In my last article I was discussing Silverlight and Amazon's new CloudFront service.
I wanted now to discuss what the options with Azure are?
Hosting your Silverlight application in Azure
You can obviously host your Silverlight Application by hosting your website (which includes your Silverlight app) in Windows Azure, but I thought I'd explore avoidin the website, similar to what i was suggesting doing with Amazons Cloud Front.
The good news is that you can actually host your html file, your silverlight .xap file (set the mime type correctly), you will even be able to interact with web / wcf services via clientaccesspolicy / crossdomain files. You can host your Silverlight application completely in Windows Azure today (subject to the terms of service).
There are some caveats however at the moment:
- Your silverlight application won't be able to access private blob storage (can't sign the http request)
- Your silverlight application won't be able to access table or queues
- Haven't figured how to control cache yet (not saying it's not possible, I just haven't spent enough time to figure if it is possible)
To be honest I'm not sure I want my silverlight applications to access these services directly. Certainly not at the moment (wouldn't want my shared key in the wild). May'be with a good authentication method this would be attractive.
The big difference between CloudFront and Azure for this type of thing is:
- Content Expiry / Caching
- Terms of Service / Pricing
- Low Latency due to multiple datacenters and good routing
As I said, I think when Azure is out this will be a non issue.