Can anyone please provide advice on setting up a sharepoint development environment. Basically I see that Windows Azure is a good way to go.

The link is http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/windows/other-resources/sharepoint-on-azure/#header-7

The questions I have are how exactly does this work. So developers just need an internet connection to hook into the VM's?

They hook in to Windows Azure and have a Dev VM and a Test VM each?

How does source control work? Where is the main Integration and Dev machines and Production Sites?

If anyone has done this can they please give advice. There will be 5-6 developers and we don't want a case where one person is working away and it knocks someone else off the box etc...

Thanks guys

3 Answers 3


Windows Azure is PaaS(Platform-as-a-Service) that allows you to install and manage your SharePoint environment on cloud like you do on premises.

You will be charged based on the space and compute hours consumed by your SharePoint farm, Visual studio, TFS etc. Much VS debugging makes you pay more :-), hence development farm on Azure may be costly to maintain.

Please go through this paper and decide if deploying SharePoint on Windows Azure Virtual Machines is the right choice for you.

If you want to start creating the Sharepoint farm on Azure, Please refer Step-by-Step: Build a FREE SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure

You can also refer other How To guides for Azure for better understanding

I would recommend to use SharePoint Online (SaaS) if your development\customization are just at at site collection level but not at the farm level.

Please note that Azure does not include SharePoint licensing which must be purchased in addition to your hosting. SharePoint Online includes licensing for SharePoint (varying feature sets depending on which plan you choose).

Also you should have Visual Studio license for development and source control (TFS)

  • I'm presuming Visual Studio has to be on developers local PC and then they connect through a VPN to the Sharepoint server on Windows Azure?
    – topcat3
    Mar 28, 2013 at 14:21
  • If you use Azure to run your own Virtual Machines you typically connect with a Remote Desktop Client to your virtual machines.
    – Wout
    Apr 2, 2013 at 9:07

Azure is a collection of cloud services provided by Microsoft.

One of the services allows you to host your own Virtual Machines in Azure. You still need to buy the licenses of all the software you install on these machines. It's basically the same situation as when you install SharePoint on a server within your organisation. Microsoft calls this 'on-premise' installation.

An other service in Azure is 'SharePoint Online'. It's part of the online (web-based) office solution. In short: Microsoft hosts SharePoint for you. You typically pay a fee per user. Various subscriptions types are available. The most important thing to realize is that with the online version you do not have access to the server, you are limited due to security (and stability) reasons and not all the SharePoint features are available in the online version.

Whenever you start developing for SharePoint always make sure if you want to develop for an 'on-premise' or for an 'online' SharePoint version.

Developing. Since I do not always have access to an internet connection, I prefer to develop SharePoint solutions on my laptop. You need at least 16GB memory and an SSD drive to speed things up. Create a SharePoint solution, build and test it on your development machine and deploy it to your server.

As stated before, when creating a solution for the SharePoint online version you have (security) restrictions (search for 'SharePoint sandbox solution').


If you only want an online (cloud) development machine, take a look at cloudshare. They have some preinstalled SharePoint offerings as well.


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