Azure Supports Open Source
Written by Alex Denham   
Monday, 19 December 2011

In a move that would have seemed unthinkable a couple of years ago, Microsoft has announced that it is adding support for Node.js to Azure, making Java applications work and integrating Hadoop. So much open source technology on Azure is something new.

In a blog post about the addition, Bob Kelly of the Azure team said:

‘a new Windows Azure SDK for Node.js makes Windows Azure a first-class environment for Node applications’.


You can use the Node.js library to create Web apps that run under Azure. The library is a collection of integrated JavaScript functions and a JavaScript runtime engine. Microsoft’s SDK for Node.js includes a copy of Node.js, Windows PowerShell and an Azure emulator. The idea is you build and test your apps in your own local environment, then upload them to Azure for deployment.

The Azure SDK for Node.js can be downloaded from Github (



In addition to the support for Node.js, Azure has been integrated with a number of other open-source tools. These are the Eclipse development environment; the MongoDB database: Lucene/Solr, a search engine; and caching technology, memcached.

The idea, according to a blog post by Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Open Source Communities, is that developers will be able to:

"build applications on Windows Azure using the languages and frameworks they already know".

An alternative analysis might have been that Microsoft doesn’t want to lose out to alternative online environments such as Amazon’s Cloud Services. If winning means forgetting the original aim of having Azure as an online home for ASP.NET apps, it looks like Microsoft will go for winning rather than purity.

Whether the drive to win over Java developers will succeed is, of course, another matter.

Microsoft’s Channel 9 details another development in a video. The video shows how GigaSpaces Cloudify can “help Java developers easily move to their applications, without any code or architecture changes, to Windows Azure”. Cloudify acts as an abstraction layer that sits on top of a cloud service (Azure in this case).

Cloudify handles the provisioning and intercepts the requests and provides the data for consumption, and the Java apps run as though they were still sitting in a native Java environment. It isn't quite that Azure supports Java  as some news source have suggested but it is going in that direction.


In addition to these open-source additions Microsoft also added very limited, invitation only, Hadoop integration. If you want to try the preview, you need to fill in this form (after signing in to Windows Live) with ‘details of your Big Data scenario’.




The lucky applicants will be able to use the Hadoop JavaScript libraries, yes JavaScript, and analyse their data through the ODBC driver and Excel plugin for Hive, the Hadoop database.

More Information:


Microsoft blog on Azure updates



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Last Updated ( Monday, 19 December 2011 )