When doing development with SharePoint, it is pretty well-known that because you develop directly against the object model that the environment must have SharePoint present. However, at a client this morning I was helping to build some test and development environments and for some reason the error:
“the local SharePoint server is not available”
kept bubbling up, when clearly there was a local SharePoint instance present. This error can occur after a variety of actions, such as invoking SharePoint Explorer or in visual studio deployment steps.
The quickest way to resolve the error make sure that the account being used to run Visual Studio is a db_owner on the SharePoint config and SharePoint admin databases.