ASP.NET5 on AWS Linux with Docker

Imagine my surprise to discover it would be easier to deploy an ASP.NET5 application with Docker on AWS Linux than using Beanstalk and Windows.

For varying values of easier.

First up, this is not an instructional post! If you are looking for an instructional post I suggest the re:Invent presentation here. What this post is about is my ongoing surprise and delight at the changing face of Microsoft.

There was once a time where I would have described myself as a Linux zealot. Thankfully for myself and everyone around me, I’ve mellowed and I consider fitness for purpose rather than blindly demanding compliance (or meekly requesting acquiescence). For a period of about four years I was building web applications in Java and deploying to Linux servers running JBoss, a situation I found highly satisfactory. In the six following that it has been all windows all the time.

Very recently, I’ve found myself lucky enough to be faced with an entirely greenfield project to build a management console for AWS resources. The client likes the idea of AWS but finds the AWS console too complex to manage without some assistance. The plan is to provide a much simplified interface, allowing the necessary resources to be spun up at the click of a button, with CloudFormation templates and CodeDeploy doing the heavy lifting under the covers.

How does any of this relate to the changing face of Microsoft? This greenfield project gave me the opportunity to do a quick scan for what might be new and interesting ways of being more productive. I’ve been looking at the upcoming ASP.NET5 project and have been playing around with BeanStalk deployments. It’s hard to get more productive than the “right click, deploy” feature of Visual Studio for¬†Elastic BeanStalk. However, sadly for me this is not yet supported with the new ASP.NET5 projects (as at Dec 2015). But looking further afield, the ability to completely script the deployments of ASP.NET5 applications to an AWS Linux Docker container is pretty enticing. For me, simply the notion of running ASP.NET on Linux is pretty enticing and is reflective on the new embracing-non-extinguishing Microsoft and I’m quite excited.

Ultimately, as exciting as this possibility is, I still need to deliver a reliable, robust solution and this particular development/deployment option lacks the maturity for me to back it just yet, but there are exciting times ahead.

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