When we built dotnetmafia.com, we used one of the most common blog engines around Community Server by Telligent. At the time Telligent had a great blogging platform that they provided free to technical bloggers. They really did a service to the community. Then one day, they decided to drop the free product and start charging for new versions even for community bloggers. Now, people barely even remember the name Telligent and for good reason. Cloud offerings like wordpress.com with their freemium model moved in and took over.
Moving to Azure
That said, my blog has been running on a Windows Server 2003 virtual machine with only 2 GB of ram since 2006 or so. As old as my version of Community Server is now, it still works pretty well. It did come out before the days of mobile devices so the master page I have could use some work. It’s been serving up blog posts for years though without issue.
The virtual machine was hosted with my old employer, Isocentric Networks. Isocentric is a small data center based in Tulsa, OK. I learned all about racking, networking, and hosting while I worked there. They have been nice enough to let me host my blog there all of these years. I am truly thankful.
With Window Server 2003 no longer being supported as of last month though, it was time for the blog to move. I created a new Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machine in Azure and copied the database and everything over. I was a little fearful that I might not be able to get Community Server to work in the new environment, but everything worked just fine. I just created a .NET Framework 2.0 application pool and configured a new web site in IIS and everything worked fine.
Now, I have pointed the DNS entry for the site over to the Azure Virtual Machine and things seem to be running great. If you see an issue, feel free to ping me on twitter @coreyroth.
Over the years, many people have asked why DotNetMafia? Well as with a lot of great things in life, the concept started while a few of us were sitting around at the bar for happy hour one day. We were telling stories about how there were some recruiters in town that were less than professional. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for a recruiter to lie to your face, make you lie on your resume, or just sent it to a client without even talking to you first. We wanted to build a web site where we could rate recruiters and people could go talk about the good and bad things recruiters did. So Kyle Kelin (a.k.a. theGodfather), came up with the concept and name. Like all of the billion dollar ideas, we came up with back then, we only got about as far as purchasing the domain name.
A lot of us were changing jobs back then (hence the recruiter thing). I actually started the blog internally when we were all working at Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. .NET Framework 2.0 was in beta and I started it to teach the development team I led about the new features that were coming. Back then it was simply called Corey’s .NET Tip of the Day. It really wasn’t a blog though, it was really just an announcements list in SharePoint 2003. I wasn’t really working with SharePoint much back then, but I thought it was a good tool at the time for what we were trying to accomplish.
When I left Dollar Thrifty at the end of 2005, I wanted to keep the content going so I moved it to a virtual machine I had at Isocentric Networks and hosted it at dotnettipoftheday.com. I actually exported the contents of my announcements list into Excel and then imported into a SQL Server database. I wrote my own custom blogging engine at the time and I used it for a while.
Now a year or so later, a few of the other ex-employees of Dollar Thrifty wanted a place to blog too. Tony Kilhoffer set up a SharePoint 2003 server and I tried to use the blog platform there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t ever get the content quite right so we gave up.
Then we ended up with Community Server. The nice thing about Community Server was it had the ability to import content from an RSS feed. This made bringing in all of my old content quite easy. If you look around the blog, you’ll notice we host for six different people: Cory Robinson, Kyle Kelin, James Ashley, Tony Kilhoffer, Kevin Williams, and myself. None of them really blog much any more, but their content is still there. We had all of the bloggers, but what were we to call this new site? DotNetMafia.com. A cheesy name that has worked well for us.
Why not move to a new blogging platform? I definitely want to but it is a bit of a challenge. Moving the content to another platform isn’t that difficult. However, maintaining the existing URLs when moving to a new platform is difficult. If I don’t maintain them, I’ll break the SEO of the site. My top post every month is years old and talks about using PowerShell with SharePoint 2010. The SEO is important so before I migrate anywhere, I need to have a solid solution to maintain those links.