With the recently announced June 2012 updates of Windows Azure, Microsoft has delivered a new Windows Azure SDK for .NET.
This software development kit includes tooling support for Visual Studio 2012, such that developers can use the recently released Visual Studio 2012 RC to build applications and services on Azure. And with the solution round-tripping support in Visual Studio 2012, developers can work on the same Azure projects in both Visual Studio 2010 SP1 and Visual Studio RC, said Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post.
Somasegar said Microsofts developer enabling efforts with Windows Azure are in line with what the company is doing for building Windows 8 Metro style apps with Visual Studio 2012, releasing the Developer Preview, Beta, and Release Candidate builds of Visual Studio 2012 in sync with the corresponding Windows 8 releases.
The June 2012 Windows Azure updates deliver new services that simplify building applications that span cloud and on-premises servers. This includes adding support for a continuum of compute containers, ranging from Windows Azure Virtual Machines to Windows Azure Web Sites, and support for new developer services, like Windows Azure Caching.
The Windows Azure SDK for .NET can be downloaded here. Additional productivity enhancements are also included in this SDK release, such as an improved publishing experience for Web Sites and Cloud Services.
Jason Zander, Microsofts vice president of Visual Studio, in a separate post discussed some of the key features of the SDK. Regarding projects, Zander said:
"You will notice several updates across our projects. First the Windows Azure project has been renamed to Windows Azure Cloud Service, aligning with updated name of the compute container for our infinitely scalable, multi-tier services. You can also continue to add the Cloud Service to any existing Web project using the Add Windows Azure Cloud Service. Web project front ends can also be natively published to the new Windows Azure Web Sites Preview compute container."
Also, the new Windows Azure Virtual Machines Preview provides a powerful new compute container to run persistent VM workloads, Zander said. Effectively, you can bring your own VM and customize it with the OS and applications of your choice to run your workload, he said.
Another cool addition in this release is the ability to stand up your own distributed cache service in your roles and ultimately speed up the performance of your cloud service, Zander said. This cache service will aggregate all instances in your deployment to provide a highly available distributed cache. Visual Studio makes it incredibly easy to stand up the caching service. Simply open your role in the designer and check a box in the Caching tab to Enable Caching.
And Microsoft has added new publishing options, including a new deployment option for the simultaneous update of instances, among others. And business application developers using Visual Studio LightSwitch will see an improved experience for publishing LightSwitch applications to Windows Azure, Zander said.
This is a significant update to the tools you use to develop your cloud applications, he added.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced that its application lifecycle management (ALM) service, the Azure-based Team Foundation Service, now integrates with Windows Azure to support continuous integration and deployment of both Windows Azure Web Sites and Windows Azure Cloud Services. With this, you can streamline your development and operations processes by configuring to deploy automatically after you check in, Somasegar said.