Tag Archives: Azure

Adding a second WordPress site to Windows Azure

cloneWe needed to deploy a development instance of WordPress for our soon-to-be built new public site so I looked at adding a second instance to our existing Azure subscription. Going through the portal reports that you’ve reached your MYSQL limit when you try to add another – nice.

There is mention of adding a second WordPress instance and using the same DB although I’m not willing to entertain that, Prod is Prod & hallowed be that principle.

Continue reading Adding a second WordPress site to Windows Azure

Plugins fail to update on Azure hosted WordPress

Ever since we moved our WordPress blog to Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud hosting platform (see post), plugins have failed to update rendering them broken – this can quickly become a pain if it’s critical such as your SPAM comment plug-in!
The issue is mentioned ad nauseum here but I’m able to delete the plugin to get around the problem that some others seem unable to do, hence sharing our solution:

Steps to workaround the problem

1. Follow the post here on getting your FTP username and password if you haven’t already got it, then setup your connection in FileZilla.

2. Browse to the ftp path –  /site/wwwroot/wp-content/plugins, make a note of what appears there and compare it to your list of plugins installed on WordPress (wp-admin/plugins.php)

3. In Filezilla, delete the folders that refer to the failed updates.

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4. In WordPress (wp-admin/plugins.php) re-add the plugins, then activate and configure them.

 

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Hope this helps you. You’ll need to do this each time a plugin needs updating – dull!
However, from the thread mentioned above, it looks like a fix will be deployed pretty soon…

Image is crucial, so where did they go?

The mysterious case of missing blog post images after migration.

 

Well, I wish it was mysterious. Actually, it was pretty obvious. The WordPress import tool isn’t exactly what you’d call robust.

Going into the wp-content/uploads folder on old hosting location (GoDaddy) and the new (Azure) showed that the WordPress import tool missed/failed to get the uploads folders from three years worth of blog posts.

 

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So, all that was needed was to sync up the folders. No stress. Here we go.

Getting your FTP username and password for an Azure Web Site.

Thanks to Bertrand Le Roy’s blog post on where to find the user name because what you would consider to be the likely candidates for your login – the deployment user account shows as not set.

1. From your dashboard on Azure for the blog, download the publish profile –

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2.  the XML file find your FTP user username and passwords –

SNAGHTML305975

Copy the missing files between the old and new location

1. Configure Filezilla with the connection to the FTP address listed on the dashboard.

2. Upload the missing years or months media from your old blog, either a local backup like the one I took or directly between the two FTP sites.

Why did it happen?

I’m sure a WordPress expert out there could reveal the mystery in detail, and migrating blogs isn’t exactly my day job – we’ll chalk this one down to “something went wrong but it was easy to fix”.

WordPress blog migrated from GoDaddy to Windows Azure

As our IT consulting business (www.thefullcircle.com) is a Microsoft partner, we believe it is important that we leverage as much Microsoft technology as possible (eat our own dog food!), and of course, that means Cloud
So, today we have moved our blog site (based on WordPress) over to the Windows Azure web hosting platform.

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The process was simple enough with only one hick-up along the way. During the import of the xml file exported from the source there was a server side error importing to the new target – 502 – Web server received an invalid response while acting as  gateway or proxy server.

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This was a bit of a pain since when I looked not all the posts or media had been imported. I had to go through and delete all the posts and empty them from the trash then reimport. Second time round, it when through fine.

Commissioning the same plugins on the new WordPress instance was simple enough and tweaking the settings only took a few minutes. It was a good opportunity to trawl through the options throughout WordPress to make sure the right once were set in the first place.

Summary of the process:

  • Commission the WordPress instance on Azure, needs to be a Shared instance, not a free one
  • Go to the new blog on the URL Azure creates for you and do the basic WordPress setup
  • Export the xml data from the old blog
  • Install and configure the plugins you’ll need on the new blog
  • Import the xml files and ensure you tick the box to import the images/media too
  • Create the CNAMES Azure needs for verification and public access

Something that I noted, non-Azure specific was that our export was 1.3mb with about 100 posts. The maximum file size for the importer is 2mb. The help info suggest increasing settings on the server, not sure you can do that on Azure..?

Lastly, the Jetpack site stats start from scratch again so you’ll have to accept that the historic info is gone – a shame as we had stats going back to Feb 2008!
(if anyone knows a way round this please share)

If you’d like a more detailed account of the process, let me know in the comments.

