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Microsoft coaches NoSQL options for Azure cloud

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Microsoft is working with NoSQL startups to simplify deployment of their databases on its Azure cloud.

MongoDB-shop 10gen has told The Reg that it's close to announcing tighter integration between MongoDB and Azure. The news is expected next month. 10gen Roger Bodamer told The Reg that MongoDB will be integrated with Azure with changes available to all MongoDB users.

Microsoft has also started working with Membase to give Azure an in-memory key-value store component using memcached. The pair are looking for ways to tweak Membase's supported version of memcached for Microsoft's cloud.

The thinking is that once any kinks are ironed out then Microsoft's Azure site would point to Membase's site as a kind of preferred version of memcached for use by Azure customers. Ultimately, Membase could be offered on Microsoft's cloud as a service.

Separately, Microsoft is understood to have had talks with Monty Widenius's Monty Program, busy forking and supporting Oracle's MySQL database with MariaDB. Monty Program and10gen are on Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for Windows Azure, while Membase is a Microsoft partner.

TAP is a program Microsoft offers early in the life of a product that's used to gather feed back on the kinds of features they'd like to see. People on TAP provide input on features, can file bug reports, and get access to Microsoft's development teams via a technical sponsor.

You can already run some NoSQL databases on Microsoft's cloud while Azure already offers a database option. SQL Azure based on Microsoft's popular SQL database.

Robert Duffner, Windows Azure's director of product management, told The Reg that Microsoft wants to provide more choices for Azure customers. That attitude - interoperability over "anything you want as long as it's .NET" - is gaining a firm footing inside Microsoft's server and tools business, home to Azure. At the recent Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) Microsoft announced a Java SDK, class libraries, and Eclipse-based tooling for Java applications running on Azure.

The addition of NoSQL suits Microsoft - by bringing more people to Azure - and it suits the NoSQLers, because they get more Windows devs to support.

You can run NoSQL options like Mongo and Memcached on Azure after some fiddling and configuring. The goal now is to deliver a development, deployment, and management experience already familiar to those on Windows, SQL Server, and Visual Basic.

"People want to have choices," Duffner told The Reg. "People want to plug into various frameworks. If you don't want to use our table store but want to take advantage of Membase that's totally fine."

The work on MongoDB is more a matter of polish than major integration. Windows is already one of MongoDB's biggest development platforms next to Linux. "We want to make it feel a bit more native - by providing the Azure install wrapper and more of a native feel for the Widows users," Bodamer told us.

He noted it's still too early to tell if MongoDB will take off in large numbers, but he said whenever 10gen holds events people invariably ask asking about integration with Azure. 10gen's next MongoDB event is on Microsoft's Mountain View, California, campus on December 3. ®

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