This post describes some key aspects of your development environment that need to be in place in order to to write and test code for Windows Azure.
Windows XP does not natively support Azure Development
For all the developers running Windows XP face an obstacle to writing code for Windows Azure: developing for Azure requires Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2008. The fundamental dependency is that the Azure Fabric Controller (which runs on your desktop for development purposes, simulating cloud behavior) relies on IIS 7, which (you guessed it!) ships with Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008.
One option is to upgrade your operating system. If you are not quite ready to do that, you have another option – use Virtual PC to run Windows 7 from Windows XP. (This technique also works to run a virtualized Windows 7 image from Vista – or even Win 7 itself – since maybe you don’t want to foul your machine with beta software, like a sandbox for Visual Studio 2010 while it is still in beta (beta 1 as of this writing)).
Essential Software to Develop for Azure
The four essentials are:
- Have IIS 7.x on one of Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate, I believe) –or– Windows Server 2008 –or– Windows 7
- Install Visual Studio 2010 – currently in beta (beta 1 as of this writing) – or Visual Studio 2008
- Install Azure plug-in – currently in beta – to Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2008
- Create an account on Azure hosting in order to deploy to/test on the cloud
I wrote a separate, detailed post on creating a virtual machine image for Windows 7 using Virtual PC 2007.