From DrupalCon London: Drupal and Microsoft – It’s Jolly Good!

imageIt’s been a busy week here in Croydon (just outside of central London), and Microsoft is very proud to be participating in our 5th DrupalCon. The most exciting bit is the clear progress that’s been made as a result of our engagements with the Drupal community. Last month also marked the 1 year anniversary with the work set out by The Commerce Guys on the Drupal 7 Driver for SQL Server and SQL Azure, a solid piece of work that is starting to see great uptake in the Drupal Community.

There’s been solid progress, but the journey continues. Over the past 8 months we have received a great deal of feedback on Drupal on Windows and Windows Azure as well as tools/features that would create value to the community and their customers. We took these things to heart and once again engaged the community to help close the gaps in these areas.

drush on Windows

ProPeople has independently developed and released drush for Windows with the help of a comaintainer of Drush. From “drush is a command line shell and scripting interface for Drupal, a veritable Swiss Army knife designed to make life easier for those of us who spend some of our working hours hacking away at the command prompt.”. For the Drupal power user, drush is a must and we are proud to have sponsored this initial release. Bringing this capability to Windows unlocks new scenarios for these users and we are really excited to see what next here!

Windows Azure Integration

There has been steady progress on the journey to delivering a great offering for Windows Azure and I would like to share with you the status of making this a reality.

First, with version 4.0 of the PHP SDK for Windows Azure, the team at Real Dolmen released a new tool that provides the capability to “scaffold” Windows Azure projects based on templates. What this means is that for any project type or application, one can easily create a template that ensures the proper file structure, as well as automatic configuration of the application components. To help those who wish to run Drupal today on Windows Azure, the Microsoft Interop Team has released a simple scaffold template and instructions which provide a shortcut to getting up and running quickly with an instance of Drupal that will scale on Windows Azure. This solution is not going to work for everyone and we are continuing to invest on building an even simpler and more streamlined solution that will be truly ready for the masses – stay tuned for more info on this in the coming months.

And second, The Commerce Guys have released a Windows Azure Integration module. This provides an easy method to offload media storage for your Drupal site to Windows Azure blob storage. There are a number of benefits to using the power of the cloud to store this type of data, regardless of where your application is actually hosted. By leveraging this module along with the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN), you can with just a few clicks have geo-distributed edge caching of all your Drupal site media assets across 24 CDN nodes worldwide – getting that content closer to the user providing greater performance and lower server loads on your web server(s).

Finally, with continuous improvement of the Drupal 7 Driver for SQL Server and SQL Azure mentioned earlier, SQL Azure support is getting even better giving Drupal users the ability to have an auto-scale, fault tolerant database at their disposal with a couple of clicks without any of the headaches of configuration or management (all handled by Microsoft).

We look forward to continued engagements and discussions with the Drupal community on these great Open Source projects and are really excited about the progress that has been made to date. Together we will have more great news to share in the coming months!

Craig Kitterman
Sr. Technical Ambassador

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