Microsoft: Nearly one in three Azure virtual machines now are running Linux

Over the past year, Microsoft has seen customers use Linux in a third of its Azure virtual machines, up from 25 percent.

Microsoft's self-professed Linux love is helping the company in the cloud.

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During his keynote at DockerCon 2016 in Seattle today, Azure Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich showed off some of the new and upcoming ways Microsoft is adding more container support to its cloud and server products. He also revealed a couple of new interesting datapoints.

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In the past year, Russinovich said, Microsoft has gone from one in four of its Azure virtual machines running Linux to nearly one in three. The other two thirds of Azure customers are running Windows Server in their virtual machines.

Russinovich showed off the promised Windows Server support that officials said would be coming at some point to the company's Azure Container Service (ACS). Microsoft made Azure Container Service generally available in April 2016, but for Linux containers only. Last year, company execs said Microsoft also would bring Windows Server support to ACS.

ACS allows developers to orchestrate applications using Apache Mesos or Docker Swarm. ACS also enables users to migrate container workloads to and from Azure without code changes, according to Microsoft.

Russinovich also showed off a preview of SQL Server on Linux running on a Docker container during his DockerCon keynote on June 21. SQL Server for Linux is currently in private preview and is due to be available by mid-2017.

(To be precise, Russinovich demonstrated SQL Server running on Ubuntu on Docker Swarm on Docker Datacenter on Azure.)

Russinovich also announced today that Docker Datacenter is available in the Azure Marketplace. In addition, Docker Datacenter can manage a hybrid container-based application running across Azure -- and for the first time -- Azure Stack on premises.

Azure Stack is Microsoft's implementation of Azure interfaces and "experiences" for customers and partners who want to run the Microsoft cloud OS in their own datacenters.

According to Microsoft's blog post on June 21 outlining its DockerCon demonstrations, the company has seen a quadrupling of container customers, plus a doubling of container consumption in the first months of 2016

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