In April, Azure changed its name from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. This change may seem small and conceived by a marketing department that had nothing else to do. But it’s really not. This rather show a major change that has already occurred but which has only now become visible in the name of the platform.

Microsoft Azure is really a platform for many different technologies: different operating systems, different databases, programming languages ​​and so on.

Operating System

The first bug that was registered in the Ubuntu database where “Microsoft has a Majority market share”. This bug was closed a year ago of Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth with the following comment:

It’s worth noting that today, if you’re into cloud computing, the Microsoft IAAS team are both technically excellent and very focused on having ALL OS’s including Linux guests like Ubuntu run extremely well on Azure, making them a pleasure to work with.

In January of last year, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) launched VM Depot – a community-managed repository of open source virtual machine images for deployment on Microsoft Azure. This repository has now over 1,000 images.

Databases

Through VM Depot has Azure support for many different databases, such as MongoDB, Neo4j, MySql, CouchDB and more.

You can use Database As A Service (DbaaS) from several external providers, for example ClearDB (MySql) and MongoLab (MongoDB). Listen to my podcast interview with the CEO of MongoLab, Will Shulman.

Microsoft has also a new service where they manage Redis Cache as a service. Introduction here to the managed Redis Cache.

Programming Languages

If you can host your own VM images, you can of course use all the languages that are supported on these operating systems.

More interesting is Azures PaaS service, Azure Web Sites, which supports several languages out of the box. All Azure Web Sites is hosted on the same kind of preinstalled VM:s. These VM:s has already installed compilers and interpreters for .NET, PHP, Python, Node.js and Java.

I would also draw your attention to the free development tools that Microsoft have for Python and Node.js.