Microsoft refreshes Azure cloud, development kit

Microsoft is making its first big refresh to its Azure cloud platform since the company first rolled out "Red Dog" operating system and the Azure layer of accompany cloud services officially last October.

Microsoft has made its first big refresh to its Azure cloud platform since the company first rolled out "Red Dog" operating system and the Azure layer of accompany cloud services officially last October.

On March 18 during opening day of its Mix '09 conference, company officials detailed new changes it is making in the development kit and the back-end infrastructure. Among these changes: Support for FastCGI (for both .Net and PHP) and support for full trust, which allows developer to invoke native (and not just managed code in medium trust). Microsoft is expecting the full-trust support to appeal to developers who want to move existing libraries and graphics-based programs to Azure, officials said. A refreshed Azure software development kit (SDK) also is available to testers.

Microsoft also will allow Azure testers on or before April 21 to select the geographic location of the datacenters where their Azure-hosted products and services are hosted.

Microsoft still has held back on talking about Azure pricing, partnership deals and service-level-agreement plans. It will disclose all of those "this summer," officials said.

Microsoft announced last week that it is reworking the SQL Data Services (SDS) component of Azure to make it more like a hosted relational database.

Microsoft officials reiterated at Mix that the company is still on track to roll out the final version of Azure later this fall.

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