If you want to send emails from a Windows Azure Role, there’s the possibility to use the built-in SMTP Server of IIS 6.0. Here is a guide how to use startup scripts and PowerShell commands to set up a SMTP server in the cloud.
Before you start make sure that you’re running a Windows 2008 Server R2 in the cloud by setting the osFamily Attribute to osFamily=”2” in the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file.
Setup the SMTP
Here is a guide that shows how to set up the SMTP server manually. Those are the same steps we’re going to do here using scripts. It helped me to understand what’s necessary to do. Just deploy any Azure Project to the Cloud, RDP in, install the SMTP-Server feature and do the steps described in that guide.
But now to the automated setup scripts:
1. Create a new startup task in the ServiceDefinition.csdef
<Startup><Task commandLine="Startup.cmd" executionContext="elevated" taskType="simple" /></Startup>
2. The startup file first needs to install the SMTP-Server feature automatically. To gain this it uses the PowerShell 2.0. After that it calls a VBScript that configures the SMTP-Server.
powershell -command "Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted"
The InstallSmtp.ps1 PowerShell script:
Import-Module ServermanagerAdd-WindowsFeature SMTP-Server
3. Now we need to create the VBScript that configures the SMTP server: We need to add all IP addresses that are allowed to send mails through this SMTP server to the grant list. Assuming only applications running on the same server are allowed to send emails we’re going to add 127.0.0.1 to that list.
Option ExplicitDim smtpServer, relayIpList' Get the default instance of the SMTP serverSet smtpServer = GetObject("IIS://localhost/smtpsvc/1")' Get the IPListSet relayIpList = smtpServer.Get("RelayIpList")' Add localhost to that listrelayIpList.GrantByDefault = falserelayIpList.IpGrant = "127.0.0.1"' Save changessmtpServer.Put "RelayIpList",relayIpListsmtpServer.SetInfo
4. Deploy to the cloud
Use the SMTP from C# code
To use the local SMTP server from within your C# code use the following lines:
var client = new System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient("localhost");client.Send("firstname.lastname@example.org","email@example.com","This is my subject","Hello, this is a mail from the cloud!");
Don’t get blacklisted
Even Steve Marx recommended not to use the SMTP server feature on Windows Azure instances because they soon would be blacklisted. To avoid getting on a blacklist you could use a smart host to deliver your emails with.
If you want to use a smart host in your deployment, you need to extend the ConfigSmtp.vbs:
' set the outbound connector to a smart hostsmtpServer.SmartHostType = 2smtpServer.SmartHost = "smtp.mysmarthost.tld"' use basic authenticationsmtpServer.RouteAction = 264smtpServer.RouteUserName = "myName"smtpServer.RoutePassword = "myPassword"' save changessmtpServer.SetInfo
In this case I have been using the SMTP relay services offered by http://dyn.com which worked just fine. Depending on what service you’re about to use, the settings might differ.
- the IIS WMI documentation gives help when trying to find out what properties can be used in the VBScript:
- Here are some sample scripts for IIS
- IIS Metabase Property Reference (here with the RouteAction enumeration)