Microsoft has unveiled plans to more tightly integrate its Windows Azure platform as a service with the forthcoming update to the Windows Server operating system.
The software giant made test builds of the software available for download this week, providing developers with access to Azure-based services including automated website hosting, virtual machines and a service management portal built in Windows 8's new Metro styler user interface.
The services are aimed at hosting providers and form part of Microsoft’s cloud offering refresh for the first half of this year.
Though typically seen as a platform rather than infrastructure play, the addition of the Windows Azure services in Windows Server now provides access to pure Linux and Windows virtual machines.
The company said the website hosting aspect would include support for PHP, ASP.NET, and Node.js frameworks, with source code control in Git.
According to Microsoft, at least four virtual machines running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2 are required to trial the CTP test builds. A System Centre 2012 Service Pack 1 virtual hard drive image is also required, along with .NET 3.5 and 4 frameworks on all virtual machines.
Pricing and licensing costs for the Azure Services has not yet been made available.