The steps that we need to follow are
We search for a JDK and find three different versions. We select the JDK 7 and click Create.
In creating the virtual machine, we define a name for our system, a default login, a password (I prefer a confirmation on the password rather than just entering it once), our default way of paying, and where to place it is storage and which data center based on the storage we select. We go with the default East configuration and click OK.
Since we are cheap and this is only for demo purposes, we will select A0 Standard. The recommended is A1 Standard but it is $50 more per month and again this is only for demo purposes. After having played with the A0 Standard, we might be better off going with the A1 Standard. Yes, it is more expensive. The speed of the A0 shape is so painful that it is almost unusable.
We will want to open up ports 80, 8080, and 443. These will all be used for Tomcat. This can be done by creating an new security rule and adding port exceptions when we create the virtual machine. We can see this in the installation menu.
We add these ports and can click Create to provision the virtual machine
One of the things that I don't like about this configuration is that we have three additional ports that we want to add. When we add them we don't see the last two rules. It would be nice if we could see all of the ports that we define. We also need to make sure that we have a different priority for the port definition. The installation will fail if we assign priority 1000 to all of the ports.
Connection to the virtual machine is done through remote desktop. If you go to the portal and click on the virtual machine you will be able to connect to the console. I personally don't like connecting to a gui interface but prefer a command line interface. You must connect with a username and password rather than a digital certificate.
The first thing that comes up with Windows 2012 server is the server management screen. You can use this to configure the compute firewall and allow ports 80, 8080, and 443 to go to the internet. This also requires going to the portal to enable these ports as network rules. You have two configurations that you need to make to enable port 8080 to go from your desktop, through the internet, get routed to your virtual machine, then into your tomcat application.
For those of you that are Linux and Mac snobs, getting Windows to work in Azure was a little challenging. Simple things like opening a browser became a little challenging. This is more a lack of Windows understanding. To get Internet Explorer to come up you first have to move your mouse into the far right of the screen.
At first it did not work for me because the Windows screen was a little larger than my desktop and I had to scroll all the way to the bottom and all the way to the right before the pop up navigation window comes up. When the window does come up you see three icons. The bottom icon is the configuration that allows you to get the the Control Panel to configure the firewall. The icon above it is the Microsoft Windows icon which gives you an option to launch IE. Yes, I use Windows on one of my desktops. Yes, I do have an engineering degree. No, I don't get this user interface. Hovering over an empty spot on the screen (which is behind a scroll bar) makes no sense to me.
From this point forward I was able to easily follow the Microsoft Tomcat installation instructions. If you don't select the JDK 7 Virtual Machine you can download it from java.com download. You then download the Tomcat app server. We selected Tomcat 7 for the download and followed the defaults. We do need to configure the firewall on the Windows server to enable ports 80, 8080, and 443 to see everything from our desktop browser. We can first verify that Tomcat is properly installed by going to http://localhost:8080 from Internet Explorer in the virtual image. We can then get the ip address of our virtual machine and test the network connections from our desktop by replacing localhost with the ip address. Below are the screen shots from the install. I am not going to go through the instructions on installing Tomcat because it is relatively simple with few options but included the screen shots for completeness.
In Summary, we could have followed the instructions from Microsoft to configure Tomcat. We could pre-configure the ports as suggested in this blog. We could pre-load the JDK with a virtual machine rather than manually downloading it. It took about 10-15 minutes to provision the virtual machine. It then took 5-10 minutes to download the JDK and Tomcat components. It took 5-10 minutes to configure the firewall on Windows and the port access through the Azure portal. My suggestion is to use a service like Bitnami to get a preconfigured system because it takes about half the time and enables all of the ports and services automatically.