Azure: WordPress on SQL Server
Microsoft Azure is a cloud hosting solution growing in popularity, and its Platform-as-a-Service approach is very interesting in this Infrastructure-as-a-Service world; since Microsoft is focusing more and more on open source, Azure is becoming a very good option.
The advantage of PaaS over IaaS in this case is that you can use the Azure App Services and Service Plans to set up applications running on servers you won’t need to configure or really care about; you’ll configure them to automatically scale up and down as your traffic grows or decreases, and you’ll pay for the resource usage by the minute. Azure is not the least expensive of the cloud hosting providers, but its PaaS approach will definitely make it less expensive in many cases.
Hosting many smaller WordPress sites with variable load is one good example where the PaaS approach is more efficient than IaaS, by making it possible to run multiple websites on a single service plan (as opposed to separate virtual machines for each site). But you quickly find a problem with that idea: Azure has great Microsoft SQL Server integration, but doesn’t have a native MySQL one; the MySQL ClearDB 3rd party integration is a good option, but it also has its associated costs; you could always install your own MySQL server with an Azure VM, but then you would be thinking in IaaS terms and not PaaS.
The solution is to make WordPress run on SQL Server. Sounds like a lot of work (and it probably is), but fortunately someone spent the time to do it: you can take the source codes from Github, add your theme and customisations on top, and continuously deploy into your App Service instance on Azure.
If you’re curious about Azure, take a look at their marketplace or get in touch with us if you need help.
Find out more about us and our work at www.mindmagnetsoftware.com