Understanding Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 Windows Azure Support
Windows Azure support of Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 was unveiled at the LeWeb'10 conference in Paris. Let’s look in more details at the Windows Azure support in Kentico CMS.
NOTE: This blog post was updated in February 2011 to reflect several changes we applied on Kentico CMS 5.5R2 to better support Windows Azure Platform!
Kentico Software sees the cloud computing as an important step for our customers and Microsoft Azure as the ideal delivery vehicle. More about cloud computing and Windows Azure in this blog post: Cloud Computing and Windows Azure Platform.
Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 and Windows Azure
The release of Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 provides single instance customers an opportunity to move their CMS systems to the cloud.
When we had started our work on the Windows Azure platform support, we set as our main goal that we will not divide our development into standard Kentico CMS and its Windows Azure version! So, there will not be any differences between standard Kentico CMS and its Windows Azure version!!!
The goal is sometimes quite difficult to reach, as there are several differences between the traditional ASP.NET and Windows Azure platform. Due to these differences and some still missing features, the Windows Azure version of Kentico CMS 5.5R2has the following limitations:
- Due to the problems with session state providers and web-farms synchronization, this version only supports SINGLE INSTANCE.
- Due to the lack of the file-system, we are not supporting following features/operations which require direct access to the file system – import/export. Other file-system based features like Smart search, Media libraries or Web Analytics are supported via Windows Azure Drive.
- Manual setup and deployment into Windows Azure. With this release, we provide you with Windows Azure Deployment Guide covering all necessary steps.
But the Windows Azure version of Kentico CMS 5.5R2 is still the same as the standard version. There are no other changes; there is no different user interface or user experience, etc. Your customers will not see any difference between Windows Azure and the standard version!
The price of the Windows Azure version of Kentico CMS 5.5R2 is the same as for the standard Kentico CMS, more about the licensing in this blog post: Simplified Cloud Licensing.
Kentico CMS 6.0
We are working very hard on version 6.0, where we would like to solve all Windows Azure issues and prepare workarounds for the missing Windows Azure features. With version 6.0, you will get:
- Version 6.0 has completely rewritten file-system support (without any impact on the current websites), so Kentico CMS 6.0 recognizes if it is running on Windows Azure or on the standard Windows server platform. When running on Windows Azure, we are automatically using SQL Azure for any data and Azure storages for files operations.
- We are developing our own session providers, so we will be able to support multiple instances and web farms.
- Microsoft promised that SQL Fulltext will be available for Windows Azure in the near future. But we are not waiting for that and we have customized our Smart search to be running on Windows Azure.
- You will get an automatic installation to the Windows Azure, which will be part of the standard Kentico CMS installation as we can see on the figure below:
The Windows Azure version of Kentico CMS 6.0 will contain all features of Kentico CMS 6.0 including the On-line marketing support. This version will be released at Q2/Q3 2011.