Aim: Set up a Windows Azure virtual machine to serve as a testing environment for the new features available in SQL Server 2014.
Set up a Windows Azure virtual machine:
Sign into Windows Azure at https://account.windowsazure.com/Home/Index. Click on the Portal button on the top right-hand side.
Click on the Virtual Machines tab on the left-hand side & then click on the New button on the bottom left-hand side.
Choose Compute > Virtual Machine > From Gallery. You could use Quick Create instead but I prefer From Gallery because it doesn’t take that much longer & it gives more options if you want to customise the VM.
Choose the version of Windows Server to install. I chose Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacentre over 2012 as I prefer the updated interface. Click the right arrow to go to the next page.
On page 2, give the VM a name, e.g. TestServer. Choose Basic Tier (I think it should be fine for testing). SQL Server 2014 requirements (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/ms143506.aspx#pmosr) indicate that 4GB is the lowest recommended memory (as opposed to the minimum requirement) for any edition other than Express so choose A3 size which provides 7 GB of memory. Set a new UserName & Password.
On page 3, create a new Cloud Service (this is a container for the VM). It helps if the VM name is something unique as it can then be the same as the cloud service DNS name. Set a region. This is just a single test machine so there is no need for an Availability Set.
Make sure the VM agent is ticked (this is a process that bootstraps configuration & management solutions for the VM). There is no need to tick any of the configuration extensions or security extensions. Click the Tick button on the bottom right-hand side to start the VM creation process.
It takes some time for the VM to start up so it’s time for a cup of tea…
Once the VM is running, highlight it by clicking on the row to the right of the name (clicking on the name will open the individual VM page & we can’t connect from here). Click the Connect button at the bottom of the window.
This will download a .rdp file. Double click the .rdp file to launch it. You may see a warning like the below. If so, just click Connect.
To log into the VM, enter the Username & Password that you created as part of the configuration.
Prepare for SQL Server installation:
On Windows Server, the Internet Explorer settings are quite restrictive so, as this is just a test server, install another browser (e.g. Chrome) to facilitate downloads, etc. Download SQL Server 2014 iso (from MSDN or a trial from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/evalcenter/dn205291.aspx).
Alternatively, if you want to transfer the iso from a drive on your local machine, the easiest option is as follows. This will mount the local drive on the VM so you can transfer files by copying & pasting or dragging & dropping.
On your local machine, find the .rdp file that was downloaded from Azure, right-click & Edit. Go to the Local Resources tab.
Click More… & expand Drives. Tick the drive that you want to copy the iso from & then click Ok.
Click Connect. Once logged on to the VM, open the File Explorer & expand This PC. You should see the drive you mapped from your local machine. Copy the iso from that drive to the Downloads folder on the VM.
Rather than mount the iso in the VM, I’m going to use 7-zip to unpack it and run the setup from there. Download 7-zip from http://www.7-zip.org/ & install. Right-click on the iso, click 7-zip & Extract files…
The last piece of preparation is to ensure that the correct version of the .NET framework is installed. Open a PowerShell terminal & install .NET Framework 3.5 using the following snippet.
You can also do this via the Server Manager Dashboard (Add Roles and Features) but PowerShell is easier.
Install SQL Server:
You can install SQL Server via the command line but I’m going to run through the UI install to see what has changed since SQL Server 2012. Open the folder containing the files extracted from the iso & double-click setup to start the SQL Server install.
Click on Installation on the left-hand side & then click “New SQL Server stand-alone installation…”.
On the Product Key page, specify a free edition (e.g. Evaluation) or enter a product key & click Next. On the License Terms page, accept the license terms & click Next. The Global Rules will run automatically (click Next). If any errors occur, the must be fixed before progressing. On the Microsoft Update page, tick “Use Microsoft Update to check for updates” if required & click Next. Install Setup Files will run automatically (click Next). Install Rules will run automatically (click Next). You may see a Windows Firewall warning on this page but this can be ignored as it is just warning that the firewall is enabled. Click Next.
On the Setup Role page, tick SQL Server Feature Installation & click Next.
On the Feature Selection page, tick Database Engine Services & both Management Tools features. For now, I only want to investigate the new Database Engine features so there is no need to install any other components. Click Next.
On the Instance Configuration page, choose Default Instance & click Next. On the Server Configuration page, change the Service Accounts if desired & click Next. On the Database Engine Configuration page, choose Mixed Mode for Authentication. Enter a suitable sa password. Add Current User as a SQL Server Administrator. The Data Directories & FILESTREAM tabs can be left to the defaults. Click Next.
On the Ready To Install page, review the summary & click Install. Time for a cup of tea…
Once the installation process completes, test that it was successful by connecting to the instance via SQL Server Management Studio. Go to the Windows Start menu & start typing “SQL Server Management Studio” to search for SSMS. Double-click the SSMS icon to launch it.
Connect to the local server (. or by name, e.g. TestServer) using Windows Authentication.
Next: I plan to investigate the new Database Engine features of SQL Server 2014, starting with Memory-optimized Tables.