Monday, September 29, 2014

Deploying Web Site Clouds for Windows Azure Pack

On this blog, you have mainly found (useful?) information around Hyper-V, VMM and Azure Pack when it comes to the private cloud area.
However, Azure Pack gives us a lot more than “just” the VM Cloud Resource Provider, that is the holy grail of Infrastructure as a Service offering in your private cloud.

I have attempted to cover the broader aspect of Azure Pack on this blog, like walking through the different portals, APIs and much more, especially related to the backend VM Cloud services.

Recently, I wrote about “Deploying Service Bus for Windows Azure Pack” - that shows the consistency related to PaaS between Microsoft Azure in the public cloud, and Azure Pack in the private cloud.

This blog post – which is focusing on the Web Site Cloud does also falls under the PaaS umbrella in Azure Pack.

Without going into the repeating story around “one consistent platform” and all of that, I assume you know this already, but as an introduction to Web Site Clouds in WAP, we can say the following:

The Web Site Clouds enables an on-premises, high-density, multi-tenant web hosting service for service providers and enterprise IT. The web sites provides an experience similar to Microsoft Azure Web Sites. It is scalable, shared, and secure web hosting platform that supports both template web applications and a broad range of programming languages like ASP.NET, PHP and Node.js.
In addition to a web site service, it includes a self-service management portal (tenant portal), uses both SQL and MySQL database servers, integrates with popular source control systems, and offers a customizable web application gallery of popular open source web applications.

Web Site Cloud

The Web Site Cloud consists of at least 6 server roles.

·         Controller – Provisions and manage the other web site roles. This is the first role you install and run the Web Site Cloud setup on
·         Management Server – This server exposes a REST endpoint that handles management traffic to the WAP Web Site Management API, and you connect the service management portal to this endpoint
·         Front End – Accepts web requests from clients, routes requests to web workers, and return web worker worker responses to clients. Front End servers are responsible for load balancing and SSL termination
·         Web Worker – These are web servers that process client web requests. Web workers are either shared or reserved to provide differentiated levels of service to customers. Reserved workers are categorized into small, medium and large sizes.
·         File Server – Provides file services for hosting web site content. The file server houses all of the application files for every web site that runds on the web site cloud.
·         Publisher – Provides content publishing to the web site farm for FTP clients, Visual Studio and WebMatrix through the Web Deploy and FTP protocols

And as everything else, a SQL server is required for the runtime database.
The roles are separated from, and in addition to, the servers that form the (express or distributed) installation of the service management API (Portals and APIs).

Before you start to install the Web Site Cloud, you must deploy and prepare some VM’s.

Obviously everyone is using VMM today, so here’s a short script that will go ahead and create 6 VMs to be used for the Web Site Cloud in your private cloud infrastructure:

$VMNames =@(1..5)
$Template = Get-SCVMTemplate -VMMServer vmm01 -ID "1ee6ba94-b5fc-49f1-8364-a3d1b2da3f40" | where {$_.Name -eq "GEN2 Template"}
Foreach ($VM in $VMNames)
$VM = "webroleblog"+$VM

New-SCVirtualMachine -Name $vm -VMTemplate $template -VMHost "hv03" -Path "c:\clusterstorage\csv01" -HighlyAvailable $true -RunAsynchronously


Once this is done, you can start by logging into the controller VM where you will install the Web Site Cloud to deploy and configure the other core roles for this resource provider.

Note: Although it is not a requirement I have found officially, I have experienced some issues if .NET 3.5 is not enabled within the OS’s before we start on this process. Through the Web Site Cloud installer, we will download, install and enable many web server features on each guest through an agent. This one seems to fail randomly if .NET 3.5 is left out)

On the controller, download and install Web Platform Installer version 5.0

Once this is done, start Web Platform installer and search for Web Site.
Add “Windows Azure Pack: Websites V2 Update 3” and install it on your server.

Post the installation, you will be prompted by the well-known configuration page of Azure Pack that let you connect to the SQL server, create the database, file server settings and a lot more.

The following screen shots will give you an understanding of what needs to be configured.

After the setup, we logon to our admin portal to add and configure the rest of the Web Site Cloud resource provider.

Click on Web Site Cloud and connect to your newly created environment.
Select a display name, connect to the management server (https://nameofmanagementVM), and type the credentials you specified during the setup that has access to the REST endpoint.

After the web site cloud is added, you can drill into the configuration and click on ‘Roles’.
This is where you will add the additional and required web site roles you need in order to deliver web sites to your customers.

We have already the following in place:

-          Controller
-          Management
-          File server

What we need to add now, is:

-          Publisher
-          Front End
-          Worker

You simply type the DNS or the IP address of the specific server(s) you want to add, and then Azure Pack will deploy and configure these roles for you, through the controller.

Note: The Web Site Cloud has a default domain that you specify during the setup. In our example, we are using  - which mean that every website that gets deployed, will have a suffix of
In order for this to work, you must also create some host records for the following roles:

·         Web Deploy DNS:
·         FTP Deploy DNS:
·         Front End: *

Also note that you are able to perform lifecycle management of your web site roles directly from the management portal:

Once the web site cloud is configured with the default settings, you can go ahead and add the web site cloud to an existing Hosting Plan.

You can configure the Web Site offering by clicking on the service within the plan, and edit the existing values. We will leave this alone for now, and head over to the tenant portal to see the interaction.

Now we have the Web Sites available in the tenant portal, since this tenant is subscribing to a hosting plan that contains this offering.
If we click on new, we can choose between quick create, custom create and from gallery.

Once the web site is deployed (regardless of the options listed), we can perform several operations post the deployment from the tenant portal.

From a developer perspective, it is very interesting to see that you can download the publish profile, so that you can leverage TFS to deploy your applications. This is a solid value add-on, in addition to the already exposed tenant public API (for more info, see: )

What I like the most about the web site cloud is the grade of integration with the other PaaS offerings in Azure Pack, just as you would find in Microsoft Azure.
Depending on the solution and application you create, you can link with SQL, MySQL and Service Bus which is basically everything you need in order to fulfill the PaaS solution you are working on.

Hopefully this gave you an overview of the Web Site Cloud in WAP.


Anju Bala said...

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