Configure a New Virtual Machine on the Cloud for Aras Innovator (Part 1 of 2)

I'm setting up a development server for a new client, so that they can play with different Aras Innovator configurations before migrating to a production server.  First, I need to create a new virtual machine with Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server Express 2014.  I'm using the Sherweb Performance Cloud.  Sherweb uses the Azure infrastructure, but I find it easier than going directly to Microsoft because Sherweb removes most of the non-Windows options (that I don't care about) and has excellent support.

Below is part 1 of 2, where I set up a new Virtual Machine and configure the underlying software needed for Aras Innovator.

Set up new virtual machine on cloud

  1. Login to Sherweb Performance Cloud
  2. Create a new Network, e.g. DEMONET
    1. Use the default settings, except for:
    2. DNS Servers = and
    3. Check “Enable direct internet access using NAT”
  3. Create a new Virtual Machine:
    1. Select “Standalone Virtual Machine” > Quick Create (see note (a) for information about VM Roles versus Standalone VM)
    2. Name = DEMO
    3. Image = Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
    4. Size = PCS 2 Core 4 GB RAM (this is sufficient for Development, see page 10 in Aras Innovator 11.0 Platform Specifications for Aras recommendations for production environments)
    5. Network = DEMONET (created above)
    6. Initial Instance Count = 1
    7. (Wait for provisioning, several minutes)
  4. Configure Virtual Network for Virtual Machine
    1. Edit the Virtual Network created above, go to “Rules”
    2. Create 2 rules via “Add Rule”
    3. Name = RDP; Protocol = TCP; Source Port = 3389; “Choose destination virtual machine” = (select VM created above); Destination port = 3389
    4. Name = HTTP; Protocol = TCP; Source Port = 80; “Choose destination virtual machine” = (select VM created above); Destination port = 80
  5. Test a connection via Remote Desktop Connection – you should be able to login to the public IP address of DEMONET via the username and password you configured above
  6. Set up subdomain, e.g.
    1. (Our domains and DNS are also hosted on Sherweb.  If yours are hosted elsewhere, then contact your domain manager for this step)
    2. Make a note of the “Public IP Address” for the Virtual Network created above, e.g.
    3. Login to Sherweb Account Manager at
    4. Go to domains > Add a new record
    5. Name = demo (new subdomain); Type = A; Data = (Public IP Address)
  7. Test Remote Desktop Connection – you should be able to login to the new subdomain in addition to the Public IP Address

Configure new virtual machine software and services

  1. Install SQL Server Express 2014 SP1 from
    1. Login to Microsoft account
    2. Download and Install SQL Server 2014 Express 64 Bit from msi using all default settings
    3. Select “SQL Server and Windows Authentication Mode” for Server Authentication
      1. IF you are installing SQL Server manually, then open Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
      2. In the object explorer, right-click on the Server then click Properties
      3. Go to the Security page
      4. Under Server Authentication, choose the option "SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode"
      5. Click OK
      6. Restart your server (in Services, or re-boot)
    4. Check your apps for “SQL Server 2014 Management Studio Express 64 Bit”, if not found then download and install that from Microsoft
    5. Download and install SQL Server SP1
  2. To check the installation, open SQL Server Management Studio, connect to your datasource, start a “New Query”, then type:
    1. SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'), SERVERPROPERTY('productlevel'), SERVERPROPERTY('edition')
    2. Execute (F5)
    3. Result should be: "12.0.4100.1         SP1         Express Edition (64-bit)"
  3. Enable SQL Server Authentication:
    1. Open SQL Server Management Studio > Security > Login > Select “sa” user
    2. Right-click and select “Properties”, then General > change password , save
    3. Select a Page “Status” > Login Enabled > check
    4. Click OK
  4. Set up IIS 8 and ASP.NET 4.5
    1. See:
    2. In Server Manager, select “Add Roles and Features”
    3. In Wizard, select IIS in Roles, then select “Application Development” in the options, then select ASP.NET 3.5 and ASP.NET 4.5 and accept when you are asked to install its associated features
    4. In Wizard, select SMTP server in Features, select “HTTP Activation” under .NET 3.5 features
    5. Finish
  5. Open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
    1. Expand the server (DEMO11) > Sites > Default Web Site > InnovatorServer
    2. Right-click on InnovatorServer > Edit Permissions > Add object “IIS_IUSRS” with Read & Execute permissions
  6. Configure SMTP Server (for system-generated email notifications)
    1. (Optional) If you already have an SMTP server that is configured to send email without requiring username/login credentials, then you can skip this step and configure the SMTP Server URL in C:\Program Files (x86)\Aras\Innovator\InnovatorServerConfig.xml
      1. <Mail SMTPServer="{Your SMTP Server URL, e.g.}"/>
      2. I use: <Mail SMTPServer=""/>
    2. NOTE: Your SMTP Server should be secured to prevent anyone on the Internet from accessing the URL to send email, e.g. IP Address restriction
    3. To set up a Windows SMTP Server, see the EbD TechNote – “Configure an SMTP Server for Aras Innovator”

We now have a Cloud server configured with the prerequisites for Aras Innovator, which we will install in part 2 of this TechNote.


(a) Virtual Machine Role vs. Standalone VM (from Sherweb support) - a VM Role is used to automate the installation of software, whereas a stand alone VM will only be deployed with the OS on it. For example, you could configure a VM role to deploy a webserver with Wordpress installed, and then any new instance you deploy for that role will automatically come with the webserver and Wordpress installed.  To take advantage of this, you need to be able to configure the original disk and package the software installation in a way that Performance Cloud/Windows Azure Pack can read. As of August 2015, we do not offer the means to upload or create such a package, so presently roles don't offer any advantage over a standalone virtual machine.