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Microsoft has rolled out a number of changes to its Windows Azure platform, including a "truly free" 90-day trial plus new price caps on large databases.

Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, has been updated technically and commercially.

On the technical side, a new version of the Azure SDK supports Node.js, an open-source system for using JavaScript for server-side programming. Node is said to be good for developing event-driven, low-latency, concurrent applications.

Also new - though initially only as a limited preview - is an Apache Hadoop based service. Hadoop is a framework for the distributed processing of large data sets, and is used by many well-known companies including Adobe, eBay, Facebook, IBM, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo.

Microsoft officials also noted a number of usability and functional enhancements to Azure's Java capabilities.

The Azure libraries for .NET, Java and Node are available under the Apache 2 open source licence.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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