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Microsoft Opens Up with Windows Azure

Open Source Developers will always have more reasons to smile than curse themselves for using Open Source Softwares. A new reason however is Microsoft’s recent declaration at the Open Source India conference, OSI Days 2010, of the availability of a latest range of developer software tools and Software Development Kits (SDKs) for PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) developers who exclusively work on the development of Windows Azure. As stated earlier this announcement comes as a pleasant surprise more so for open source developers (those developing Azure) than anyone else.

This new development by Microsoft is a conscious attempt towards bridging the gap between Microsoft and Open Source Communities; and for this - a 2 year effort has taken place with which it has expanded its open source community project work to support cloud platform interoperability. Speaking on Microsoft’s intention to provide Open Source developers more access to their platforms, Vijay Rajagopalan, Principal Architect for Microsoft’s Interoperability Strategy team said “One example of this is our support for an open and interoperable cloud, which we believe is critical for businesses, governments and organizations to take full advantage of cloud-enabled innovations. The new SDKs and tools we are announcing today are an important step towards ensuring an open cloud that in turn brings greater flexibility to our partners and customers.”

What do the New Tools Comprise of?

The new tools (SDKs), aimed at supporting open source developers in any kind of IT atmosphere comprises of the Windows Azure Companion Community Technology Preview (CTP), the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse for PHP, the Windows Azure Command Line Tools for PHP (update) and the Windows Azure SDK for PHP version 2.0.

What Support Services are On Offer?

Microsoft though needn’t worry about offering new language programs or visual tools since Azure previously has been providing developers with numerous languages and visual tools (.NET, PHP, Ruby, Python or Java and Visual Studio or Eclipse). This new platform has its development starting off from the basic level wherein it supports multiple Internet protocols including HTTP, XML, SOAP and REST—ensuring data portability.

What Potential does this Development Hold?

With the availability of these new tools that are dedicated to openness in cloud computing, developers can now merge the applications of the new Windows Azure with other platforms (other clouds or on-premise clouds) and fabricate more novel open cloud applications.

The Way Forward

Microsoft’s next step is towards discovering more opportunities that can enhance the openness in cloud computing. For this, the need is for a thorough research on the four foundational elements which form the basis for building a broader technological industry that include Developer Choice, Data Portability, Standards and Ease of Migration and Deployment.

The way forward is definitely not a short one by any means, but a long journey comprising of quite a few research programs, tests, market testing, product testing, failures, etc. Microsoft definitely will as usual have its hands full in meeting user needs and it can surely be said that they’d match those needs in future.

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