Get Started with Bitnami Multi-Tier Solutions on Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a secure, flexible and high-performance cloud platform integrating multiple tools and managed services. It provides a complete set of tools to build, deploy and manage enterprise, mobile and Web applications in the cloud.
If you’re looking to deploy Multi-Tier or clustered applications in the Microsoft Azure cloud, the easiest way to get started is with Bitnami. Bitnami provides ready-to-use Multi-Tier Solutions for Azure servers, so that you can get productive with your new application immediately. You can access and launch these Multi-Tier Solutions through the Azure Marketplace.
In this tutorial, I’ll walk you, step by step, through the process of using the Azure Marketplace to create and provision a Multi-Tier Solution on a Microsoft Azure cloud server. And since Microsoft Azure offers a free trial with $200 credit for 30 days, you’ll have plenty of time to experiment with your servers without worrying about being billed for usage.
If you’re interested in creating a personal or small business blog, chances are that you’re going to use WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, used on over 60 million websites (according to Wikipedia). And it is not hard to see why: WordPress is very easy to use, comes with thousands of extensions and themes, is completely free, and is open source.
In this tutorial, I’ll launch a Multi-Tier Solution in the cloud with WordPress. This environment will consist of two cloud servers, one for the application and the other for the database, and you will be able to configure them further once launched. Of course, WordPress is just an example: there are many other Multi-Tier Solutions from Bitnami to choose from, and they’re all equally easy to set up.
Here are the steps you’ll follow in this tutorial:
- Register with Microsoft Azure
- Deploy Multi-Tier WordPress on Microsoft Azure
- Log in and start using WordPress
The next sections will walk you through these steps in detail.
Step 1: Register With Microsoft Azure
- At the end of this step, you will have signed up for the Microsoft Azure free trial. If you already have a Microsoft Azure account, you may skip this step.
Begin by creating a Microsoft Azure account, by browsing to the Microsoft Azure website and choosing the “Free Trial” option for a one month free trial. You will need an existing Microsoft account to log in and sign up for the free trial; if you don’t have one, you can create one here. Remember to keep track of your account username and password, because you’ll need them in the next step.
Once you’ve signed in, sign up for the Microsoft Azure free trial by providing some basic personal information and your mobile phone number. Microsoft Azure will send a verification code to your mobile number, which you’ll need to enter into the registration form. Once that’s done, proceed to the next stage by entering your credit card information.
If you’re wondering why you need to provide credit card information for a free trial, or if you’re worried about being billed for services, relax. By default, Microsoft Azure trial accounts are configured with a spending limit of $0, which means that your card will never be billed unless you remove or modify the spending limit. Microsoft Azure needs your credit card information for security purposes, to avoid service misuse and to confirm your identity.
IMPORTANT: When your spending limit is set to $0, Microsoft Azure will automatically deactivate your cloud servers so that you don’t incur any charges if your usage exceeds your free quota. Read about the Microsoft Azure spending limit.
Once your payment information is entered, review Microsoft Azure’s terms of service, free trial details and privacy statement, and indicate your agreement by ticking the box. Then, hit the big green “Sign up” button.
The Microsoft Azure account registration machine will churn away for a minute or so, and you will then be redirected to your Microsoft Azure account management page, which allows you to manage your subscriptions, edit your profile and get support. You should see that your free trial is now active in the subscription list.
Step 2: Deploy Multi-Tier WordPress on Microsoft Azure
- At the end of this step, your WordPress blog will be running on a Microsoft Azure cloud server. |
The next step is to launch a cloud server with Multi-Tier WordPress running on it. The Azure Marketplace lets you do this in just a couple of clicks. Follow these steps:
Browse to the Azure Marketplace.
Search for the Bitnami Multi-Tier WordPress Stack by entering the search term “wordpress bitnami” in the search bar at the top.
Select the Bitnami stack in the list of search results.
On the description page, review the information and fees. Click the “GET IT NOW” button to proceed.
On the resulting dialog, check the terms and conditions of the software plan and accept them by clicking “Continue”. You will be redirected to the Microsoft Azure Portal. Log in if required.
Click on the account you want to use for the deployment.
On the resulting page, review the information. It specifies the application version and provides useful links to the Bitnami Documentation page. Click “Create” to start the configuration of the server.
In the “Basics” tab, enter an easy-to-remember name for the deployment together with a password for the application’s control panel. You will use this username and password to log in to the application in the next step, so note it carefully. The corresponding user name in the application is automatically set to user.
In the same tab, enter the database password, create a new resource group by entering a name for it, and choose the location for the server to be deployed. Click “OK” once done.
IMPORTANT: To deploy a Multi-Tier application in the Microsoft Azure cloud, you must create a new resource group. Reusing an existing resource group is not allowed.
In the “Environment Configuration” tab, enter an SSH public key and choose the size of the virtual machines in the deployment. You can choose from a “DS1” server, which has a single core, to an “A4” server, which has 16 cores. For more information, refer to the Microsoft Azure pricing sheet.
TIP: A “DS1” server will work just fine for a low-traffic WordPress blog or for WordPress development.
In the “Summary” tab, verify the chosen settings. Click “OK” to proceed.
The Azure Marketplace will now begin spinning up the new server. A notification will appear indicating the current status.
The process usually takes a few minutes. Once the template has been provisioned, you will see a notification and the new instances and related resources will appear in the “Resource groups” section of the Microsoft Azure management console.
Notice that the resource group includes two virtual machines. The first (usually with suffix 0) is for the application, the second (usually with suffix 1) is for the database. Selecting the first virtual machine will display its properties, including its public IP address.
At this point, you should be able to browse to the cloud server, by entering the server IP address directly into your browser’s address bar. You should now see your WordPress blog’s home page with a sample post, as shown below.
The Azure detail page for the server also includes controls to restart, shut down or delete the server.
Step 3: Log in and start using WordPress
- At the end of this step, you will have logged in to WordPress and created a new blog post.
To log in to the WordPress dashboard, follow these steps:
Browse to the WordPress dashboard, usually at the URL http://SERVER-IP/wp-admin.
Log in with the administrator credentials from the previous step.
You should now arrive at the WordPress dashboard, which allows you to manage posts, pages and comments; customize your blog with themes and plugins; import and export content; manage navigation menus; add or delete new user accounts; and much more.
Create your first post
You can now add a new post using the following steps:
Select the “Posts -> Add New” menu option to create a new post.
Enter a title and content for the post. You can use the formatting tools at the top of the content area to format your post and add hyperlinks or images.
Optionally, choose the format and category for your post.
Publish it immediately using the “Publish” button.
And now, when you visit your blog’s front page, you should see your new post.
Congratulations! You now have a working, fully-functional WordPress blog in the cloud.
Keep your WordPress installation up-to-date
You can keep your WordPress installation up-to-date with the WordPress update feature. To access this:
- Log in to WordPress using the administrator account.
Select the “Dashboard -> Updates” menu item.
Review the resulting page to see if WordPress needs an update. If an update is available, you can install it by clicking the “Update Now” button. You can also re-install WordPress if needed with the “Re-install Now” button.
To learn more about the topics discussed in this tutorial, use the links below: