Azure App Service Support for 8.2
Almost from day one I thought Azure Web Sites was a better platform than Azure Cloud Services for Sitefinity. I have been running my Sitefinity instances there for 2 years now even though there was no support. But now its been announced that 8.2 will support Azure App Services, (Formerly Azure Web Sites), and I am super excited.
I logged a feature request about 10 months ago for this. Anyone that asked, I pushed them to mention it to there Sitefinity contacts and to go vote for it. Today Radoslav Georgiev announced that they would be implementing this for the 8.2 release. Personally I am super thrilled with this.
I have had a great experience running on the Azure Web Sites platform. One of the best things I like is SQL Azure. The knowledge that I can restore in minutes to any point in time in the last 7 days, (or more), by default is a great feature alone. I have always thought it better suited than the Azure Cloud Services option. Sitefinity is not designed to be split across two servers so the Azure Worker role was always wasted unless you wrote functionality to make use of it. There was no shared file system so updates to one had to be replicated to the other. Thus search did not work. You had to put the configs in the database and deploys could be complicated.
The primary issue with Azure Web Sites was that you could not scale because the inter site communication, (one node informing the other node to update or clear cache items could not be implemented). I did a few options, the best being using the Azure Service Bus and setting up a Publish Subscribe implementation. It worked but it needed a lot more testing. Good thing now is that I don't have to worry about it now.
I hope the Sitefinity team look at using or allowing the use of other Azure Services. I think it would be great to be able to move the Sitefinity background services to Azure Jobs. Use Azure Service Bus for inter instance communications. But number one is to move the Sitefinity cache out of in-memory and into a distributed cache such as Azure Redis Cache. Replicating all your cached items across each instance and running communication to co-ordinate each instance isn't a good use of resources. Using a distributed cache would save a lot of memory requirements I imagine.
But lets not end of a negative. The support for Azure Web Sites is a great move. I think a lot of people will look at it, try it and not go back.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment - Darrin Robertson