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What's involved in a Windows Azure Pack installation?

What is Windows Azure Pack? What are the Windows Azure Pack installation requirements for hardware and software under Windows Server 2012 R2?

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Microsoft Azure is Microsoft's cloud platform that allows organizations to develop and manage cloud-based applications. And for organizations looking to become service providers, providing customers with cloud-type services and workload hosting capabilities, Windows Azure Pack fills this role. Azure Pack lets Windows Server organizations deliver Azure types of services from within the data center. Let's take a look at how it integrates with Windows Server and what that means for end users.

Windows Azure Pack resides atop the data center's existing Windows Server and System Center installations; it's typically divided into two key service areas or portals. The Administrative portal supports cloud tasks for admins, such as creating resource clouds, arranging self-service automation, handling tenant/customer management and billing and developing hosting templates. The Customer portal supports cloud tasks for end users, such as Web platform support, virtual machine (VM) support, virtual networking, interapplication messaging and database services.

Installation requirements for Windows Azure Pack can be divided into hardware, software and components. For example, any servers used to run the Azure Pack should provide at least two CPU cores, 4 GB of RAM and 40 GB of local storage -- easy minimums for almost any current server hardware. However, Windows Azure Pack requires at least eight servers to install components, so an organization can deploy components on separate machines or combine components on the same server as VMs.

Software requirements include Windows Server 2012 or later, Microsoft Web Platform Installer 4.6, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1, Internet Information Services (IIS) 8 or 8.5 and .NET Framework 4.5 Extended with ASP .NET for Windows 8. Microsoft System Center may also be required.

Finally, install the Windows Azure Pack components onto eight separate physical servers or eight VMs. The components include Microsoft SQL Server for Windows Azure Pack, three APIs (administrative, tenant and public), a tenant and administrative authentication site and the portals for administrators and tenants.

This was first published in May 2014

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