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Looking at prerquisites etc. for installing Tridion Content Manager "in the cloud" and would like to double check a conclusion regarding Platform as a Service (PaaS) database options such as Windows Azure SQL and Amazon RDS.

Both Windows Azure SQL & Amazon RDS appear not to support distributed transactions. Distributed transactions and MS DTC are a prerequisite for Tridion Content Manager therefore neither can be used for the Content Manager database.

This may not be the only reason(!) but is this conclusion correct?

From what I can tell your fine with an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering because this would be a VM giving you full SQL Server box product features (after you'd installed it!) and control over the VM.

Can Windows Azure SQL & Amazon RDS databases be used for a Content Delivery Content Data Store database - no MS DTC here only Tridion CD API so I assume this is possible?

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Azure have an IaaS template image with SQL Server pre-installed and license included. Effectively renting SQL Server –  Chris Morgan Apr 2 at 4:50
    
Cheers Chris - Amazon offer SQL Server AMIs on their marketplace too. –  Neil Apr 2 at 8:26

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your assessment of the dependency of CM on Distributed transactions is 100% correct. It's not only that SDL doesn't support Cloud databases - it will not work. I've heard rumors of people being able to run CM on Oracle RDS, but I can guarantee that at some point (especially if you use add-ons like Translation Manager) you will run into trouble.

Regarding Content Delivery the story is a bit more complicated.

Theoretically, as you say, we don't use Distributed Transactions in the CD, and there is nothing stopping you (technically) from using it. I do know of at least 2 implementations that are using SQL Azure for CD without issues. There's a few things to keep in mind if you go down this route:

  • The DB creation scripts will likely not work on RDS (some for silly reasons, like requiring a SA login to create the DB). People work around this by creating the DB on a local SQL Server, then "exporting" it to SQL Azure - or modifying the DB creation PS script.
  • Technically... SDL does not support this setup. This means that if you run into trouble, you may have to duplicate the issue on a "normal" DB setup, and if you can't, you may be in trouble.

BTW, we do have this in mind for the future, some unfortunate Product Manager (me) needs to figure out how high in the list of Enhancement Requests this needs to go...

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Interesting point on the support - is there anything in the online docs that says that Azure/RDS aren't supported setups? The Content Data Store prerequisites simply states support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 & 2012 SP1 - RDS, (at least) gives you access to the same db engine. –  Neil Mar 31 at 13:55
    
No, indeed we don't say that they're explicitly not support - but I do know they're not tested :) and SQL Azure is a different product (name & version), so it's not listed in the doc. I think the fact the scripts won't work is the biggest clue you'll get that you're entering gray areas. –  Nuno Linhares Mar 31 at 14:09
    
One of the ideas floating around is to have something similar to how we support VM: as long as the OS provides the same functionality, we don't care. However, this is easier said than done, and we need to do (at the very least) performance and functional testing on the DB before we officially support it. For CD this is not much work, for CM it is. –  Nuno Linhares Mar 31 at 14:13
    
So @Nuno can you give a concrete example of what is the recommended configuration which will also be supported in an IaaS environment? –  mpaton Mar 31 at 15:42
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One that is not different from an on-premise installation in terms of software used. If the software you use is listed in our pre-requisites, then it's supported. –  Nuno Linhares Mar 31 at 16:57

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