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  • Michiel 137 posts 294 karma points
    May 15, 2012 @ 23:57
    Michiel
    0

    Umbraco 5.1 on Windows Azure (summary, links, meta and next steps)

     

    This topic is to try and summarize community knowledge and resources concerning Umbraco deployment on Windows Azure. The idea is to focus on Umbraco 5.1 from this post onwards!

    Information on the web
    As you will see, there's lots of outdated (Umbraco 4.x) or incomplete ("works on my machine!") information. But These links are here for mainly reference.

    Umbraco HQ 
    Google site:umbraco.com azure to find official information from Umbraco HQ on the .com website.

    1. Umbraco ♥ Azure
      The official Windows Azure story, strictly Umbraco v4.7

      Refers to the Windows Azure accelerator on Github (not on Codeplex). Also has a pretty nice and short video (configure, package & deploy). Also links to two MIX11 video's (see below) where Umbraco HQ talked about Umbraco on Windows Azure. 
    2. Umbraco on Windows Azure (blog, 2010)
      "...the combination of Umbraco CMS and Windows Azure is a powerful, game changing technology."

      An accelerator (read as: bootstrapper) was announced at PDC. It was built by 
      Slalom Consulting (US based). The blog post links to Codeplex for the download & documentation (pretty extensive) and to Channel 9 for an interview with Paul Sterling.

      I believe the projected that is referred to has since been superseded by a newer accelerator project designed specifically for Umbraco (see links further below).
    3. Conference Highlight: Umbraco Runs on Windows Azure (blog, 2010)
      Announces a session by Dirk De Grave for Codegarden 2010. 

      Probably for Umbraco 4.x and the official website (
      http://codegarden10.com) is offline anyway. Hartvig comments: "There won't be video recordings from the sessions". Morten Christensen comments, he is already working on it as well. Per comments: "The session got cancelled in the last minute as Dirk from microsoft fell ill to stomach flu, so Azure was never covered at Cg10 :(". 

    Conclusion Umbraco HQ is not much help here. We know they are working on a service offering based on Windows Azure (Concorde, or Umbraco as a Service) so they must know exactly how to get Umbraco 5.x working on Windows Azure, but for now they are not sharing. There are some unfulfilled promises in the things they said, which kind of sucks.

    Codegarden/Mix/Channel 9
    Video content, usually easy to digest, often with good questions from audience.

    1. Building on Azure: Umbraco (Channel 9, 2010, 0:10)
      Interview with Paul Sterling from Umbraco HQ about the Windows Azure accelerator

      Video description: "Umbraco evaluated several cloud providers and ultimately decided to standardize on the Windows Azure platform to create its new accelerator, enabling its product to quickly and easily run in the cloud without any required custom configuration."

      Paul Sterling: "The Web Forms will be via the accelerator, MVC will be native (in a WebRole, without the accelerator wrapper)."
    2. MIX11 keynote snippet: Hartvig on Umbraco & Windows Azure (MIX11, 2011, direct download, MP4, 0:05)
      Short stand-up marketing bit by Niels Hartvig. 

      Shows a custom (?) Windows Azure section called TrafficAware in the Umbraco (v4.x) back-end of the Codegraden 2011 website. Before the demo he says: "which is gonna come in the next version of Umbraco, which is version 5 coming this summer" and "this is what's coming soon".

      He refers to Redengine Inc. (from Canada) that built the Windows Azure accelerator (the project that is currently on GitHub, see links further down below).
    3. Life in the Fast Lane: Rapidly Deploy Umbraco CMS on Windows Azure (MIX11, 2011, 0:25)
      Walkthrough of Umbraco 4.7 deployment using the Windows Azure Accelerator for Umbraco.

      Great session from Paul Sterling, if you actually want to deploy Umbraco 4.7 on Windows Azure then this is a must-see! 

    4. Azure & Umbraco (Codegarden 2011)
      Session about a real-world Umbraco project running on Windows Azure.

      Good explanation of Windows Azure presented by a Microsoftie. He refers to the Slalom Consulting project on Codeplex (see link further below) as a proof-of-concept. They settled on the accelerator designed specifically for Umbraco. The intro is followed by a hands-on session.

    Conclusion Some good information that may help you understand core concepts of running Umbraco on Windows Azure. But the practical information in these videos is outdated if you want/need to deploy Umbraco 5.1.

