Azure Web sites, cloud services, and virtual machine comparisons

Source: Internet
Author: User
Tags hosting drupal install wordpress web hosting ssl certificate remote desktop access

Last updated: 09/24/2014 Last Updated (English): 04/11/2015

Azure provides several ways to host Web applications, such as azure Web sites, cloud services, and virtual machines. After reviewing these different options, you may not be sure which one is best for your needs, or you may have unclear concepts such as IaaS versus PaaS. This article will help you understand the options and help you make the right choices for your Web scenario. Although all three options allow you to run highly extensible Web Applications in Azure, differences can help guide your decisions.

In many cases, the Azure Web site is the best choice. It provides simple and flexible options for deployment and management, and is able to host high-capacity sites. Using popular software like WordPress, you can quickly create a new site from the WEB application Gallery, or you can move an existing site to an Azure website. Using the Azure WebJobs SDK (currently in preview), you can also add background job processing.

There are also options for hosting Web applications on Azure cloud services or azure virtual machines. These options are good choices, and your Web tier requires them to provide additional levels of control and customization, but this enhanced control is at the expense of increased complexity of application creation, management, and deployment. Describes the trade-offs between the three options.

Sites are easier to set up, manage, and monitor, but have fewer configuration options. The key is that when you use the Azure Web site, there's no compelling reason to put the web front end on a cloud service or virtual machine. The remainder of this document provides the information you need to make informed decisions. This includes:

    • Scheme
    • Service Summary
    • function comparison
Scenario I am a small business owner, and I need a low-cost way to host my site while considering future growth.

The Azure Web site (waws) is a good solution because you can start using it for free, and then add more features when you need it. For example, each free site comes with a domain provided by Azure (your/_company. If you are ready to start using your own domain, add the cost as low as $9.80 per month (up to 1/2014). There are many other services and extension options that allow the site to evolve as the user needs increase. With the Azure Web site , you can:

    • Start with the free tier and scale up as needed.
    • Use the application library to quickly set up popular web applications such as WordPress.
    • Add additional Azure services and features to your application as needed.
    • Protect your site with HTTPS by using the certificate provided by the your/_company. domain name.
I am a Web or graphic designer, and I want to design and build a website for my customers

For web developers, the Azure Web site gives you the content you need to create a complex web application. The Web site provides close integration of tools such as Visual Studio and SQL database. Using the Web site , developers can:

    • Command-line tools that use automatic tasks.
    • Use popular languages such as. Net, PHP, node. js, and Python.
    • Choose to scale up to three different extension levels for ultra-high capacity.
    • Integrate with other Azure services, such as SQL database, service bus, and storage.
    • Integrates with tools such as Visual Studio, Git, WebMatrix, WebDeploy, TFS, and FTP.
I want to migrate a multi-tiered application with a web front end to the cloud

If you run a multi-tier application, such as a Web server that talks to a database server to store and retrieve Web site data, you have several options in Azure. These architectural options include Web sites, cloud services, and virtual machines. First, the site is a good choice for your solution and can be used with Azure SQL data to create a two-tier architecture. The Web site also allows you to use the Azure WebJobs SDK preview to run a background or long running process. If you need more complex architectures or more flexible scaling options, cloud services or virtual machines are better choices.

Cloud Services enable you to:

    • Host Web, middle-tier, and back-end services on extensible web and worker roles.
    • Only host middle-tier and back-end services on the worker role, keeping the front-end on the Azure Web site.
    • Independent expansion of front-end and back-end services.

virtual machines enable you to:

    • Migrate a highly customized environment, such as a virtual machine image, more easily.
    • Run software or services that cannot be configured on a Web site or cloud service.
My application depends on the highly customized Windows or Linux environment

If your application requires complex installation or configuration of software and operating systems, the virtual machine may be the best solution. With virtual machines , you can:

    • Use a virtual library to start the operating system, such as Windows or Linux, and then customize it for your application requirements.
    • Create and upload a custom image of an existing on-premises server and run it on a virtual machine in Azure.
My Site uses open source software, and I want to host it in Azure

All three options allow you to host open source languages and frameworks. Cloud services require you to use a startup task to install and configure any required open source software that runs on Windows. With virtual machines , you can install and configure software on machine images, either on Windows or Linux. If an open source framework is supported on a Web site, this provides an easier way to host these types of applications, because the Web site can be configured automatically by using the language and framework required by the application. The website enables you to:

    • Use a variety of popular open source languages such as. NET, PHP, node. js, and Python.
    • Install WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, DNN, and many other third-party Web applications.
    • Migrate existing applications or create a new one from the application library.
I have a business application that needs to be connected to the corporate network

If you want to create a business application, your site may need direct access to services or data on the corporate network. May be on websites , cloud services, and virtual machines . There are differences in the methods you use, including:

    • Web sites can securely connect to local resources by using service Bus relay. This allows services on the corporate network to perform tasks on behalf of the Web application without moving everything to the cloud or establishing a virtual network.
    • Cloud services and virtual machines can take full advantage of virtual networks. In effect, a virtual network allows machines running in Azure to connect to the local network. Azure will then become an extension of your company's data center.
I want to host a REST API or Web service for mobile clients

