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Roman Klevtsov
Roman Klevtsov

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Deploy Spree Store to Azure Cloud in three different ways. Compare Azure Services.

Hello, below I will write three posts series about the deployment of Ruby on Rails application into Azure Cloud Services where we compare them and try to describe pros and cons and hope it will help you to pick your Azure Service for running the application. Of course, this is not a silver bullet and it all depends on your current situation, application state, and where you plaining to be in terms of scaling and performance.

As a start point, we deploy an e-commerce shop using popular open-source Ruby on Rails engine called Spree, we fork it and apply our changes to deploy to Azure Cloud

GitHub logo Tech-Fabric / spree_starter

Dockerized @spree demo & starter template

Spree Starter (formerly Spark Starter Kit)

Circle CI Maintainability

This is a Ruby on Rails application minimal template with Spree Commerce pre-installed, fully dockerized and ready to be deployed to Heroku.

Launch on Heroku


Local Installation

Install required tools and dependencies:

Run setup script

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Import sample data such as products, categories, etc (optionally)

docker-compose run web rake spree_sample:load
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Running the project

docker-compose up
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Running rails console

docker-compose run web rails c
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Running tests

docker-compose run web bash
bundle exec rspec
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Adding new gems

Update Gemfile and run

bundle install
docker-compose build
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You will need to restart the server if running:

docker-compose restart
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Updating gems

bundle update spree
docker-compose build
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Environment variables

variable description default value
DEBUG_ASSETS Enables/disables asset debugging in development false
DB_POOL database connection pool 5
MEMCACHED_POOL_SIZE memcache connection pool 5
SENDGRID_API_KEY API key to interface Sendgrid API


Spree Starter (formerly Spark Starter Kit) is copyright…

We will compare Azure App Service, Azure Virtual Machines, and Azure Kubernetes Service.

Azure App Service
It is a managed platform for the deployment of your containerized application. Deploy any application at your choice: Node.js, ASP.NET, .NET Core, Python, Ruby, Java, Go. Also has a multi-container application deployment like managed docker-compose into the cloud. Build your application image and deploy them using compose YAML definition.

pros: free pricing plan, headless setup
cons: limitations, preview mode

Azure Virtual Machines
It's a classic Virtual Machine with different CPU/RAM has plans. If you need or want to manage and control everything by yourself.

pros: full control of OS & application-level
cons: effort to setup and scale

Azure Kubernetes Service
Managed Kubernetes Cluster - if you plan to be able to scale fast without any manual maintenance. Ability to manually one-click adding resources to the cluster or automatically depends on your loading through Azure CLI.

pros: easy to scale
cons: high learning curve

What's service should you use?

There is no silver bullet if you are small and no planning to grows in case of traffic because for example sale some niche product then App Service will be preferable. If you are a mid-size project and planning to grow at the same time have developers to maintain everything may be better to use your own docker swarm or Kubernetes cluster at Azure Virtual Machines. In another case, if you are don't want to be the maintainer for your own servers by yourself but same time wants to be able to scale fast then managed Kubernetes Cluster will be answering for you.

In the following posts, we deploy to all these services and you will pick more relevant solutions for you.

What's a plan?

  • CI/CD pipeline to build, test and push docker image to Azure container registry
  • Azure App Service deployment
  • Azure Virtual Machines deployment
  • Azure Kubernetes Service deployment

These four articles will be published oned by one next few weeks.

The next one "Build, Test and push Docker image to Azure Container Registry using Github Actions" described how to build the docker image, run tests, and push it to Azure Container Registry. And uncovering the pros and cons of few approaches to build your CI pipeline coming soon next week.

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