New “Scalable” WordPress Offering in Azure

Microsoft has introduced a new Azure Web Site offering in the Azure Gallery called “Scalable WordPress”.

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This blog runs on a shared instance of Azure Web Sites running standard WordPress with a MySQL database.  With the current traffic, this size of VM works great and it costs about $10 / month to run.

Scalable WordPress is designed for large scale WordPress sites and starts with the S1 Standard Offering but can be scaled up to S3 for a bigger virtual machine.  In addition, you can scale out to up to 10 instances for traffic spikes (each instance effectively adds another VM and increases the price while instances are in use).  Free and Shared options are not available for this service.image

Media is now stored on Azure Blog Storage instead of directly on the web site VM itself.  This makes storage of media assets (usually the biggest cause of growth in size) offloaded to cheap blog storage instead of taking up the storage on the instance. 

For the database, you can purchase a MySQL database for your WordPress site.  The minimum pricing level is “SATURN” which provides you a high availability MySQL database for $49.99 per month.  You can also upgrade to the “JUPITER” offering which is $99.99 per month.

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Interestingly, the MySQL database service is offered not by Microsoft by a third party – SuccessBricks Inc.  By using this service, you agree to have your data hosted and serviced by this provider. 

So at the minimum level, your new web site will cost $100 a month and can scale up from there.

What is the difference between the current WordPress offering and the new Scalable WordPress Offering?  Here is a quick comparison:

Regular Azure WordPress Scalable WordPress
Runs on MySQL DB Runs on MySQL DB
MySQL provided by SuccessBricks MySQL provided by SuccessBricks
ClearDB limits your default quota to 1 DB unless you go through them directly Unlimited number of DBs provisioning directly from Azure
Pricing starts at FREE with options for Shared, Basic and Standard instances Starts at minimum of Standard Small instance
Pricing for Standard Small instance is $79 / month Pricing for Standard Small instance is $79 / month
Storage for Standard Offering is 50 GB Storage for Standard Offering is 50 GB but includes media storage on Azure Blob Storage
Saturn Offering is $49.99 / month for MySQL DB Saturn Offering is $49.99 / month for MySQL DB
Alternative options from ClearDB MySQL include Free MySQL DB (Mercury) and Venus Offering at $9.99 / month Minimum offering is Saturn Offering.
Standard WordPress Plugins “Curated” WordPress Plugins

 

So what are the benefits of “Scalable WordPress”?  From the surface, it looks like the same offering but at the standard level.  However, you do get a few additional features – namely integration with Azure Blob Storage and a few additional “curated” plugins.

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OneDrive Upload Limit Increased to 10 GB and Faster Sync Performance

Microsoft has officially announced that the maximum file upload size limit (e.g. the largest size of an individual file that can be uploaded) has been increased from 2 GB to 10 GB.  The change applies to both OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

In addition, OneDrive has increased its syncing speed by allowing more files to be synced in parallel.  Microsoft is reporting up to a 3x increase in syncing speed.

The increase only applies to OneDrive – there is no word on whether this will be changed for SharePoint Online.  For SharePoint sites, users are still limited to 2 GB for the maximum file limit.

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Master List of Office 365 Features by Subscription Plan

We have many customers who are confused by the various plans, subscription options and on premise versions of the various Office related products such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, etc. 

Microsoft has published this handy Excel file that you can download to provide you a filterable list of every feature in the Office 365 stack and what is included for all the available Office 365 subscription plans as well as the on premise servers.   Enjoy!

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New StorSimple Adapter for SharePoint Released

Microsoft has just released a new Remote Blob Storage Provider specifically for StorSimple appliances.

Remote Blob Storage in SharePoint 2013 allows the storage of BLOB objects to be stored somewhere other than the default SQL Server.  SharePoint ships with a FileStream RBS provider that allows you to store BLOB objects on the file server instead of within SQL Server.

StorSimple is a hybrid storage appliance that combines local storage arrays and automatic optimized storage in the Azure cloud.  The StorSimple appliance automatically figures out which storage option to use transparently to the user based on how frequently the content is accessed, size of content and various other factors.  In using StorSimple, you can save a significant amount of money on storage costs because storing content in the Azure cloud is so much cheaper than storing on a local SAN.

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Custom Brand Your Office 365 Experience!

Microsoft has updated Office 365 to support theming of the Office 365 experience itself (branding SharePoint has been supported for many years).

Customization of the Office 365 experience includes:

  • Custom logo with a URL to the company’s web site
  • Choice of colours for the Office 365 navigation bar
  • Adding additional navigation items to the Office 365 navigation bar
  • Adding your photo to the navigation bar

Manage-custom-themes-for-your-organization[1]

In addition, there has been the ability to customize the sign-in page for a while now…see below for an example.

Sign In Page

Sign In Page

The new capabilities will take a couple weeks to roll-out to all users…

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Microsoft Increasing Its File Upload Limit for OneDrive

 

One of the key limitations in Office 365 is the file upload limit.  In SharePoint Online, there used to be a 250 megabyte maximum for a single file upload and then it was raised to 2 gigabytes for a maximum file size.  OneDrive currently has the same limit of 2 GB for a single uploaded file.

There have been recent reports that Microsoft is rolling out changes to OneDrive to increase this limit.  The removal of this limitation is also one of the more popular uservoice suggestions on Microsoft’s user feedback site.  (You can vote for the change here).

“As we mentioned on our uservoice, we have started the work to increase the file size limit for all OneDrive accounts,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We have started the process with a small number of customers and will continue to roll it out to our full customer base. We will have more to share on this update in the near future, stay tuned to the OneDrive blog.”

No word yet on whether this will be applied to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online just yet…

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