Amazon’s announcement for today, with timing presumably associated with EclipseCon, is an AWS toolkit for the Eclipse IDE.
Eclipse, which is an open-source project under the aegis of IBM (who also offers a commercial version), is one of the most popular IDEs (the other is Microsoft Visual Studio). Originally designed for Java applications, it has since been extended to support many other languages and environments.
Integrating with Eclipse is a useful step for Amazon, and hopefully other cloud providers will follow suit. It’s also a competitive response to the integration that Microsoft has done between Visual Studio and its Azure platform.
Speaking of Azure, as part of a set of announcements, Microsoft has said that it’s supporting non-.Net languages on Azure via FastCGI. FastCGI is a webserver extension that basically compiles and loads your scripts once, instead of every time they’re accessed, resulting in a reduction of computational overhead. You can run most languages under it, including Java, but it doesn’t really give you the full featureset that you get with tight integration with the webserver through a language-specific extension. (Note that because .NET’s languages encompass anything that supports the CLR, users already had some reasonable access to non-C# languages on Azure — implementations like Ruby.NET, IronRuby, IronPython, etc.)
Also, in an interesting Q&A on a ZDnet blog post, Microsoft said that there will be no private Azure-based clouds, i.e., enterprises won’t be able to take the Azure software and host it in their own data centers. What’s not clear is whether or not the software written for Azure will be portable into the enterprise environment. Portability of this sort is a feature that Microsoft, with its complete control over the entire stack, is uniquely well-positioned to be able to deliver.