Today we are simplifying the development experience on Windows Azure with three updates—a new version of the Windows Azure SDK, a new Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, and an updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.  Whether you are already using Windows Azure or looking for the right moment to get started, these updates make it easier than ever to build applications on Windows Azure. 

Highlights:

  • Windows Azure SDK (November 2011)—Multiple updates to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 that simplify development, deployment, and management on Windows Azure. The full Windows Azure SDK can be downloaded via the Web Platform installer here.
  • Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK— Works in conjunction with the Windows Azure SDK and includes modules and features to author high performance computing (HPC) applications that use large amounts of compute resources in parallel to complete work.  The SDK is available here for download.
  • Windows Azure Platform Training Kit—Includes hands-on labs, demos, and presentations to help you learn how to build applications that use Windows Azure. Compatible with the new Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010. The training kit can be downloaded here.

Here are the details:

The Windows Azure SDK for .NET includes the following new features:

  • Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010
    • Streamlined publishing: This makes connecting your environment to Windows Azure much easier by providing a publish settings file for your account.  This allows you to configure all aspects of deployments, such as Remote Desktop (RDP), without ever leaving Visual Studio.  Simply use the Visual Studio publishing wizard to download the publish settings and import them into Visual Studio.  By default, publish will make use of in-place deployment upgrades for significantly faster application updates.
    • Multiple profiles: Your publish settings, build config, and cloud config choices will be stored in one or more publish profile MSBuild files. This makes it easy for you and your team to quickly change all of your environment settings. 
    • Team Build: The Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 now offer MSBuild command-line support to package your application and pass in properties.  Additionally, they can be installed on a lighter-weight build machine without the requirement of Visual Studio being installed.
    • In-Place Updates: Visual Studio now allows you to make improved in-place updates to deployed services in Windows Azure. For more details visit http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2011/10/19/announcing-improved-in-place-updates.aspx
    • Enhanced Publishing Wizard: Overhaul of publishing experience to sign-in, configure the deployment, and review the summary of changes
    • Automatic Credential Management Configuration: No longer need to manually create or manage a cert
    • Multiple Subscription Deployment Management: Makes it easier to use multiple Windows Azure subscriptions by selecting the subscription you want to use when publishing within Visual Studio.
    • Hosted Service Creation: Create new hosted services within Visual Studio, without having to visit the Windows Azure Portal.
    • Storage Accounts: Create and configure appropriate storage accounts within Visual Studio (no longer need to do this manually)
    • Remote Desktop Workflow: Enable by clicking a checkbox and providing a username/password – no need to create or upload a cert
    • Deployment Configurations: Manage multiple deployment environment configurations
    • Azure Activity Log: More information about the publish and virtual machine initialization status

For more information on Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010, see What’s New in the Windows Azure Tools.

  • Windows Azure Libraries for .NET 1.6
    • Service Bus & Caching: Service Bus and caching client libraries from the previous Windows Azure AppFabric SDK have now been updated and incorporated into the Windows Azure Libraries for .NET to simplify the development experience.
    • Queues:
      • Support for UpdateMessage method (for updating queue message contents and invisibility timeout)
      • New overload for AddMessage that provides the ability to make a message invisible until a future time
      • The size limit of a message is raised from 8KB to 64KB
      • Get/Set Service Settings for setting the analytics service settings
  • Windows Azure Emulator
    • Performance improvements to compute & storage emulators.

Click here to download the Windows Azure SDK via the Web Platform Installer.

Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK

Working in conjunction with the Windows Azure SDK for .NET, the Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK contains modules and features that developers can use to create compute-intensive, parallel applications that can scale in Windows Azure. The Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK enables developers to define a Windows Azure deployment that includes: 

  • Job scheduling and resource management
  • Web-based job submission
  • Parallel runtimes with support for MPI applications and WCF services
  • Persistent state management of job queue and resource configuration

To download and access more information on the Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/hh545593.aspx.

Today’s updates arm developers with the latest tools for Visual Studio and open new doors for authoring HPC workloads in Windows Azure.  This is part of our ongoing commitment to deliver world-class services in a simple and flexible way to customers.

For more information on all updates visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/hh552718.aspx