PROJECT NAMI: WORDPRESS ON AZURE

Take a wild guess at the biggest problem someone hosting his blog on Microsoft Azure could face.

Money? Not really. Sure you need an Azure account, but this baby is running on a Free Web App plan at this very moment!

Functionality? Nope. Azure manages my websites pretty well. No complaints there.

 

THE PROBLEM IS STORAGE

When hosting this blog on Azure, I received access to a MySQL ClearDB Database which has a size limit of 20MB (Yeah, you read it right – a meagre 20MB).

Honestly, 20MB is holding up nicely so far. With all my blog posts, plugins and this awesome theme – I still have about 15MB left. Yet, in the long run this is going to be a problem. So a couple of friends and I booted the brainstorming engines to find a solution. The obvious thing to do was to simply connect my blog to an SQL Azure Database – since I already have an account there.

But it’s not that simple. WordPress was coded for MySQL only. And MSSQL was not supported.

 

INTRODUCING PROJECT NAMI

Official Website: Project NAMI

Project Nami is an open source cloud solution to the age old WordPress with MSSQL problem. It was developed by Spencer Morin (WordPress & PHP Developer) and Patrick Bates (Microsoft Azure & MSSQL Solutions Developer). Quoting from their about page:

Project Nami has a single initial goal — to teach WordPress to natively speak MSSQL

 

Thanks to Project Nami, you can now host a WordPress Blog on Azure.

FUN FACT: This very blog is running on ProjectNAMI right now!

 

HOW TO DEPLOY

There are several ways on how to deploy a WordPress blog with Project Nami – well documented here.

And they also provided a handy little deployment tool that creates your Azure Website and your SQL Azure Database here. Note that you will need to login to your Azure Account to proceed.

For your convenience, I brought it here:

AzureDeploy

 

This tool takes you through a very simple 3-Step form that gathers the information required to get your WordPress blog up and running on Azure.

NAMIDeploy

 

MIGRATE YOUR EXISTING BLOG

The migration process is actually really easy.

  1. Export your existing blog data

    The option is found in-built in the SETTINGS tab and actually uses this plugin.

    FOUND IN WORDPRESS SETTINGS TAB

    FOUND IN WORDPRESS SETTINGS TAB

    And deploy your new ProjectNAMI Website.

  2.  

  3. Install your theme on your new (Project Nami) blog.

    Project Nami gives you access to the WordPress theme gallery like a true pureblood WordPress site would have. But my theme is a custom one which cannot be found there. And guess what? Project Nami allows you to upload your zipped theme packages as well.

    NAMIThemes

    The best part is – it all works perfectly. From the Customizer to the extra Theme Options that comes with my theme, it was all there.

  4.  

  5. Get your plugins

    Just as with the themes, you get access to the full WordPress gallery of plugins. Every plugin I installed worked fine – including the Jetpack Plugin with actually works in sync with a WordPress.com account. I’m happy to report no issues so far and hopefully none will arise in the future.

    NAMIPlugins

  6.  

  7. Import your existing blog data to your new blog

    Now it is time to feed in that data you exported at the very beginning – using the same WordPress Importer.

  8.  

One additional task you may have to complete after the migration is resolving some conflicts. Usually, some will arise after any migration of any kind. And here it might be some widgets out of sync, some categories lost or some menus not displayed – personally, I did not encounter anything crippling. It could all be solved within a few minutes.

 

Well that’s it. Kudos to Spencer and Patrick for bringing this solution to us.

 

Thanks to my friend Alex for bringing this project to my attention.

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