A job posting on Microsoft's website explains the Azure Antares project

Microsoft May Have Big Changes Planned for Shared Web Hosting with Azure Antares

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At the Microsoft Hosting Summit in Washington on Wednesday, Microsoft suggested that it is developing a hosting framework for web apps to work across Windows Azure and on-premise cloud deployments, according to a report by ZDNet.

Codenamed Antares, Microsoft says the framework will support web apps created in many languages and stacks. It promises to offer developers a quick Azure onramp experience and enable partners to setup a fully managed, secure, multi-tenant hosting environment on public or private clouds.

A few tweets that came out of the event suggest Azure Antares will “drive shared hosting to the next level.” Although Microsoft has released few details about the framework, a report by the Next Web suggests that it could help drive adoption of Azure, which is on somewhat shaky ground after a significant outage caused by a Leap Day certificate bug. Microsoft also recently lowered its Azure storage costs by 12 to 50 percent, following Amazon and Google’s reduced cloud storage price announcements.

As some hosting providers have pushed to offering cloud-only solutions, Microsoft’s move solidifies that the demand for on-premise application hosting is still significant.

ZDNet says that Microsoft hinted to this development in its cloud roadmap for 2012, and suggests that the mention of developers being able to set up WordPress and Drupal on Azure without writing code could have something to with Antares.

“We are building the Microsoft Web Hosting Framework, a world class offering allowing for massive scale website lifecycle management on the Microsoft platform,” a job posting on the Microsoft website states.

This news comes a few weeks after Microsoft admitted that the publication of proof-of-concept code on a Chinese website may have been caused by a leak in the Microsoft Active Protections Program.

Talk back: What are your initial thoughts on the Azure Antares framework? Do you believe it will change shared hosting? How do you think it will affect your hosting business? Please let us know in the comments.

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