Create DevTest Labs in Azure

Azure DevTest Labs is available in UK South and UK West as from December 2016, in addition to the other 21 regions it has supported.

The steps to create the DevTest lab are

  • Login to Azure portal as administrator
  • Click the green + New menu


  • Type DevTest Labs into the search box
  • Select DevTestLabs from the results page
  • Click on Create from the Description page.

The advantages using DevTest Labs as mentioned from the Description page are

DevTest Labs helps developers and testers to quickly create virtual machines in Azure to deploy and test their applications. You can easily provision Windows and Linux machines using reusable templates while minimizing waste and controlling cost.

  • Quickly provision development and test virtual machines
  • Minimize waste with quotas and policies
  • Set automated shutdowns to minimize costs
  • Create a VM in a few clicks with reusable templates
  • Get going quickly using VMs from pre-created pools
  • Build Windows and Linux virtual machines


  • Enter the lab name, select the subscription, select location North Europe, tick the Pin to Dashboard tick box and alternatively update the Auto-shutdown schedule.


  • Click on Create.
  • The dashboard is displayed with a new tile showing that the DevTest Lab is being deployed.deployingdevtest-labs_inprogress
  • The DevTest Lab page is displayed once deployment of the DevTest Lab is completed.



Instead of using the Portal, PowerShell can be used to create Azure DevTest Lab. The GitHub repository provides an example how it can be achieved.

The repository has a readme file, a deployment template with a corresponding parameters file and a PowerShell script to execute the deployment.

The Readme file provides a description of the resources created.

About the resources created in the Demo Lab:

The ARM template creates a demo lab with the following things:

* It sets up all the policies and a private artifact repo.

* It creates 3 custom VM images/templates.

* It creates 4 VMs, and 3 of them are created with the new custom VM images/templates.

To run the PowerShell script the subscriptionId is required. This can be obtained from the cmdlet Login-AzureRmAccount.


The PowerShell is run as below

.\ProvisionDemoLab.ps1 -SubscriptionId 41111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111 
-ResourceGroupLocation northeurope -ResourceGroupName RTestLab


The script produces the following results.


From the portal , the result shows the 4 vms.provisiondemolab_portal

The repositories have been created as well.provisiondemolab_repositories

Custom images of the running machines have been created as well.


There are artifacts ready to be used though none are applied yet to the virtual machines.


You can create your own templates/parameters files in the Portal by creating a new resource and exporting  instead of executing the configuration in the GitHub repository.


Create Dev/Test SharePoint 2013 environment in Azure

Azure has a trial image to build either SharePoint 2013 HA farm or SharePoint 2013 Non-HA farm.

When trying to create SharePoint 2013 Non-HA farm, I was stuck at step “Choose storage account type” with the message “Loading pricing…”.


Following SharePoint Server 2016 dev/test environment in Azure, I managed to created a SharePoint 2013 environment in Azure running PowerShell commands.

There are three major phases to setting up this dev/test environment:

  1. Set up the virtual network and domain controller (ad2013VM).I followed all steps described in Phase 1: Deploy the virtual network and a domain controller to set up the virtual network and domain controller
  2. Configure the SQL Server computer (sql2012VM).I followed all steps from Phase 2: Add and configure a SQL Server 2014 virtual machine to create the SQL server computer with few changes to the PowerShell script to create a SQL2012R2 machine.
  3. Configure the SharePoint server (sp2013VM).                                                                               I followed all steps from Phase 3: Add and configure a SharePoint Server 2016 virtual machine with few changes to the script to create a SharePoint 2013 virtual machine.

Configure the SQL Server computer (sql2012VM).

I needed to get the name of SQL 2012 SP2 Azure image offer. I can list all SQL Azure image offers using the cmdlet Get-AzureRMImageOffer.

Get-AzureRmVMImageOffer -Location "westeurope" 
-PublisherName "MicrosoftSQlServer"


The following SQL Image Offers are available


I was interested in SQL 2012 SP2 Standard version. Fortunately the Azure Image Offer Names are intuitive, e.g. Name SQL2012SP2-WS2012R2 means windows server 2012 R2 virtual machine with SQL Server 2012 SP2 installed.

I also needed the SKU value of the SQL 2012 SP2 using the cmdlet Get-AzureRmVMImageSKU

 Get-AzureRmVMImageSKU -Location "westeurope" -PublisherName "MicrosoftSQlServer" 
-Offer SQL2012SP2-WS2012R2|format-table Skus

The following SKUs for SQL2012SP2-WS2012R2 are available


The changes from the original script are on the following lines

  • line 21: “sql2012VM” stored in variable $vmName
  • line 23: $vnet=Get-AzureRMVirtualNetwork -Name “SP2013Vnet” -ResourceGroupName $rgName
  • line 40 : $vm=Set-AzureRMVMSourceImage -VM $vm -PublisherName MicrosoftSQLServer -Offer SQL2012SP2-WS2012R2 -Skus Standard -Version “latest”

Configure the SharePoint server (sp2013VM).

