NEW Windows Server Technical Preview: FASTEST Way to Spin-Up Your Test Lab Environment in the Cloud with Microsoft Azure

With all of the buzz this week around the recently announced Windows 10 Technical Preview, you may have missed this announcement that a Technical Preview for the next version of Windows Server and System Center is also now available. 

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Windows Server Technical Preview – Server Manager and Start Menu

The Windows Server technical preview bits are now available as a virtual machine image on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.  Using this VM image on Microsoft Azure, you can spin-up your own test lab environment in the cloud in just a couple minutes – faster than you can download the installation bits from the TechNet Evaluation Center or MSDN Subscription Downloads.

In this article, I’ll provide the steps for provisioning your own Windows Server Technical Preview test lab environment on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.  Keep in mind that these bits contain an early pre-release build of the next version of Windows Server; these bits are not intended for running in a production environment.

  • Editor's Note: If you'd like to automate these steps with PowerShell, be sure to also read Trevor Sullivan's great article HERE.

Before You Begin

To follow along with the steps in this article, you will need an active subscription for Microsoft Azure.  If you don’t yet have an active subscription, you can sign-up for your own FREE Microsoft Azure trial subscription using the link below.

Let’s Get Started

Now you have your own active Microsoft Azure subscription, follow these steps to build your own Windows Server Technical Preview test lab in the cloud:

  1. Sign-in at the Microsoft Azure Management Portal with the user credentials that you used when activating your Microsoft Azure subscription.
  2. Click Virtual Machines on the left navigation panel.
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  3. On the bottom black toolbar, click the +NEW button.
  4. On the New pop-up menu, click From Gallery.
  5. On the Choose an Image page, scroll down the list of featured images and select Windows Server Technical Preview.
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    Click the Continue button to continue.
  6. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, enter a unique Virtual Machine Name and also enter a local administrator User name and Password that will be provisioned as logon credentials for your new virtual machine.
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    Click the Continue button to continue.
  7. On the next Virtual Machine Configuration page, select your closest Microsoft Azure datacenter region in the Region / Affinity Group / Virtual Network field.
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    Click the image button to continue.
  8. On the last Virtual Machine Configuration page, accept all default values.
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    Click the image button to begin provisioning your new virtual machine.
  9. After a few minutes, the provisioning of your new Windows Server Technical Preview virtual machine will be completed, and the VM will be displayed on the Virtual Machines page with a Running status.
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  10. To sign-in to the remote console of your new Virtual Machine, click the Connect button on the bottom black toolbar and then click the Open button to open the .rdp file.
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    When prompted, sign-in with the local administrator user credentials that you specified in Step 6 above when provisioning your virtual machine.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the provisioning of a new test lab in the cloud for Windows Server Technical Preview using Microsoft Azure!

Continue learning …

We’ll be blogging more about Windows Server Technical Preview in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, here’s some additional resources that you may wish to check-out to continue your evaluation of Microsoft Azure and Windows Server Technical Preview …