'Publish to the Cloud' Plugin Available for Java Devs Deploying on Azure

GigaSpaces Technologies has added its support to the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java project with the contribution of a "publish to the cloud" wizard. This new feature is designed to allow Java developers to deploy to the Azure cloud directly from within the Eclipse IDE. The wizard sidesteps the process of manually uploading Java apps through the Windows Azure Management Portal and takes on the "heavy-lifting" of fetching credentials, signing in and uploading a package.

Sponsored by Microsoft's new wholly owned subsidiary, Microsoft Open Technologies (MS Open Tech), the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java project seeks to provide support for Java developers who want to deploy their applications to Windows Azure. The project, which is also supported by Persistent Systems, offers Java developers a growing list of tools and technologies, including a deployment project wizard, a server configuration role property page, Azure libraries for Java and the Windows Azure Toolbar, among others. A recently updated list of project features is available here.

Launched in April, MS Open Tech has been billed by the company as "one more way Microsoft will engage with the open source and standards communities." Microsoft's Jean Paoli, who is one of the creators of the XML specification (with Tim Bray and Michael Sperberg-McQueen), announced the formation of the subsidiary in April in a blog post. The Microsoft Interoperability Strategy team, which Paoli managed, became the group's "nucleus." 

"This new structure will help facilitate the interaction between Microsoft's proprietary development processes and the company's open innovation efforts and relationships with open source and open standards communities," he wrote, adding that the subsidiary "will make it easier and faster to iterate and release open source software, participate in existing open source efforts and accept contributions from the community. Over time the community will see greater interaction with the open standards and open source worlds."

GigaSpaces is an Israeli company specializing in virtualizing and scaling Java applications, and is a provider of alternative app platforms for Java and .NET. The company's flagship eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) is an app server designed to provide a complete middleware solution on a single, scalable platform.

The company rolled out Cloudify for Azure, a Java-based open PaaS stack solution, last September. The solution is designed to allow users to get their Java and Spring apps onto the Azure cloud with no architectural or code changes, explained Yaron Parasol, GigaSpaces lead product manager. Cloudify for Azure is designed to allow users to define complex deployments with interdependencies between XAP and non-XAP modules.

The solution's automatic self-healing capability is designed to replace crashed nodes and machines with new ones according to the user's "recipe." A recipe is an execution plan that automates configuration, deployment, monitoring, and scaling of an entire app stack, Parasol explained. Cloudify recipes can automate any stack and require no changes to an application's code, he said. The solution comes with pre-designed recipes for common Java stacks, such as Spring, Tomcat and AzureSQL.

"You prepare the recipe using our Cloudify shell and some other tools that you're used to working with, like an IDE," Parasol explained in an earlier interview. "And basically, you take your application -- both the business logic and the different containers, databases, etc., that you need your application to run on -- and you just wrap it with your recipe. It's totally external to both your application and the containers. Then you deploy it to the cloud. The rest is totally automated."

Cloudify for Azure was recognized at the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference as a "building block" for Windows Azure. More information is available on

The Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java project is available under the Apache License 2.0, and hosted on SourceForge.


About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].