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How to run instance on Azure? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Good day.

    I'm really stuck with Azure.

    I'm already running micro instance on Amazon, and I can't found nothing similar here.

    On Amazon there's a lot of ready-to-use OS images that you can choose to deploy on instance.

    Where I can find such images for Azure? After a lot of googling and reading, I know that I can upload some vhd to Azure. Where can I get one?

    I don't want to create it from scratch, I suppose that basic 2008 server configuration is identical for everybody. Why I just can't choose it from drop-down menu?

    I just want to run free extra small instance for some educational purposes, but there's a lot of complicated moves to do this. Should I run windows server 2008 and vs2010 to use azure?!?

    I'm really disappointed.


    wbr, Me.
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:41 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Amazon provide IaaS offering, while Windows azure provide SaaS and PaaS offering.

    Unlike amazon, azure doesn't have template OS images. However, azure have workerRole and WebRole which let developers creating cloud app and running on these roles without caring about the machine OS. And if you need further control over the cloud machine, (for example, install software on machine), then you could use VM Role.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/compute/default.aspx

    #Should I run windows server 2008 and vs2010 to use azure?!?

    If you want to develop workerrole/webrole, then you need vs2010 and azure sdk

    If develop vmrole, then a win2008 with hyper-v is also needed. The detail prerequisites is here

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg433107.aspx

    Thanks,


    Mog Liang
    Please mark the replies as answers if they help or unmark if not.
    If you have any feedback about my replies, please contact msdnmg@microsoft.com.
    Microsoft One Code Framework
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:13 AM
  • I'm already running micro instance on Amazon, and I can't found nothing similar here.

    The extra-small instance is now in public beta.

    Where I can find such images for Azure? After a lot of googling and reading, I know that I can upload some vhd to Azure. Where can I get one?

    Windows Azure implements a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model of cloud computing. As such, it does not offer the variety of Guest OS images that AWS does. The reason is that Windows Azure essentially creates an application hosting envioronmnet not a Guest OS hosting environment.

    Applications are hosted as roles of which there are two core types - web role and worker role. These roles are hosted in either Windows Server 2008 SP2 ( Guest OS version 1.x) or Windows Server 2008 R2 (Guest OS version 2.x). The primary difference between these two roles is that a web role is specially configured as an IIS hosting environment. A worker role is targetted at lon-running background services - although it can also be used to host non-IIS web servers.

    Microsoft has introduced the VM Role as a limited beta. This allows for the creation of a specially prepared Windows Serverr 2008 R2 Guest OS image and its subsequent uploading as a VM role to Windows Azure. The VM role is not intended to be a fully -fledged infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud offering but is intended as a stopgap until an existing application can be fully ported into a combination of web and worker roles. The reason is that a VM role does not offer the same level of management and infrastructure support that web and worker roles do.

    I don't want to create it from scratch, I suppose that basic 2008 server configuration is identical for everybody. Why I just can't choose it from drop-down menu?

    If you go the VM role route then you have to create the Guest OS image from start and upload it from your local system. If you are starting a new project you should really look at using web and worker roles - and revert to a VM role only if you cannot achieve what you want using them. It is now possible to run startup tasks with elevated privileges in these roles. This allows for the runtime environment to be modified appropriately each time an instance of the role is started.

    I just want to run free extra small instance for some educational purposes, but there's a lot of complicated moves to do this.

    Running an extra-small instance is easy. The issue is what do you host on it. A Windows Azure role is intended for a specific purpose and is not really intended as a general purpose machine with a user remoting into it. A role can clearly be used like this with a worker role just sleeping all the time leaving the processing power available for other purposes. However, when used like this care must be taken because any software installed during a remote desktop session will be lost if the role instance is moved or otherwise reimaged.

    Should I run windows server 2008 and vs2010 to use azure?!?

