting.
  • Finally, click the tickbox icon in the bottom-right corner to complete the wizard.

It will take some time to provision the new VM, but you’ll see in the management portal under Virtual Machines when the new VM is ready for use. Remember that as soon as the VM is created, it is started automatically, so if you chose a pay-as-you-go subscription, your minutes start now.

VM status in the Azure Management Portal

Connect to your new VM

Once the new VM has started, make sure it’s highlighted in the management portal and then click the Connect icon at the bottom of the portal. You then have the option to download an RDP connection file to your local machine so that you can connect remotely to the new VM. You’ll need to enter the administrator username and password you specified in the wizard.

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.
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