Cloudant brings NoSQL to Microsoft's cloud

The NoSQL Data Layer as a Service company gets hitched with Microsoft's Platform as a Service cloud.

Cloudant, as I've covered here previously, is a Boston start-up with technology based on the Apache CouchDB NoSQL database.

Also read: Cloudant makes NoSQL as a service bigger

Cloudant's technology is called BigCouch, and is an enhanced and API-compatible version of the mainstream CouchDB bits.  Cloudant offers what it calls a "data layer" that boils down to a Platform as a Service NoSQL store, enabling Web developers to provision the service and go, without needing to worry about requesting and configuring servers or installing the CouchDB software.  Capacity can be ratcheted up or down, as application demand requires.

When I first learned about Cloudant's service, it made me think of Microsoft's Windows Azure and SQL Azure cloud offerings, as they too have followed the Platform as a Service approach.  But today Cloudant and Windows Azure are more than philosophically aligned: Cloudant and Microsoft are announcing a partnership that will make Cloudant's service available on the Windows Azure platform.

This announcement is part of a broad refresh to the Windows Azure platform, previews for which (including Cloudant's data layer) will become available to developers tomorrow.  Other aspects of the Azure Spring refresh were summarized in a blog post from Bill Laing, Microsoft's Corporate VP for Server and Cloud, and which will be covered in detail by Scott Guthrie, Corportate VP for Windows Azure, at the Meet Windows Azure event, being held in San Francisco and simultaneously Webcasted live, at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern time tomorrow.

Here are some more factoids about Cloudant on Azure:

  • Though running on the Windows Azure infrastructure, Cloudant's software itself will be running on Linux virtual machines, another of the new Windows Azure offerings that launches tomorrow

Also read: Windows Azure's spring fling: Linux comes to Microsoft's cloud

  • Although Cloudant is also available on the Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform, that is more a result of Cloudant provisioning its own EC2 instances than of an explicit partnership between Cloudant and Amazon.  The Cloudant on Azure offering, on the other hand, will be a featured capability of the platform resulting from Cloudant's partnership with Microsoft's Open Technology Group (the same people who worked with Joyent to bring you Node.js on Windows) and the Windows Azure Group
  • Cloudant on Azure will initially be provisioned through Cloudant's own portal...developers will simply elect Azure as their chosen cluster infrastructure
  • The preview of Cloudant on Azure will be free until at least some time in October
  • The service will be accessible via a RESTful Web service API
  • Both public and dedicated Cloudant clusters will be available

Microsoft is stepping up its cloud story to compete robustly with Amazon Web Services.  It's clear that it sees "Web-scale" NoSQL databases as part of that robustness.  No we just need to know when its Hadoop on Azure offering will become publicly available as well.