    Yes, this is the best environment to develop in. However, you are not expected to deploy VS2010 to an Azure instance. You also do not have to use VS2010 for development - although the VS2010 tooling for Windows Azure does simplify things.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:21 AM
    Answerer
  • I'm going to step onto my soap box for a moment. PaaS represents a new model in application architecture/development. Instead of having to configure a server to host our application, applications are instead designed for a specific application servier (the platform) and handed off to it for deployment. The platform then manages hosting of the application and associated tasks like load balancing, instance scale out, etc... This model, while still somewhat new (unless you look back to the days of multi-tenant mainframes) will come back and change the way we build on-premises applications. :) Even Amazon recognizes this and has recently entered in the area of providing PaaS solutions.

    In Windows Azure, these style of application being deployed are loosely defined as various types of "roles". Its these role templates that we use to create the definitions of services that we will deploy into the Windows Azure cloud.

    Soap box done.

    Folding at home was not built with this type of model in mind. I looked through some of the installation FAQ materials over at http://folding.stanford.edu and what I see is that even if I choose to use it as a console application (which would be ideal for a Windows Azure Worker role), configuring of the client requires me to run a command link too and answer responses.

    Assuming you can contact the project owners and find an option for being able to perform this step in an automated manner, if may be possible to run this as a start-up task within a Windows Azure worker role. You'd just need to include the application binaries and content files in service role definition (created via visual studio, eclipse, or other tools) and then on startup execute the proper steps to launch your console application.

    Now that sounds like alot of work compared to the Amazon IaaS model, but you need to keep in mind two things. First, the Azure roles are not persistent, if one fails Windows Azure will automatically restart it, even moving it to another physical piece of hardware in the datacenter for you automatically. Secondly, using the Azure Model, you can easily flip a switch and go from running 1 to 10, or even 100 copies of your application simultaneous. If this ability to rapidly scale out solutions in an automated manner that most easily hightlights the differences between IaaS ans PaaS.

    If you wanted a simpler but less robust solution, you can always opt to just create the service package that includes your application and then remote desktop into it and start the process in that way. The downside of this approach is that should an instance of this role need to be restarted, you'll have to remote desktop into it and restart the process.

    All this said, unless you need the ability to rapidly scale your application, you're going to be paying a bit of a premium for Windows Azure and not really getting anything for it. As such, you would likely be better off with a solution that is less expensive but doesn't provide you with feature you wouldn't want to use.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:03 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    Amazon provide IaaS offering, while Windows azure provide SaaS and PaaS offering.

    Unlike amazon, azure doesn't have template OS images. However, azure have workerRole and WebRole which let developers creating cloud app and running on these roles without caring about the machine OS. And if you need further control over the cloud machine, (for example, install software on machine), then you could use VM Role.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/compute/default.aspx

    #Should I run windows server 2008 and vs2010 to use azure?!?

    If you want to develop workerrole/webrole, then you need vs2010 and azure sdk

    If develop vmrole, then a win2008 with hyper-v is also needed. The detail prerequisites is here

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg433107.aspx

    Thanks,


    Mog Liang
    Please mark the replies as answers if they help or unmark if not.
    If you have any feedback about my replies, please contact msdnmg@microsoft.com.
    Microsoft One Code Framework
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:13 AM
  • I'm already running micro instance on Amazon, and I can't found nothing similar here.

    The extra-small instance is now in public beta.

    Where I can find such images for Azure? After a lot of googling and reading, I know that I can upload some vhd to Azure. Where can I get one?

    Windows Azure implements a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model of cloud computing. As such, it does not offer the variety of Guest OS images that AWS does. The reason is that Windows Azure essentially creates an application hosting envioronmnet not a Guest OS hosting environment.

    Applications are hosted as roles of which there are two core types - web role and worker role. These roles are hosted in either Windows Server 2008 SP2 ( Guest OS version 1.x) or Windows Server 2008 R2 (Guest OS version 2.x). The primary difference between these two roles is that a web role is specially configured as an IIS hosting environment. A worker role is targetted at lon-running background services - although it can also be used to host non-IIS web servers.

