Windows Azure is a premium cloud computing services which enables writing highly scalable web application much easier. However, the support of PHP for Windows Azure has been very basic if non-existing. Recently, we released Windows Azure PHP SDK which can be downloaded both via PEAR channel, PHP composer or github. This Windows Azure PHP SDK give PHP developer instant access of a broad set of Windows Azure services including Windows Azure Blob Storage, Table Storage, Queue Storage, Service Bus and more.
These services are extremely easy to use, I would say, it is much easier to code against these services than setting up your own xxSQL server or service bus instance. Here is a just a glimpse of the problems that you can solve using these Azure services instead of a SQL instance.
1. You have a PHP based photo gallery website, your customer can upload pictures to the website and share with specified customers. You let these photos stored on a hard drive. You find out there are a couple of problems of this approach, 1. the file folder may be full, 2. The hard drive may fail, 3. when the website is popular, there may be a lot of people looking at the pictures, the website is simply not fast enough to support very high traffic.
If you choose Windows Azure Blob storage for the same cause, all of these problems are gone instantaneously!
2. You write a PHP based application which need to integrate with other enterprise applications. These applications are written in different language by different vendor, the best way to integrate them together is to use a message based approach, aka service bus. However, maintaining a service bus in each customers' site would incur additional cost because maintaining a reliable service bus machine is just a burden for the IT team at your customers' site. Here, if you code against Windows Azure Service Bus, all the maintainability/scalability problem are taken care by us, you just code, run it and collect money.