First published on TECHNET on Feb 28, 2014
Here is another great blog post by Siddhartha Singh , who is one of the senior test leads in the Work Folders team. He has documented the steps required to deploy Work Folders on an Azure VM (IasS). While the process is similar to an on-premise deployment , there are some aspects that need to be taken care of which Sid describes below.
This blog post discusses how to set up Work Folders on a virtual machine (VM) in Windows Azure. Work Folders is a new technology in Windows Server 2012 R2 that provides a consistent way for users to access their work files from their PCs and devices. This functionality is powered by the Work Folders service, which is part of the File and Storage Services role.
Using Windows Azure virtual machines allows you to provision infrastructure with a pay-as-you-go model, and benefit from the enterprise grade support and availability. With Windows Azure VMs, you can start with a limited deployment of Work Folders in your enterprise, and then easily scale out to more users as required.
You will find detailed information about Windows Azure virtual machines here:
Establish connectivity to your on-premises network
Once you have a Windows Azure virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 set up for Work Folders, you need to connect the server to your organization’s Active Directory domain so that users can authenticate.
To connect the Work Folders server to your on premise network, use the Windows Azure Virtual Network and configure a site-to-site VPN. This makes the Work Folders VM in Windows Azure part of your network and enables it to communicate directly and securely with your on-premises network. This will allow all clients that are in your on-premises network to sync with the Work Folders VM in Windows Azure.
More information on Windows Azure Virtual Network can be found here:
Here is a diagram of a sample topology, I will use this topology as a reference for the rest of the blog:
In the topology above, the Work Folders server is configured on a virtual machine in Windows Azure, and is connected to the corporate network using Windows Azure Virtual Network’s Site-to-Site VPN, which allows it to be joined to a corporate domain. User devices in the corporate network are able to sync with the Work Folders server just as they would with a server on-premises.
Note that in this topology, there is no access to the Work Folders server from outside of the corporate network. For access from the Internet, you can deploy a web reserve proxy, either on-premises, or as a Windows Azure VM. For more details, please refer to the “Designing a Work Folders Implementation” guide at:
Once the virtual machine is ready, and you have configured cross-premises connectivity, you can join the server to an on-premises domain, and configure a test deployment of Work Folders by following the instructions here:
Setting up Work Folders servers on Windows Azure virtual machines helps you quickly deploy a solution for your users, without having to purchase and manage additional on-premises hardware, while benefiting from the availability and support SLA that Windows Azure provides. With Windows Azure VMs, you can also grow the size of the deployment over time, as you on-board additional users in your enterprise.