Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Speeding up Windows Azure Web Role deployment with the "Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles"

Maarten Balliauw {blog} - Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles

"One of the questions I often get around Windows Azure is: “Is Windows Azure interesting for me?”. It’s a tough one, because most of the time when someone asks that question they currently already have a server somewhere that hosts 100 websites. In the full-fledged Windows Azure model, that would mean 100 x 2 (we want the SLA) = 200 Windows Azure instances. And a stroke at the end of the month when the bill arrives. Microsoft’s DPE team have released something very interesting for those situations though: the Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles.

In short, the WAAWR (no way I’m going to write Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles out every time!) is a means of creating virtual web sites on the IIS server running on a Windows Azure instance. Add “multi-instance” to that and have a free tool to create a server farm for you!

The features on paper:

  • Deploy sites to Windows Azure in less than 30 seconds
  • Enables deployments to multiple Web Role instances using Web Deploy
  • Saves Web Deploy packages & IIS configuration in Windows Azure storage to provide durability
  • A web administrator portal for managing web sites deployed to the role
  • The ability to upload and manage SSL certificates
  • Simple logging and diagnostics tools

Interesting… Let’s go for a ride!



The newly released Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles is, IMHO, the easiest, fastest manner to deploy a multi-site webfarm on Windows Azure. Other options like.the ones proposed by Steve Marx on his blog do work, but are only suitable if you are billing your customer by the hour.

The fact that it uses web deploy to publish applications to the system and the fact that this just works behind a corporate firewall and annoying proxy is just fabulous! ..."

CodePlex - Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles


The Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles makes it quick and easy for you to deploy one or more websites across multiple Web Role instances using Web Deploy. The accelerator includes a Visual Studio project template that creates a Windows Azure web role to host one or more websites. Once you have deployed this Web Role you can deploy your websites to Windows Azure using Web Deploy. Deployments to Windows Azure using Web Deploy take only about 30 seconds. Additionally, this tool will work with roles that have a single or many instances so you can scale up to handle as much traffic as you need.

The Web Host project template included with this project also has a user interface for managing your IIS applications, certificates, and site bindings. You can create new sites using only the web interface and then deploy directly to your site using Web Deploy. Additionally, the web interface has some basic UI to display logging information. The web interface can be used as is or extended to fit your exact needs


I've always like the many "accelerator's" Microsoft has provided over the years for many of their products. They've always seemed to be a great place to start and help avoid re-inventing a given wheel.

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