    Wiki/Deli/issue tracker
    our.umbraco.org is usually has out-of-date information, the issue tracker is mainly for core developers/contributors.

    1. Installing Umbraco on Azure (wiki, over 1 year old)
      Mainly describes how to move the database from SQL Server to SQL Azure using a .dacpac file.

      Based on 
      a forum post about Umbraco 4.5, it doesn't seem to take into account the many ways in which the Windows Azure hosting is different from regular hosting. Hence, in the forum thread, people end up with broken installs when following this walkthrough.
    2. Installing Umbraco to SQL Azure (wiki, over 1 year old)
      Same as above (duplicate).

      This one links to the Azure Accelerators Project (first one in the list below) as "an alternative".
      Probably wisest not to follow this walkthrough.
    3. Umbraco 5 Resources (wiki, last edited 7 weeks ago)
      Links to the Umbraco on Azure Codeplex project and the slightly outdated AzureHive fork of Umbraco 5 on Codeplex. None of the linked blogs have any posts about Umbraco on Azure.

    4. U5-575 Azure: Using blob providers makes a site very slow (open issue)
      Planned for Umbraco 5.Future, not fixed yet.

      Comment: "Please note that there is currently no caching implemented for the blob storage provider in its current state. So I would expect that to be a factor in the bad performance you are experiencing."

    5. The Umbraco Documentation project (GitHub, mirrored on our.umbraco.org)
      In Mar 2012 Umbraco HQ decided to 
      reboot documentation

      Probably a good initiative, although it raises the bar significantly for contributors.
      Alas, there doesn't seem to be any information about Windows Azure.

    Conclusion: not really surprising the wiki on our.umbraco.org has no up-to-date information, and the information that is there, is unreliable. Not many people seem to be blogging about Umbraco on Windows Azure (yet) The new documentation doesn't yet have any Windows Azure info, and it's not planned to be written by HQ either.

    Other
    Use the Google to find other resources

    1. A Blob Storage Hive Provider for Umbraco 5 (Beta)
      The best resource if you want to know how Umbraco 5.0 theoretically would work on Windows Azure.

      Great stuff! Yhe focus just on the provider since that's all that we should (theoretically) need. You can download the code from the blog post. It builds, but it's based on the beta and it's not supported in any way probably.
    2. BUUG event: Umbraco 5 and Azure workshop (Feb 2012)
      Belgium user group had a workshop on this topic 3 months ago. 

      Contains a link to 
      a document (Word) that describes the process of migrating an existing Umbraco website to Windows Azure. Slides are also available. In this workshop they create containers in Blob Storage for media, css, scripts and relations, and then update the configuration for the file system provider to use Umbraco.Hive.Providers.IO.Blob.EntityRepositoryFactory.

      Then there's a somewhat cryptic bit of information: "In order to make the configuration work you need to update Umbraco. The hive provider for Windows Azure Blob Storage is so new that some (minor) changes have been made to both the packages as the bin files in your current Umbraco installation (v5)." For these files they refer to their own Codeplex project, where they have published just the files you need to copy over your Umbraco installation. Finally, they tweak the settings for the ClientDependency framework (because it caches stylesheets and scripts on disk but doesn't use Hive providers) and they add a post-build batch file to the Visual Studio project to copy some files (not sure why).

      To my knowledge, this is the exact information we need for Umbraco 5.0! It was hard to find, since it's hidden deep inside a Word document, that was written by Orbit One and published by BUUG on one of their event pages. I don't know that this information needs to be updated for Umbraco 5.1.
    3. Umbraco on Azure Series: SQL Azure (sitereactor blog)
      Based on the 23 step process on the wiki here on our.umbraco.org, which should be deprecated.

    4. Umbraco on Azure Series: Deploying to Azure with Accelerator (sitereactor blog)
      Based on the proof-of-concept accelerator which uses a VHD and thus doesn't support multiple instances. 

    5. "Umbraco 5" [azure] on Stack Overflow
      Only one question, no answers.
    Conclusion Just not a lot of information on the internet.

    Codeplex/GitHub
    The first place we should look is the 
    Umbraco project on Codeplex. A quick search in the wiki & documentation: your search for "azure" has returned 0 results.

    1. The Azure Accelerators Project (Codeplex)
      Proof-of-concept, only supports a single instance (attaches a VHD to IIS), so defeats the purpose.

