Install SQL Server 2014 on Windows Azure VM

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 Click on the Portal button on the top right-hand side.
1 azure_portal
Click on the Virtual Machines tab on the left-hand side & then click on the New button on the bottom left-hand side.
2 azure_vm_new
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.
3 azure_vm_new_from_gallery
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.
4 azure_vm_new_windows_server
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 ( 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.
5 azure_vm_new_config
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.
6 azure_vm_new_config_2
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.
7 azure_vm_new_config_3
It takes some time for the VM to start up so it’s time for a cup of tea…
8 azure_vm_starting
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.
9 azure_vm_connect
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.
10 azure_vm_connect_warning
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
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.
11 rdp_1
Click More… & expand Drives. Tick the drive that you want to copy the iso from & then click Ok.
12 rdp_2
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.
13 rdp_drive
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 & install. Right-click on the iso, click 7-zip & Extract files…
14 extract_iso

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.

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core

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.
15 setup
Click on Installation on the left-hand side & then click “New SQL Server stand-alone installation…”.
16 sql_installation_1
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.
17 sql_fw_warning
On the Setup Role page, tick SQL Server Feature Installation & click Next.
18 sql_installation_2
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.
19 sql_installation_3
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.
20 sql_installation_4
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.
21 ssms
Connect to the local server (. or by name, e.g. TestServer) using Windows Authentication.
22 connect_to_server

Next: I plan to investigate the new Database Engine features of SQL Server 2014, starting with Memory-optimized Tables.


One comment

  1. […] set up a new Azure VM (e.g. DataSciServer) – I’ve detailed how to do this in a previous post. On DataSciServer, download VirtualBox from & install. […]

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Kevin Kline

Career and Technical Advice for the IT Professional


Explaining the bits and bytes of SQL Server and Azure

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Simon Learning SQL Server

I'm trying to become "better" at SQL Server and data - here's how I'm doing it!

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