Using the new management portal with ACS

Introduction

Whether you like or dislike it, Azure is a constantly evolving infrastructure. The commitment of Microsoft to improve Azure is demonstrated as new features are being added frequently.

At the time of writing this post (roughly a month after my previous post), I noticed some changes in the Azure management tool regarding ACS. In particular the definition of an ACS namespace and using the “Identity and Access” tool in Visual Studio has led me to this post.

Prerequisites

The following components are needed in order to complete this walk-through with a working end to end solution:

  1. Visual Studio 2012
  2. Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 – October 2012 v1.8.51019.1603
  3. .NET Framework 4.0 or 4.5
  4. A Windows Azure account

Analysis

I have to say I was quite puzzled when I found out the old Azure portal http://windows.azure.com does not exist anymore and redirects to the new portal http://manage.windowsazure.com. Although I could still reach my namespace that I used in previous walk-throughs, it was not listed anywhere in the new portal. On codeplex I saw that some developers had issues with defining a new ACS namespace so I decided to reproduce the issue and find some clarity. You can read the original discussion on http://acs.codeplex.com/discussions/402589.

Steps

  1. Add a service bus namespace using the new tool (The wrong way)
  2. Try to connect to this namespace using the “Identity and Access” tool in Visual Studio
  3. Add an ACS namespace using the old tool (The right way)
  4. Try to connect to this namespace using the “Identity and Access” tool in Visual Studio

Add a service bus namespace using the new tool (The wrong way)

Go to the new portal and click on “SERVICE BUS” in the left panel.

Service Bus

Specify a name and region and click on the verification symbol

Adding a new namespace.

After a while, the namespace is listed as can be seen below:

Click on any cell but the first, so that the row will be selected.

Click on “ACCESS KEY” at the bottom of the screen.

Click on “Open ACS Management Portal”

Link to the ACS portal.

You will be navigated to the ACS management portal in which you see the following at the top of the screen:

The service bus namespace name.

Notice the “-sb” is appended to the service namespace indicating that it is a service bus namespace.

Click on “Management service”

Link to the Management service.

Click on the default client
Click on “Symmetric Key”

Copy the value of the key to your clipboard.

Try to connect to this namespace using the “Identity and Access” tool in Visual Studio

Now open Visual Studio 2012 and create a new Web application project

Creating a web application project.

Right click on the project and click on “Identity and Access”

Identity and Access.

Click on “Use the Windows Azure Access Control Service” and click on “(Configure…)”

Fill in the namespace of the service bus and the value that was copied to the clipboard previously. Now hit “OK” and see what happens.

Specifying ACS configuration values.
Error ID1113

You most likely get the error shown above.

The reason is that we defined a service bus namespace, while Visual Studio expects an ACS namespace. This could be misleading, since we cannot see this in the ACS management portal. The only way of telling this is to look at the appended “-sb” in the namespace name.

Now, how do we define a new ACS namespace now that we cannot reach the old portal anymore?

Add an ACS namespace using the old tool (The right way)

It actually is very simple. You just need to know where to look J.

In the new Azure management portal click on your name in the upper right corner and click on “Previous portal”

Previous portal.

This looks familiar and in this portal we can define a new ACS namespace by going to “Service Bus, Access Control & Caching”

ACS settings.

Next, click on “Access Control” below “Services”

Access Control

Click on “New” in the upper left corner

Creating a new ACS namespace.

Make sure “Access Control” is checked, specify a name and region and click on “Create Namespace”

When the ACS namespace has been created you can click on “Access Control Service” to go to the ACS management portal in order to retrieve the service management key as shown previously.

ACS

Try to connect to this namespace using the “Identity and Access” tool in Visual Studio

In the open web application project, again click on “Access and Identity”, “Use the Windows Azure Access Control Service” and Configure.

Specify the namespace name and key value and click on “OK”

Configuring the ACS namespace.

You will see that it now is able to connect to the ACS namespace and loads the identity providers (Windows Live ID by default).

Conclusion

Creating new ACS namespaces, by using the Azure management does not require a lot of effort, but might not be as trivial as before. This is because a service bus namespace can be created both in the new tool as in the old one, while an ACS namespace can only be created in the old management portal (at the time of writing).

Another observation is that the newly created ACS namespace will not be listed in the new management portal.

All in all it will be good to watch the new portal closely as it changes to a version where the old is not needed anymore.

Let me know what you think of this post.

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