      Supports multiple web applications (e.g. DasBlog) deployed on Windows Azure. Good documentation in Word format :-( and a very detailed diagram and checklist, all written by Ryan Marshall. Hartvig and Paul Sterling are project coordinators. Latest code commit was Feb 2011, no forks, 27 followers.

      I think this project should be ignored and the next project listed below should be preferred.
    2. Windows Azure Accelerator for Umbraco (Codeplex, moved to Github, see: 3)

      Project coordination by Microsoft (funded by Microsoft as well). No downloads, no issues, no documentation, no code in repository, all has been moved.
      Still 28 followers though :o
    3. Windows Azure Accelerators for Umbraco (Github, moved from Codeplex, see: 2)
      Probably your best bet for Umbraco 4.7 and 4.8 (compatible with 4.7.1.1 but 4.8 is not mentioned in the documentation).

      Contains a complete solution with WebRole and Windows Azure projects, and a command-line tool that can configure the application for your account. Based on a slightly modified database schema for SQL Azure. After deployment this will sync multiple instances with Blob Storage and replicate all changes to files.

      Targets Umbraco 4.7.x. Currently at v1.0.1, latest commit was 4 months ago (Jan 2012). Couple of issues and feature requests. Some really great documentation on the project wiki, mirrored in the download!

      "Please note, this accelerator is not compatible with Umbraco 5." Links to a blog post by These Days (see below) and the Umbraco Contrib project on Codeplex for "usefull information about building a Hive provider for Windows Azure blob storage".
    4. SQL Azure Migration Wizard
      Use to migrate existing Umbraco installation from SQL Server to SQL Azure.
      Not Umbraco specific, but is necessary when moving existing an Umbraco installation.
    5. Umbraco 5 Contrib (Codeplex)
      Plug-ins, providers, samples for Umbraco 5. No code contributions for Windows Azure.

      It seems to be like a 'playground', here everyone just creates some fun tools, probably some "works on my machine" code here (see also: 
      What is the goal of this project?). No downloads, no documentation, no issues, some discussions (nothing on Windows Azure) and no forks/branches. 37 followers.

      Note that some code has moved to other repositories (notably BitBucket) for some much needed fragmentation :o
    6. Umbraco on Azure (Codeplex)
      Hybrid of Umbraco 5.0 code and Umbraco 4.x documentation. Maintained by Orbit One

      There are 3 releases: a preconfigured WebRole with Umbraco 4 released Mar, 2011 (which doesn't include an accelerator), walkthrough PDF documentation released Mar, 2011 and finally a release called
      Umbraco5OnAzure which contains just the compiled files needed from an experimental Umbraco 5 forkby Morten Christensen (sitereactor).

      Because it's based on a) experimental code and b) an Umbraco 5.0 fork, I'm not sure if these files should be copied over an Umbraco 5.1 installation. 

      There's one 
      dicussion in the project with some troubleshooting advice for Umbraco 5.0, where the developer responds: "The current way of configuring the blob storage provider is a little unfortunate, but its one of the areas im hoping to improve for the 5.1 release of Umbraco and possibly create a visual studio template to make it even easier."

    7. Umbraco 5 on Azure Samples (BitBucket, repo by Morten Christensen)
      Sample Visual Studio solutions, 3 different variations with pro's and cons documented!

      The samples are based on a Hive provider (probably from the author's own 5.0 branch or fork, see links below) seem to take into account a lot of things, including changes to the ClientDependency configuration.

    Conclusion: a lot of fragmentation, there's work in the main repository but it's not communicated or documented at all. There's one really good project on GitHub for Umbraco 4.7 (which is a bit strange given that Umbraco itself is on Codeplex), one on Codeplex for Umbraco 5.0 from a 3rd party, and nobody has yet released anything for Umbraco 5.1 through either Codeplex or GitHub.

    Forks/branches
    A fork is where someone makes a clone of a repository, it's completely separate from the original repository. A branch exists inside the original repository. Every can form Umbraco 5 on Codeplex, not everyone can create a branch in the original repository (only those that are listed as coordinators or developers). So consider a fork 'less official' then a branch, consider both unsupported and undocumented!

