Microsoft is inviting early adopters to test the next version of a Solution Accelerator designed to streamline migrations to the latest of the company’s technologies.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta was initially made available for download in November 2010, but the testing Build is still live on Microsoft Connect, and the software giant appears to be welcoming new testers with open arms, still.

After all, it’s the testing data along with feedback from customers that will help the Redmond company wrap up version 5.5 of the MAP Toolkit, and make it available as soon as possible.

Now at v5.5, the MAP Toolkit simplifies the work that IT professionals have to put in when it comes down to upgrade scenarios involving such products as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server R2, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, but also Windows Azure and SQL Azure. More »

When building Windows Azure, one of the aspects of the operating system emphasized time and time again by the company was interoperability. And, indeed, early adopters but also customers of the Cloud platform from Microsoft can testify to the fact that Windows Azure plays nice with a range of non-Microsoft technologies. The Redmond giant wanted to make sure that developers leveraging PHP and Java would feel right at home on the new platform. A new video tutorial made available on MSDN is designed to show devs how to run a Java application on Windows Azure.

After all, I bet there are people in Java-centric shops that need a bit of convincing.

“For those of you interested in Windows Azure, an open platform on which applications written in .NET, PHP, or Java can run, the Windows Azure team has just posted a new video to MSDN on how to create and run a Java application in Windows Azure,” Peter Galli, the Open Source Community manager for Microsoft’s Platform Strategy Group, revealed. More »