Understanding AutoSPInstaller: What you need to know

sharepoint holy grailWhat is AutoSPInstaller?

AutoSPInstaller is an open source set of PowerShell scripts that installs and performs a base configuration of SharePoint Server 2010 or 2013.  These scripts were originally authored by Brian Lalancette and Andrew Woodward as well as other community contributors.  It configures a single or multi-server SharePoint farm based on a predefined configuration XML file.

AutoSPInstallerGUI is a Windows application that helps you build this configuration XML file with useful tooltips, tabular GUI, and error checking on your inputs.  AutoSPInstallerGUI is built and maintained by Ivan Josipovic.  Both of these projects are hosted on Codeplex and are free to use.

If your SP servers are not connected to the internet or you need to deploy language packs and the latest CU’s AutoSPSourceBuilder is another PowerShell tool that can be used to download these for you to use with AutoSPInstaller. Together, these tools allow experienced and inexperienced SharePoint farm admins to deploy a fully configured base deployment of SharePoint 2010 or 2013 in a fraction of the time it would take to perform all the steps manually. Using this automated process helps reduce missed steps, misconfigurations, and adheres to community-approved best practices for deploying SharePoint.

What Does AutoSPInstaller Do?

The table below lists out in more detail what AutoSPInstaller does when you’re deploying SharePoint.  As you can see these scripts are well thought out and really make this painful process nearly foolproof.

SP Installation and Farm Creation Farm Configuration Service Application Provisioning Misc. Windows Configurations Other Interesting Abilities
Installs SP Prerequisites (downloads them or uses pre-downloaded files)Installs SP BinariesCreates Farm (config db/central admin)Installs Language Packs (pre-downloaded)

Installs Patches (pre-downloaded)

Configure Diagnostic LoggingSetup Managed AccountsConfigure Outgoing emailConfigure Cache Accounts

Configure PDF Search and Icon

Create all Service Apps & proxiesConfigure Search Topology Disable Loopback CheckRemoves IE Enhanced SecurityAdd SP URL to local Intranet Zone in IEDisable Unused Windows Services (spooler, AudioSrv, TabletInputService,WerSvc)

Disable CRL Check

Configure IIS Logging

Provision SMTP and Setup Domain Alias

Set Windows Power Management to High Performance

Creates a SQL aliasInstalls SP to many servers in parallelInstall Forefront AntivirusStores admin credentials in Registry for automatic login & continuation after rebootAdds and removes farm account to local admin groupAdd network service to WSS_WPG group

You can rerun the script without tearing down anything

It fixes the annoying taxonomypicker.acsx bug

Procedure for Using AutoSPInstaller and AutoSPInsallerGUI to Build a SharePoint 2013 Farm:

The process of deploying SharePoint with these tools is pretty straight forward, but there are some prerequisites and gotchas to be aware of.  Let’s get started:

Step 1 – Complete the Prerequisite Server Configuration

  1. SQL Installed and Configured (mixed mode\default drives configured, IP accessible, etc)
  2. Create SP Service Accounts and SP Install Accounts with the following permissions
Account Description Special Rights Needed
DOMAIN\SP_Install Account we’ll login to run scripts Local Admin on SharePoint Servers, DBCREATOR and SECURITYADMIN on SQL
DOMAIN\SQL_Service Runs MSSQL windows service Just a domain User
DOMAIN\SP_Farm Farm admin Just a domain User (this user is temporarily made a local admin to provision UPA during install)
DOMAIN\SP_AppPool Runs all app pools Just a domain User
DOMAIN\SP_Search Search and content access account Just a domain User
DOMAIN\SP_SearchContent Content Access account for Search Crawls Just a domain User
DOMAIN\SP_UserProfile Runs user profile service app Needs “replicate changes” rights in Active Directory. For more info, see TechNet.
DOMAIN\SP_Cache_SuperUser Cache admin Just a domain User
DOMAIN\SP_Cache_SuperReader Cache read Just a domain User
  1.  Give SP install (DB Creator, Securityadmin) rights to SQL
  2. Give user profile account rights in AD (replication)
  3. Turn off security warning on file open (more info)

Step 2 – Download and extract both of the project packages (C:\AutoSPInstaller)

  • AutoSPInstaller  (Extract to C:\AutoSPInstaller for single server.. If multi-server deployment extract to a share accessible by all SP servers)
  • AutoSPInstallerGUI  (Extract anywhere, I put it in the root of C:\AutoSpInstaller\AutoSPInstallerGUI\)

Step 3 – Place your SharePoint Installation files in the required folders (C:\AutoSPInstaller\2013)

  1. Mount the SharePoint ISO or explore the exe and copy all the contents to the “2013\SharePoint” folder.
  2. If you are installing ForeFront or Language packs place them in their appropriate folder
  3. Note – PDF is setup OOB with SP 2013

