When Microsoft met SUSE: This Windows-Linux partnership gets stronger every day

SUSE and Microsoft have the longest running partnership between Linux and Windows. Here's where they've been, where they are now, and where they're going tomorrow.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

At 25, SUSE is the oldest business Linux company. At 42, Microsoft is multi-billion dollar mature business best known for Windows. For years, Linux and Windows were at each other's throats -- until in 2006, when SUSE was the first Linux company to bridge the gap between them.

Linux purists hated that partnership. But my, how things have changed! Today, Microsoft has joined The Linux Foundation; all the major Linux distributions, including Debian and Red Hat are available on Microsoft's Azure cloud; and Microsoft recently joined the Open Source Initiative.

Since those early days, SUSE continued to work with Microsoft to run Linux on Windows Server with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtual machine (VM). That work would lead directly to Azure's ability to run Linux distributions. Currently, Linux VMs make up more than a third of the images running on Azure.

Today, you can run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), SLES for SAP Applications, SLES for High-Performance Computing (HPC, and SUSE Manager BYOS on Azure. These offerings include standard (patches and updates) or premium (24x7) support from SUSE. And for those who'd like a lower-cost work day support option, sources say one will be available within a few months.

Azure also supports the latest version of SUSE's flagship operating system: SLES 12 SP3. This version of SLES also includes SMB3 encryption for Azure files. It also now supports Azure Accelerated Networking, which gives up to 25 Gigabit per second (Gbps) networking throughput between VMs.

Microsoft SQL Server, which just became available on Linux, is also available on SLES and SLES on Azure on October 2. Looking ahead, sources said, SQL Server on SLES will also be available shortly on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. At SUSECon in Prague, SUSE showed SQL Server on SLES running in containers.

Thinking of containers, SUSE Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS) will also be available on Azure in October.

For SAP business users, SUSE is also building SLES for SAP on Azure Large Instances. How large is large? These are VMs with 3.5 Terabytes (TB) of memory.

Developers will be pleased to find that SUSE's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud, Cloud Foundry, will support .NET Core by the end of the year. They can already use openSUSE or SUSE Linux on the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Finally, in early 2018, according to sources, .NET Core and the Microsoft R Server for big data will be available on SLES and on SLES on Azure, AWS, and Google Compute Engine.

The partnership between Microsoft and SUSE has only grown stronger over the years. Looking ahead, it will grow stronger still as SUSE moves from being a pure-play Linux company to being a cloud power.


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