More Open Source on Azure

A few weeks ago, just for fun, I set up Moodle on an Amazon EC2 micro Windows instance I had created. I used the Windows Platform Installer to install the software and all required components. The process was quick and painless and within a very short time my test site was up, online and available for use.

This week I decided to try something different; hosting another community application – this time WordPress – on Azure. For that I used the Windows Azure Companion.

The first step is to download the zip file appropriate for your VM size. I want a small instance so I chose that file. The zip file contains an Azure service package and a configuration file.

Figure 1 Contents of downloaded zip file

The next step was to edit the configuration file. I needed to put in parameters for my particular deployment. My changes are highlighted below.

Figure 2 ServiceConfiguration.cscfg

The Azure Companion runs in a single Worker Role on Windows Azure. I have also provided credentials to an Azure storage account and information about the administrator of this instance.

Note that in this case, rather than writing my own product feed, I am just using the sample product feed contributed by Maarten Balliauw. Writing a custom feed will be the subject for another day!

I then simply deployed the package and configuration to a hosted Azure service that I had previously set up.

This screencast walks through the process of deploying the package then installing and configuring WordPress.

All in all it was a pretty good experience. It did seem to me to be a little more time-consuming and cumbersome than using the Windows Platform Installer on an EC2 instance but, hey, now I am hosted on the Azure platform! That means I get some of the features of PaaS vs. IaaS.

One final comment; in this example I used SQL Azure as the backend database. It may have been more cost effective to use MySQL. Next week I will explore installing MySQL on Azure and try using that instead in my WordPress configuration.


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