Microsoft provides updated cloud roadmap, technologies to developers

Summary:Microsoft officials shared more information about cloud technologies and programs that the company is prepping for Azure developers during the opening day of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference on October 28.

Microsoft officials shared more information about cloud technologies and programs that the company is prepping for Azure developers during the opening day of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference on October 28.

Microsoft execs talked up the company's plans for Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role and Server Appliction Virtualization functionality. Microsoft also announced a new, lower-tier pricing offer for Windows Azure -- something that a number of developers have been requesting.

Microsoft officials said a year ago that the VM Role capability would be coming to Azure. This past March, officials said customers would be able to migrate existing Windows Server apps through the promised managed VM functionality some time in calendar 2010.

The new Virtual Machine Role will provide Azure customers with an instance of Windows Server 2008 R2, execs said today. The new timetable for the technology: A public beta of the VM Role will be available before the end of 2010. In 2011, Microsoft will add support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 VM roles.

Microsoft also is going to enable developers and IT professionals to build VM images for VM role directly in the cloud, officials said today. This capability will be an alternative to the current approach of building images on-premises and then uploading them over the Internet. This capability is coming in 2011, officials said.

Server Application Virtualization will enable developers to transfer application images to Windows Azure. In June of this year, Microsoft execs said this functionality will be delivered via System Center Virtual Machine Manager v.Next, due in the second half of 2011. Today, officials said a Community Technology Preview build of Server App Virtualization will be out before the end of this calendar year, and said the final version is still on track for the second half of next year.

Microsoft also provided an update on its Project Sydney technology. Windows Azure Connect (the official name for Sydney) will enable users to set up IP-based network connectivity between on-premises and Windows Azure. A CTP of Azure Connect will be out before the end of 2010, with general availability in the first half of 2011. Azure Connect is just one of a number of technologies coming that Microsoft is calling Windows Azure Virtual Network. (We don't have info yet on the other elements.)

As expected, Microsoft also announced a new, lower-priced option for Azure developers at its PDC opening day. The "Extra Small Instance" will be priced at $0.05 per compute hour. This offering is for developers creating and running smaller apps on Azure. A beta of this new ofering will be available before the end of 2010, the Softies said.

Microsoft is providing an online marketplace for developers who write components, applications and related services for Windows Azure known as Windows Azure Marketplace. The "Dallas" Web services and data -- now known as "DataMarket" -- will become an "aisle" in the Marketplace. Microsoft released the final Dallas/DataMarket code to the Web today.

Topics: Software Development, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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