My Azure, Bitnami and WordPress Experience

Feb 23

My Azure, Bitnami and WordPress Experience

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It wouldn’t be hard to do a couple of quick look-ups on this site to see it is a WordPress site, created with a Bitnami image hosted on Microsoft Azure. When it came time to update our website, I volunteered to provide the new platform because I had never really used Microsoft Azure services before, and wanted to see how well it works.

First of all, I need to get something off my chest. I love Bitnami. If you are looking to spin up a new open source system somewhere, you have to check out Bitnami first. If they have the application you are looking for in their library, I can virtually guarantee it will be the easiest deployment you’ve done in a long time. These folks are fantastic at building open source loads that take all of the guesswork out of it. I may have to dedicate an entire blog post to why I love Bitnami, but if you have never checked them out I highly recommend it. Setting up WordPress using Bitnami on Azure was so easy.

Setting up an Azure account was not too difficult. Aside from the problem I’ve been dealing with for years juggling my Office 365 account with my Live accounts, and making sure I’m logged into the right account that is associated with my company, and not logged into the other account that uses an email that I used to use before my old company was acquired by my new company which is both a Live account and an Office 365 accout. Well actually it is the … Oh, was I rambling again? Needless to say, I’m having a difficult time managing my identity in the Microsoft ecosystem. (If there is someone else out there who has dealt with this successfully, please message me on Twitter @zanecolvin or comment below). I got signed up and was off to the races.

The Azure Management Console can be a little overwhelming to the uninitiated. It lists Websites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services, Cloud Services, SQL Databases, Storage and 20 other options on the main menu, the last one being Settings. It takes some time to work through the various options and figure out exactly what combination of items you need for your project.  I let Bitnami do the hard work and ended up with a Cloud Service, a Virtual Machine and Storage all allocated and booted right up nicely.

My experience with Azure has been mostly positive. It is a fast and flexible platform. The console while overwhelming does provide a significant amount of control and customization. The pricing is reasonable for what you get.

I have had two times where I have had issues. My VM would stop and couldn’t be started. This is bad. The first time, I just started over with a new VM. The second time, in order to fix the issue I upgraded my VM. Apparently upgrading a VM moves it to a different host (or at least updates the VM settings) from what I have seen. It booted up fine after the upgrade, and I was able to successfully downgrade it back to the original level. I found this solution online, so I can’t be the only one experiencing this issue.

I have really high hopes for Azure, and right now I am investigating it as a DR option for clients. I’m going to leave the website on the platform for now to see if this was an isolated issue or if it continues. I’d very much like to hear from folks who have been using Azure to see what your experience has been like. So please leave a comment below (it is moderated so it won’t show up immediately).

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  1. Tamela Mcnear
    February 12th

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

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