The Azure Services Platform team is delivering on its commitment to providing an interoperable, comprehensive and flexible cloud platform.
At MIX09, the Windows Azure team is updating its CTP to include feature updates which will allow developers to take advantage of:
- FastCGI: allows developers to deploy and run web applications written with 3rd party programming languages such as PHP. This provides developers using non-Microsoft languages the ability to take advantage of scalability on Windows Azure. (Read more here: Using 3rd Party Programming Languages via FastCGI)
- .NET Full Trust: provides developers with a level of flexibility in Windows Azure that removes limitations on .NET Libraries which require full trust (including .NET Services) .NET Full Trust, via spawning process and p/invoke, also allows developers to utilize existing investments in native code or legacy components that they will now be able to invoke on Windows Azure. (Read more here: .NET Full Trust)
- Geolocation: provides developers with the ability to specify a location for their applications and data to build responsive services with lower network latency as well as the capability to meet location-based regulatory and legal requirements. This feature will be available a few weeks after MIX 2009. (Read more here: Geo Location Enables Developers To Choose Data Centers and Group Applications & Storage)
A new version of the developer SDK and Tools for Visual Studio will be available for download to enable developers to take advantage of the new features. The SDK update will include:
- Managed Full Trust support (including Native Code support via P/Invoke and spawning native code processes)
- Support for FastCGI applications.
- Support for rewrite rules via the URL Rewrite Module. Creates URLs so developers can lead users to shorter, search engine friendly, and easier to remember URLs.
- Support for SQL Server as the data store for Development Storage – move from SQL Express to full SQL Server for backend developer store.
In addition to supporting the latest Windows Azure SDK, the Tools for Visual Studio will offer:
- Native debugging of roles called via PInvoke running on the Development Fabric
- FastCGI starter template
- Chained install of both the Tools and SDK (one install)
- Update notification for newer releases
To summarize, this is what Windows Azure entails as of today:
- Ability to run Microsoft ASP.NET Web applications or .NET code in the cloud
- Service hosting environment that includes Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
- Security supported by flexible Code Access Security policies
- Small runtime API that supports logging and local scratch storage
- Web portal that helps you deploy, scale, and upgrade your services quickly and easily
- FastCGI, a protocol for interfacing applications to web servers, which will allow customers to deploy and run web applications written with non-Microsoft programming languages such as PHP (Developers will be responsible for including the relevant runtime libraries for these languages when deploying applications.)
- .NET Full Trust to allow usage of additional .NET features such as Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).
- From Full Trust .NET, developers can call into unmanaged DLLs
Simple data storage services
- Blobs, tables, and queues hosted in the cloud, close to your computation
- Authenticated access and triple replication to help keep your data safe
- Easy access to data with simple REST interfaces, available remotely and from the data center
- Complete offline development environment, including computation and storage services
- Complete command-line SDK tools and samples
- Visual Studio add-in that enables local debugging
- New SDK Download: a new version of the Windows Azure SDK will be available for download at a time to coincide with the MIX09 conference, which will enable developers to take advantage of the new features offered by Windows Azure, as well as an update to the Visual Studio add-ins.
The SDK and the Tools for VS addin is now available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/azure/sdk.mspx.
SQL Data Services
You may recall seeing this when Azure was first announced:
The SQL Data Services (SDS) team (the 3rd block above Windows Azure in the image above) publicly shared the evolving capabilities in SDS to provide customers with the ability to utilize a RDBMS data model in a cloud-based environment supporting Transact-SQL (T-SQL) over TDS (Tabular Data Stream) protocol (read more here: What’s Next for SQL Data Services…) SQL Data Services is on track to deliver a public CTP mid-calendar year 2009 and be commercially available in the second half of calendar year 2009. At MIX, the SDS team has announced the evolution of SDS capabilities to provide traditional relational database service with T-SQL compatibility over protocols that support data access APIs such as ADO.NET, ODBC and OLE DB.
Here are some other articles covering the announcements made at MIX:
- Windows Azure Team Blog: Windows Azure Delivers New CTP Capabilities
- Mary Jo Foley/All About Microsoft: Microsoft refreshes Azure cloud, development kit
- InfoQ: March CTP of the Windows Azure Tools and SDK Released at MIX09
- Paul Krill/InfoWorld: Microsoft opens Azure to PHP developers