As Azure gets closer to its release date of 01 January 2010 – the biggest question is what kind of support can you get for open source systems or programs like PHP. With AWS (Amazon Web Services) you can get Linux and native PHP support, and you can do the same with Rack Space Cloud computing. Microsoft though is still focusing on the core windows systems with Azure and the Azure platform, but has added a specific series of SDK’s and modules to help Ruby, PHP and Java communicate with the Azure platform.
Azure is Microsoft’s big foray into Cloud Computing, and it is worth paying attention to not because it is novel, but that it leverages the Windows ecosystem and programmers. People will go to AWS or Rack Space because those systems exist already, making Azure a critical must win or at least get decent market share to be considered successful. One of the earliest issues I had with Azure was the lack of open source support for PHP and other systems. The release of language specific SDK’s for PHP, Ruby, Java and Eclipse helps provide support for those companies that have made the investment in something other than dot net.
The SDK’s are libraries that help programs and the back end support services of Azure work with many of the queuing, database, and blob management that happens when dealing with SOAP, REST and some XML files. The image above is from the Microsoft site that specifically discusses how the SDK’s help programmers call and use Azure services from within PHP and other systems code. The site also describes interoperability with Python, but there is no visible SDK for Python on the web site.
The good part is that Microsoft is trying, and while there are some issues in the error reporting process on how to compile in support for the PHP.INI file, and how to modify the file for the build process in Visual Studio this is going to end up being a good thing for interoperability between the various cloud and internal services to a company. There is good consistent support and data on the codeplex.com web site for many of the SDK’s and how to use them. There is also a bug and issue tracker on the site to help the community work out how to prioritize the issues so that the more important ones get fixed quicker. This is not a bad start, and while you still cannot get a Linux OS, you can at least use PHP, Java, and Ruby if you use the SDK’s they provide.
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)