Excuse the shameless link, but I thought this was cool enough to share here. I got nopCommerce running on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, and blogged the experience here:
It was really pretty straight forward, though a few code tweaks were necessary:
-You can't write to the file system from the app, so I changed the pictures to be generated on the fly for now. The 'right' solution would be to make PictureManager into a pluggable service, like the DB providers, and have one that used Azure Blob storage.
-Setting up the Azure SQL database using the installation wizard failed at DatabaseExists because SQL Azure doesn't support some metadata functions. I had to script across from a local db using a wizard. Text fields had to be changed to varchar(max) and image fields to varbinary(max).
Anyway, I thought I'd share that. Let me know if this is something people are interested reading more about, or if you have any questions.
A realy cool solution, I'm all ears
It'll be great if you can share your solution. Good job!
I _think_ posting the code like that is allowed in the license- I did check it. But if I misread and need to submit the code some other way, please let me know. Thanks!
Dan, what do you think the cost of running a small store on Azure will be? Would it be comparable to a hosted solution?
I find the Azure concept very compelling but it has to be priced right.
Here is their pricing information:
In theory, the benefit of Azure is that you pay for what you use, so you wouldn't need to pay much until your store was successful. In practice, the cost may be somewhat prohibitive for entry-level stores. For a baseline, single instance store, you would need:
~740 Compute Hours / month = ~$90
~1G storage = $~0.15
~SQL Azure Web (unless you have a very very large store) = $10
~Bandwidth between Azure and SQL = varies
~Bandwidth between Azure and users = varies
I'm _guessing_ about $120 a month, but the billing and monitoring features are not available yet, so I can't confirm. Definitely higher than typical shared hosting, but comparable to a dedicated server, and better than Amazon EC2 Windows.
At this point, for our customers, if the store is just starting out or is small, we would still advise using a shared hosting provider like Discount ASP. As business demands load balancing, high availability, geographic proximity, etc., move to Azure.
Another compelling option is the BizSpark program, which comes with ~750 free Azure hours /mo for 3 years, if you qualify:
At some point, I'd also like to look into writing providers that work against Azure table/blobs/queues. That would offer infinite storage at .15c/GB/mo instead of the 1GB limited SQL database at $10/GB/mo.
A third option would be to set up a multi-tenated solution, where multiple stores could be hosted on a single instance for a SaaS-type solution. I haven't looked to see if nopCommerce supports this.
awesome stuff --! Excited to read more, I'm reading about Azure now but I'm still learning APEX for Salesforce.com as well.