When Microsoft announced Windows Azure Web Sites I was lucky to rapidly gain access to the preview, which led me to write a preliminary Windows Azure Web Sites Review.
Initially I was confused about the ideas behind Windows Azure Web Sites, because Cloud Services give me a finer grain control over various aspects of the Instances. Cloud Services also provide Production and Staging environments, which are not available in Windows Azure Web Sites. To top it off, Windows Azure Web Sites lack Remote Desktop connectivity. I must admit that in the beginning, I had a hard time finding reasons to choose Windows Azure Web Sites over Cloud Services (PaaS).
Windows Azure Web Sites, started off as being perfect for deployments that didn’t require custom windows configurations and were perfect for teams who don’t use Visual Studio. By greatly abstracting away the concept of Roles, it opened up the platform to a greater audience and most importantly Windows Azure Web Sites consume other Windows Azure services like Windows Azure Storage Services.
Almost a year later, Windows Azure Web Sites has grown up and above all, I am now a true believer! In June 2013, Standard (formerly named reserved) and Free tiers have both graduated from Preview to General Availability (GA) and are backed by the standard 99.9% monthly SLA. The Shared tier remains in preview with not charges.
Windows Azure Web Sites have come a long way!