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