Ghost on Azure Web Apps

Every so often I like to try out different blogging platforms and Ghost is one that I have looked at multiple times since the project started. Even though it has been getting easier, the experience is not great when running Ghost on Azure.

There are a number of ways you can accomplish this, everything from forking the Ghost repo and building it to hosting Ghost on a Docker container.

I decided to deploy Ghost as an NPM module for a few reasons.

  • The ability to update a version number and re-deploy without dealing with Git forks, pulls, or commits from any other repos
  • I was not going to edit the Ghost platform itself, the only changes to the site would be related to content, themes, and configuration

For some of the other ways you can host Ghost on Azure, check out this post by Andrew Zay.

Now here is the step by step guide to creating a Ghost site on Azure using NPM. Continue reading


Azure Web Apps – Tools and Tips

After doing some tinkering with Azure Web Apps I thought I would write a quick post outlining some quick tips. This will be mostly related to NodeJS as that was the platform I was working with.

#1 Kudu

Kudu is the open source platform that powers deployments, configuration, logging, and extensions for Azure Web Apps. You can access it via a link in the tools menu of the new portal or by adding “.scm.” in the middle of your URL.

Continue reading

Azure Hybrid Connections

The Microsoft Cloud is moving so fast these days sometimes it is hard to keep up. Every 3 weeks there is a wealth of new features to enhance your cloud applications.

Recently I have been looking into the Hybrid Connections announcement and I am very excited about the possibilities of this feature.

About Hybrid Connections

Hybrid Connections provides the ability to call into an on-premise system without needing to setup an external access point. Even better is the fact that you can use this tunnel from an Azure Website or Mobile Service.

So, how is this different from BizTalk Services? Well, in fact it is much the same. This new Hybrid Connections feature even uses BizTalk Services to connect using the on-premise Hybrid Connection Manager.


This is a great feature for Mobile Services because it allows you to extend the reach of an on-premise system to a mobile device without complex firewalls and un-secure gateways into the local network. Hybrid Connection tunnels can handle any type of TCP connection to the local resources, so even connecting directly to SQL Server is not out of the question.

Hybrid Cloud

This is only one of the recent announcements that make the hybrid cloud solutions easier. Features like ExpressRoute, Multiple Site-to-Site connections, Internal load balancing, and Remote App all contribute to the work of extending the corporate network to the cloud.

Never Stop Learning

One of the best ways to keep on top of all of the Azure platforms and technologies is through Microsoft Virtual Academy. Take a minute to check out the Microsoft Azure section and see what you can learn!

Azure on Microsoft Virtual Academy

Have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!

Azure for The Enterprise: IaaS Features at TechEd 2014

2014 seems to be the year of the cloud with all of the updates to Azure announced at BUILD and TechEd. There are so many that it can be hard to keep up. So here are a few that you may have missed but are very important for enterprise Infrastructure-as-a-Service implementations.

VNET-to-VNET Connections

Previously you could only connect a VNET to an on-premise network but now you can connect 2 VNETs together within the same region. This can be very useful in creating cross region services for High Availability or even migrating services like Active Directory to another network without taking down the existing network.

VNET-to-VNET Details (MSDN)

Traffic Manager

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager is now generally available. Which is no big surprise because it has been in preview for a long time. What is new is that now Traffic Manager supports internal and external resources. Now that you can use external resources you can easily use Traffic Manager for failover and minimal downtime migrations.

For those that are new to Traffic Manager it is basically a special DNS server that serves up specific IP addresses in either a regional, round-robin, or failover usage scenarios. So the failover would not be absolutely immediate but would be based on the TTL of the DNS record.

More Info on Traffic Manager

Antimalware on VM

This feature was announced for preview but it is worth mentioning. Having Antivirus and Antimalware is a constant need for organizations. Now you can choose your security solution in the portal when creating a VM. Microsoft has partnered with Trend Micro and Symantec to provide their solutions on VM images (Trend Micro Deep Security and Symantec Endpoint Protection respectively).

That is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Azure announcements these days. What is more amazing is that the Azure team is on a 3-week release cadence so get ready for more coming soon.

Thanks for reading.

Manage Azure Subscriptions with Office 365 Users

Azure + Office 365 = Awesome!

Businesses that have adopted Office 365 are looking for more ways to utilize the public cloud to meet their Infrastructure needs. An Azure subscription can provide huge capabilities in terms of hosting Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, or public websites.

Azure is the clear choice for businesses that are using Office 365, because they can use their O365 accounts to create and manage multiple Azure subscriptions.

Create a new Azure subscription linked to an Office 365 tenant

This is very straight forward. Go to and click on Free Trial then Try it now.

When prompted to Sign in, click on the Sign in with your organizational account link.

Then just simply complete the sign-up process and the Azure subscription will be linked to an Office 365 tenant.

Manage Co-Administrators

Likely there will be multiple people that need access to the Azure services in one organization. With an Azure + Office 365 connected account, Office 365 users can be set as co-administrators on an Azure subscription.

With the Azure Portal, simply navigate to the settingsadministrators screen.

Click on the Add button

And enter an Office 365 user

After specifying which Azure subscription the user can administer, they can sign in with their existing Office 365 account name and password.


More businesses and other organizations are switching to Office 365. With an Azure subscription, an organization can further leverage the cloud to meet their business needs.