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Interesting things in WindowsAzure

Ref: Microsoft

Interestingly, Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments. To build applications and services on Windows Azure, developers can use their existing Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 expertise. Windows Azure is not grid computing, packaged software, or a standard hosting service. It is an integrated development, service hosting and management environment maintained at Microsoft datacenters. The environment includes a robust and efficient core of compute and simple storage capabilities and support for a rich variety of development tools and protocols.

Jon Brodkin of Network World quotes Tim O'Brien, senior director of Microsoft's Platform Strategy Group, as saying that Microsoft's Windows Azure and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud tackle two very different cloud computing technology problems today, but are destined to emulate each other over time.

Many existing applications were built on the LAMP platform (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).

While Microsoft would certainly like to convince you to build applications on its .NET platform using Microsoft development tools, it has recognized that restricting Azure to .NET and proprietary tools will limit its use and slow its growth.

Accordingly, it has provided a Windows Azure SDK for PHP that provides access to Windows Azure's storage, computation and management interfaces by abstracting the REST/XML interface Windows Azure provides into a simple PHP API.

Windows Azure has now been updated with .NET Framework 4.0, and there are new tools for Visual Studio and an updated SDK. The tools are much improved. You can now view the status of your Azure-hosted services and get read-only access to Azure data from within the Visual Studio IDE. 

Debugging Azure applications is now easier, thanks to a feature called IntelliTrace that keeps a configurable log of application state so you can trace errors later. Deployment is now streamlined, and it can now be done directly from the IDE rather than through an Azure portal. 

The Azure database service, SQL Azure, has been updated too. It now supports spatial data types and databases up to 50GB. There is also a new preview of an Azure Data Synch Service, which controls synchronizing data across multiple datacenters, and a web manager for SQL Server on Azure.

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