Installing SharePoint is one of the more complicated installations in the Microsoft family of software. There are a lot of options and steps, and there are many architecture decisions to make. But you can find yourself in a bit of a catch-22: It’s hard to architect a solution until you’ve played with it and see what it can do – but you can’t see what it does until you’ve got it architected.
Cut through some of the clutter by using Hyper-V on your workstation to install a SharePoint 2013 development environment. This article shows you how to prepare to run your own SharePoint pilot on your own workstation by creating a VM that can run SharePoint 2013. I use Hyper-V for this because it’s free on Windows 8 and is installed simply by turning on the feature. The steps are similar in other VM platforms, so if you’re not using Hyper-V you can still use this article as a guide.
I want to keep it really simple. That means that I’m going to use a single VM for doing everything. My VM will be an AD domain controller, a SQL server, and a SharePoint server.
I’m also taking some shortcuts with the environment to reduce the steps that it takes to get you going. For example, typically we use multiple service accounts for handling service applications, the SharePoint setup, and the SP farm administrator account. In this environment we can get up and running faster by using a single account which is a domain administrator. Not in any way acceptable for a production instance, but just perfect for a quick to access SharePoint 2013 single-server farm.
RAM Requirements: 8GB minimum, 12GB preferred. The minimum requirement of 8GB of RAM shouldn’t be taken lightly. 8GB isn’t really even enough when you consider that you’re going to be using SQL as well as SharePoint. If you’ve got 16GB on your host, go ahead and create your VM with 12GB of RAM.
Note: Even with 16GB of RAM on your system, you may not be able to apply 12GB to your VM. You may already be using too much on your system for Hyper-V to allocate it successfully.
CPU requirements : 4 cores minimum. The minimum specification for the CPU is 4 cores. The hypervisor abstracts that number anyway, and until you’re actually using the instance it’s not likely that CPU is going to be a bottleneck.
Storage requirements: 80 GB minimum. The only reason you would want to add more space is if you plan to drop a lot of documents into the sites and libraries that you spin up in your dev environment. There’s something to be said for that, you could really see what it’s like with 10 GB worth of data in a document library. If that’s your intention, be sure to account for that in the storage you assign your VM. In my example below I create the VM with a 100 GB C: drive.
Software requirements: Hyper-V, or another hypervisor. In this article, I’m using Hyper-V from my Windows 8 workstation. If you want to try this on your VMWare workstation or Virtual Box, you’ll need to modify the steps to create your VMs to account for the differences in the virtualization software.
You’ll need an Operating System for the VM, and SharePoint. Since we’re running only in a dev environment, we’ll use the SQL server that comes on the SharePoint ISO.
If you don’t have this software, simply download the trial software (see the links below) and you’ll be good to go for long enough to enjoy a test drive.
You need two things for your project: a virtual switch and the VM itself. The virtual switch is so that your VM can get out to the internet for downloading the SharePoint prerequisites.
In Hyper-V Manager, right-click your host machine and select Virtual Switch.
Here are the settings that you need to create a Virtual Network that will allow your SharePoint 2013 development VM access to the Internet.
You will need this to be an external switch, so that your machines can access the internet. You also need to put a check in the box to allow the host machine to share the network card.
Note: This will not work if your DHCP server refuses to assign you an IP address. If that’s the case, your VMs will end up being connected but only with an autoconfigured IP address that can’t get out. You can work around that by creating your VM switch as an Internal network then bridging your network connections.
In Hyper-V Manager, right-click the host machine and select New, then Virtual Machine.
These steps will get you a VM on which you’ll use to install SharePoint 2013.
Name the VM, then assign a place on your hard drive for the VM. Click Next.
Enter the amount of RAM to give your VM, with a minimum of 8GB (or 12GB if you have enough RAM). Check the box to Use Dynamic Memory. Click Next.
Select the virtual network that you created. Click Next.
Create a new Virtual Hard Disk to assign to your machine. Name the hard disk, assign it a location, and set a maximum size. Remember that 80GB is minimum for this machine.
Select Install an operating system from CD/DVD, then browse for your Windows Server 2012 ISO. Click Finish.
Follow these steps to assign more virtual processors to your VM
Note: This cannot be done while the VM is running. If you’ve already started your VM, you’ll need to shut it down so that you can make this change.
You’ve already set the Server ISO to be in the virtual DVD-ROM drive, so all you have to do is start the VM and run through a basic server install.
Note: You do need the GUI experience. If you already installed core, you have to turn on the GUI so that you can run SharePoint.
If you’re wondering about whether you should install Standard or Datacenter, choose Standard. Standard and Datacenter are the exact same OS, just with different licensing. You don’t give up any performance or capability by choosing standard.
The server needs to be on a domain, so add the AD-Directory-Services feature to your server and create a new AD Forest. For the purposes of our SharePoint development/pilot box we will run everything as the Administrator account.
There’s a registry setting that has to be set so that the server can look at addresses that resolve to itself. This is a security violation, but it’s overlooked in this environment. These are the steps for “Workaround Method #2” from the TechNet article (see the link below). In a production environment, you would use the more security pragmatic “Workaround Method #1.”
In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
You’re all set with your SharePoint Server, but there are still a lot of configuration steps before you’ll really have a SharePoint Test farm installed. But you’ve gotten your first, most crucial step out of the way and next you’re ready to start a SharePoint 2013 installation!