It's time to bid farewall to Microsoft Azure's humble beginnings asa mere PaaS. The big Redmond machine is lifting the curtain on previews of new services and updates today, aimed at injecting a healthy dose of IaaS capabilities intoits cloud platform while broadening support for various OSes anddevelopment platforms. The company clearly has its sights set onnot just cloud platform vendors that have affixed the word "hybrid"to their offerings such as HP -- but also services from the likes of Amazon Web Services andRackSpace. "Only Microsoft, as of today, offers the broadest IaaS and PaaSfrom a single vendor cloud platform," wrote James Staten , vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. |
"The companyhas also taken steps to make the consumption of Windows Azure assimple as possible for its installed base of developers." There's already been much ado about Microsoft's move to welcome choice flavors of Linux into its new Windows Azure Virtual Machines -- which, according toStaten, "leverage a much more mature Hyper-V as the virtualizationlayer" compared to rival IaaS services. Virtual Machines allow you to move VHDs (virtual hard disks) backand forth between on-premises infrastructure and the cloud. "As acommon virtualization file format, VHD has been adopted by hundredsof vendors and is a freely available specification covered underthe Microsoft Open Specification Promise," according to Bill Laing , VP of Server and Cloud at Microsoft. On the Windows side, Microsoft is supporting Windows Server 2008 R2(with or without SQL Server 2012 Eval), as well as Windows Server2012 RC with its VMs.
On the Linux side, Microsoft is supportingOpenSuse 12.1, CentOS 6.2, Ubuntu 12.04, and Suse Linux Enterprise11 SP2. Red Hat evidently didn't make the cut. Microsoft also is now offering Windows Azure Virtual Network, keyto enabling a hybrid cloud environment. The feature lets userssecurely provision and manage VPNs in Azure, as well as to linktheir Azure instances their data centers, VPCs (virtual privateclouds), "and other network constructs that create securenon-public perimeters," according to Staten.
IT admins maintaincontrol over network topology, including IP-address configuration,table routing, and security policies. Microsoft has broadened its development platform support and isadding libraries for Java and Python on top of those that alreadyexist for .Net, PHP, and Node.js. The updated Windows Azure SDK nowincludes new command-line tools that work on Mac or Linux.Microsoft also announced the availability of the Eclipse plug-infor Java, MongoDB integration, Memcached using non-.Net languages,and code configuration for hosting Solr/Lucene. In an effort to ease cloud-management stress, Microsoft ispreviewing its Azure Management Portal, through admins can manageAzure workloads from a single UI via various platforms and devices.
Microsoft also is introducing Windows Azure Web Sites, which isdesigned to let developers quickly and easily crank out newwebsites. The service includes support for multiple frameworks,such as ASP.Net, PHP, and Node.js, and open source applications,including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others. The Azure WebSites support both Windows Azure SQL Database and MySQL databases,plus an array of developer tools and protocols, including VisualStudio, Git, FTP, and WebMatrix. Finally, to help manage all that cloudy infrastructre, Microsoft isoffering the Windows Azure Preview Portal, through which admins cancreate scenario-based user interfaces, access real-time monitoringcharts, and perform diagnostic checks on application health.
ThePreview Portal supports Azure Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, WebSites, Virtual Network, SQL Database, and Storage. This story, " Microsoft broadens Azure's reach by marrying IaaS and PaaS ," was originally published at InfoWorld.com . Get the first word on what the important tech news really meanswith the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog . For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter .
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