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Requirements to Install Windows Azure Pack v1

Q: What are the requirements for installing Windows Azure Pack v1?

A: Windows Azure Pack brings the Microsoft Azure portal experience to your on-premises infrastructure and enables several different services, including IaaS (creating virtual machines on Hyper-V), websites, databases, and more. It can also be enhanced with partner solutions to integrate with other technologies, such as System Center Service Manager, via Gridpro to hook into service offerings that can leverage System Center Orchestrator.

Depending on what components of the Windows Azure Pack you want to use, there are different requirements. The minimum requirement is to have a single virtual machine (plus a SQL Server database deployment) that hosts the actual Windows Azure Pack deployment that provides the Service Management Portal and Tenant Portal in addition to the Service Manager API. However, in production you would split these roles over multiple servers (seven roles for Windows Azure Pack and additional roles for the database), as the Microsoft TechNet Windows Azure Pack architecture web page shows.

Splitting services is a best practice for scaling resource utilization as well as for different placement of services, because some services are Internet-facing and some should be kept on the internal network. The seven roles include the following:

  • WAP Tenant Management Portal
  • WAP Tenant authentication site
  • WAP Tenant public API server
  • WAP Tenant API server (internal)
  • WAP Admin Management portal for administrators
  • WAP Admin authentication site
  • WAP Admin API server (internal)

There are additional OS instances for the various services offered. If you choose to deploy the Web Sites (PaaS) feature of Windows Azure Pack, you need a minimum of an additional seven virtual machines for the various Management Server, Controller, Publisher, Web Worker, DB and file server components that can't be co-located but are automatically deployed through the Web Platform installer. If you use DBaaS, you need database hosts. To deploy IaaS (virtual machines), you need System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and the Service Provider Foundation (which is used to connect to VMM from Windows Azure Pack); you'd also would want Orchestrator Service Management Automation (SMA) deployment for the full lifecycle management of the environment. For full reporting and monitoring, you'd most likely want System Center Operations Manager and System Center Service Manager deployed.

I mentioned earlier that a SQL Server database deployment and a large number of databases are required based on the different services enabled. The following table includes typical databases:

IaaS (VMs) Microsoft.MgmtSvc.PortalConfigStore
PaaS/Web Sites Hosting
DBaaS (database) Microsoft.MgmtSvc.MySQL
Usage Reporting UsageDatawarehouseDB

You'd also see databases for SMA, VMM, Operations Manager, Service Manager, and so on, which aren't Windows Azure Pack specific.

The actual Windows Azure Pack hosts require:

  • Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC) for Administrators disabled via Server Manager
  • .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.5 installed and patched to the latest level (enabled through Server Manager)
  • Web Server (IIS) and ASP.NET 4.5 (under Application Development within the Web Server role services)

After all the prerequisites are in place, install and run the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. Select Products, Windows Azure. This allows different components to be installed on different servers, as documented in the Microsoft TechNet article "Install a distributed deployment of Windows Azure Pack."

If you want to install all the core Windows Azure Pack portals and APIs on a single server, run the Windows Azure Pack Single Machine Installation Tutorial, which is also available via the Web Application Platform Installer as "Windows Azure Pack: Portal and API Express." Full install instructions are provided in the Microsoft TechNet article "Install an express deployment of Windows Azure Pack."

Note that even with the express installation, you can still specify an external SQL Server database rather than running it on the Windows Azure Pack server. Your SQL Server machine must have SQL Authentication enabled, which you can do through the Security node of the SQL Server properties in SQL Server Management Studio.

The Microsoft document "Deploying Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server" combines all the main Windows Azure Pack documents on TechNet into a single PDF.

After the components are installed, you must perform the basic configuration such as configuring the SQL Server database. The Microsoft guides walk through this in detail. After the core services are in place, you can add other services such as virtual machines, websites, and so on. When you run the configuration, make sure to do so with full Administrator rights elevated in Internet Explorer, or the configuration will fail.

After installation is complete, I typically replace the HTTPS certificate with a trusted certificate (this can be from an enterprise CA) instead of using the automatically created self-signed certificates. The public-facing sites should definitely be updated; to change the certificate, simply change the binding for each of the key sites in IIS Manager (i.e., MgmtSvc-AdminSite, MgmtSvc-AuthSite [tenant authentication using ASP.NET Membership Provider], MgmtSvc-TenantSite and MgmtSvc-WindowsAuthSite [admin authentication using Windows Authentication]). If you installed each component on different servers, you can also change the ports from the special ports to standard 443 ports, as documented in "Windows Azure Pack - Reconfigure portal names, ports and use trusted certificates."

If you're using a third-party firewall, you need to ensure that all required firewall exceptions are enabled for the various ports used. This is done automatically for Windows Firewall.

If you have trouble during installation, try the following:

  1. Check the Web Platform Installer log files, which are located at C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Web Platform Installer\logs\install\. The exact logs present will depend on which components were installed on the specific server.
  2. Check the event logs for each component, located in Event Viewer under Applications and Services Logs, Microsoft, WindowsAzurePack, .
  3. If you still need more information, you can enable trace logging. Trace logging is useful if you're having trouble performing a certain configuration. It can be enabled and disabled via IIS Manager and by adding Failed Request Tracing rules under the IIS section of a site. However, you need to have the Web Server, Health and Diagnostics, Tracing feature installed.
  4. If all else fails, check out "Troubleshooting Installation of Windows Azure Pack."
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