Welcome back to part 2 of my short series of using AutoSPInstaller to build a 3-tier multiple server SharePoint farm. Last time we looked at all of the work we needed to do to get setup and discussed what our end goal was. Now we can get down to business and start some installation! I’ll walk you through the most critical part – creating your answer file, then the installation itself.
As you read in part 1, we did all the work to get the OS and SQL installed, then prepped the SharePoint servers for install. Now all we need to do is create our answer file. The answer file is an XML file that provides all of the necessary input to the automated installation, where you define all your server and database names, services, roles, usernames, etc.
This used to be rather painful because it involved reading a long XML file, and it was easy to mess up and prone to miss a password, or ensure everything lined up. Then someone wrote a GUI-based local application where you would fill out a form and it would spit out the XML file. That was awesome, and now it’s even better as it’s been turned into a web tool! Go to http://www.autospinstaller.com, and click Build a Farm. It presents rather intelligent forms where you fill out the relevant information, then it spits out the XML answer file which you just copy and paste into a local file. You can also load in previous XML answer files if you need to make some changes to existing files.
For our farm, we’re building APP, WFE and Search servers. Let’s get configuring:
When you’re done, click Review & Download. It will have a text box with XML in it. Just select it all, copy, and paste it into a blank notepad. Save this as AutoSPInstaller-<servername>.XML and into the \AutoSPInstaller folder. It’s the same directory as the PowerShell functions and installer launch batch file.
For good measure, I always like to pre-create the SQL alias on all SharePoint servers using cliconfg, and on each server, test the connection to SQL (though you can do it with the script). This will give you confidence all firewalls and other issues won’t bite you during the install. You can do this easily by creating a new text file on the server desktop, then rename it to test.udl. Double-click on the file, and type the name of the SQL alias in the server box, and click Test Connection. If all is ok, it will succeed and you’re free to continue:
Now that you’ve done all your homework and prep, we’re ready to start the installation. On the root App server, we can kick off the installation. I like to move the entire \SP folder to the root of the C: drive, and per the documentation known issues its best to create a share and run the installer from the UNC path in remote install scenarios. Set the share permissions for everyone full control, then set the NTFS permissions as indicated. This In a multi-server scenario, be sure to drag the XML file on the launch.bat file to kick off the install. It will do some sweet account and permission validation.
The installer will kick off the prereqinstaller, which you can open from the taskbar to watch it if you like. Assuming you did all the .Net 3.5 stuff, it should not error and reboot a couple times. Each time just log back in when the box comes back up, and the installer should launch and continue. This just runs the prereqinstaller.exe file in the main \SharePoint folder. The main installer should launch:
That setup will complete, then the AutoSPInstaller will find the May 2015 CU and install it:
This can take a long time so be patient (mine took 40 minutes). Once that completes, it will ask you to hit Y to proceed with farm configuration. Do that and it will build and configure the farm:
I prefer to put Central Admin on the root App server, not the WFE. Next it will create the necessary managed accounts, then create the web applications that were specified. Once it gets all the web apps and site collections created, it moves on the service applications.
It is truly a beautiful thing when you get to see the User Profile Sync Provisioning say Online. It just makes you feel all giddy inside. It means you configured all the special permissions for the user profile sync account successfully, the farm account is a local admin during provisioning, etc. If you’ve ever had this not work or had to fight with it especially in the early SharePoint 2010 days, you will understand. Once we’re past the UPA, the only real hurdle left is Search because the other service applications are easy. Search has a lot of things going on, services, topologies and components to activate and configure.
When it runs on the Search Server:
Then we move on to more service applications and make a few final configurations. Once that’s done, guess what, you’re DONE! Well, at least for the first App server. Once done, it fires up Central Admin and all web apps and site collections it created. If this was the only server, you would be done!
In case, we have another server. If you’re lucky and double-checked yourself and did all the checking up front, the install will actually complete without any errors on the first run. It loads a new PowerShell window with the name of the remote server, and starts running through the script. Notice that after it installs the binaries and the May 2015 CU, it joins the existing farm:
The rest will go faster because the farm and webapps are already built:
It will go and load balance the service applications as you defined in the answer file, and configure the search topology split across the servers as I showed earlier. Once it completes, you should be seeing green!
Once we’re all done, there’s a few things we can take care of post configuration. I won’t walk you through all of them, but let me try to document what else generally needs to be done to get your farm configured and more usable:
GRANT EXECUTE ON [dbo].[proc_GetTimerRunningJobs] TO
GRANT EXECUTE ON [dbo].[proc_putObjectTVP] TO
GRANT EXECUTE ON [dbo].[proc_putObject] TO
GRANT EXECUTE ON [dbo].[proc_putDependency] TO
You didn’t say you wanted workflows did you? AutoSPInstaller does not account for this, and a step by step is out of the scope of this article. However, let me call out a few points:
I hope this series has been helpful for you to get familiar with using the AutoSPInstaller tool. Let us know how we can help you install SharePoint 2013 and contact us!
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