    Microsoft has introduced the VM Role as a limited beta. This allows for the creation of a specially prepared Windows Serverr 2008 R2 Guest OS image and its subsequent uploading as a VM role to Windows Azure. The VM role is not intended to be a fully -fledged infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud offering but is intended as a stopgap until an existing application can be fully ported into a combination of web and worker roles. The reason is that a VM role does not offer the same level of management and infrastructure support that web and worker roles do.

    I don't want to create it from scratch, I suppose that basic 2008 server configuration is identical for everybody. Why I just can't choose it from drop-down menu?

    If you go the VM role route then you have to create the Guest OS image from start and upload it from your local system. If you are starting a new project you should really look at using web and worker roles - and revert to a VM role only if you cannot achieve what you want using them. It is now possible to run startup tasks with elevated privileges in these roles. This allows for the runtime environment to be modified appropriately each time an instance of the role is started.

    I just want to run free extra small instance for some educational purposes, but there's a lot of complicated moves to do this.

    Running an extra-small instance is easy. The issue is what do you host on it. A Windows Azure role is intended for a specific purpose and is not really intended as a general purpose machine with a user remoting into it. A role can clearly be used like this with a worker role just sleeping all the time leaving the processing power available for other purposes. However, when used like this care must be taken because any software installed during a remote desktop session will be lost if the role instance is moved or otherwise reimaged.

    Should I run windows server 2008 and vs2010 to use azure?!?

    Yes, this is the best environment to develop in. However, you are not expected to deploy VS2010 to an Azure instance. You also do not have to use VS2010 for development - although the VS2010 tooling for Windows Azure does simplify things.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:21 AM
    Answerer
  • Okay, lets talk clear - I want to try to run Folding at Home or similar DC project like this.

    I'm not meaning productivity deployment, just want to explore the possibility of this.

    I'm sure I can run it under free tier, not overcoming the free limits.

    So in Amazon that was simple. But here's the things is much complicated.

     

    What do you think about that?


    wbr, Me.
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:16 AM
  • I'm going to step onto my soap box for a moment. PaaS represents a new model in application architecture/development. Instead of having to configure a server to host our application, applications are instead designed for a specific application servier (the platform) and handed off to it for deployment. The platform then manages hosting of the application and associated tasks like load balancing, instance scale out, etc... This model, while still somewhat new (unless you look back to the days of multi-tenant mainframes) will come back and change the way we build on-premises applications. :) Even Amazon recognizes this and has recently entered in the area of providing PaaS solutions.

    In Windows Azure, these style of application being deployed are loosely defined as various types of "roles". Its these role templates that we use to create the definitions of services that we will deploy into the Windows Azure cloud.

    Soap box done.

    Folding at home was not built with this type of model in mind. I looked through some of the installation FAQ materials over at http://folding.stanford.edu and what I see is that even if I choose to use it as a console application (which would be ideal for a Windows Azure Worker role), configuring of the client requires me to run a command link too and answer responses.

    Assuming you can contact the project owners and find an option for being able to perform this step in an automated manner, if may be possible to run this as a start-up task within a Windows Azure worker role. You'd just need to include the application binaries and content files in service role definition (created via visual studio, eclipse, or other tools) and then on startup execute the proper steps to launch your console application.

    Now that sounds like alot of work compared to the Amazon IaaS model, but you need to keep in mind two things. First, the Azure roles are not persistent, if one fails Windows Azure will automatically restart it, even moving it to another physical piece of hardware in the datacenter for you automatically. Secondly, using the Azure Model, you can easily flip a switch and go from running 1 to 10, or even 100 copies of your application simultaneous. If this ability to rapidly scale out solutions in an automated manner that most easily hightlights the differences between IaaS ans PaaS.

    If you wanted a simpler but less robust solution, you can always opt to just create the service package that includes your application and then remote desktop into it and start the process in that way. The downside of this approach is that should an instance of this role need to be restarted, you'll have to remote desktop into it and restart the process.

    All this said, unless you need the ability to rapidly scale your application, you're going to be paying a bit of a premium for Windows Azure and not really getting anything for it. As such, you would likely be better off with a solution that is less expensive but doesn't provide you with feature you wouldn't want to use.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:03 PM
    Moderator