It's alive! The IConstructions website is live on Windows Azure.
If you are reading this, it means that all our DNS entries have rippled through the DNS system to get this site live on Windows Azure. Apart from just running on Windows Azure, I have made a number of other significant changes:
- I rewrote the website using ASP.NET MVC, replacing the old ASP.NET classic (i.e. WebForms based) implementation.
- I expanded the website code to use Azure Storage for all blog articles and images. This should greatly expand my ability write new blog entries, the old code required a redeploy of the site, and manual modification of the RSS feed. Now this is all automated, and the site code looks more like a mini content management system. Of course, this site could be perfectly hosted on one of the thousands of blogging sites, but hey, I'm a software developer, and I like to do this myself (this site is actually a playground for playing with all kinds of new technology).
- I also expanded the old url mapping code to properly catch all old urls, and permanently redirect to the new (without '.ASPX' extensions) urls. SEO-wise this should mean that we don't loose any Google search traffic. Did you know that this site is the number 1 hit in Google if you search for 'silent server'? We're also on the first page of Bing with this search.
Why Windows Azure?
Price is one thing. The old site ran on a dedicated server, which is seriously overdimensioned (and overpriced) for the amount of traffic I get.
The other thing is that I strongly believe that a developer not only should write code, but should also know what the deployment issues are with his code. The best way to experience this is takeing care of the deployment and administration of the website myself. A couple of years ago I did this by switching from shared hosting to dedicated hosting, and now that the era of cloud computing is starting, I do this by hosting the site in the cloud.
Did I mention it is cool to have a Windows Azure site? Well, it's cool to have a Windows Azure site.
And if my site ever gets Slashdotted, I can add a few more instances instead of going down.
The main reason is that the PDC 2009 is starting soon, and I want to be able to do some blogging about this when I'm at the PDC 2 weeks from now (more on this later). Now that Microsoft has announced their go-live schedule for Windows Azure, I can be sure that my Azure site will still be there when I'm in Los Angeles (Microsoft could also have planned to close all CTP accounts on the go-live date).
I still have a lot of working porting Blogoholic to Azure. This needs to be done before I can decommision my old dedicated server. More on that later.
See you at the first Belgian Azure Users Group meeting next week!