Microsoft revamps Windows Azure

Jennifer Scott News
12 Dec, 2011

The cloud platform gets a new open source SDK and an increased size limit for SQL databases.

Microsoft today announced a number of new features for its cloud platform, Windows Azure.

The system – which runs applications as a cloud service and offers developers a home for their own inventions – has unveiled a software development kit (SDK) for the first time, focusing on open source languages including Node.JS.

It has also confirmed an Apache Hadoop service to speed up the deployment in Hadoop apps – although this will only be available to a limited number of users – and what it claims to be a “revamped dev centre” with the option of a 90 day free trial.

“As we enter the holiday season, I’m happy to see Windows Azure continuing on its roadmap of embracing OSS tools developers know and love, by working collaboratively with the open source community to build together a better cloud that supports all developers and their need for interoperable solutions based on developer choice,” wrote Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of open source communities at Microsoft, on his blog.

On top of the new development tools, Microsoft has tripled the maximum size for its SQL Azure databases – up from 50GB to 150GB – introducing a price cap of $499.95 (£320.60) for when one hits the limit. It claims this figure is equivalent to a 67 per cent reduction in cost per GB.

North America and Europe will also see reduced price tags for their data transfer, down from $0.15 per GB to $0.12.

The final addition to the platform was a simpler billing process via the Windows Azure Management Portal, enabling a real-time view of usage and costs.

Rabellino concluded by promising more from Azure in the future, adding: “I just want to stress that we intend to keep listening, so please send us your feedback. Rest assured we’ll take note!”

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