Sitefinity and Azure
Sitefinity 4.1 release brought support for Windows Azure allowing you to host your web application in the cloud. Along with the Windows Azure deployment scenario, Sitefinity also supports SQL Azure and multiple instances of your web application to achieve maximum availability. The synergy of running Sitefinity on Windows Azure delivers great platform with guaranteed up-time, scalability and no administrative costs for maintaining your web infrastructure. In this blog post I will summarize the current state of Sitefinity and Azure and I will share a glimpse on what we will look forward to including in our upcoming releases.
Benefits of Sitefinity 4.1 SP2
Running Sitefinity on Azure gives you the following benefits
- You can migrate your existing Sitefinity website once you upgrade it to Sitefinity 4.1 SP2
- You can have multiple instances of Sitefinity running in a load balanced environment
- You are backed-up with 99.95% uptime if running more than one instance
- Load balancing for Windows Azure is supported in Professional and Enterprise edition, and as a paid add-on for Sitefinity Standard Edition worth 1999$
- Sitefinity can run on all virtual machines from an Extra Small (1 core 1.0 GHz processor) to an Extra Large one (8 cores each one 1.6 GHz). Learn more about Windows Azure Computing
The Sitefinity 4.1 SP2 release brings a number of important optimizations and azure features that are not supported in the previous versions. Sitefinity now stores its configuration files that contain information for various settings and permissions of the system in the database. Previously the configuration files were stored in the file system and any modifications were not persisted in case of emergency. With SP2 if there is scheduled or failover maintenance of your dedicated virtual machines where it is necessary for Microsoft to take down your server and setup a new one with your deployment package, the product will automatically reinitiate its state.
To ensure maximum performance it is best to setup your Azure deployment in multiple instances scenario. In this case if there is a failover of one of your server, your website load will be automatically transferred to one of the running servers so that there is no interruption of your service.
What is next on Sitefinity and Windows Azure?
The team is looking further to enrich its Azure support by providing the following features in our long-term roadmap:
- Support for Azure Blob storage for all system files and Sitefinity media content. If your application is hosting chunky amount of media such as videos hosting them in Azure Blob Storage vs. the database will be a better option.
- Support for Search in Sitefinity project running on Azure. As of today all Sitefinity index files used for search are stored on the file system. While you might still index your content on the cloud, the index files might be lost in case of a hardware failure or scheduled maintenance.
- Support for Azure deployment from the Sitefinity Project Manager. The project manager is a great place to add a few Azure goodies that assist you in deploying your package to the cloud such as automatic creation of a windows azure role for your web application.
We are eager to hear about your success story with Sitefinity and Azure and share your website as a Sitefinity featured showcase!