Linux offered on Microsoft's Azure

Bangalore: At last it’s official. Microsoft has just announced that they are now offering Linux-based operating systems on its Windows Azure cloud service. Although this announcement has led to raised eyebrows in some of the hardcore Microsoft believers as Microsoft was considered itself as a successful company built around the huge success of Windows. And also Linux was considered as Microsoft’s foremost rivals in cloud service as Microsoft battled with their Windows Server against Unix Servers. The Azure portal has already started making Linux available through Microsoft Windows Image Gallery, charged at an hourly pay-as-you-go basis. Azure has currently deployed Linux distributors Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, OpenSuse 12.01, CentOS 6.2 and Canonical Ubuntu 12.04.

Users are also excited in the new move as Azure also provides their favorite Linux distributor via Azure cloud. For instance in the case of Suse, users can directly download latest edition of the Suse Linux Enterprise Server or OpenSuse along with security updates and patches. Also users can directly deploy their applications via any of the developer environment of the appropriate Linux distributor using their personal Azure login ID.

With this groundbreaking move Azure has declared an open war on their main rivals Amazon Web Services – who offers distributions such as Canonical Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in addition to Windows.

Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services at The Linux Foundation exclaimed that "We do find it to be a watershed moment; especially considering the past, but it's not surprising. Cloud computing has mostly been a Linux and open-source affair. Microsoft is a smart company and will do what they need to do to be a player in cloud, and in this case it means doing something that was anathema in its past: agreeing that another operating system is needed in order to be technically relevant. I'm sure many Redmond inhabitants aren't too happy about this, but it's good for users."