HTTP-based Web services allow you to support a variety of clients, including mobile clients. The framework of the ASP. NET Web API integrates with Visual Studio to make it easier to create and use REST services. These services come from a Web endpoint, so you can use any web hosting techniques on Azure to support this situation. However, the site is a good choice for hosting REST APIs. Using the site, you can:

    • Quickly create a Web site to host HTTP Web services in one of Azure's globally distributed data centers.
    • Migrating existing services or creating new ones may take advantage of the ASP. NET Web API in Visual Studio.
    • Achieve single instance availability of SLAs, or scale out to multiple dedicated computers.
    • Use a published site to provide REST APIs to any HTTP client, including mobile clients.
Service Summary

The Azure Web site allows you to quickly build highly scalable web sites on Azure. You can use the Azure Portal or command-line tools to set up your Web site in popular languages such as. NET, PHP, and Python. The supported frameworks are deployed and do not require additional installation steps. The Azure site Library contains many third-party applications, such as Drupal and WordPress, as well as development frameworks such as Django and CakePHP. After you create a Web site, you can migrate existing sites or generate new ones. The WEB site does not require the management of physical hardware, and several extended options are available. You can move from a shared multitenant model to standard mode, where a dedicated machine serves incoming traffic. The site also allows you to integrate with other Azure services, such as SQL database, service bus, and storage. With the Azure WebJobs SDK Preview, you can add background processing. In summary, Azure Web sites make it easier to focus on application development by supporting multiple languages, open source applications, and deployment methods (FTP, Git, Web deploy, or TFS). If you don't require specific requirements for cloud services or virtual machines, the Azure Web site is probably the best choice for you.

With cloud services, you can create highly available, extensible Web applications in a rich platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. Unlike web sites, cloud services are first created in a development environment such as Visual Studio and then deployed to Azure. Frameworks such as PHP require that you install a custom deployment step or task for the framework when the role starts. The main advantage of cloud services is the ability to support more complex multi-tiered architectures. A single cloud service can consist of a front-end Web role and one or more worker roles. Each layer can be scaled individually. There is also an increased level of control over the architecture of your WEB application. For example, you can use Remote Desktop to control the computer on which the role instance is running. You can also write more advanced scripts for IIS and machine configuration changes that run when the role starts, including tasks that require administrator control.

Virtual machines, you can run WEB applications on virtual machines in Azure. This feature is also known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Create a new Windows Server or Linux computer from the portal, or upload an existing virtual machine image. Virtual machines provide you with the highest level of control over the operating system, configuration, and installed software and services. This option is ideal for quickly migrating complex on-premises WEB applications to the cloud, as the computer can be migrated as a whole. With virtual networks, you can also connect these virtual machines to your local corporate network. As with cloud services, you can remotely access these computers and be able to perform configuration changes at the administrative level. However, unlike web sites and cloud services, you must manage virtual machine images and application architectures entirely at the infrastructure level. A basic example is that you need to apply your own patches to the operating system.

function comparison

The following table compares the features of Web sites, cloud services, and virtual machines to help you make the best choice. Boxes with asterisks are explained in detail in the comments that follow the table.

function website Cloud Services (web roles) Virtual Machines

Access services such as service bus, storage, SQL database


A Web or Web service layer that hosts a multi-tiered architecture


Middle tier for hosted multi-tiered architectures


Integrated Mysql-as-a-service Support

X X 1 X

Support for ASP, ASP, node. js, PHP, Python


Scale out to multiple instances without redeploying

X X X 2

Support SSL

X 3 X X

Visual Studio Integration


Remote debugging


Deploying code with TFS


Deploying code with GIT and FTP


Deploying code by using WEB deployment

X 4 X

WebMatrix Support


Near-instantaneous deployment


Instance sharing content and configuration


Scale up to a larger computer without redeploying


Multiple deployment environments (production and staging)


Network isolation using an Azure virtual network


Support for Azure traffic manager


Remote Desktop access to the server


Ability to define/execute startup tasks


Automatic OS update management


Integrated endpoint Monitoring


Seamless platform Switching (32-bit/64-bit)


1 Web and worker roles can be integrated mysql-as-a-service through ClearDB products, but not as part of the Management portal workflow.

2 Although virtual machines can scale out to multiple instances, you must write the services running on those computers to handle this scale-out. Additional load balancers must be configured to route requests across machines. Finally, you should create an affinity group for all computers that participate in the same role, preventing them from restarting at the same time from maintenance or hardware failures.

3 for Web sites, SSL for custom domain names only supports standard mode. For more information about using SSL for a Web site, see Configure an SSL certificate for an Azure Web site.

4 Cloud services Support WEB deployment when deployed to a single-instance role. However, production roles require multiple instances to meet Azure SLAs. Therefore, WEB deployment is not the appropriate deployment mechanism for cloud services in production.

Azure Web sites, cloud services, and virtual machine comparisons

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