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@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Step-by-Step: Extend Your Network to the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Networks

New Site-to-Site VPN capabilities enable cost-effective Hybrid Cloud scenarios

This month, my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I are authoring a new articles series on 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.  You can catch the full series at  In today's article in this series, we'll discuss extending our On-premises Datacenter into a Hybrid Network Infrastructure with Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure Virtual Networks and Site-to-Site VPN Tunnels.

Windows Azure Virtual Networks allow us to securely extend our Private Cloud with a hybrid network infrastructure that leverages the best of two worlds: the low-latency and high-bandwidth available with our on-premise datacenter networks with the elastic, pay-as-you-go cloud model of Windows Azure Virtual Networks and Virtual Machines.

Windows Azure Virtual Networks – Guided Lab Scenario

Windows Azure Virtual Networks offers the power to open up several cross-premises use case scenarios, including:

  • Active Directory Disaster Recovery
  • SQL Database Replication
  • Windows Server 2012 DFS-R File Replication
  • Accelerated Cloud File Services with BranchCache
  • Hybrid Web Applications
  • and MORE!

But … we need to configure the Virtual Network FIRST … which is what this Guided Hands-on Lab Scenario is all about!

Once configured, a Windows Azure Virtual Network gives us the power as IT Pros to pick where each application workload is hosted – either on-premises or in Windows Azure – based on the network, storage, security and Internet requirements of each application.  However, as an interconnected hybrid scenario, we can continue to manage VMs centrally with System Center 2012 SP1 and Windows Server 2012 Server Manager, regardless of where those VMs may really live.

Guided Lab Exercises
In this Guided Lab Scenario, you’ll complete the end-to-end configuration steps for building:

  • Windows Azure Virtual Network and IP Address Space
  • Virtualized Subnets for VM and VPN Gateway workloads
  • Site-to-Site IPsec VPN Tunnel for secure cross-premises connectivity
  • Virtual VPN Gateways in Windows Azure
  • On-premises VPN Gateway using Windows Server 2012

Once you’re done, you’ll test the configuration by placing a Windows Azure Virtual Machine on your newly provisioned Virtual Network.

Estimated Completion Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Let’s Get Started!
To launch this Guided Lab Scenario, click the Play button in the window below.

Guided Lab Scenario: Windows Azure Virtual Networks

Guided Lab Tips:

  • After launching the lab in the window above, you may wish to also click the Show Full Screen button in the lower right portion of the window for best viewing.
  • The lab captions can be moved by clicking/dragging if they obscure a portion of your Guided Lab window, particularly when using lower screen resolutions.

Get the associated 48-Page Step-by-Step Lab Guide for FREE ...

If you'd like a copy of the 48-Page Step-by-Step Lab Guide that is associated with this Guided Hands-on Lab for reference when building our your own virtual networks ... just follow the easy steps below to get it sent to you!

  1. Activate a FREE 90-Day Windows Azure Trial Evaluation Kit. ( You'll need this to build out your own Virtual Network and Site-to-Site VPN )
  2. Shortly after activating your Windows Azure Evaluation Kit, you'll receive an email titled "Welcome to 3-Month Free Trial"
  3. Forward the email received in Step 2 above to:
    [email protected].

You'll receive an email in response with your 48-Page Lab Guide Attached!

Completed! Now what can I do with a Virtual Network?
Now that you know the steps for creating a secure cross-premises Virtual Network with Windows Azure, check out the following hybrid network scenarios that can leverage this Virtual Network as part of your Private Cloud infrastructure:

And ... while you're at it, be sure to check out the rest of our recent blog article series at:

Are you using Windows Azure Virtual Networks?

Do you have interesting use cases or scenarios that you’re delivering with Windows Azure Virtual Networks? Feel free to leave your comments and feedback below to share across our IT Pro community!

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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