10 things to do while migrating an ASP.NET App to Azure

Here I will list a few points that you should take care of while migrating an ASP.NET application to Azure. The reader should have a basic understanding of Azure platform.

  1. Make sure that your application is 64-bit compatible since Window azure is a 64-bit environment.
  2. Convert your website project to a web application project to associate with a web role since the Visual Studio tools for Azure do not support ASP.NET website projects.
  3. Ensure that webroles listen to http requests on different ports, in case there are more than one webrole in a single service deployment. Webservices in the application can associate to a webrole.
  4. Migrate Windows services to a worker role. OnStart() method of the Window services class is equivalent to the Run() method of the RoleEntryPoint class.
  5. Consider moving out some or all of the settings in config files to service setting files that do not require redeployment after every change, though app.config and web.config files work without any change.
  6. Make sure that your web application does not have any issues with running on IIS 7, as Window Azure webroles runs on IIS7 Integrated mode. In my case the application was using the WCSF framework which has a known issue with IIS7. Fortunately there is a work-around to make the WCSF work on IIS7. Please note that IIS7 Integrated mode has removed the HttpRequest context from the Application_Start event.
  7. Ensure that your application is not caching anything in the ASP.NET Cache or Session. There is a sample on codeplex that illustrates how to host Memcached in a worker role. This sample also provides a .NET client for Memcached and a sample webrole project for performance monitoring of your Memcached instance. Where ever you need to cache anything you can use Memcached or Azure storage.
  8. Upload and save files to a blob in Windows azure storage, if your web application allows user to upload files, which I think is easiest, or you can save the file in a simulated Xdrive. All data in Window Azure Storage can be accessed with HTTP requests that follow REST conventions.
  9. Set the default page in web.config under the system.webServer node (Supported in IIS7, since you cannot configure IIS in Azure).
  10. Get a SQL Server 2008 R2 client to work with SQL Azure. You can migrate the Database Schema to SQL Azure database by using the generate scripts wizard and use SSIS to move data into and out of SQL Azure. Once you migrate the database to SQL Azure successfully you just have to change the connection string in your application.

Here’s a blog that discusses some more migration issues.

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