A network by any other name…

OK, funny story. A Windows Azure virtual network with the name MDS-vNET1; no problem. A Windows Azure cloud service with a production deployment slot associated with a virtual network with the name MDS-vNet1; no problem. Try to combine those two; problem.

So let me give you a few more details. Everything in this setup was created with PowerShell. I pre-created all the cloud services, affinity groups, storage accounts etc. I created a virtual network XML file and uploaded it with PowerShell too. But the crucial bit came when I created the VMs. On the New-AzureVM cmdlet I specified a vNetName of MDS-vNet1, instead of MDS-vNET1 that was in the network configuration. The command did not give any errors but when I tried to see which subnet a VM was on that information was missing from the Azure portal, and from PowerShell, and from SC App Controller. All I could see in any of those was the incorrect vNetName (MDS-vNet1). The Subnet field was simply missing. If I did an export of the VM with Export-AzureVM, the Subnet section was empty. Needless to say, the VMs were not communicating.

So how to fix it? You cannot change the vNet associated with a deployment once it is up and running. Neither can you move a VM from one subnet to another once it is created. The only time you can select a subnet for a VM is when you create it. In this case I had do to the following:

  1. Export and delete all VMs in the faulty deployment
  2. Delete the cloud service with the faulty deployment
  3. Manually edit all the VM XML files to include the correct subnet names
  4. Re-create the cloud service
  5. Import all the VMs and for the first VM specify the correct vNetName on the New-AzureVM cmdlet.

Problem solved.

As far as I know the only thing case sensitive in Windows Azure are storage account names, which can include only lower case letters and numbers. Not in any other case have I seen an error relating to text case. Strange that it should have such a drastic effect. If you have any experiences similar to mine, please leave a comment.

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