Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 Preview VM model on Windows Azure VMs (for SP2013 devs, too!)

Yesterday at the Build 2013 Conference Microsoft announced the availability of Visual Studio 2013 Preview, as well as the availability of Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 Preview, and .NET 4.5.1. Since yesterday, are also available some new VM models in the Windows Azure VMs IaaS offering.

One of them is really interesting from a SharePoint 2013 developer perspective. In fact, the model named “Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 Preview” includes not only the preview of the new Visual Studio 2013, but also SQL Server 2012 Express and SharePoint 2013 Trial (Note: 180 days trial should expire on 12/21/2013).

Here you can see the screenshot of the VMs gallery with the new VM model:


Moreover, after creating a VM based on this model you can configure – simply leveraging a set of out-of-the-box available PowerShell scripts – any of the following development environments:

  • SharePoint 2013 development machine for local development, which allows you to play with SharePoint 2013, SQL Server 2013 Express and Visual Studio 2013 on a single VM.
  • SharePoint 2013 development machine joined to an already existing AD domain, which requires to have a domain controller VM accessible from the development VM (i.e. either within the same cloud service or within a common virtual network).
  • SQL Express development machine, which allows you to play with Visual Studio 2013 Preview and SQL Server 2012 Express

You can find further details about configuring the development environment at the following URL:

There you will also find instructions about how to create – from remote using PowerShell – such a VM, already configured for the target proper scenario. The VM model image file for this scenario is:


which is a useful information, in case you would like to create the VM manually through PowerShell.

To tell the true, the scripts are really useful not only for their main purpose, but also for learning how you can push the gas on PowerShell to automate deployment processes!

Be careful: As it is clearly stated in the document I’ve just referenced a few lines before, the Workflow Manager engine will not be installed and configured by the scripts available in the VM model, if you install a SharePoint development machine (either local or domain joned). On the contrary, if you plan to develop workflows on the development machine, you will have to configure the Workflow Manager by yourself, meanwhile the setup files are already available on the system disk of the VM model, including the latest fixes (KB2799752 and KB2799754). Moreover, the only service applications installed on the farm are those available by the default:

  • Application Discovery and Load Balancer Service Application
  • Security Token Service Application

Thus, if you plan to play with the real world of SharePoint (including apps for SharePoint; Managed Metadata Service; User Profile Service, which requires to install the domain joined configuration, and Enterprise Social features; Search; Workflow; etc.) you will have to provision those service applications manually. Just in case, consider reading this paper with some useful instructions and code samples about how to configure a SharePoint 2013 farm.

So, what are you waiting for?! 🙂 Let’s start creating your VM development environment and discover the new features of the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013!