Similarly to creating the SQL virtual machine, I needed the Azure Image Offer Name for SharePoint 2013.

The available SharePoint Azure Image offers for Microsoft SharePoint can be retrieved using the cmdlet below.

Get-AzureRmVMImageOffer -Location "westeurope" 
-PublisherName "MicrosoftSharePoint"

Only one result “MicrosoftSharePointServer” is returned.

To get the available SKUs for “MicrosoftSharePointServer”, the cmdlet below can be run.

 Get-AzureRmVMImageSKU -Location "westeurope" -PublisherName "MicrosoftSharePointServer" 
|format-table Skus


Two results are returned : “2013” and “2016”. I am interested in the “2013” value which refers to the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 version.

The changes from the original script are on the following lines

  • line 18: $vmName=“sp2013VM”
  • line 26:$vnet=Get-AzureRMVirtualNetwork -Name “SP2013Vnet” -ResourceGroupName $rgName
  • line 34: $skuName=“2013”

The end result of the PowerShell scripts is a resource group with the virtual machines (adVm, sp2013Vm and sql2012VM), network interfaces, availability sets, storage account and public IP addresses to enable SharePoint 2013 to run in Azure VMs.



Create Virtual Machine(VM) in Azure throws “Long running operation failed with status ‘Failed’.” through PowerShell

I was following the article SharePoint Server 2016 dev/test environment in Azure to create a SharePoint Server 2016 environment in Azure.

I reached the step to create the Virtual Machine that will be used as the domain controller using the cmdlet below

New-AzureRMVM -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location $locName -VM $vm

After waiting for several minutes I decided to cancel the operation. When I retried the same cmdlet, I got the following error.

New-AzureRMVM -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location $locName -VM $vm -Verbose
VERBOSE: Performing the operation "New" on target "adVM".
New-AzureRMVM : Long running operation failed with status 'Failed'.
ErrorCode: VMAgentStatusCommunicationError
ErrorMessage: VM 'adVM' has not reported status for VM agent or extensions. 
Please verify the VM has a running VM agent, and can establish 
outbound connections to Azure storage.
StartTime: 18/11/2016 15:42:46
EndTime: 18/11/2016 15:42:46
OperationID: f1ecb302-9da9-4a76-9b0c-463b5e89c41c
Status: Failed
At line:1 char:1
+ New-AzureRMVM -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location $locName -VM $vm -Verbose
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 + CategoryInfo : CloseError: (:) [New-AzureRmVM], ComputeCloudException
 + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Compute.NewAzureVMCommand

I spent a while trying to understand what the error message meant. In that scenerio the error message was thrown because the VM requested was created successfully even though I interrupted the operation before. The error thrown was to prevent creating another VM with the same details.

When I created the second VM, I waited long enough till the success message was displayed.


Create Azure Virtual Network throws Error “Subscription is not registered with NRP”

I was following the article SharePoint Server 2016 dev/test environment in Azure to create a SharePoint Server 2016 environment in Azure.

I reached the step to create the SP2016Vnet Azure Virtual Network that will host the SP2016Subnet subnet.

I tried  the cmdlets below

$spSubnet=New-AzureRMVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name SP2016Subnet 

 New-AzureRMVirtualNetwork -Name SP2016Vnet -ResourceGroupName $rgName 
-Location $locName -AddressPrefix -Subnet $spSubnet 

Unfortunately I got the error message

WARNING: The output object type of this cmdlet will be modified in a future release.
New-AzureRMVirtualNetwork : Subscription <Guid> is not registered with NRP.
StatusCode: 409
ReasonPhrase: Conflict
OperationID : '0937045e-3d71-411f-ba11-785e5fcff586'
At line:1 char:1
+ New-AzureRMVirtualNetwork -Name SP2016Vnet -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location ...
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 + CategoryInfo : CloseError: (:) [New-AzureRmVirtualNetwork], NetworkCloudException
 + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.NewAzureVirtualNetworkCommand


After spending a while googling through solutions , I gave up and tried to modify the script until I get it working.

The fix was to enclosed the parameter “Name” value between double quotes when calling method New-AzureRMVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig.

-Name "SP2016Subnet" -AddressPrefix

New-AzureRMVirtualNetwork -Name SP2016Vnet 
-ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location $locName 
-AddressPrefix -Subnet $spSubnet -DNSServer

The cmdlets work after the fix.