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Rackspace fluffs .NET cloud support

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Rackspace is making overtures to Microsoft users by broadening .NET support for its cloud and managed hosting, though these devs may be increasingly swayed by Azure.

The company announced a Cloud SDK for Microsoft.NET, and a PowerShell-based API client "PowerClient" for Rackspace public cloud services on Wednesday. The two tools see the company try to gain developers from Microsoft – but with Azure targeted very carefully at .NET organizations, what can Rackspace offer that Microsoft can't?

After some careful probing by this vulture: not much. These two free software tools will make life easier for Windows devs that are tasked with migrating apps and data into the cloud, but provide no stunning technical advance to sway them to use these tools and Rackspace's cloud rather than just Windows Azure.

The Cloud SDK is for .NET and makes it easier to developers to use the language to work with components of Rackspace's OpenStack-based cloud. The SDK contains a language API, a getting-started guide, an API reference manual, release notes, and sample code.

PowerClient is an alternative to the Linux-based NovaClient. The software works with Rackspace's OpenStack-based servers and is intended to eventually become a full API for all OpenStack deployments.

"Why Rackspace would be of value to a customer would really be our managed hosting experience," Cole Humphreys, a Rackspace product marketing manager, told us in response to our question. "Why do you think [Microsoft is] investing all that in building their cloud infrastructure? Guess who is already there – we're there."

Along with Amazon, Google, Joyent, Linode, SoftLayer, and so on, we might add.

But unlike Amazon Web Services, Rackspace doesn't have a high-level application automation platform (a platform-as-a-service) to make it easy for devs to run .NET in the cloud, and Humphreys was not aware the company had any plans to do so – further watering down Rackspace's proposition versus its competition.

Azure is admittedly still young, with the cloud only having gone into general availability in April of this year, so Rackspace is looking to take advantage of Microsoft's tardiness and sway some developers.

As companies compete with each other for application workloads, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer's chant of "developers, developers, developers!" is seeming ever more prescient. ®

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