Microsoft Partner Business Briefings – Transitioning to the Cloud

5/10 @ https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40127070 – ‘Transitioning to the Cloud’ featuring Steve ‘Developers!’ Ballmer

As a UK Microsoft Gold partner (www.thefullcircle.com) staying up to date with the latest trends in technology, and in particular Microsoft’s take on those trends is essential.

Today we are at the ExCeL London conference centre in the heart of Docklands to hear Steve Ballmer and others tell us about Cloud computing solutions in a Microsoft Partner Business Briefing called ‘Transitioning to the Cloud’

Below is Microsoft’s marketing introduction on the event and then the agenda, then my notes from the day..

Event Overview

There is no doubt that the market around us is in a transition period, whether this is from an economic, societal or technological standpoint, and we want to work together with you to ensure we are all making the most of these opportunities in 2011. 

We’ve made a Microsoft-sized commitment to the cloud and through our London Partner Business Briefing we want to share our vision with you and your sales teams. Cloud technology is now a CIO’s #1 priority. Worldwide more than 40 million people have adopted Microsoft cloud services, and AMI Research predicts a rapid transition through 2010-2013 in the UK as businesses purchase cloud solutions. Join us for an exciting day with guest speakers and Microsoft executives.  Expect to receive more information on this event and how to prepare over the coming weeks.

Agenda

Welcome 09:30
A Changing World 09:45
New Way of Work 10:00
Customer: Why we chose Microsoft 10:30
Summary/Interactive Exercise/Feedback 10:50
Break  
Our Commitment to the Cloud – Microsoft Executive 11:30
Our Commitment to Microsoft Partners – Microsoft Partner Network 12:15
Going first 12:30
Break  
Partner Case Study – We chose to Partner with Microsoft for Online Service 13:45
Product Demonstration/Roadmap 13:55
Value Proposition/Customer Sales Pitch 14:05
Partner Case Study – We chose to Partner adopt Windows Azure 14:20
Product Demonstration/Roadmap 14:30
Value Proposition/Customer Sales Pitch 14:40
Break  
Partner Case Study – We chose to Partner with Microsoft for CRM Online 15:30
Product Demonstration/Roadmap 15:40
Value Proposition/Customer Sales Pitch 15:50
Partner Case Study: Why we chose to Partner with Microsoft for Windows Intune 16:05
Product Demonstration/Roadmap 16:15
Value Proposition/Customer Sales Pitch 16:25
Close – The Go Do’s 16:40

 

 

 

My  notes from the day..

Welcome – Katie Ledger
Various marketing videos featuring partners who have embraced..
ThinkScape “I used to go out to customers, now they come to me!”
MD’s and CFO’s love the cloud – move from capex to opex
Katie presented/hosted a Microsoft Cloud event 2 years ago.. – show of hands on who was there and who’s changing their business to embrace cloud… not many!  Will the show of hands be different at the end of the day?

A Changing World – Barry Ridgeway, new GM of SMS&P
Small Medium Business is the fastest growing part of the Microsoft business.
A new acronym.. PaaS – Platform as a Service e.g. Azure
Opportunity – projection in 3yrs $148B… Microsoft investing $10M in UK marketing (opportunities to ride on that wave by timing marketing releases carefully to coincide)

Customer: Why we chose Microsoft – Bert Craven, Architect, easyJet
65 IT team (59 full-time), IT Budget only 0.75% of revenue, 100% SLA requirement, £3B retail business, 20% per year growth! – a challenge!
Reliance on partners
Started with classifying systems – a commodity tier, airline system tier, easyJet specific tier – silver, gold, platinum – then defined SLA strategy for each – top tier is 100% uptime and has been achieved
Simple, standard systems by default!
The potential cloud offers as a Integration platform cannot be understated – Azure AppFabric “the ace in the pack” (origins in BizTalk)
 – small step – easy to swallow, perceived as lower risk
misconception of putting your data in the cloud makes it more vulnerable – a double edged sword
Project Sydney VPN’s…?  wazthat!?!

James Akrigg – Microsoft Partner Technology Specialist
Enterprise class systems used to require Enterprise class infrastructure – not anymore!

