Ubuntu, CentOS, & SUSE Linux comes to Windows Azure

Ubuntu, CentOS, & SUSE Linux comes to Windows Azure

Summary: Linux and Windows usually go-together like cats and dogs, but now four of the major Linux distributions - CentOS, openSUSE, SUSE Linux, and Ubuntu - are available on Microsoft's Azure cloud services.

TOPICS: Open Source

Welcome to Windows Azure Linux!

Welcome to Windows Azure Linux!

Linux and Windows are popularly thought of to get along like a bad tempered Pekingese dog and an ill-mannered Siamese cat. Things have changed though since Bill Gates said that "The GPL (General Public License, Linux's license] … makes it impossible for a commercial company to use any of that work or build on any of that work." Things have changed. Now, Microsoft has announced that its Azure cloud will support persistent VMs which will enable users to run Linux distributions. These distros are: openSUSE 12.1, CentOS 6.2, Ubuntu 12.04 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP2.

This development isn't as surprising as it may sound. As ace Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley reported earlier this year, "Running Linux on Azure has been a surprisingly big business-customer request." A quick look at the Cloud Market analysis of operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) on June 7th found that there over 18-thousand Ubuntu Linux instances currently running and about 10-thousand otherwise unidentified Linux instances. In contrast, there were only 33-hundred Windows instances. It's as plain as the nose on your face: businesses want Linux servers on the cloud.

In addition, Microsoft has been working with Novell, SUSE's predecessor company, on Windows and Linux network and virtualization integration since 2006. More recently, SUSE and Microsoft have been working on Linux and Hyper-V integration. Making it possible to run openSUSE, SUSE's community distribution, and SLES on Azure was the natural next move.

It comes as no surprise then that SUSE seems to have the most mature offering for its Linux on Azure. Besides offering simple instances of SLES, users can use SUSE Studio, SUSE's build your own virtual server application Web-based service to build their own cloud-ready applications and automatically launch them on Windows Azure.

SUSE is also including automatic maintenance that keeps SLES up-to-date on the most current security patches, bug fixes and new features on Azure. In addition, SUSE is backing SLES on Azure with its usual range of support options In a statement, Sandy Gupta, general manager of the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft, said "Through our continued engagement on technical interoperability with SUSE, we look forward to delivering core value to those running mission-critical, mixed-source IT environments from the data center and into the cloud."

As for Ubuntu, Paul Oh, Canonical's business development director wrote, "Canonical and Microsoft worked together to ensure that Ubuntu, tested, certified and enterprise ready from the start." Oh continued, "During the current Spring Release of Windows Azure, you can launch Ubuntu images directly from the Windows Azure Gallery. The Windows Azure gallery currently contains Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS and support is available directly from Canonical. In the Fall Release of Windows Azure you will be able to buy support directly from the Windows Azure Gallery."

CentOS, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone, will also be available on Azure. You will be able to get support for CentOS on Azure from OpenLogic, an open-source support company.

Want to try it for yourself? Microsoft is presently offering a 90-day free trial of Azure. In addition, during the preview period Microsoft will offer discounted hourly rates for Linux Virtual Machines ranging from $0.013 per hour up to $0.64 per hour depending on the instance size.

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Topic: Open Source

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  • Where is Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server on Microsoft's Azure?

    Did Microsoft offer Red Hat the opportunity to partner on Azure? If so, were they just not interested? Or, perhaps, they balked at the terms? If not, why not?

    This gives the appearance that Microsoft may be attempting to use Azure as a club to knock Red Hat down a notch or two. Especially with CentOS being included via OpenLogic.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Good question.

  • Ubuntu, CentOS, & SUSE Linux comes to Windows Azure

    All part of the plan. Once businesses see how well Microsoft Azure runs they will migrate their apps away from linux and onto a native Microsoft solution.

    Begin migration phase 1: linux -> Windows
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Only ABMers ever thought this

    [i]Linux and Windows are popularly thought of to get along like a bad tempered Pekingese dog and an ill-mannered Siamese cat.[/i]

    Everyone I know who supports Linux in the workplace (I don't know anyone using Linux at home, it is extremely unpopular in the consumer market) has absolutely no problems with Windows. Only people who look at Linux as a religion have a problem with Windows.
    • Don't know about that one...

      A long-time anonymous pro-MS talkbacker whose initials are NAG (maybe he's your boss) once called open source "open sores". He who must not be named used to habitually call Linux "linsux". There are lots of other examples.

      There's been mutual bad feeling between Windows and Linux fans (not necessarily users) for a long time; dating back to when a lot of the latter were commercial UNIX users.
      John L. Ries
    • Clearly you don't know many Unix admins;-)

      There's near universal contempt for windows from Unix admins (including unix-style OSes such as Linux); philosophies so different, scalability / reliability in different leagues.

      The click / reboot problem diagnosis / resolution of the MCSE is priceless. As is their ignorance of underlying technologies and standards.

      They say a picture is worth a thousand words; Google "Scott Adams; Here's a nickel kid". This cartoon captures the relationship beautifully.
      Richard Flude
      • Contempt for the system...

        and the vendor who provides it are different than contempt for its users.


        But lots of people have trouble distinguishing between the three.

        The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that the UNIX user in the cartoon in question is a good illustration of a major underying cause of the friction between Windows and UNIX users (but not the only one): We UNIX users tend to come across as a bunch of snobs, provoking inferiority complexes in Windows users. That particular series of cartoons ("Operating System Holy Wars"), though, is a perfect illustration of the stupidity of trying to force everybody to adopt the same system (as Ratbert was trying to do); which I think was Adams' point.
        John L. Ries
      • Very good point, Richard!

  • The main obstacle is that of trusting Microsoft.

    They DO have a history of E E E. (Embrace, extend and extinguish)
    MS is surely not the only one to play dirty, but they DO have a track record for it that puts them in the top league of dirty play.

    So the question is: Who is willing to trust them ?
    We never know; it may be al-right.