The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Who may I strangle, please?

In the past week, I've been "on the bench" at work, so I've take the time to get deeply familiar with Microsoft Windows Azure. My company, 10th Magnitude, is a 100% cloud-computing shop, and a Microsoft partner. I've been developing for Azure Web applications for a year, but I haven't had to deal with migrating existing sites, pricing, or configuration on my own; this is why we're a team, right?

So, anyway, I've taken what I've learned at work, and:

  • Selected a simple website to migrate; in this case, Boxer's Shorts, a project I completed in 2006 that has five rows of data and five content pages;
  • Worked for about 16 hours this week creating Azure implementations of the Inner Drive Extensible Architecture features that won't work on Azure—but only the two features (messaging and logging) that Boxer's Shorts needs;
  • Spent 6 hours yesterday and an hour today preparing the application for Azure; and
  • Set up an Azure Web site this morning into which I was about to publish the ready-to-roll Web site.

Remember the messaging and logging services I spent lots of time migrating? Well, it looks like I made the right choice in the long run. The services use Azure tables and blobs for logging, holding the site configuration data, and in this site's case, for holding the list of books. Azure storage is really, really cheap, less than 10c per gigabyte for locally-redundant storage or 12.5c per gigabyte for geo-redundant storage. This is de rigeur for a traditional Azure Web role deployment for everything that can run without relational data. (For relational data you need SQL Server.)

I thought—mistakenly, it turns out—that if it worked in a Web role it would work in a Web site. No, not so much. In the short run, I just discovered this:

Ah. No blob storage for Azure web sites. So now I have to strip out all of the stuff that uses blob storage on this web site, and modify the book list to use SQL Server instead of Azure tables. Two more hours.

So why not just publish the site to a Web role instead? Price. With Azure, you get 10 free Web sites with your subscription; but each Web role costs at least 2c per hour for the smallest possible footprint. There are 720 hours in a month, so even though you only pay for the time the application is actually doing something, you have to plan for about $14 per month. For a site that gets 100 page-views per week, has five content pages, and five pieces of data, that's really a lot of money. And it's infinitely more than free.

All right then. I hope that Azure websites get access to Azure storage soon. For now, I'm just going to rip the logging out of the site and fix the rest of it. But first I'm going to walk the dog.

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