Microsoft announced today that it has updated its Windows Azure cloud computing platform with new capabilities around open source interoperability, simplified billing and management, and the SQL Azure cloud-hosted database solution. But as one prominent blogger has asserted, a few promised updates are still missing in action.
New open source capabilities. The Windows Azure software development kit includes language libraries for Node.JS, with support for hosting, storage and service bus, Microsoft says. There will also be an Apache Hadoop based service for Windows Azure and other enhancements to for Java developers.
SQL Azure. Microsoft's cloud-hosted database solution will triple its maximum database size from 50 GB to 150 GB and include a new price cap for the largest SQL Azure databases, reducing the effective price 67 percent per gigabyte.
Billing and management experience. A new Windows Azure Management portal provides real-time usage and billing viewing.
Simpler on-ramp for new users. New Azure customers can now take advantage of a free 90-day trial and spending caps that simplify the sign-up process, according to Microsoft.
It all sounds good, and as you might expect of a cloud service, Microsoft is able to more easily slipstream new capabilities into a product over time rather than wait for monolithic update milestones. But this isn't everything Microsoft promised by the end of 2011, my Windows Weekly co-host Mary Jo Foley points out in her own blog post about this update. Missing in action are VM role support, server application virtualization support, and the final shipping version of SQL Azure Reporting Services.
No worries, of course. There are still 19 days left in the year.