Microsoft Updates Windows Cloud Tooling

Microsoft releases second CTPs for Windows Azure.

Microsoft last month released the second community technology previews (CTPs) of its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Visual Studio Extensions for the new Windows Azure cloud services platform.

Azure, which consists of an operating system and a developer services platform, took center stage at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in late October. The technology was made available to all PDC attendees immediately after the show. The Azure previews were opened up to a larger group of MSDN subscribers after Microsoft provided access to interested PDC attendees.

The Azure SDK includes the development fabric controller and storage services needed for building and testing cloud apps locally in Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 with the Azure VS extensions. Developers need to register with Microsoft to receive the tokens required to "publish" apps to the Azure cloud.

The Azure SDK January 2009 CTP and the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio January 2009 CTP consist primarily of performance and bug fixes, according to Microsoft's Azure team members.

Jim Nakashima, program manager for the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio team, offers an extensive overview of the performance and bug fixes in VS Extensions and the Azure SDK in his Cloudy in Seattle blog. He notes that many of the SDK fixes were in response to customers' requests. The SDK January 2009 CTP also offers better integration with Visual Studio for Storage services, according to Nakashima.

The latest bits underscore Microsoft's commitment to working with early testers in the dev community to advance the Azure platform. Blogs, forums and Azure user groups are building a community around the new technology. More information is available on the Azure links page hosted by Gus Perez, Microsoft's principal development lead for Visual Studio Azure tools.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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