Pros and Cons of Migrating an ASP.NET Application to Windows Azure

Technical Articles
Oleg Mykhaylovych
14 August 2016

You must have heard a lot about Microsoft Azure. Some people already use it; others are still looking at reviews. It is one of the most popular platforms on the modern market – and for a good reason. Being the backbone of the Microsoft Cloud, it has recently become the fastest growing Cloud Infrastructure Platform in the world. It has a strong Hybrid Cloud capability and successfully operates in 19 regions, including China. Alongside with the Microsoft Cloud, it swiftly adopts the standards of other operating systems and undertakes perpetual changes and adjustments to ensure Microsoft Azure remains relevant to as many users as possible. Today, you can ever run a Linux-based Android application on Azure, which is almost too exciting.

However, great capabilities come with an enormous amount of choice, flexibility, and options when it comes to managing business-critical software to high-performance standards. It means that development, deployment, and support become much more complicated. You need to learn a lot before AND while using Microsoft Azure. So would you migrate an ASP.NET application to this platform? You decide. In the meantime, we will provide you with the list of benefits and drawbacks related to this cloud solution. Let’s start with advantages:

Advantages of Migrating an ASP.NET Application to Windows Azure

1. Scales on demand.

You may not always know how your business will grow and when you will need extra resources to run applications with high load (or support applications that cannot be handled by most traditional hosting models). Therefore, it’s a great plus that Microsoft Azure can scale alongside your business. It’s conducted by loading the applications as a cluster that allocates a web application to a particular set of processes (you will, therefore, never run out of server capacity because your application does not have to run off a single server). Flexibility is yet another characteristic that helps Azure scale properly. It’s simple to adapt and provides a plethora of application building block and services, which will indeed help you customize the cloud the way you need.

2. Simple and big data storage.

Microsoft Azure collaborates with Apache Hadoop, which is, at first sight, a bit complicated yet exceedingly powerful. It allows to hold and analyze literally any amount of date at a time. It also integrates with Excel to visualize your data – you get the simplest way to uncover business insights. It also allows storing any kind of data – file data, queries, or structured data sets. You can share it across VMs using the industry standard SMB 2.1 protocol; likewise, managing data is easy with an import/export feature. The security of your data is ensured by an innovative approach of the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle, which sounds exciting itself.

3. Automation and advanced management.

With Azure Automation, you program tasks in the Azure environment. You eliminate the time spent on monitoring and maintaining resources in your cloud environment by creating precise workflows called “runbooks”. It allows you to focus on actually meaningful actions and lowers overhead costs. Azure API management allows you to publish APIs to your market securely and at scale, which is exceedingly important for those who create and run numerous APIs. Creating jobs and tasks on simple or complex recurring schedules is yet another useful feature, called here “Set it and forget it”. It may cover such recurring actions as cleaning up logs, application maintenance, and pulling data from an API or feed. Once again – you spend little time repeatedly conducting routine.

However, every powerful environment has its downsides. Here are some of the most significant complications related to the migration of ASP.NET applications:

DisAdvantages of Migrating an ASP.NET Application to Windows Azure

1. Specific storage system.

Windows Azure provides non-relational storage in the form of blobs, tables, and queues, which are collectively known as “Windows Azure Storage”. If you need relational storage (provided as a service), you will have to set up, install, or maintain an actual database server (SQL Azure).

2. Application dependencies.

Unfortunately, Microsoft Azure does not include third-party or Microsoft frameworks aside from the .NET Framework (3.5 and 4). You may use the ASP.NET MVC (versions 2, 3, or 4) framework (included as a part of the WebRole project templates in the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio). But if you need to use other components of the framework, you must add them to your application’s deployment service package.

3. In-cloud identity and verification.

You can migrate the membership and profile data to SQL Azure if you migrate an ASP.NET. This means that Forms Authentication in Windows Azure just works using the existing SQL Membership provider. But there’s a catch with custom memberships and profile database that use features not supported in SQL Azure.


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