Why partner with Microsoft – Martin Neale, MD ICS Solutions
Started a cloud practise after the event 2yrs ago, built up on BPOS at the start of ’09 – 23 customers in the last year, but signed 6 in the last week!  both public & private sector, a lot of support from Microsoft – the best they have had in all their time as partners… did I tell you about our 7 account managers in 7 years…!?!?  (You’ll be one of few I haven’t.. ;-))

Dealing with change.. – Chris Moon (www.chrismoon.co.uk)

Chris is an inspirational & motivational speaker extraordinaire – a former Army officer who then worked for the charity HALO clearing landmines in Asia and Africa, and is one of the few westerners to have survived kidnap by the Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia.

Two years later he became a double amputee when blown up whilst walking in a supposedly cleared minefield in 1995, the blast resulted in the loss of his lower right arm and leg. Doctors say he survived against the odds due to his determination and fitness.

Within a year of leaving hospital he then ran and finished the London Marathon, plus threw in a Masters Degree in Security Management for good measure!

He’s since done numerous marathons and many of the world’s toughest ultra-marathons including the Great Sahara Run and Badwater – the 135-mile ‘fun run’ through Death Valley to the mountains on the hottest day of the year – mental! (yes mentally a hero and physically a superman!).
During his amazing speech he described the Death Valley run as ‘the death fun run’ and revealed comments from others re: ultra-distance as runs that amputees simply don’t do – he clearly doesn’t believe in don’t or can’t

Chris was inspirational, motivational, heart-warming, and very funny at the same time, a few notes from his speech are below:

Keep up or get left behind!  The biggest issue to keeping up is the way that you think..

Never be a victim, take the initiative

What can I do to avoid Being a victim and Create a victimless environment?
Engage-Listen-Understand

Why don’t we like change?
– fear of the unknown
– maybe worse off as a result
– out of comfort zone
– requires effort & hard work
– easier not to
– can cause headaches
– creatures of habit
– loss of territory or control
– puts us in the spotlight
– previous efforts maybe wasted
– we don’t like imposition or ‘have to’

crossing the change curve, instead of following the U-bend, get across it to Aspirational

Stay calm.. see the wood and trees – lead by example

Who doesn’t finish an ultra-marathon?  Those who don’t believe that they can
Never underestimate the power of belief

Dealing with sudden change
– be realistic
– choose a positive perspective
– choose a positive attitude
– use imagination

No matter how great the change, never adopt an attitude that allows you to be crushed
(followed story of an auzzie vet castrating a water buffalo – circle of life, what goes around comes around, next life, past life..)

And finally.. What is it like being blown up?   ….VERY LOUD!  (what a guy!)

Chris has published an autobiography called ‘One Step Beyond’ – indeed I’ve just bought 4 copies for our company from Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Beyond-Chris-Moon/dp/033037155X
Our Commitment to the Cloud – Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft
A new era of opportunity…
What is the Cloud – lots of things!
Cloud services for business – Microsoft claim to be the market leader in cloud services with the largest spread of cloud offerings
A key question was how important will the private cloud vs. public cloud be – we are discovering that now..
Factoring in the connectivity costs into the equation – it’s in the calculations

Steve had never been east of Tower Bridge… I think that was obvious! and it sounded like the guys at the front were lined up with pre-screened questions…?  Is that cynical or just an obvious safety net..?

Overall I didn’t really get Ballmer, whilst he’s a passionate and powerful speaker (boy does he project!) I can’t say I really took anything major away from his speech whereas seeing Gates in the flesh you really got the feeling that he truly believed in the role of technology to help improve people’s lives for the better.
The main point that came across was the insistence that the shift to the cloud was one of the most important changes in the history of computing after the Internet – maybe that’s all he wanted to get across, that and the key numbers from Microsoft’s view being:
– 580M Windows Live customers
– 40M users of Azure
– $10M spend in the UK alone on Cloud marketing

What he did leak was that Windows Phone 7 release in UK in next week or so – I’m keen to jump from the iPhone back to a Windows phone so will be keen to watch the last session of the day… a Windows Phone 7 preview.
Microsoft Online Services – Shaun Frohlich, James Akrigg, Myles Jeffery (ThinkScape), Katie Ledger

Demonstration of Software plus Services – SharePoint online, PowerPoint, Outlook migration from a.n.other Email platform to Exchange online, etc.  Lots of tools to make it easy!

