Beam me up, Azure!
Published Mar 23 2019 01:27 PM 312 Views
First published on MSDN on Jun 02, 2014

I’ve decided that my next VM (hosting SQL Server 2014) was going to be built in Azure, taking advantage of my MSDN subscription and using “my” SQL Server bits as well. If you have a MSDN subscription you should really take advantage of this and perhaps host those in-house projects and give them another life, which is the case of my home financials project, but I digress…

If you have a subscription where you have Azure and SQL Server included (which starts at the second lowest option for an MSDN subscription (details here )) you will see that you can setup a VM for home projects and some prototyping without any additional costs, and in some cases leave it always on. I leave you the pricing reference so that you can choose what works for you (details here ). With a “Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN” subscription it is possible, in theory, to have an A2 VM 24/7.

So, I started off by creating the VM itself (running the OS only) and following the method which is very well documented here .

Afterwards came the phase where I had to BEAM UP the setup iso to my VM so that I could install SQL Server. First doubt in my mind: Do I have to pay for uploading data to my VM? No, you only pay for outbound traffic (after first 5GB/month), not inbound as can be confirmed here .

The process of “beaming up” is itself very well documented here . It consists of 5 main steps:

  1. Create a VHD (not VHDx) on-premises with sufficient size to host the SQL Server image and attach it to the server;

  2. Copy the iso into the VHD and detach it from the on-premises server;

  3. Create and upload a management certificate (you can download MakeCert from Windows SDK here – mind the OS version – and you will find it here ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\<OS Version>’);

  4. You upload the VHD to your storage account using Azure PowerShell (instructions on how to configure Azure PowerShell, here ). In this step also mind the VHD extension in the “ Add-AzureVhd -Destination <BlobStorageURL>/<YourVHDFolder>/<VHDName> -LocalFilePath <PathToVHDFile> ” command where <VHDName> really needs to have .vhd in the end, or you will not be able to attach the VHD to the virtual machine after uploading and you won’t be able to rename the VHD either;

  5. Finally, via Azure management portal, you attach the disk to the VM and it is ready to use.

Afterwards you can start playing with SQL Server 2K14 and do cool stuff such as making your SSAS cubes available via HTTP(S) (tip here ) or configuring remote access to the relational engine (tip here ), or even use the relational instance as a source for some neat Power BI reports (perhaps future blog post).

One other cool thing you can do, is install Azure Commander in your Windows Phone and control and monitor your Azure VM from there!

Happy VM’ing,


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