Deploying an Exchange 2013 Hybrid Lab Environment in Windows Azure (Part 9)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In part 8 of this article series revolving around what the Windows Azure service is all about as well as how you deploy an Exchange hybrid deployment in Windows Azure, we connected to the two new virtual machines via remote desktop and created a new Active Directory forest by promoting them to AD DS servers.

In this part 9, we will continue right where we left off in part 8. That is, we will deploy an additional two new virtual machines and configure the endpoints for each in a load-balanced fashion.

Let’s get going…

Creating two Virtual Machines for Exchange 2013

We have reached the moment where we will deploy an additional two virtual machines on which we will install Exchange 2013.

In the Windows Azure Management portal, click “Virtual Machines” in the left pane. Under the “Virtual Machine Instances” tab, click “Create a Virtual Machine”.

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Figure 1:
Virtual Machine Instances

In the wizard, select “From Gallery”.

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Figure 2:
Creating Virtual Machine from Gallery

In the gallery, select the “Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter” image and click the arrow in the lower right corner.

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Figure 3:
Choosing the proper image from the gallery

Again, we need to provide a name (also the NetBIOS name) for the virtual machine and specify the building block to use. Since Exchange 2013 is quite memory and CPU hungry, we will use the “Small” building block (this building block is ok for lab environment purposes).

Enter the admin account name and provide a complex password for it.

Click the arrow in the lower right corner.

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Figure 4: Specifying name, building block and admin credentials for the virtual machine

In the cloud service name, we should enter the DNS name through which the virtual machine(s) should be accessible from the Internet. Bear in mind that this name is not necessarily the name through which you wish to publish the miscellaneous Exchange services. For that, we will create dedicated A/CNAME DNS records in external DNS for the custom domain (azurelab.dk) we use.

Cloud service-wise, we want to place the Exchange servers in the same Availability Set and the same Cloud Service. We will call the Cloud Service “AzureLabEX”.

Note:
All servers placed in a cloud service will by default be available from the Internet via “<insert_name>.cloudapp.net”. However, we can use CNAME or A-records if we want to use custom domain names, which we will in this article series.

In the “Region/Affinity Group/Virtual Network” drop-down menu, we will select the virtual network we created earlier on in the article.

Under “Storage Account” we will select the existing storage account we created when the AD DS servers were configured.

Finally, under “Availability Set”, select “Create an availability set” and set a name for it. I will call it “AzureLabEX” as I wish to use this for both Exchange 2013 Servers that are being deployed in my lab environment.

Click the arrow in the lower right corner.

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Figure 5:
Virtual Machine configuration continued

On the last page (4), we add, modify or delete endpoints for the respective virtual machine. Endpoints are the TCP or UDP protocol based ports through which it should be possible to access the virtual machine/cloud service from the Internet. Notice that the public port for remote desktop is set to “auto”, which means that a random port number will be configured during the provisioning of the virtual machine.

For the Exchange Server role, we will want to add HTTPS (TCP/443) and SMTP (TCP/25) to the list.

Click the checkmark to complete the creation of the virtual machine.

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Figure 6:
Virtual Machine Endpoints

The virtual machines are now being created.

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Figure 7: Virtual Machine being created

Now repeat the above steps in order to create the second virtual machine for Exchange 2013 with the following differences.

You of course need to specify a unique name for the second virtual machine as shown in Figure 8.

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Figure 8: Virtual Machine Configuration

On the next page, we need to pay a little attention. Here, you need to specify the existing cloud service, the existing availability set as well as storage account.

When done, click the arrow in the lower right corner.

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Figure 9: Virtual Machine Configuration Continued

Leave the endpoints as is and click the checkmark to finish the configuration. The reason for this is because we will create a load-balanced set for this virtual Exchange server and the first one we created.

Click the checkmark in the lower right corner to finish the basic creation for this virtual machine.

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Figure 10: Virtual Machine Endpoints

With the second virtual Exchange server created, it is time to create a load balanced set for Exchange. To do so, click the “Virtual Machines” icon in the left navigation pane and then open the property page for the first virtual Exchange server (azurelabsex1). On the property page, click on the “ENDPOINTS” tab.

Now select the “HTTPS” endpoint and click the “Edit” button as shown in Figure 11.

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Figure 11: Editing the HTTPS endpoint on the first virtual Exchange server

On the “EDIT ENDPOINT” page, tick “CREATE A LOAD-BALANCED SET” and click the arrow in the lower right corner.

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Figure 12: Changing the stand-alone endpoint for HTTPS to a load balanced set

On the next page, specify a name for the load balanced set used for Exchange purposes. I will name it “Exchange_HTTPS”. Leave the rest of the options at the defaults and click the checkmark.

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Figure 13: Specifying a name for the load balanced set

The HTTPS endpoint will now be updated to reflect the change we just made.

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Figure 14: HTTPS endpoint being updated

When the HTTPS endpoint has been updated, repeat the steps for the SMTP endpoint.

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Figure 15: Changing the stand-alone endpoint for SMTP to a load balanced set

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Figure 16: Specifying a name for the load balanced set

When the stand-alone endpoints have been updated, you can see they now are populated with the load balanced set name we specified for each (Figure 17).

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Figure 17: Endpoints listed with load-balanced set name

As you recall, we did not add HTTPS and SMTP as stand-alone end endpoints for the second virtual Exchange server. The reason for this is we will add this server to the load-balanced set we just configured for HTTPS and SMTP endpoints on the first virtual Exchange server.

To do so open the property page for the second virtual Exchange server, and then click “ENDPOINTS”.

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Figure 18: Property page for the second virtual Exchange server

Click the “ADD” button.

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Figure 19: Adding a new endpoint

On the “Add an endpoint to a virtual machine” page, select “ADD AN ENDPOINT TO AN EXISTING LOAD-BALANCED SET” and select the “Exchange_HTTPS” load balanced set in the drop-down box.

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Figure 20: Adding the second virtual Exchange server to the HTTPS load balanced set

On the second page, name the endpoint HTTPS and click the checkmark to finish the configuration.

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Figure 21: Specifying a name for the HTTPS endpoint

The second Exchange virtual server has now been added successfully to the HTTPS load balanced set.

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Figure 22: Second virtual Exchange server successfully added

Now repeat the above steps to add the second virtual Exchange server to the load balanced set for SMTP.

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Figure 23: Adding the second virtual Exchange server to the load balanced set for SMTP

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Figure 24: Specifying a name for the SMTP endpoint

Just like is the case for the first virtual Exchange server, we now see the HTTPS and SMTP endpoints listed with the load-balanced set name for each.

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Figure 25: Endpoints listed with load-balanced set name

Now let us click the “Cloud Services” icon in the left navigation pane and select the “AzurelabEX” service.

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Figure 26: Selecting the AzurelabEX cloud service

Under the dashboard tab, in the lower right corner, we can also see the input endpoints for the cloud service. As you can see both virtual Exchange servers with both port TCP/25 and TCP/443 are listed here just as we expected.

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Figure 27: Dashboard for the Exchange cloud service (azurelabex)

This concludes part 9 of this multi-part article in which I provide you with an explanation of what Windows Azure is and how you configure an Exchange 2013 hybrid lab environment in Windows Azure.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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