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Microsoft preps for open-source cloud apps

PHP gets Azure tinge

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Microsoft has unveiled a toolkit for PHP developers building open-source applications that help fluff its planned Azure cloud.

PHPAzure is a software development kit (SDK) for programming to both Windows Azure and the underlying SQL-like Windows Azure Storage service's blobs, tables, and queues. PHPAzure is an open-source project developed with RealDolmen and hosted on Microsoft's CodePlex site.

The PHPAzure community technology preview (CTP) was unveiled by Microsoft India and is due for completion on August 21. Azure is itself currently in CTP and has been promised for delivery by the end of this year.

PHP is one of the web's most popular programming languages, running more than 20 million sites. It's also used in conjunction with Apache, Linux, and MySQL - a web server, operating system, and database combo that Microsoft is in competition with.

Microsoft's recognized the importance of winning over PHP developers and has worked with Zend Technologies to fine-tune PHP to Windows until now. The risk was developers would otherwise build their PHP applications on Windows and deploy on Linux instead.

With PHP being a default web-programming environment, Microsoft has accepted it must embrace the language as a way to populate Azure with applications, moving it from a standing stop.

PHPAzure sounds like a framework for PHP programmers to build to Azure and its underlying storage system rather than a new language from Microsoft. Features include PHP classes for Windows Azure blobs, tables, and queues, for HTTP transport, AuthN/AuthZ, REST, and error management, and there is manageability, instrumentation, and logging support. You can read more on the architecture here.

Bootnote

Sybase has announced plans for its server products to work in Amazon's cloud. The company said it'll make Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), developer guides, and developer software for its software freely available for development and testing. Sybase is also working with Amazon to devise "flexible utility computing models" of its software to enable pay-per-use billing on the Amazon cloud.

Once a database contender to Oracle, Sybase today has a diverse set of products covering mobile and business intelligence. But the announcement will likely only apply to its database and data integration and replication products. It will expand the number of database options available on Amazon and keep Sybase in the game - though it's coming a little late. Amazon's EC2 currently offers IBM's DB2 and Informix, Oracle 11g, Microsoft's SQL Server Standard Edition 2005, and MySQL Enterprise.

Sybase also said it's working with Symantec and its Veritas Storage Foundation to optimize its Virtualized Resource Management framework from the company's ASE Cluster Edition for use in cloud-based storage. ®

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