Since Azure services are all in the cloud, Azure developers might want to enable connectivity between Azure services and corporate and external resources. Windows Azure allows IP-level connectivity between Azure services and external resources via Windows Azure Connect.
In this article, we explore how to connect two Azure services using Windows Azure Connect.
What is Windows Azure Connect?
Windows Azure Connect provides an easy to use way to enable connectivity between computers in a corporate network and Windows Azure roles running in the cloud.
Once the connections are configured, Windows Azure role instances use IP addressing.
Benefits of Using Windows Azure Connect
Windows Azure Connect makes it easy to configure and use a distributed application which uses Windows Azure roles with corporate networked resources.
Windows Azure role instances can be joined to a corporate domain, which will allow using domain authentication, name resolution and other domain services in your Azure applications.
Remote administration and debugging of Windows Azure role is made possible with Windows Azure Connect.
Signing up for Windows Azure Connect
To sign up for Windows Azure Connect, navigate to the Windows Azure portal and login using your Windows Live account credentials.
You can then Click “Connect” on the link and you will then see "Connect" and "Traffic Manager" links on the left side.
You can click “Connect”, and the Management portal will report that you need to sign up for the Beta if you have not done so already.
Enable the appropriate checkbox and click “Apply for Access”.
Once you are approved for the Windows Azure Connect beta, click on the Virtual Network link in the bottom left row of the Azure Management portal.
If prompted to “Enable Windows Azure Connect”, select Yes. Next, click the “Get Activation Button”. Choose to copy the activation token.
Enable Windows Azure Connect using Visual Studio
Now, in your Visual Studio project for already deployed Windows Azure applications, right click the webrole you want to enable for Windows Azure Connect, and select Properties.
Check the “Activate Windows Azure Connect” and copy the activation code.
Once you paste your activation code and save the role’s properties, you can see that Visual Studio saved the setting in the ServiceConfigration.cscfg file.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ServiceConfiguration serviceName="WindowsAzureProjectTemp" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ServiceHosting/2008/10/ServiceConfiguration" osFamily="1" osVersion="*">
<Instances count="1" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Diagnostics.ConnectionString" value="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.ActivationToken" value="FF962F16-57FC-4F9F-999C-FF0329D92F5A" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.Refresh" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.Diagnostics" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.WaitForConnectivity" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.Upgrade" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.EnableDomainJoin" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainFQDN" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainControllerFQDN" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainAccountName" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainPassword" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainOU" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DNSServers" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.Administrators" value="" />
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Connect.DomainSiteName" value="" />
Next, you need to republish the application to Azure.
Once your application is running on Azure, you can revisit the Windows Azure management portal from the computer on which you want to install the local endpoint and Click on “Virtual Network” . Select the subscription containing the role to connect to the local endpoint and click “Install Local Endpoint”. Open the link generated in a new browser window and complete the installation wizard.
Now, group the endpoints to allow them to be part of the same network.
Once you do the grouping, you are all set. Your Azure roles now have IP connectivity between your Azure roles and your corporate resources via a virtual network.
In this article, we learned how we can create a virtual network to allow you to connect your Azure services with your corporate networked resources. I hope you have found this information useful.
About the Author
Vipul Patel is a Software Engineer currently working at Microsoft Corporation. He is currently working in the Microsoft Lync team and has worked in the .NET team earlier in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org