Windows Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET is now available

Microsoft is on an update streak with Windows Azure, introducing significant new features at a steady pace. For the past couple of months we have witnessed an overwhelming number of changes meant to improve the company's cloud platform, including the Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) support announced two weeks ago.

Microsoft's latest move in this never-ending chess game with its rivals is the Windows Azure SDK (Software Development Kit) 2.0 for .NET which now features improvements for websites, cloud services, storage, service bus and PowerShell automation. Let's take a look at what's new.

Websites

Users can more easily publish ASP.NET projects from Visual Studio to Windows Azure by clicking on a couple of buttons and following the dedicated wizard. The new SDK also allows the Visual Studio Server Explorer to be used to manage websites that are deployed using Windows Azure and stream website application logs from the cloud straight to Visual Studio.

Cloud Services

The new SDK release builds upon the Windows Azure IaaS support by allowing users to deploy cloud services to the virtual machines unveiled alongside the Infrastructure as a Service feature. Microsoft also introduced a new simultaneous update option (available in Deployment Settings), meant to speed up the deployment process and better diagnostics support.

Storage

The main improvement here is the ability to make and delete tables designed for the cloud platform and add, delete and edit entities using Visual Studio Server Explorer. Microsoft says that this will make life easier for the user by requiring less time and simplifying the process of building apps with tables.

Service Bus

The Windows Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET comes with an updated Service Bus library which features support for Message Browse, which allows the user to view queued messages without any further complications, Message Pump Programming Model and Auto-delete for Idle Messaging Entities, at a certain interval.

PowerShell

The Windows Azure PowerShell -- the task automation framework for the cloud platform -- now features support for PowerShell 3.0. There are "numerous new PowerShell cmdlets" according to Microsoft, designed to "automate Windows Azure Web Sites, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, as well as application services including Service Bus and the Windows Azure Store".

Windows Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET is available to download from the Windows Azure .NET Developer Center.

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