One of the more unique elements of the Azure Services Platform is .NET Services.  

Much of the current discussion around Cloud Computing focuses on moving certain IT workloads to the cloud (for example email like Microsoft Online) or cloud compute and storage services (like Windows Azure).   In contrast, .NET Services sits in the cloud platform/middleware category – with capabilities that will often be used to extend existing ISV and enterprise applications leveraging our cloud services for interoperability and scale.   These applications themselves may also reside in the cloud (cloud-based) or on-premise but making use of the cloud (cloud-aware).

Today’s release of the .NET Services March CTP (that’s a Community Technology Preview – ie pre-release) focuses on interoperability and includes improved support for web standards such as REST, ATOM, SOAP, and HTTP.   This means that all developers extending applications – whether they are .NET developers or not - will now find .NET Services easier to use because they can utilise industry standards and protocols to interface to our services.

Some of the specific enhancements in the March update:

  • A new management service for Access Control (now supports REST and ATOM for managing the rules)
  • Discoverable and durable Service Bus queues for reliable pull message delivery (support both SOAP and HTTP)
  • Discoverable and durable Service Bus routers which provide message storage, control and delivery in unidirectional publish and subscription solutions (support SOAP 1.1, SOAP 1.2 and HTTP)
  • Push delivery to HTTP endpoints and Solicit/Push delivery to Service Bus listeners
  • Workflow Service now offers improved integration with Service Bus. Message-based activation allows the creation of new instances on-demand and direct communication with these instances
  • Workflow REST-Client enhancements with the addition of PUT, GET, POST, DELETE, custom verbs as well as parameters and header support to the HttpSend activity.

The latest Microsoft .NET Services SDK can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/azure/sdk.mspx

As always we’re keen to hear your feedback and how you’re using these services to extend and simplify your applications.