CloudStrategies website is now running on Windows Azure. After a few weeks of testing, we changed our DNS settings to “go live” on Azure. This post outlines our experience to date.
Several months ago, CloudStrategies replatformed our website to a WordPress content management system. WordPress has offered us many benefits in capabilities and functionality. That said, running on a standalone web-server gave us some concern and occasional availability glitches. A website needs to be highly available.
At the same time, CloudStrategies has been working with Windows Azure to evaluate its capabilities.
It took about 5 minutes to create a new WordPress site in Windows Azure – WordPress is an App within the Windows Azure Gallery. This process was as straight forward as one could expect – a few clicks and a blank WordPress site was running. The process of moving our production site to Azure took just a little more work.
Researching some available WordPress site migration tools, we quickly found the WordPress Plug-In – Duplicator.
Duplicator allowed us to make a snapshot of our current site and easily move everything over to our Windows Azure site. Duplicator worked as advertised and we would endorse it highly. Without going into full depth, the process was as simple as uploading a zip file of our website with FTP to our Azure location as well as an “Installer” file. Once there, you run the Installer by calling it through a web browser. The installation requires the location of the MySQL database created in Azure and appropriate credentials. A couple minutes later and the site was live. The final cleanup activities included removing the installation files from the site and updating our WordPress Permalinks.
The final testing and transfer steps included verifying that everything was running smoothly – which it was – and associating our domain DNS settings with Azure. This too was straight forward and included verifying our domains within Azure using the Manage Domains link. Azure identified some CNAME resource records to add with our DNS provider to demonstrate that we were the proper owner of our domains. Once we added the entries, we were able to associate the domains within the Azure Management console. From there, it was as simple as changing the DNS settings to direct web traffic to the new web server address.
Monitoring the performance of our site on Azure, we’re pleased with our initial results. We have confidence that the built in redundancy of Azure will take care of our availability concerns and that our website should see smooth sailing ahead.
Seeing how straight forward moving our website to Azure has been, we’re looking forward to working with Azure for additional workloads for both CloudStrategies and our clients