Spin up SQL Server 2014 CTP1 on Azure in 10 minutes

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP 1 has just been released some days ago. CTP stands for Community Technical Preview and can be compared with a public beta-version of the product. So you want to play around with this new piece of software – but how can you do that?

In this posting I will show you, how you can get an instance of SQL Server 2014 CTP 1 up and running in approx. 10 minutes by using Microsoft Azure. The instance will be running as a virtual machine in the cloud. The great thing about this approach is that it’s fast to get working and you can easily delete the image when a new version is being released.

When Microsoft released the CTP version they also announced that they made a preconfigured image available in Azure. So let’s get started and spin up this image to start testing the new product.

Create the Azure Virtual Machine
To start up the process go to http://manage.windowsazure.com and login with you Azure account. If you don’t have an account yet, you can easily create one. You can either try a free trail, you can use your MSDN subscription to get access or you can use your credit card a buy immediately access.

When you get into the Azure dashboard, select ‘Virtual Machines’ in the left menu and press the ‘Create a virtual machine’.


Now create a quick image and select “SQL Server 2014 CTP1” as the predefined image. This will give you an installed and configured SQL Server installation. Also assign the virtual machine a DNS-name, which will be the public name of the server, like: servername.cloudapp.net.

You must also name the administrator account for the virtual image – so remember this username and password. Last, press the ‘Create a virtual machine button’.



Now the virtual machine is created on Azure. First the necessary storage is reserved for the virtual machine, next the virtual machine is provisioned and last the machine is started. The time for this process is about 5 minutes. The following screenshots shows some of the actions shown during the provisioning.





The virtual machine is now ready for use, as the status is showing ‘running’. This completes the virtual machine creation process. By pressing the name of the virtual machine, you can access performance dashboards and configuration possibilities.



Connect to the server
To access the just created virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014 CTP1 we will be using Remote Desktop (RDP). To get the RDP connection configuration press the ‘Connect’ button at the button of the screen.


This will allow you to download the configurations for the RDP connection as a .rdp file, which can be opened with the Windows Remote Desktop application. (The screenshots are in Danish, but it is a typical Internet Explorer download file pop-up) Save the .rdp-file to a local folder.



Now double-click the rdp-file and a typical authentication screen will appear. Type in the administrator credentials that you assigned when you created the virtual image.


Now you are connected to the virtual machine in the cloud and you will see the desktop of the server.


Create your first database using SQL Server 2014
To create a database we need to open up SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). To do that, press the Start-button in the bottom. On the start menu that appears press the little down-pointing arrow and you will get to an overview of all the installed applications. Here you can find other SQL Server related applications like the Data Quality client, SQL Server profiler etc. Click the SQL Server Management Studio icon.



Management Studio will now start up and you are asked to login. Again, type in the credentials of the server administrator that you created earlier on.



You are now looking at the management studio for SQL Server 2014 CTP1. To create the query that creates your database press the query-button.


In the query window that’s opened up, type in this SQL-DDL statement and press F5.


Congratulation, you have now created a virtual machine in the cloud and created a database in SQL Server 2014 CTP1.


Now go and have fun with the product and follow the SQL Server Blog for articles on using the new features of this product.

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