Important Changes in Windows Azure SDK Distribution

With November 2011's distribution, Microsoft smoothly introduced some important changes in Windows Azure SDK 1.6:
  • Windows Azure SDK adds a particule to its name: Windows Azure SDK for .NET
    • suddenly a question appears: is this a retreat from the interoperability field (regarding PHP & Java dev/deployment on Windows Azure roles), or they simply wanted to add an emphasis of the relationship with the underlying Framework

  • Windows Azure AppFabric is now Windows Azure .NET Libraries
    • This will deeply busculate all search engine records and web references relative to this. I find this move pretty shocking; when first, it changed from .NET Services to Azure AppFabric, it took some time for us to find the way the new references..., now it changed again?... I don't really get it.

  • Windows Azure .NET Libraries (that is, the former Windows Azure AppFabric) will be installed with the Windows Azure SDK (for .NET, I assume... right?)
    • This is rather a good move - as the way is to the unification of different Azure "clubs"; by thus, it will get simpler for the developer (less entry points to the resources)

  • Then, the first enhancements listed under the new Azure SDK nomination are those of AppFabric features:

    • Service bus enhancements:
      • Support for ports in messaging operations: You can now specify that messaging operations use port 80 or port 443. Set the ConnectivityMode enumeration to Http.
      • Exception contract refinements: Exception messages throughout the service bus managed API set are improved and refined.
      • Relay load balancing: You can now open multiple listeners (up to 25) on the same endpoint. When the service bus receives a request for your endpoints, the system load balances which of the connected listeners receives the request or connection/session.

      Caching enhancements:
      • Client side connection pooling: Connection pooling now enables all DataCacheFactory instances to share the same pool of connections. This makes it easier to manage your connections within each role instance.
      • Performance improvement for cache access times: The client-side caching binaries have been optimized to improve access times of cached objects.
      • Custom serialization: You now have the option of implementing a custom serializer for caching, in order to optimize the serialized form of your objects in the cache.

  • Other interesting aspect is related to Windows Azure HPC (High Performance Computing) and it comes not from the "what's new" content itself, but from a side note:

LINQ to HPC is in Community Technology Preview (CTP). This feature will not offer release-level support."

    • This is in phase with Microsoft's recent announces regarding the Hadoop platform adoption - so we may assume the Windows Azure HPC feature will be either shut down, or radically transformed.
There are many, many, many other things added/enhanced in 1.6 SDK. I will get back later on the rest of them.