Microsoft has been very persuasive pushing Windows Azure as a cloud hosting alternative. It’s a broad range of services that one can use to support many kinds of scenarios: web applications, mobile apps, databases, content distribution networks and more.
I will finally get around to test drive Windows Azure for Web application development. I’ll be using the following tools and services from Microsoft:
- Web Matrix 3 (still in beta at the time of this post): a free, lightweight, cloud-connected web development tool.
- Team Foundation Service: Your source code and work items are stored in the cloud. Plan projects, collaborate with your team, and manage your code online from anywhere.
- Windows Azure: Microsoft’s cloud platform.
To use the free TFS service you have to register your Microsoft account here. This free service includes:
- Up to 5 users
- Unlimited number of projects
- Version control (TFVC or Git)
- Work item tracking
- Agile planning tools
- Feedback management
- Build (still in preview)
- Test management (still in preview)
For a free trial of Windows Azure services, you also have to register your Microsoft account here. Your free trial contains:
- virtual machines & cloud services / 750 compute hours per month
- SQL server / 750 hours of web, standard, or enterprise
- web sites / 10 web sites
- mobile services / 10 mobile services
- relational database / 1 SQL database
- SQL reporting / 100 hours per month
- storage / 70 GB with 50,000,000 storage transactions
- backup / 20 GB
- data transfer / unlimited inbound & 25GB outbound
- media services encoding / 50 GB (input & output combined)
- cdn / 20 GB outbound with 500,000 transactions
- cache / 128 MB
- service bus / 1,500 relay hours and 500,000 messages
To download and install Web Matrix you don’t need any extra registration. Be aware that version 3 is the one used here to take advantage of the Azure and TFS integration.
In conclusion, the working setup for the Azure test-drive will be:
- Team Foundation Service for source code version control;
- windows Azure account to deploy applications and services on;
- Downloaded and installed Web Matrix to build a Web application, add it to Source Control and deploy it from there.