    1. Blob storage hive provider (fork of Umbraco 5 Contrib by These Days Labs)
      This goes together with the post written on the These Days Labs blog (see link above). Last commit in Nov 2011.
    2. Experiments with Hive and Azure (fork by Morten Christensen)
      Called experimental, so not recommended or has known issues?
      Seems to track Umbraco 5.0.1 with no commits since Mar 2012.
    3. 5.0.0-azureblob (branch)
      Merged with default Dec 2011.
    4. 5.1-AzureBlobStorage (branch)
      This should be the one we need, but you'd have to build it from source. Since that works on my machine) I will save you the trouble: 
      20120515-1458-Umbraco51AllBinaries and 20120515-1458-Umbraco51.

    People/Companies

    1. Morten Christensen (@sitereactor) (Umbraco HQ)
      Seems to have been involved in efforts to run Umbraco on Windows Azure from an early stage.
    2. Dirk De Grave (@netaddicts)
      Was supposed to talk at Codegarden 2010 about Umbraco and Windows Azure.
      His website seems to be a parked domain nowadays.
    3. Slalom Consulting
      Built the original accelerator for Umbraco 4.x but 
      doesn't publish articles about Umbraco on its website.
    4. Redengine (@GoRedengine)
      Umbraco partner that helped build the Windows Azure Accelerators for Umbraco (with some help from Microsoft).
    5. Orbit One (@orbitonetweet)
      Belgium company. maintains a separate (unofficial) project on Codeplex.
      Also did the workshop for BUUG (mentioned above).
    6. These Days Labs (@TheseDaysLabs)
      Agency from the Netherlands/Belgium. These Days published a great and in-depth article (see link above) on the required effort to get Umbraco 5.0 beta running on Windows Azure.
    7. Michiel van Oosterhout (@michielvoo)
      That's me!
      I just want to deploy Umbraco 5.1 on Windows Azure without waisting too much time :-)

    What's next?

    First of all, high-five my topic :-)

    Second, make this a wiki article on GitHub, any corrections in the above text can be made there (I'll update this post with the link).

    Third, let's delete the two incorrect wiki articles here on our.umbraco.org, they are not helping anybody. 

    Discuss!

    In this thread, let's discuss only how to get Umbraco 5.1 on Windows Azure. Try to post only up-to-date information that you know from experience either works or doesn't work. 

    If anyone has code to share, great! Best to make it a release with clear instruction, and not just a fork.

    Experiments: follow Orbit One's Umbraco on Azure walkthrough for Umbraco 5.0 but using the Umbraco 5.1 release. Ask Orbit One to update their Codeplex project for Umbraco 5.1

    To Umbraco HQ: why u no document Azure :-( 
    Since all fridays are supposedly dedicated to documentation, I hope you will use next friday(s) to focus on documenting Windows Azure on the GitHub documentation project, even though there is 
    no Azure card on the Trello board.

    Thanks eveyone for your contributions!

     

  • Michiel 137 posts 294 karma points
    May 16, 2012 @ 00:04
    Michiel
    0

    This post is reserved for updates and corrections.

  • Martin 11 posts 33 karma points
    May 16, 2012 @ 09:40
    Martin
    0

    Great stuff Michiel!

    This is just the kind of attempt that we need regarding Umbraco on Azure. Unfortunately it confirms the feeling that the combination Umbraco + Azure just isn't plug and play at the moment... 

    The lack of documentation remains a main impediment - do you have any pointers to where to read up on how to go about the 5.1-AzureBlobStorage-fork?

  • Michiel 137 posts 294 karma points
    May 16, 2012 @ 13:38
    Michiel
    0

    Thanks Martin! I know it's what me and my team needed to get a grip on this.

    Ideally we would see a separate release from umbraco HQ on Codeplex called Umbraco 5.1 for Windows Azure. It should contain a basic readme to explain how to use it.

    The documentation project should have a new page: https://github.com/umbraco/Umbraco5Docs/blob/5.0.1/Documentation/Getting-Started/Installing-Umbraco-on-Windows-Azure.md (404 for now). After that is published to http://our.umbraco.org/documentation the release notes should point only to this location as the official documentation.

    Finally, a note should be added to http://umbraco.com/azure about Umbraco 5.1 and whether or not it's officially supported and known to work.

    Until this happens, we are depending on the efforts of others. I might write a blog post over the next days, but only if I can add usefull information to what's already listed above (and only if I actually get it to work).

  • Martin 11 posts 33 karma points
    May 16, 2012 @ 14:35
    Martin
    0

    I have got it to work, kind of... When I upload a file using the file-uploader it ends up nicely in the blobstorage, both the image and a preview. The CMS still seems thinks the image is located on the local file system though - leading to a broken link when trying to show the preview or getting the data from the repository to show on a web page... Have you experienced this?

