Sitecore Azure is built around Windows Azure cloud services (PaaS) and includes automatic deployment of web servers as well as Microsoft SQL databases. So the point to be noted is does Sitecore supports IaaS? Yes Sitecore supports both the flavours of Windows Azure, hence a sitecore solution can be deployed on either PaaS or IaaS. Also Sitecore and Sitecore Azure should be considered as two different entities and that is where it is said that Sitecore Azure Module is built to support (PaaS) and not IaaS.
For comparing SaaS, IaaS and PaaS you might read through my another post here which will give you a fair bit of details about all the three services provided by Windows Azure.
The reason to write this post is How can we enable Remote Desktop Connection(RDC) to a WebRole that is deployed using Sitecore Azure? As Sitecore Azure only supports PaaS which might make us think that we cannot manage IIS or connect to the Virtual Machine(VM) which gets created during sitecore azure deployment. Well I was also under the same thinking that what benefits do sitecore azure comes with, if we cannot look what’s setup has been made behind my sitecore website. I was totally wrong until I figured out a way to connect to the VM.
So let’s see How RDC can be enabled on a webrole instance for a sitecore azure supported website?
RDC can be enabled via Windows Azure Management Portal but considering after a successful deployment of Sitecore.
1) Login to Windows Azure Management Portal
2) Click Cloud Services, click the name of the cloud service (in our case it is SitecoreCloudTestTestSaCe01Role01ScB28), and then click Configure.
3) Click Remote.
Warning: All role instances will be restarted when you first enable Remote Desktop and click OK (checkmark). To prevent a reboot, the certificate used to encrypt the password must be installed on the role.
To prevent a restart, install a certificate and then return to this dialog (see Using Remote Desktop with Azure Roles for more information). If you choose an existing certificate, then a configuration update will be sent to all the instances in the role.
4) In Configure Remote Desktop dialog select Role of you sitecore website,
Specify UserName, New Password, Confirm Password, Select Create a new certificate and lastly the date of expiration of this certificate.
Once you click √, background process will be initiated.
5) Windows Azure Portal will notify on successful configuration of RDC.
6) There might be a thought in your mind now what to do after configuring RDC. How can you get a .rdp file to connect to the Remote Session? Read further…
Now click on INSTANCES tab and select CONNECT, this will allow you to download a .rdp file.
7) You now just need to double click and open the .rdp file in order to remotely connect to the VM. Provide UserName and Password.
8) On successful login you can now access the VM.
Hope this would have been a nice read for you! Enjoy Sitecore and keep sharing.