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Windows Azure

Deploying to Windows Azure : Preparation application for deployment, Ready for deployment

10/23/2012 5:01:14 PM
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Preparation application for deployment

Because we've been using our configuration files for our connection strings in the cloud project, we need to make a few small changes. Let's change the connection strings in our configuration files in Visual Studio.

In our cloud project, for each role in our Roles folder, we need to perform the following steps:

  1. 1. Right-click the role and choose Properties.

  1. 2. Choose the Settings tab, and you should see our connection strings pointing to our Development Storage.

  1. 3. These connection strings will be required to change to point to our Storage Account in the cloud. This can be easily done by clicking the "..." button to the far right of the connection string. It's going to ask us for some information such as the account name and the account key, both of which were provided when setting up the Storage Account. We can look these up in the Windows Azure Developer portal if we cannot remember them.

  1. 4. Finally, the last step is to publish the cloud project. We can easily do this by right-clicking on the cloud project and choosing Publish.... We will get a window once again, asking us how we want to publish our cloud project. We have an option of creating the Service Package only, or deploying directly to Windows Azure. Because we love working in the Windows Azure Developer portal, we're just going to select the Create the Service Package Only option, which will help package everything up into two files one is .cspkg file, which is our compiled code for our cloud project roles, and the other is the .cscfg file, which is our configuration settings file for our cloud project roles.

Ready for deployment

It's time to play in the Windows Azure Developer portal once again. We're going to give it all the information needed to get our cloud project up and running in Windows Azure.

Let's go to our Hosted Service and see what we have there.

This looks nice and easy. What did we come here to do? The answer is to deploy our cloud project. And how are we going to do that? If you are thinking we should click on the Deploy... button, then you're absolutely correct. Go ahead and click the Deploy... button to begin deployment.

The next step is also fairly easy. Remember the files that Visual Studio created for us when we published the cloud project? We're going to need them here. Both files were created in the solution's Bin folder, under the release configuration named folder (Debug, Release, etc.), and in the Publish folder. The first file we're looking for is the Application Package file, or the .cspkg file. The Configuration Settings file is the .cscfg file.

The next section on the deployment page asks about Operating System Settings. What's this? Well, each role instance is technically a miniature virtual machine running in the Windows Azure Fabric, and the virtual machine needs an OS. The OS builds are a miniature version of Windows Server 2008 (limited feature set). This OS is constantly worked on to patch any security flaws, fix bugs, and all the other typical everyday maintenance you would expect a company to do to maintain a server OS. There are options on which OS version we would like our applications to run against if we choose the Manual OS Upgrade Method. Here's the catch: Depending on which SDK we built our application with, we need to choose a compatible OS to use. To choose the correct OS, click the What are the Options? link and the article maintained by Microsoft will let you know the minimum OS that can be used. All SDKs are supported by the newer operating systems.

Because the newest OS version supports our SDK, we're going to let Windows Azure automatically upgrade our OS and choose the newest OS for us at time of deployment.

Finally, we need to name (label) our deployment. This is just to help us know about this deployment. We could use a release or version number, a timestamp, among other things, to help us know what is deployed.

Once these steps are all completed, click the Deploy button and let Windows Azure do some magic!

The Windows Azure Developer portal will keep us updated on the progress of the deployment.

Congratulations! Our cloud project is deployed! Are we done? Well, the answer is not at all. It's in the cloud, but it's not doing anything yet. We'll get to that in a little while, but first, let's have a quick look at changing the configuration in the portal.

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