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Windows Azure December Update - What's Important for OSS Developers

12.16.2011
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As you may have heard by now, Windows Azure went through an upgrade over the weekend and gained some new features. We thought a blog post summarizing the changes as they affect OSS developers was warranted, so here we go!

New and updated Windows Azure SDKs

This release includes the expected updates to the existing .NET SDK, but it also introduces the Node.js SDK and a new Java SDK. The Node SDK provides libraries for using Windows Azure services and tooling for deploying Node applications to Windows Azure. The Java SDK includes a major update to the Windows Azure plugin for Eclipse. Here’s a video that gives a quick overview of the new features: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=234492&clcid=0x409.

In addition to these, there’s an “Other” entry in the SDK list, which provides information on hosting pretty much any language/application that can run on the Windows platform.

Another big change this release is that Microsoft has decided to open source the Windows Azure SDKs, and is hosting the .NET, Java, and Node repositories on GitHub. These are provided under the Apache License, version 2.0. The PHP SDK repository is on Codeplex (under the New BSD License).

To support these SDKs, there is new documentation on MSDN:

The documentation is a work in progress. We are planning more content and would love your input, which you can email to us at azuredocs@microsoft.com.

Hadoop on Windows Azure preview

There’s a limited customer technical preview (CTP) for Apache Hadoop on Windows Azure. It includes JavaScript libraries so you can do MapReduce jobs using JS, and a Hive ODBC driver and an add-in for Excel so you can use Excel and PowerPivot with Hadoop.

To sign up for this preview (slots are limited,) fill out this form with details of your Big Data scenario.

SQL Azure updates

SQL Azure got a bump in maximum database size to 150GB, but the real news is Federations. You may remember we did a post a few weeks ago on Federations, but for those who didn’t read it, Federations is a sharding solution built into SQL Azure. There is a SQL Database Federations specification that is released under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.

There’s also a price cap on SQL Azure now, so the 150GB database is available at the same cost as the 50GB database.

Data transfers

Data transfer costs have dropped by 25%, down to $0.12 per GB. Service Bus is now free until March 2012, but will be billed at $0.10 per 100 relay hours and $0.01 per 10,000 message operations in April 2012.

WindowsAzure.com updates

The WindowsAzure.com site got a complete makeover for this release, including a floating cloud city. Some of the new features include an improved pricing calculator, and an updated trial subscription. You can find details on the new trial subscription at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/offers/ms-azr-0018p.

Subscription management has also been streamlined, making it easier to change your subscription on the fly or get up to the minute billing details.

Summary

The December update has brought an increased focus on support for OSS on the Windows Azure platform with the support for Node.js, new Eclipse/Java plugin features, a CTP of Hadoop on Windows Azure, as well as moves to open existing Azure related technologies such as the .NET SDK. With the addition of the “Other” section in the SDK, it is theoretically possible to run anything on Azure at this point (well, as long as it can run on the Windows platform.)

The cloud in general is turning out to be a big OSS developer space; I don’t think there’s a cloud platform left that doesn’t provide support for one OSS language or another.

Reference Links

 

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/silverlining/archive/2011/12/12/windows-azure-december-update-what-s-important-for-oss-developers.aspx

Published at DZone with permission of Larry Franks, author and DZone MVB.

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