Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) is connecting the dots between Microsoft.NET and OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform. The move could simplify Web and mobile application development for the Microsoft .NET community.
As one of the most popular programming platforms around today, the .NET framework already receives a great deal of support from Microsoft and partners across the IT channel. Programming tools catering to .NET develolpers proliferate, and Microsoft's Visual Studio helps to streamline the development of .NET applications.
Still, as a software framework that Microsoft unveiled more than a decade ago, .NET is not exactly what one could call "cloud native" (not that many programming frameworks, even at this point in the game, are). But Rackspace is working to make it easier to leverage .NET expertise for the cloud via a couple key initiatives that more seamlessly integrate .NET into Rackspace's OpenStack-based cloud platform.
One important new tool introduced by Rackspace recently is a Software Development Kit (SDK) for .NET tailored to the Rackspace cloud. Available as a free download for users of Microsoft's Visual Web Developer Express (which is also free), the Rackspace SDK provides a language API, programming documentation and other resources to jumpstart .NET development for the company's OpenStack cloud platform.
A Rackspace engineer has also produced an API client for the Rackspace cloud that works with the Windows PowerShell framework. Like the .NET SDK, it makes it easier to integrate Rackspace within a heavily Windows-based environment. It implements in PowerShell much of the functionality already available from the Python-based NovaClient, which is designed primarily for performing cloud administration tasks from Linux machines.
The take-away lesson for the channel: The key to the cloud going forward is combining new types of resources and infrastructure with old -- or, perhaps better put, more established -- programming platforms. The cloud is reinventing the methods by which apps and data are stored and delivered to users, but not the way developers work. Bridging traditional programming environments and the cloud is vital for continued growth in this niche.