Confluence on Windows Azure

I’m a big fan of Atlassian products, particularly their Confluence wiki. Since leaving a job where I was the Confluence administrator, I’ve really missed the ease of its use, compared to the SharePoint piece of crap at my current job. So I decided to set up my own instance on a Windows Azure server.

First off, let me say that I am by no means knowledgeable about Azure. In large part, this is an opportunity for me to learn more about it (and then share what I learn!).

I built a basic A2 (2 cores, 3.5 GM memory) Windows Server 2012 R2 server with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 pre-installed. I then downloaded the 64-bit Confluence installation to my local machine because I got fed up with the default security on the server’s Internet Explorer. So my first problem was how to transfer the file. I solved that by editing the Remote Desktop Connection to include local drives in the connection. After the transfer completed, the application installation went smoothly.

RDP Configuration

RDP Configuration

Following the configuration instructions, I created a new database with the necessary collation and a database owner login and user. I put this information into the JDBC connection settings and watched the database be built.

Once the configuration completed, I logged in with the administrator account and set up a new user. Not surprisingly, when I tried to connect to the website from my local machine, the operation timed out. Now, as I’ve said, I’m not a Azure expert. How do you configure security in Azure?

Googling around, I finally discovered endpoints. By default, Confluence uses the 8090 port, so there needs to be an endpoint defined to connect to that port internally. It is possible to change Confluence’s port with a minor tweak of its server.xml file.

Endpoint screenshot

Azure endpoint configuration for Confluence

After configuring this endpoint, I still couldn’t connect, but this time it was connection refused. Progress, at least. More hunting around. The tip-off came from one minor line in the Azure documentation:

Ensure that the firewall on the virtual machine has been configured to allow the traffic corresponding to the protocol and private port.

Bingo! The missing link. After configuring a firewall port, I was able to connect successfully.

firewall settings

Confluence firewall protocol

I am thrilled to once again have access to a Confluence instance. At this point I’m not sure what the cost will be, but extrapolating from one day, it should be less than $40 a month. I have an MSDN subscription with $110 credit per month, so that seems like a right good deal to me!

Now I just have to convince my employer that it’s superior to SharePoint’s sorry excuse for a wiki.

Is this the best way to set it up? I have no idea! If you’re an Azure expert and want to give me a tip on how to do it better, leave a comment!

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