Going back a few years (and then some), creating your own test environments used to be difficult requiring both time and hardware resources. Then came the different virtualization solutions, which made it bit more easier but still requiring decent amount of hardware resources and a little bit of time. With the arrival of Azure and other cloud-based solutions, things finally got considerably easier. Now we finally had the ability to set up a test environments quickly and easily.

Here’s a short guide on how to build your own test environment to Azure. The basic steps are:

  • Create Azure Account
  • Create Azure Network
  • Create two Virtual Machines
  • One to act as your AD Controller
  • And one SQL Server
  • Download AdventureWorks database for testing purposes

Creating Azure Account

Creating your own Azure account is quite simple, just head to http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/ to get your free trial for Azure. If you have MSDN subscription, even better! With MSDN subscription you get an amount of credits to run virtual machines in Azure every month. It’s not a lot, but enough to build a small test environment.

The rest of the process I’ve split into three parts, which you can find here:

Part 1: Create Azure Network and Storage
Part 2: Create Virtual Machines and Active Directory
Part 3: Setup your SQL Server for testing purposes!

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