Step 4 – Use AutoSPInstallerGUI to build the XML configuration file

  1. Locate C:\AutoSPInstaller\AutoSPInstaller\AutoSPInstallerInput.xml
  2. Make a copy and name the copy AutoSPInstallerInput-ServerName.xml
  3. Launch AutoSPInstallerGUI.exe
  4. NOTE:  hover your mouse over a field to see a useful description
    1. Go To File > Load XML > ~\AutoSPInstaller\AutoSPInstallerInput-ServerName.xml  (no spaces)
    2. Install Tab
      1. Environment: “SP” or something else
      2. Enable Auto Admin Login and put in the Admin Password
      3. Check to disable all commonly unneeded windows functions/services
      4. PID: Enter SharePoint 2013 product key
    3. Farm Tab
      1. Enter Passphrase
      2. Check to leave farm account a local admin
      3. Enter in appropriate SP_Farm credentials
      4. Enter in SQL ALIAS name for “DB Server”
      5. Check the check box to Create SQL Alias
      6. For Instance enter the SQL Server name  – This wasn’t straight forward but after trial and error I figure out where the SQL server name and Alias is supposed to go
      7. Enter “SP” for DB Prefix
      8. Managed Accounts
      9. Remove the default ones in the drop down
      10. For SP_Services change the user name to domain\SP_AppPool
      11. Click Add
      12. Repeat for rest of managed SP Service Accounts
        1. Outgoing Email
        2. Set SMTP Server to mail.servername and your preferred email addresses
          1. Object Cache Accounts
          2. Set to the two cache accounts we created earlier
            1. Logs
            2. Change the log location to a different drive if you do not want them written to C:\
    4. Web Applications
      1. Edit the two template web applications info (recommend not deleting then creating..  Caused an use with user profile provisioning)
    5. Service Applications
      1. Go through each tab
      2. Provision:  true (all servers) false (no servers) localhost (just this server)  server1 server 2 (provision on these 2 servers listed)
      3. Note we always provision certain service apps (Search, State, Secure Store, MMS, UPS)
        1. Search
        2. Service Instance
          1. Choose service account (SP_Search)
          2. Enter in custom index location (i.e. D:\SearchIndex)
          3. Service Application
            1. Enter Content Access Account (sp_searchcontent)
            2. Select App Pool service accounts
            3. Select Servers for each Search component (localhost for all on one server)
            4. **NOTE – Some service apps have “create sql alias checked”  Uncheck these these if you want to use the default SQL alias
    6. Enterprise Service Applications
      1. Specify which services to provision
    7. Other
      1. Leave defaults
  5. File > Save XML
  6. Close AutoSPInstallerGUI

Step 5 – Run AutoSPInstaller to provision the SharePoint farm

  1. Navigate to C:\AutoSPInstaller\AutoSPInstaller\
  2. Double click “AutoSPSInstallerLaunch.bat”
  3. If you named the config xml file properly this beings the install
  4. It rebooted once then said another reboot is required
  5. Click reboot again
  6. Run the Batch file again

Step 6 – Verify the environment and complete your service application configuration

  1. AutoSPInstaller automatically loads your mysite, central admin, and the portal homepage.. Make sure they load correctly
  2. Finish configuring the service applications as required  (search should be fully functional… may need to check crawl schedules)
  3. Make a copy of the install report (file is generated on desktop)
  4. Disable SP_Install in AD
  5. Remove Auto SP Installer folder from machine

Step 7 – Take a look at some other useful SharePoint-related Codeplex tools!

While playing around on Codeplex, I also found a number of other useful SharePoint administration tools.  I have listed and linked them below for your viewing pleasure.

  • SharePoint Managed Metadata Navigator – A Windows application that allows you to easily build out your managed metadata term sets and export them to a reusable CSV file which can be directly imported into the MMS
  •  SharePoint Feature Administration and Clean Up Tool – A Windows application that allows to explore the installed features in your SharePoint farm and completely remove improperly uninstalled orphaned features
  • SharePoint Manager 2013 – A Windows application that provides an expandable tree view of your SharePoint farm to view each objects’ properties
  • SPBestWarmup –  A set of PowerShell scripts which “warm up” SharePoint sites by sending http requests to each one which allows page compilation and caching before end users do.  Whenever a server reboot or IISRESET runs, the initial page loads within SharePoint may take a while – this helps with that end user experience
  • SharePoint Health Analyzer Rules – A set of configurable health rules that extend the OOB rule set adding additional alerts for SharePoint admins regarding possible negatively impacting SharePoint farm issues
  • BlobCache – Additional configuration pages within Central Administration that modify a web applications web.config file for configuring the BLOB cache

Reviewing AutoSPInstaller

AutoSPinstaller, together with AutoSPInstallerGUI, makes the daunting task of properly deploying SharePoint and all the related intricacies much easier.  Using PowerShell in general for SharePoint deployments is highly recommended for a number of reasons – streamlined deployment, reduce human error, generate farm configuration documentation, and repeatable procedures for deploying staging and development environments to mirror production.

At Fpweb.net we provide customized SharePoint Server farm hosting for companies and individuals of all sizes and use cases.  If you are interested in learning how to leverage cloud SharePoint hosting without jumping all in from the start consider a hybrid approach.

Related Procedural Posts for further Reading on the Interwebs:

Step By Step Automated Unattended Scripted SharePoint 2010/2013 Installation Using AutoSPInstaller – Melick

Automated SharePoint Installations: Step-by-Step – Tobias Lekman








2013-09-27T08:40:20+00:00 September 27th, 2013|

7 Comments

  1. @SPJeff September 27, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for the shout out on SPBestWarmup! I’m really glad other people have found it helpful.

    Perception = Performance, so warming IIS helps SharePoint look it’s best each and every day.

  2. […] Understanding AutoSPInstaller: What you need to know […]

  3. Andy Milsark October 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    @@SPJeff
    No problem! I totally agree. In the hosting world perception/performance are very important for customer satisfaction.

  4. @barryit99 August 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    If you are doing a remote install, then all of the servers need to be able to access the C:AutoSPInstalle . So you should run the bat file as follows: \servernamec$CAutoSPInstalleAutoSPSInstallerLaunch.bat

    Another option is to copy the files to another server that all of the farm servers will have access. then run the bat file:

    \anotherservernamec$CAutoSPInstalleAutoSPSInstallerLaunch.bat

  5. Andy August 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    @@barryit99

    Good point!

  6. Zack September 30, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

    thanks andy..

    Any scripts to create to install AD and other SharePoint prerequisites?

    -thanks

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