DotNetNuke is offering its Social Web Content Management System via Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud.

The two companies have signed a strategic alliance, which includes an investment from the technology giant to support engineering, sales and marketing for DotNetNuke over four years, as well as technical assistance.

The agreement follows worldwide trials of the Azure-based system, available in five languages, that began earlier this year. A beta version of the new service becomes available in fourth quarter, and the final offering, with accompanying service plans, will become generally available early in 2013.

A Leader with 700,000 sites

DotNetNuke describes itself as the leading Web CMS for Microsoft, with over 700,000 websites worldwide using the open source platform.

In addition to Web content management, the company’s software enables organizations to build internal social networks and external communities, social features added in version 6.2, released in May. These social environments are characterized by activity feeds, friend and follower relationships, team collaboration through social groups and forums, user profiles, a message center and internal document collaboration through SharePoint 2010.

DotNetNuke CEO Navin Nagiah said in a statement that the company’s upper mid-market and enterprise customers “have been requesting a world-class cloud infrastructure to host their mission-critical content and functionally rich, web properties.” The Azure alliance, Nagiah said, will provide a solution that is “both reliable and elastic.”

Site Customization

As a cloud-based service, the Web CMS will allow customers to select a service plan and generate an installation, setup and website via one click.

The company said that all of the features will reside in the cloud, including site management, social collaboration, security, advanced content workflows, document management, page and module caching, analytics and mobile site management. Service plans include the ability to create and use a test site for QA before going public.

Websites built through the CMS can be customized with design templates and applications purchased in the DotNetNuke Store, and developers can customize functionalization through access to the DotNetNuke platform and API, including, in some packages, full file system access.

Organizations which have existing DotNetNuke-created sites can either move them to the Azure platform or manage them through another hosting provider.