[UPDATE 7/13/2010]: Jesper Ravnsgaard, the product manager for Sitecore Azure, was kind enough to point out some corrections.  They are below in blue next to the crossed-out text.

This post will cover the prerequisites and getting out the gate with Sitecore Azure.  If you haven’t yet received your Azure account credentials, check my previous post.

Also, there are two things to bear in mind.

1) Sitecore Azure is its beginning developmental stages, so while it may work in most common scenarios, it will not work in all (see known issues below).

2)  I am also new to Azure development, especially Sitecore Azure, so this is as much a learning experience for me as it is for you.  If I stumble on anything contradictory in future posts, I will be sure to update any incorrect details.

Known Issues

Before you continue, it’s important to see if there are any deal-breakers.  The following are some important considerations from the Sitecore Azure Troubleshooting Guide.

  • Sitecore Azure does not support file media.  An example of this would be an app that lets a user upload a picture to the file system.
  • Cherry-picked file deployments to the content delivery environment are currently not doable.  If you want to deploy even something as small as a CSS or a javascript, you will have to deploy the entire solution.
  • There is an update button.  It looks for files that are different from the files deployed in the cloud and copies the delta.  On the one hand, it doesn’t overwrite the entire solution, but on the other hand, it copies the entire delta, so if you wanted to deploy a newer CSS file, but not the newer javascript file, you would have to 1) backup the files you don’t want deployed, 2) restore them to the stable versions on production, 3) click the update button, and 4) restore your changed files.
  • For emergency file patching, you have RDP access to the instances.

The last prerequisite before the install is getting your Sitecore Azure Environment File.  I am going to request mine as soon as this post is published.  To get your environment file, email azure.accounts@sitecore.net with the following information:

  • The location, hostname, login and password for the Microsoft Azure DBServer(s).
  • Your Certificate file: /sitecore/admin/azure/certificate.cer file from Sitecore Azure installation.
  • Your Sitecore license file

I have yet to request and receive mine, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post the installation details with some screenshots and walk you through the installation.  In the meantime, please refer to the following Sitecore documents for detailed information: