This question has come up several times recently as we take several hundred UK developers through 6 Weeks of Windows Azure training (sorry – we are full).
Short answer: In the main, yes
The question is sparked by the requirements as stated on the Windows Azure SDK download page.
Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows Vista 64-bit Editions Service Pack 1; Windows Vista Business; Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Enterprise; Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Home Premium; Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows Vista Service Pack 2; Windows Vista Ultimate; Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition
Notice there is no mention of Windows XP. However things are not quite that simple.
The Windows Azure Platform consists of three released technologies
- Windows Azure
- SQL Azure
- Windows Azure platform AppFabric
The Windows Azure SDK is only for one of the three technologies, Windows Azure. What about SQL Azure and AppFabric? Well it turns out that you can develop for both of these technologies just fine with Windows XP:
- SQL Azure development is really just SQL Server development with a few gotchas – and for local development you can simply use SQL Server 2008 R2 Express (other versions will also work).
- AppFabric also has no local simulation environment and the SDK will install fine on Windows XP (SDK download)
Actually it is also possible to do Windows Azure development on Windows XP if you are willing to always work directly against the real Azure cloud running in Microsoft datacentres. However in practice this would be painful and time consuming, hence why the Windows Azure SDK installs a local simulation environment. Therefore if you want to develop for Windows Azure I would recommend you either upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or… you use a virtual machine running Windows 7.
If this is a temporary requirement, then you could consider building a virtual machine using the Windows 7 Enterprise 90 day eval. Or you could download a pre-configured VHD – but I can’t quite find the link for a Windows 7 VHD. Pointers welcomed. Thanks.