Posts Tagged ‘deployment’

Packaging a Web Site for Windows Azure

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I am spending a few days participating in the “Bringing Composite C1 to Windows Azure” workshop this week.

I didn’t know Composite C1 beforehand, but so far it has been a pleasure to get to know it.

The only major hiccup we encountered on the first day was that the Composite C1 application is not a Web Application Project in the Visual Studio sense, but is instead a Web Site.

Windows Azure web roles are per default Web Application Projects, so we set out to convert Composite C1 to a Web Application Project while discussing if it is possible to deploy a Web Site to Windows Azure.

Since Windows Azure is just Windows 2008 with IIS 7.0 I figured it should be possible to run a Web Site on Windows Azure, but whether we could get the management services to deploy the Web Site in the first place was another matter.

Coincidentally, Steve Marx recently wrote a blog post on manually packaging up an application for deployment to Windows Azure, so in this blog post I will attempt to deploy a Web Site to Windows Azure using a manual packaging approach. I will be using a generic web site instead of Composite C1 since using Composite C1 would probably cause some unrelated problems to surface.

So, I start out by creating a new Web Site:


Next, I need to create a service definition which will tell Windows Azure what my web site looks like. As for now, I will be define a service with a single webrole. So, I create a new file called ServiceDefinition.csdef:


and I fill in some basic parameters:


Now, I could go ahead and package up the application and deploy it. However, if I do this, the web role will be extremely sick and throw exceptions saying “Unrecognized attribute ‘targetFramework’”, referring to the targetFramework=”4.0” attribute in web.config.

Figuring out why this happens and what to do about it will require some further investigation. For now I just go ahead and delete the attribute. This also means that I need to delete the “using System.Linq;” statements in Site.Master, Default.aspx.cs and About.aspx.cs.

To package the application I need to use the cspack.exe that comes with the Windows Azure SDK. I’ve added the SDK’s bin directory to my PATH, so I can go ahead and package the application:


This is a pretty long command, so I’ll repeat it here for convenience:

cspack ServiceDefinition.csdef /role:MyWebRole;WebSite1
/out:MyWebSite.csx /generateConfigurationFile:ServiceC onfiguration.cscfg
Windows(R) Azure(TM) Packaging Tool version for Microsoft(R) .NET Framework 3.5 Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



The cspack application certainly doesn’t seem very verbose. Anyway, I can now go ahead and deploy the web site to the Azure Development Fabric using another tool from the SDK, csrun:


And presto! I now have a web site running on the Development Fabric:


To actually deploy the web site to the cloud you need to create a proper deployment package. To do this, leave out the /copyOnly flag from the packaging command:


Again, I’ll repeat the command:

cspack ServiceDefinition.csdef /role:MyWebRole;WebSite1 /generateConfigurationFile:ServiceConfiguration.csfg

This will generate a file called ServiceDefinition.cspkg that you can upload through the Windows Azure Portal along with the ServiceConciguration.cscfg.

Once the Fabric Controller has done its thing we have a web site in the cloud:


I had to cut some corners in the proces, but at least this shows that the web site model _can_ run on Windows Azure.