April 20, 2015 // By Larry Louisiana
Developing for SharePoint 2013 requires a lot more infrastructure than previous versions. With SharePoint 2010 you could get by with a couple of VMs running on a laptop with 8 GB RAM. SharePoint 2013 won’t install with less than 8 GB RAM. Running that in a VM puts a strain on any laptop, and if you want to actually do development with Search, it makes your iteration time grind to a halt. The fix for this is to provision a development lab that you can share among developers on your team. But that takes coordination and resources that raise the cost of development. It is not as if you can just buy a few servers and drop them on your network, they must be configured and maintained.
Standing up a development lab can be time consuming and costly. If your company is trying to get its feet wet with SharePoint 2013 development, buying a bunch of servers is probably overkill. That is when Azure or one of the other cloud hosting providers can come to your rescue. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a relatively inexpensive way to get started, and it gives you added flexibility that you can’t easily get with local or on premise servers.
An important point to note when designing your lab is that a demo lab is different than a development lab. If you have a need to run demos beyond the standard scrum end of sprint demo, then you should really look at standing up a different lab specifically for that. You can use derivatives of the scripts that you used to build the development lab, but you will want to modify these to allow for more redundancy. You will also want to develop more convenient scripts for standing up and shutting down the demo lab. This is something that you will do more often than you do for the lab, and you will want to allow someone else to be able to initiate it without much system knowledge. You can set it up to automatically “stand down” during certain hours and after a specified amount of time.
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