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Summary:

Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform as a service (PaaS) now supports Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript development framework. That could give Azure more traction beyond the Microsoft .NET faithful. Also new: a limited trial of Hadoop-based distribution for Azure.

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Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform as a service (PaaS), now supports Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript framework.

That is newsworthy because Node.js allows web developers who use JavaScript on the client side to apply their programming know-how to build fast server-based web applications.

The news, which had been telegraphed a few months ago,  is part of an overall Windows Azure update announced Monday. It’s also part of Microsoft’s push to make Windows Azure attractive to programmers outside its existing .NET installed base.

“We said from the beginning that we wanted Azure to be the best place for .NET developers and the best place for non-.NET developers,” said Doug Hauger, GM for Windows Azure.

Azure has won good reviews for its scale and support of multiple languages, but many developers, even in the .NET world, deploy their apps on other cloud infrastructure. And, support for multiple languages has become table stakes for PaaS providers from Salesforce.com’s Heroku to VMware’s Cloud Foundry.

As part of this update, Microsoft also brings promised support for the Hadoop big data framework to a limited number of Azure users, Hauger said in an interview. Interested customers must submit a short form to be admitted to the limited preview, but access will be broadened over time, Hauger said.

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user D.Begley

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