Partner Case Study – We chose to Partner with Microsoft for Online Service
Myles Jeffery, MD ThinkScape
Embraced MS cloud technology after watching an online Ray Ozzie presentation in 2008 – a software development company realised they could focus on development and integration rather than platform.  Moved internally (small IT consultancy <10) to BPOS in early 2009 and recommends any prospective partner to do the same.
Believes the sweet spot for ease of migration is up to 25.
Coexistence tools are available to assist trials – SharePoint easy, but what about Exchange..? sub-domain for a project team or something better?

40-million Azure users already, caching in 22 countries keeps the performance good, plus offline caching capabilities

Product Demonstration/Roadmap – Microsoft CRM Online
Dynamics CRM 2011 online – Sean Frohlich, James Akrigg & Roger Collins
Outlook experience, very BCM 2010 look and feel… however its better..
Can we move to it although we have traditional on-premise Exchange? Yes!
Is the only CRM application available today that can be switched between on-premise and cloud and vice-versa – is the same codebase.
Top tip – 40% margin available for new business.
Dynamics CRM 2011 is available in beta now, and should be publically available in March-April 2011.
Partners have inclusive seats for CRM online – e.g. as a Gold Partner we would get 250!

Partner Case Study – We chose to Partner adopt Windows Azure – James Scarfe, Dot Net Software

How do you make money from selling Azure… there is a small kickback on the referral (5%), however services revenue is where the money is.
Reduction in time to market is one of the major advantages
Software virtualisation rather than hardware virtualisation – removing the dependancy on IT platform builds, and the delays in architecture planning such as capacity & resliance planning that a typical corporate IT department needs to do and can take months.  With Azure you can deploy the envionment in minutes and start developing on the production platform striaght away!

Windows Intune – Sean Frohlich, James Akrigg
Microsoft recently announced the Windows Intune Beta, a new solution that aims to simplify how businesses manage and secure PCs using Windows cloud services and Windows 7.
Intune is designed for businesses without an existing PC management infrastructure that need a cost-effective, simple way to manage and secure their PCs (not servers.. for servers and/or over 250 desktops there is System Center Essentials – SCE, or for larger environments Operations Manager).

For businesses with a highly mobile and/or distributed workforce, the Windows Intune cloud service can help manage and secure PCs across multiple offices, remote & mobile and manage them from anywhere.  If you have multiple smaller offices not on the corporate VPN then Cloud services can work very well, especially for security & remote management avoiding costly site visits.

Intune fits very well with our long term support of ASP, and now cloud based solutions – two of the three directors of The Full Circle have been heavily involved in managed AV and Security-as-a-Service since early 2002 building one of the first McAfee ASaP (formerly MyCIO) UK platforms, then as a reseller for SecureResolutions, and now with Panda Security with their Managed Office & Email Protection services.

So in summary it’s a cloud based PC management solution aimed at the small to medium market that takes key parts of Operations Manager, WSUS, ForeFront plus an Enterprise license of Windows 7 to deliver:

–          Updates (from what I could I see the interface is quite simple and not as feature rich as WSUS, nor as complicated)
–          Malware protection (based on Security Essentials and Forefront)
–          Monitoring (alerting for all major functions;  malware, updates, etc.)
–          Remote Assistance (EA taken as used by Microsoft Support, initiated by the end user, allows remote control & file transfer, is firewall friendly as uses TCP Port 443 – same as https)
–          Security Policies (malware, updates, Windows Firewall, what about existing Group Policy?)
–          Hardware and software inventory (quite a simple inventory solution)
–          Licensing (only Microsoft software)

Goto http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsintune/windowsintune-experience.aspx for more info, and if you are lucky enough to be on the beta login to the console via https://manage.microsoft.com

Intune is due to be released in 2011 for 11$ per PC per month, and possible another dollar for MDOP on top – which as you can pay £40 per desktop per year for AV alone makes it a compelling offer esp. if you are currently running XP or Vista due to the upgrade license to Windows 7 Enterprise.

There are c.450 UK partners in the 1st technical beta (now closed – worldwide cap at 10,000), but the next beta wave will be in the New Year – signup for notification of next wave at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsintune/register.aspx

Windows Phone 7 preview – more to follow…

http://www.windowsphone7.com/

http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/five-uk-networks-will-carry-windows-phone-7-10003
other useful links..

https://www.quickstartonlineservices.com/pages/default.aspx