BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP is now publicly available as a template inside the Azure Virtual Machine Gallery.  BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP supports Windows 8, Windows 8 Server, SQL 2012, and Visual Studio 2012 (this is the only supported version of Visual Studios).

What does having a Virtual Machine Gallery for BizTalk mean to you?  If you have an Azure account you can be up and running with BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP in no time at all.  Even if you do not have an account yet – it is simple to get a free 90-day trial.  Here is what you need to do.  

What you need: 

  • Windows Live Account – to log into Azure
  • Mobile Phone (land line might work also) – to receive a verification code
  • Valid Credit Card – to check identity, nothing will be charged to the card

Disclaimer:  Links and images are valid as of 9-3-2012 and for a US based account sign up. 

If you already have an Azure Account go to Step 2.

Step 1: Sign up for a free 90-day Azure trial account

1.  Go to:

2.  Click on the “try it free*” green box in the top left of the page

3.  Sign in with your Windows Live Account

4.  If you are new to Azure, you should get presented with a 90-Day Free Trial offer that includes Cloud Services, Storage, SQL Database, Data Transfer, and Websites.  You will need a valid credit card and mobile phone to activate this trial.

5.  Click on the arrow on the bottom right to continue to the next screen.

6.  On this screen you will be asked to validate your mobile phone number.  This can be done via text or voice.  Click “Verify Code” once you enter the code to continue.  Once validated, click the arrow on the bottom right to continue.

7.  The next screen asks for credit card details.  This is used for identification purposes.  Enter your credit card details and check the arrow on the bottom right to continue.

8.  In a few moments your subscription will be activated and you will be re-directed to the Main Azure Account page.  


If you have already enabled Virtual Machine Preview go to Step 3.

Step 2: Enable Virtual Machine Preview for your Azure Account

1.  As of this blog post, Virtual Machines are in Preview mode.  This means it is not full production so strange things can happen like services can go up and down more often, but you are not charged for the features.  Because of this, Virtual Machines need to be enabled for a specific subscription.

2.  On the Main Azure Account page, click on the “preview features” link on the top middle of the screen.

3. This lists all the available features that are in preview mode.  Scroll down to the Virtual Machines & Virtual Networks section.  Click on “try it now”.  You will get a pop-up to select what subscription to apply this to.  Select the 3-Month Trial Subscription.  If you have more than one subscription, you need to enable Virtual Machines on each of the subscriptions you want to use them on.

4.  It will take a few moments for the process to complete.  Once completed, the page will refresh.  Select “Portal” on the top right. 

5.  You will see a screen about being redirected to the Preview Portal.  This is the correct place to manage Virtual Machines.  You will want to get back to classic Azure Portal for features already live in production like the Service Bus.


Step 3: Create a BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP Virtual Machine

1.  Once you are inside the Preview Portal, select Virtual Machines on the left.  Then select “Create A Virtual Machine”.

2.  On the New Virtual Machine window, select “From Gallery”.

3.  The Gallery lists pre-built templates for quickly creating Virtual Machines.  Select “Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 R2 CTP” and click the arrow on the bottom right to continue.

4.  The next screen allows you to set the Virtual Machine Name, Admin Password, and select the Size.  In this case, the name is Demo123.  This does not need to be globally unique to all the Microsoft Virtual Machines.  Since this is Preview, you are not charged for usage so the default Small Size is ok for now.  Later, once you need to pay for usage you might want to adjust this as needed.  Select the arrow on the bottom right to continue.

5.  On the next screen, you need to set the Globally Unique DNS name.  This is how you will connect to the Virtual Machine using Remote Desktop.  In this case, the name is “demo123swt”.  You also have the option to set the Region for the Virtual Machine if the default is not the best for you.  Click the arrow on the bottom right to continue. 

6.  On the VM Options page, just leave the default of None.  This setting could allow your Virtual Machine to be replicated to other datacenters, but since this is just a demo we want to keep it simple.  Remember, once live you would be charged more for replication and redundancy.  Click the check mark on the bottom right to complete the Virtual Machine setup.

7.  You will now be redirected back to the Preview Portal page while the Virtual Machine is provisioned.  This will take several minutes.  Once complete, click on the Virtual Machine row and it should start automatically.  If not, use the Restart link at the bottom to start the Virtual Machine.  When the Connect link is available, click on it.  This will download a pre-configured Remote Desktop link to this Virtual Machine.

8.  Launch the Remote Desktop connection to connect to the Virtual Machine.  Use the Admin Password you created in item 4 above.

9.  Once you connect to the Virtual Machine, BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP is installed but not configured.  You will need to run through the configuration to create your BizTalk Server runtime environment.  SQL 2012 and Visual Studios 2012 are already installed on your Virtual Machine.  The design time of BizTalk inside Visual Studios is ready for use without any configuration.

10.  That is it!  Now you can enjoy your BizTalk 2010 R2 CTP Virtual Machine!

Watch for a quick How-To Video of setting up a BizTalk Sever 2010 R2 CTP Virtual Machine coming in the next few days.