Cloud SharePoint for Developers : Office 365, Azure, Amazon AWS & CloudShare

Here’s a quick round up of our four top picks for getting your SharePoint Development going on in the cloud. Why develop in the cloud instead of perhaps using a local dedicated or virtual development environment?    Here’s ten reasons:

1. Scalable Add as many machines as you need.
2. Open and Flexible Choose development platform and programming model.
3. Secure Secure and durable technology platform with industry-recognized certifications and audits.
4. Fast Deployment Time Deploy applications without waiting for hardware to arrive.
5. Highly Available Highly reliable services and multiple fault-tolerant Availability Zones.
6. Quickly Adjust to Business Change: Running SharePoint in the Cloud allows you to add capacity as needed, without long lead time. You can easily scale up, or down, as business demands change. Stay ahead of the curve by adjusting capacity in minutes and hours, not days or weeks.
7. No New Hardware to Buy: All four options offer low, pay-as-you-go pricing, which eliminates hardware acquisition costs and allows you to pay only for the capacity you need. We do all of the hardware management, so you can focus on higher-value activities than replacing hard drives.
8. Shift Capital Expense to Operating Expense: While reducing both. You no longer need to plan, procure, manage, and depreciate your IT infrastructure.  You can replace large up-front expenses with more predictable costs that scale with your business.
9. Utilize Existing Skills and Software: Leverage your existing investments in IT skills and software assets, enabling your company to roll out new applications more quickly.
10. Low Cost Pay only for cloud resources used.

SharePoint Development on Office 365

Use an Office 365 Developer Site as a development and testing environment to shorten your setup time and start creating, testing, and deploying your apps for Office and SharePoint. Deploy the “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools to this preconfigured SharePoint site and you also get a head start on developing SharePoint-hosted apps, and apps for Office documents and mail items, without installing Visual Studio 2012 and Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 on your development computer. With an Office 365 Developer Site, you get an isolated app domain for SharePoint-hosted apps, preconfigured to use OAuth, so that you can use the Windows Azure Access Control Service (ACS) for authenticating and authorizing provider-hosted apps for SharePoint that are deployed to this site.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fp179924.aspx

Next steps

After you have a development environment and an Office 365 Developer Site, you can start creating apps for Office and SharePoint.

Next steps for working with “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools

Next steps for working with apps for SharePoint

Additional resources

SharePoint Development on Azure

Microsoft SharePoint Server provides rich deployment flexibility, which can help organizations determine the right deployment scenarios to align with their business needs and objectives. Hosted and managed in the cloud, the Windows Azure Virtual Machines offering provides complete, reliable, and available infrastructure to support various on-demand application and database workloads, such as Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint deployments.

While Windows Azure Virtual Machines support multiple workloads, this paper focuses on SharePoint deployments. Windows Azure Virtual Machines enable organizations to create and manage their SharePoint infrastructure quickly—provisioning and accessing nearly any host universally. It allows full control and management over processors, RAM, CPU ranges, and other resources of SharePoint virtual machines (VMs).

Windows Azure Virtual Machines mitigate the need for hardware, so organizations can turn attention from handling high upfront cost and complexity to building and managing infrastructure at scale. This means that they can innovate, experiment, and iterate in hours—as opposed to days and weeks with traditional deployments.

Step-by-Step: Build a FREE SharePoint 2013 Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services

Prerequisites

The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:

  • A Windows Azure subscription with the Virtual Machines Preview enabled.   DO IT: Sign up for a FREE Trial of Windows Azure   NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time.
  • Completion of the Getting Started tasks in the following article:   DO IT: Getting Started with Servers in the Cloud
  • This step-by-step guide assumes that the reader is already somewhat familiar with configuring Windows Server Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint Server in an on-premise installation. This guide focuses on the unique aspects associated with configuring these components on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

Additional Resources:
How to: Deploy SharePoint Server 2010 on Azure
SharePoint 2013 on Azure Infrastructure

SharePoint Development on Amazon Web Services

Amazon EC2 running Windows Server is a secure and dependable environment for customers to deploy Microsoft SharePoint quickly and cost  effectively. The Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance program  allows Microsoft volume license customers to use their existing Windows Server applications licenses, including SharePoint Server, on AWS  without paying any additional Microsoft licensing fees. Take advantage of the benefits that the AWS Cloud offers such as pay-as-you-go pricing,  scalability, and data integrity to run your SharePoint workloads today.

The Get Started section below has more detail about all of the available technologies and resources for Microsoft on AWS, including pricing,  documentation, whitepapers, templates and sample code. If you have questions about SharePoint on AWS please visit the FAQ page for more info.

Get Started with AWS for Free
Sign Up Now »

AWS Free Tier includes 750 hours of Linux or Windows Micro Instances each month for one year. To stay within the Free Tier, use only EC2 Micro instances.

View AWS Free Tier Details »

Additional Resources

Microsoft and AWS     Overview of the relationship between the Microsoft and AWS, with technical resources, case studies, videos and more.

>     Learn More

Windows on the Amazon Cloud     Learn about pricing on Amazon EC2 for Windows Server and SQL Server, or find out about the Free Tier.

>     Learn More

SharePoint Reference Architecture White Paper     General concepts and technical guidance for setting up and running a SharePoint Server farm on AWS.

>     Read White Paper

Security for the Microsoft Applications on AWS White Paper Guidance, best practices, and available controls and capabilities within the AWS platform to run Windows Server-based applications securely on the AWS cloud.

Read White Paper

SharePoint Development on CloudShare

CloudShare provides an unmatched solution for SharePoint development and testing. Build a single server or multi-server SharePoint farm in minutes. With a few clicks, you can collaborate with other developers, demo for prospects, and deploy your solution to a production farm.

  • Explore the full functionality of SharePoint
  • Develop on virtual machines with sole server administration access
  • Select from development templates pre-configured with Visual Studio, Office, and various versions of SharePoint
  • Leverage tools including Team Foundation Server to store your solution code
  • Share your SharePoint solution across your organization

Try now using these top templates

SharePoint 2010 with SSRS 2012›
SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Small Farm›
SharePoint 2010 with Project Server›

CloudShare Free  Trial›

Conclusion

Each of these services has it’s strong points. With Microsoft’s Azure offering now set to price match against Amazon AWS, things are really heating up. CloudShare is an fantastic company with a super-simple deployment model – it’s possibly the simplest way to roll out a new development scenario.  Office 365 is rock solid, if you don’t need to actually manipulate server-side stuff and are focused on the Apps model.  I’m always interested to hear from other developers on their experiences with these different offerings.

capital expense, development platform, development tools, hardware management, virtual development environment

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