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SharePoint 2013: Revisiting Automated SharePoint Installs

A while back, I blogged about both the driving factors and a recommended process for automated installation of SharePoint 2010 (see Automating Sharepoint 2010 Installs). As more and more of our clients are deploying SharePoint 2013, I’ve had a chance to revisit and revise the process for SharePoint 2013.
The good news for those of you who followed my advice and/or created your own installation process, the basics remain the same.   Here are a few observations:

  • My tool of choice for automated installation, AutoSPInstaller,  has been updated to support both SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2010.   While the SharePoint 2013 functionality is marked as “beta”, I’ve successfully tested the latest versions on multi-server SharePoint 2013 farms.
  • A new companion program to AutoSPInstaller is now available — AutoSPSourceBulder.  This utility provides automated support for gathering all the pre-requisite programs/patches required for a SharePoint 2013 installation.  This program is especially useful in cases where internet access from target servers is prohibited.
  • In order to document and validate a SharePoint farm setup, the following SharePoint 2013 enabled tools can be used: Document farm configuration settings in SharePoint 2013 and Documentation Toolkit for SharePoint

Here are a few new and/or unique items for SharePoint 2013 installations:

  • For anything other than a simple “quick and dirty” demonstration, the self-contained “SharePoint + SQL + AD environment in box” (aka single server/domain) is no longer viable.  In my testing, I have confirmed issues and limitations that arise when an attempt is made to host a domain controller and SharePoint on the same box; the domain controller node must be provisioned (or made available) separately from the SharePoint 2013 nodes.  (Note that SQL Server can be installed either on the SharePoint server box or on a separate box.)
  • Supporting the SharePoint 2013 Application model requires additional configuration steps
    • Creating an Application Domain
    • Setup Application Subscription and Management Services
    • For On-Premises, Provider Hosted Application Support, the Farm must be configured for “Server to Server High Trust” with the application server(s) (see Create high-trust apps for SharePoint 2013 using the server-to-server protocol )
    • By default, SharePoint 2013 includes the SharePoint 2010 Workflow Engine.  In order to use the new SharePoint 2013 workflow service a separate setup must be completed (see Installing and Configuring Workflow Manager 1.0 ) which is not within the current scope of AutoSPInstaller.
    • There are many other more minor differences in the installation/configuration.  Thankfully, many of them are transparent to users of AutoSPInstaller.  Review of the AutoSPInstallerInput.XML sample file will make many of these details clear.

Its reassuring to know that SharePoint 2013 installations can start with a solid installation for development, test, or production.

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