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Microsoft updates Azure with SDK and Hadoop preview

SQL improvements and open source support included

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Microsoft has updated Azure in time for Christmas, with new tools for developers, reduced storage and operation costs for SQL, and Redmond’s promised integration with Hadoop as a limited preview for those who’ve been not naughty but nice.

For developers, Azure now has access to libraries for .NET, Java, and Node.js, hosted on GitHub, under the Apache 2 open source license, and a new SDK for Node.js has been added, including blob, table, and queue tools for Azure storage. Redmond has also thrown in what it calls “automatic MSDN detection", to alert developers to Azure offers – although it might also hunt down pirated subscriptions for those who’ve been naughty but not nice.

Microsoft is bolstering its open source credentials with an update to its plug-in for Eclipse with Java, adding tools such as startup scripts for popular Java servers and remote Java debugging. MongoDB, Apache Solr and Lucene, and Memcached developers will also find a few new additional toys, as well.

On the SQL Azure side, the maximum size of databases has been increased threefold at no extra cost, from 50GB to 150GB, and Microsoft has capped the maximum price at $499.95 per SQL Azure DB. Data-transfer costs in the US and Europe have been cut 20 per cent (from $0.15/GB to $0.12/GB) and Asian users will see prices drop 5 per cent. Support for SQL Azure Federation has also been added.

All this data needs somewhere to go, so Microsoft is offering a very limited preview of the promised Hadoop integration with Azure, which Redmond has been working on with Hortonworks. The preview package includes installers that Microsoft promises will work in “hours instead of days,” JavaScript libraries, and Hive ODBC Driver and Hive Add-in for Excel.

Microsoft will review each request for the preview on a case-by-case basis and decide on access based on “usage patterns,” and presumably a host of other factors. ®

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