Microsoft updates Windows Azure with Hadoop and Dropbox deployment support

Microsoft's ongoing process to improve the company's cloud platform, Windows Azure, has reached a new phase. The software giant has, yet again, introduced a number of new features for Windows Azure, including the HDInsight service for Hadoop clusters, support for Dropbox deployment and Mercurial repositories, as well as enhancements to Mobile Services.

Windows Azure Mobile Services can now be used as a backend by "pure" HTML5/JavaScript clients, Apache Cordova/PhoneGap apps and Windows Phone 7.5 clients. The feature complements the previously-introduced Android Client SDK (Software Development Kit) and support for iOS, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft has also introduced a new web client library for Mobile Services that supports Internet Explorer 8 and newer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari, as well as PhoneGap 2.3.0 and newer. There is additionally support for Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) -- for cross-domain Ajax requests, portable library as well as Json.Net and HttpClient.

On top of CodePlex, Git, GitHub and Team Foundation Server, Windows Azure users can now use Mercurial (Hg) repositories when setting up continuous deployment of websites from CodePlex or Bitbucket repositories. Websites/apps can now be deployment from Dropbox to the InterWebs, a feature available from the cloud platform's management portal.

Windows Azure now features an improved user interface (UI) for easier deployment from source-control, and  Microsoft has also added the ability to renew the Team Foundation Service certificate for continuous deployment from the management portal and to download a publish profile from the Web Sites dashboard in Windows Azure.

Available as a public preview at the moment, the newly-introduced HDInsight service allows Windows Azure users to deploy, manage and use Hadoop clusters that run on the cloud platform.

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