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Windows Azure – Overview of Certificates in Azure application

 

Introduction:

In this article we are going to what are certificates in Windows Azure

Overview:

Certificates are nothing but an electronic signature which provides trusted information to the web, where certificates contains the owner information like owner name, owner email id, owner certification usage, duration of validity etc.

Windows Azure uses two types of certificates namely

  • Management Certificates
  • Service Certificates

Management Certificates are stored at the subscription level and are used to enable the azure using the SDK tools and these certificates are independent of any hosted services

Service Certificates are stored at the service level and can be used by the deployed services as and when required.

Certificates used in Windows Azure can be Self Certified or can be certified from third party as a trusted certificate. Self Certified application are created by the owner itself, since that the web browsers will not accept the certificate and we get a Security Alert message indicating the Certificate issue. But still the end users can continue to load the page by bypassing the security alert.

Certificates used in Windows Azure can be of a Public or a Private certificate Key which Azure applications uses to trust the users by loading the Private key. The certificates keys for windows azure are

  • Management Certificate key (.cer Certificate file)
  • Service Certificate key(.pfx Certificate file)
Management Certificate:

This certificate requires the client connecting to the certificate should be trusted and have a private key and it provides access to the subscription of windows azure and this can contain x.509 v3 certificates which can have only Public keys.

Service Certificate:

This certificate provides a secure connection over the web for the application or a service over HTTPS enables process. Service certificates also uses  x.509 v3 certificates uploaded to windows azure and maintain the service hosted process. Service certificates as used for both SSL and Remote desktop encryption process with a private key.

Some of the primary uses of Service Certificate are as follows

  • Encryption – RDP password encryption.
  • Server – SSL for secure web pages.
  • Mutual Authentication – WCF authentication.

Conclusion:

So in this article we have seen what exactly a Certificate mean to Windows Azure and the different types of certificates to be selected based on the requirement.

About Author: Karthikeyan Anbarasan, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in ASP.NET/IIS Architecture. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the www.f5debug.net website and has authored books on Windows Phone and Business Intelligence(SSIS). He is also a Passionate Speaker and a Blogger on Microsoft Technologies.

You can Join Me On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn

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This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. For accuracy and official reference refer to MSDN/ TechNet. I have documented my personal experience on this blog.

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