Build a SharePoint 2010 Test/Development Farm

    In this post I am going to step through my process of spinning up a test/development SharePoint farm. In this scenario I decided to combine the testing and development on one farm. This will be a copy of the production farm on its own separate domain. I know there are posts on this out there already on this process but I decided to post about this anyway as I found some of the other posts hard to follow. With this post I want to spell out my own steps for my specific scenario in a clear concise format and hopefully this will help someone else at some point.

    The first thing that needs to be done is build the test/development domain and the servers that will be used in the new farm. Here is a list of what I would put in the test/development domain:

  • Domain Controller
  • DNS
  • Exchange Server
  • SQL Server
  • SharePoint servers (Web Front End Servers and any Application Servers you need.)

The Exchange server is not required. I wanted one in my test/development environment for some email testing. The production SharePoint farm consisted of 7 servers in but I went with 4 servers in the test/development environment. You do have the option to scale back on the amount of servers in the test/development farm and have a solid environment for development and testing. Ok. I will jump right into the steps now.

Deploy test/development SharePoint farm

I used a couple of tools to speed up this process. The first tool is called SPDocKit. (Thanks Sean Mcdonough for telling me about this.) I used SPDockit to go through and document every little detail of the production environment so that I knew what I was dealing with. This gave me a list of all web applications, site collections, the content databases that were being used, all services and service applications being used in the farm, any 3rd party solutions that were deployed as well as other any other data I wanted to know about such as email configurations.

I was able to take this data and create a plan for the test/development farm to ensure it matched the production farm as close as possible even with the amount of servers scaled back.

SPDockit can be found here: http://www.spdockit.com

The second tool that I used is the SPAutoInstaller. SPAutoinstaller is a tool that can be used to install and configure a SharePoint farm via scripts. It is easy to use and works well. This saves you time because you simply go and build out the script and input the configurations you need. Once you run the script it will completely build the farm for you. Now for me in this particular scenario I let the SPAutoInstaller do everything except for the site collections. I needed all the site collections that came over to be placed in their own content databases. That is why I skipped creation of the site collections within the script. These have to be restored in SQL as you will see later on in this post. I did however let the script create the web applications and all the managed paths that I needed.

The SPAutoInstaller can be found here: http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com and a great tutorial for the SPAutoInstaller can also be found here: http://www.wahidsaleemi.com/2011/11/autospinstaller-getting-prepared.

Please note that you need to go and deploy and custom solutions or any 3rd party solutions to your test/development farm. Now that we have the new environment spun up. Let’s move on to copying our site collections over from the production farm to the test/development farm.

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SharePoint 2013 Sandbox

CloudShare is offering a SharePoint 2013 sandbox to try out the new SharePoint.

The environment has:

 

  • A SharePoint 2013 web front end
  • A server with SQL Server 2012
  • A server with Active Directory
     

Visit: http://go.cloudshare.com/StoneShare-SharePoint-2013-beta to sign up.

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Central Admin – Unavailable HTTP Error 503

Recently after installing a new SharePoint 2010 farm I tried to access Central Admin. The site was giving me “Service Unavailable  HTTP Error 503”. I checked in IIS and the Central Admin application pool in IIS  was stopped. I started it and waited for a little bit it was still running. When I went to hit the Central Admin site the application pool would stop immediately. I had not run into this issue before.

The application poo...

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On-premise SharePoint & Office 365 Cloud Hybrid

Thinking about moving your SharePoint to the cloud? If Office 365 is on your list of cloud options but you are not sure you can do a Hybrid solution. This allows you time to evaluate SharePoint on Office 365. There are many other reasons to consider a on-premise/cloud hybrid environment but you need to know the "got-chas" of doing this.

Here is a quick list of a few common things to consider when looking at a Hybrid.

  • How will ...
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SharePoint PowerShell cmdlet Builder

Microsoft has released a web based tool that can be used to build PowerShell cmdlets for SharePoint. This is a great tool for those that are new to SharePoint PowerShell or PowerShell in general. It allows you to drag and drop a PowerShell verb and noun into a design surface and then input your specific SharePoint information such as farm, site collection database etc to complete the cmdlet...

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Team Foundation Server 2010 to SharePoint White Paper

For you devs out there, A colleague of mine Luke Grindahl recently published a white paper about the pro/cons of the different deployment methods when deploying from Team Foundation Server 2010 to SharePoint. You can download the whitepaper here: http://www.repliweb.com/resources/lp/tfs2010_shp_whitepaper.php

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SharePoint Event

Check out this free SharePoint event in Minnesota.

Twin Cities SharePoint Saturday IV on March 20, 2010

The 4th Biannual Twin Cities SharePoint Saturday! (Formerly known as the Twin Cities SharePoint Camp.)  Spend a day with other SharePoint Administrators, Developers and End Users and come away with tips, tricks and a richer understanding of how you can leverage SharePoint to meet your needs.

Audience
SharePoint Saturdays are about ...

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My SharePoint IT Kit

Do you need to track equipment, software, and IP addresses in your IT department? These are a given. The issue is many IT budgets have been cut. Well I have had the same issue. There is a solution. If you have SharePoint 2007 you can use it to manage and track all of these things. If your company has not or does not plan to purchase SharePoint 07 dont worry. You can get Windows SharePoint Services 3...

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