  • Michiel 137 posts 294 karma points
    May 16, 2012 @ 16:17
    Michiel
    0

    No, I am still get exceptions that prevent startup of the Umbraco application.

    What code do you use in the template to display the image tag?

  • Niels Hartvig 1947 posts 2373 karma points admin hq c-trib
    May 16, 2012 @ 16:19
    Niels Hartvig
    0

    @Michiel: Your paranoia towards to HQ and our intentions leaves me speechless.

  • Niels Hartvig 1947 posts 2373 karma points admin hq c-trib
    May 16, 2012 @ 16:37
    Niels Hartvig
    0

    A more constructive reply after a deep breath. I'm sad/frustrated to see a post making weird public claims on our behalf - I guess I'm just shocked that with our track record and the history of the HQ that anyone would think that way TBH.

    - Azure is still super niche, thus when it comes to documentation our main efforts is on the Umbraco parts that benefits everyone. There's still tons of basic Umbraco stuff not covered yet which is of higher priority than Azure should ever be

    - When it comes to Concorde it's a completely different beast than vanilla core on vanilla Azure, hence there's really not much concrete info to share. Our aim with Concorde isn't to make an Azure version of Umbraco, but to solve infrastructure and all the complexity that comes associated. Our research and development is *very* specific to our massive service (which involves many more instances than any organization will ever be near using).

    - We have enough problems to solve just getting v5 in a satisfying stage atm, so don't expect any Azure optimized releases in any coming quarters.

    Peace.

  • nicolas ruiz 74 posts 95 karma points
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:26
    nicolas ruiz
    0

    Hello gentle early adopters,

    @Martin,

    I'm stuck on the same stage as your.
    I was able to make all CDN to work (scripts, styles and medias).
    Problem is U5 is seeking the local storage for getting displayed the images ...
    Did you find something for this issue ?

    I didn't test for scripts and styles as I'm using the full hard coded URL to call them for now from my templates.
    I don't know how to ask U5 for their current URL. Could you advice ?

    I'm creating a new post for that as well in the U5 section.

    Cheers,
    Nicolas.

  • Rik Helsen 670 posts 873 karma points
    May 22, 2012 @ 11:40
    Rik Helsen
    0

    Talk about putting effort into a forumpost :)

    Speaking for Orbit One (we did the workshop with BUUG about 5.0 in Azure), we'll probably be testing with Umbraco 5.1 as soon as the performance issues with blob storage providers are resolved, before this is done we see little virtue in getting it to work (slowly)

    We've had excellent support from several people within the Umbraco Core team (Alex, Tim & Morten) during the preparations of the workshop we did some time ago. Despite this we didn't end up hosting a production 5.x site in Azure yet (temporary local hosting seemed a better solution)

  • Lennart Stoop 304 posts 830 karma points
    May 22, 2012 @ 15:13
    Lennart Stoop
    0

    Hey guys,

    First of all, at These Days we have quite a lot of (Umbraco 4.x) projects running on Windows Azure and obviously we want to see Umbraco 5.x deploy and run smoothly on Azure as well. 

    Although I don’t agree with the statement of HQ not sharing any knowledge regarding this (Morten has been making a lot of progress with hive providers for blob & table storage which are open source and available for anyone to use and extend) I do understand Michiel’s concerns as Umbraco 5.x is still being promoted as Azure compliant (e.g. DUUG festival) which is confusing especially for developers new to the platform and looking to take off with Umbraco 5.x.

    To be honest we haven’t started a single (customer) project in Umbraco 5.x because of the ongoing performance issues and given these circumstances I agree with Niels that right now HQ is to focus on core functionality and performance rather than specific hosting or documentation. For the time being we can still rely on good old (?) Umbraco 4.7 and personally I hope to learn a lot more regarding Umbraco 5.x, course of action & milestones during CodeGarden. 

    My main concern is that the upcoming core updates will also affect the way Umbraco runs on Azure (e.g. the XML cache that will be added) and the last thing I want to do is to support a variety of Azure setups. With some patience I think for now it’s most important to keep an open communication regarding the Umbraco 5.x roadmap and figure out a long term deployment strategy for Azure in the meanwhile.

    Really looking forward to CodeGarden ;-)

     

    Grtz

    L

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