AlmaLinux arrives on Azure cloud

AlmaLinux, the CentOS Linux clone, is available in ever-larger markets, including Microsoft's Azure cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When Red Hat, CentOS's Linux parent company, announced it was "shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release," the move annoyed many CentOS users. So, commercial CentOS distributor CloudLinux announced it would create a new CentOS clone, Lenix. Now, under a new name, AlmaLinux OS, this new business Linux is available in more markets than ever.

In its latest move to commercial adoption, AlmaLinux is now ready to run on the Azure marketplace. Images are available for both Gen1 and Gen2 and are deployable from the Azure portal. You can also get it up and running using the Azure shell utility as well as from the marketplace link. The software cost to get going with AlmaLinux? Free. Zero. Nada.  

Of course, many Linux distros are available for free on the clouds. But AlmaLinux has more going for it for enterprise users than many of the others. That's because its parent company, CloudLinux, has been delivering a customized, high-performance, lightweight RHEL/CentOS server clone for multitenancy web and server hosting companies since 2009. 

CentOS, of course, remains available. But it's now an entirely different take on RHEL. Instead of being an RHEL clone, the new model CentOS Stream is a developer release, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL version.  

In addition, while AlmaLinux is new, it's a one-to-one binary compatible fork of RHEL 8.3. Looking ahead, AlmaLinux will seek to keep in-step with future RHEL releases. RHEL 8.x, CentOS 8.x, and Oracle Linux 8.x migration instructions are available today. In short, if you need a stable and ready for production workload replacement for the popular but now abandoned CentOS distribution, it's hard to beat AlmaLinux. 

Besides the new AlmaLinux images on Azure, the group has also spruced up its global mirror network within Azure regions in order to ease installing or updating the operating system regardless of which Azure region you use. All updates and/or software installations will transparently and automatically use local Azure mirrors. AlmaLinux is also now available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud.

While many companies will run AlmaLinux using their own in-house RHEL/CentOS expertise, if you need commercial support it's available. CloudLinux offers ten years of support for AlmaLinux. Since many CentOS former customers were all about long-term stability, this makes it very attractive whether you want to run it on your own hardware or the Azure cloud.

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