Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a great option for SharePoint Server deployments for those use cases and/or organizations where SharePoint Online is not appropriate or sufficient. IaaS can be used for dev/test scenarios or a part of a production, cloud-based infrastructure.
With SharePoint Server 2016, deployment without Active Directory is no longer supported; Active Directory is mandatory for any scalable version of SharePoint Server. Until now, the requirement for an Active Directory Domain was satisfied by provisioning a Windows Server Virtual Machine (VM) and configuring the server as a Domain Controller.
The Azure Active Directory Domain Services (currently in preview) offers an alternative. Rather than deploying and configuring a VM, the Domain Service could be enabled within an Azure Active Directory instance and associated with a new or pre-existing Virtual Network. Once the initial setup is complete, virtual machines deployed into the virtual network can be joined to the Active Directory domain. Once the machines are joined to the domain, the domain can be utilized as if it was being provided by an On-Prem or IaaS Windows Server.
The advantage? Simpler, more cost-effective Active Directory Domain management without the need to configure and run an additional server.
Since the Azure AD Domain Service is in preview, I decided to test the service within the context of a SharePoint IaaS-based deployment. In my testing, I chose to use the SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 image (see SharePoint 2016 Install ), but the results are applicable to any SharePoint version (e.g. 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016) using an Active Directory based deployment
The end result – a domain that can be used to support SharePoint Active Directory users and groups! For example, a domain name of sp2016ad.onmicrosoft.com can provide a SharePoint setup login of sp2016ad\sp_setup. (As of this writing, the service is only supported in “classic” mode, with support of Azure Resource Management forthcoming.)
The detailed instructions can be found below. Read the rest of this post »