SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility

Mutual Compatibility: SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud

For beginners let me start with a brief description of MS SharePoint, which is: Microsoft SharePoint is a Web technology based server that can be used to build portals, collaboration sites, and also content management sites. In other words it is a family of software products developed by Microsoft for collaboration, file sharing and web publishing.

Similarly, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a central part of Amazon.com’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS). EC2 allows users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. EC2 allows scalable deployment of applications by providing a web service through which a user can boot an Amazon Machine Image to create a virtual machine, which Amazon calls an “instance”, containing any desired software.

Now, comes the topic of discussion: Is MS SharePoint 2010 EC2 compliant or, in other words, can we use MS SharePoint on a cloud? The article being presented is based on the discussions and information available over the internet, publications, etc. and is, at the same time, open for any constructive cross examination.

http://www.cio.com/ [an award-winning business unit of International Data Group], quotes Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz in a new report titled SharePoint 2010: A More Viable Cloud Option: To date, deploying SharePoint in the cloud, either as a standalone or as part of Microsoft’s BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), has not provided the level security, compliance, privacy and app compatibility that comes with on-premise deployments. However, the release of SharePoint 2010 will make the cloud option more enticing, predicts Koplowitz. Though it won’t wipe out the need for on-premise SharePoint, particularly among large enterprises, SharePoint 2010 does “close the gap in functionality between the deployment options and opens up SharePoint Online to a wider range of applications” he writes.

However, according to http://www.readwriteweb.com/ [ReadWriteWeb is one of the most popular technology blogs in the world, known for offering insightful analysis about each day’s Internet industry news] any service such as e-mail, which has become commoditized, lends itself well to a cloud environment. But a behemoth like SharePoint is more complicated, mainly because it does so much: collaboration, document management, application development, the creation of corporate intranets. It can get a bit confusing when you start to unravel what SharePoint 2010 looks like as a cloud offering. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that SharePoint 2010 is not cloud ready.

As Information Week pointed out, Microsoft hardly gave a nod to cloud computing in its launch that took place on the Saturday Night Live set at NBC Studios. Information Week’s Doug Henschen points out that Microsoft’s cloud-oriented bundling of Exchange Online and SharePoint Online never came up:

But the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) — Microsoft’s cloud-oriented bundling of Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, never came up.”Perhaps that’s because SharePoint 2010 won’t show up as part of BPOS until later this year. Microsoft says BPOS-D will bow by year end; but that’s not hard given that “D” simply means that its conventional Exchange and SharePoint hosted on dedicated hardware. BPOS-S, the true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, will only reach beta by year end, so look toward mid 2011 for broad availability. Competitors have pounced on the differences between Microsoft’s on-premise and cloud offerings.’

Confusing, isn’t it? But it gets even more contradictory when Microsoft executives say that SharePoint 2010 is truly a multi-tenant service with its only delay being the roll out of Microsoft’s provisioning and online billing systems. But it really is not multi-tenant ready. Again, according to Information week, a number of functions are handled at the server level or at the SharePoint Farm level.

Meanwhile, though the debate and related analysis continue… Amazon announced the availability of Windows EC2 instances and it is now available for users to run SharePoint Services on these EC2 instances. The same was not possible earlier because at that time Amazon was not supporting the Windows Server 2008. These steps, though widely available over the internet, are being shared here, again [courtesy: http://www.czarzbon.com].

1-      Prerequisite: We need an EC2 Account by Amazon

2-      Go to the AWS Management Console (Beta)

3-      Start a new instance. Be aware about the region. I’ve started my server in Europe West.

4-      The Windows Server 2008 is not available as standard AMI Image, so switch to Community AMI and choose

amazon/Windows-Server2008-x86_64-SqlExpressMultiLang-v1

P.S: Thanks to Helmut for the hint about the new version of the image (see comment about the problems with the version 1.0). So please use the v101, in my case ami-91ebc0e5

amazon/Windows-Server2008-x86_64-SqlExpressMultiLang-v101

I guess we just want to evaluate SharePoint 2010 and not to build a productive server on a beta version. So an embedded SQL Express 2008 Server works for us perfect.

5-      Define the number of instances to 1 and define the security group. Here we need to allow the security group to access Remote Desktop – RDP on Port 3389

6-      After the instance is running, download the password for your new server. Select your instance and click on “Get windows Admin Password”. The password is encrypted so we need our private key which we will receive from Amazon during our account activation. Please notice that it will last for about 5 minutes after start of a new instance until we will be able to get our password. Be patient…

7-      Now we can connect to our server with Remote Desktop using the public DNS name of our server

8-      Now we are on the server, so open IE and download SharePoint 2010 from the TechNet site. Please select the English Version!

http://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/evalcenter/ee388573.aspx

Please select the Enterprise CAL version. To be able to download we must add this site http://*.microsoft.com to the Trusted Sites

9-      For a download speed of 561 MB we need about 4 minutes!

10-  The Amazon Image has the Power Shell Version 1.0 on it. We need to remove this feature at first. Go to control panel and click on Programs and features to remove it.

11-  We also need the KB971831 Patch for Windows Server

http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/KB971831/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=3235

Download and install it

12-  Now we can start the installation of the SharePoint Server 2010 Beta. Click on the OfficeServer.exe which we have download before.

13-  The first step: Install software prerequisites:

14-  And then “Install SharePoint Server”. Please select the “Stand Alone” Version!

15-  Enter the Product Key. The MAK for example has been shared here:

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/11/22/free-mak-activation-beta-product-keys-for-office-visio-project-and-sharepoint-2010/

16-  And now wait for until the installation finished!


17- And start the configuration Wizard

18-  Done!!!!

19- The SharePoint Server is running. An IE Site pops up. Please enter the server Administrator credentials

20- And here we go. Our first site:


Expense: The bill after 2 hours of using – For 64Bit system we have to use at least the “Large instance”. So for a month we have to pay about 350$ for the server and additional fee for the transfer.

For testing it is not the perfect price but if we consider a productive system without cost for IT maintenance, it is a very nice price.

This wraps up my article. Hoping that the ‘clouds’ over SharePoint 2010 and Amazon EC2 clear soon.

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8 Responses to SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility

  1. Pingback: SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility (via plugged-in :-)) | iRise Prototyping Tool

  2. Pingback: SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility (via plugged-in :-)) « Navneet Nagpal's Blog

  3. Pingback: SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility (via plugged-in :-)) « Haseeb Akhtar

  4. Pingback: SharePoint (2010) – Amazon Elastic Cloud : Mutual Compatibility (via plugged-in :-)) | deepssharma

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  6. Steve says:

    This is a great idea for hosting SharePoint in the cloud. I have found hosting SharePoint in a private cloud very expensive with configuring a server with 64bit configuration so I would be interested to see if it is cheaper to use Amazon cloud services.

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