[UPDATE 9/10/2012: Changed Windows Azure SDK location to match current versions.]
The Windows Azure SDK includes command-line tools that make it easy to deploy almost anything to the cloud. I’ve blogged about this functionality in the past, but those posts have assumed a significant amount of Windows Azure background. In this tutorial, I’ll walk through how to use those tools to package a standalone executable and run it in the cloud, assuming no prior Windows Azure experience. For our example application, we’ll run the Mongoose web server, a tiny one-file web server written in C++.
- Download the code at https://github.com/smarx/packanddeploy. You can either click the “zip” link at the top of the page, or you can use the git command-line tools:
git clone git://github.com/smarx/packanddeploy .
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Azure.NET SDK\<version>\bin\setenv.cmdto add the Windows Azure SDK tools to your path, and then change directory back to where you downloaded
runto run the application locally. Open up the browser to the address and port you see in the output of
run. You should see the text “Hello, World!”
packto create a Windows Azure package containing the application.
- Browse to the Windows Azure portal and deploy the application by clicking the “new hosted service” button and filling out the dialog. The “package location” and “configuration file” should be
ServiceConfiguration.Cloud.cscfgin the root of your
How it Works
Windows Azure applications consist of roles (essentially, components of the app). Roles come in two types: web and worker. Web roles are designed for hosting web applications under IIS. Worker roles are for everything else, with a simple “run forever” interface. This is what we’re using to run Mongoose.
WorkerRole directory, you’ll see
mongoose-3.0.exe, the Mongoose executable, and
run.cmd, a batch file that launches Mongoose.
run.cmd uses the following command to launch Mongoose:
start /w mongoose-3.0.exe -r . -p %ADDRESS%:%PORT% -e error_log.txt
ServiceDefinition.csdef in the root of the project defines the worker role to execute this batch file with the right environment variables:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <ServiceDefinition name="PackAndDeploy" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ServiceHosting/2008/10/ServiceDefinition"> <WorkerRole name="WorkerRole" vmsize="ExtraSmall"> <Runtime> <Environment> <Variable name="ADDRESS"> <RoleInstanceValue xpath="/RoleEnvironment/CurrentInstance/Endpoints/Endpoint[@name='HttpIn']/@address" /> </Variable> <Variable name="PORT"> <RoleInstanceValue xpath="/RoleEnvironment/CurrentInstance/Endpoints/Endpoint[@name='HttpIn']/@port" /> </Variable> </Environment> <EntryPoint> <ProgramEntryPoint commandLine="run.cmd" setReadyOnProcessStart="true" /> </EntryPoint> </Runtime> <Endpoints> <InputEndpoint name="HttpIn" protocol="tcp" port="80" /> </Endpoints> </WorkerRole> </ServiceDefinition>
This file does three main things:
- It defines the entry point to our application, which is
- It defines an endpoint for our application (port 80 for HTTP traffic).
- It configures two environment variables (
PORT) that communicate to our application what address and port it should listen on. (Windows Azure determines an address and port at runtime so that the application can work properly locally in the emulator as well as in the cloud.)
pack.cmd commands take advantage of built-in tools in the SDK:
/copyonlyoption to package up the application for local testing under the Windows Azure emulator. It then invokes
csrunto launch the application locally.
cspackagain, this time without the
/copyonlyoption, which packages the application for deployment to the cloud.
ServiceConfiguration.Cloud.cscfg configure the application for local testing and cloud deployment. The cloud version differs in that it configures the worker role to run on two instances (virtual machines) for high availability.
To learn more about the Windows Azure SDK authoring tools, see the documentation for cspack and csrun. To understand the various options for defining roles, see the reference documentation for ServiceDefiniton.csdef
View the full source code for
packanddeploy on GitHub: https://github.com/smarx/packanddeploy.