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Announcing more open options and choice on Microsoft Azure

Posted on February 17, 2016

Director of Program Management, Azure

Both Microsoft and I love Linux, and just days after Valentine’s Day, I am ecstatic to showcase this love with several new announcements to provide you with even more open choice and flexibility for your cloud deployments on Azure.

These announcements include Red Hat Enterprise Linux images available in the Azure Marketplace, Azure Container Service broadly available, Bitnami images certified for the Azure Marketplace, and OneOps support on Azure.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux now available in the Azure Marketplace

Starting today, you can deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances from the Azure Marketplace, where now more than 60 percent of our images are Linux-based. With this release, we are delivering on the joint partnership announcement we made in November.

Using these instances, customers of Red Hat and Microsoft will now be able to rapidly and seamlessly deploy instances for on-demand workloads, dev-test, and cloud bursting – all with the simplicity, scalability, agility and unique per-minute billing flexibility of Azure. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 and 7.2 images are now live in all regions, except China and US Government, and can be deployed directly from the Azure Marketplace.

Since we announced our partnership in November, we’ve seen strong interest and momentum from our customers looking to bring their Red Hat investments to Azure. We offer the best enterprise-grade support of the public cloud, by offering a fully integrated support experience with co-located Red Hat and Microsoft support engineers sitting side-by-side to help you when you need it!

Furthermore, Red Hat and Microsoft have worked together to ensure Red Hat subscriptions purchased through the Azure Marketplace provide unique, integrated subscription support and value through direct access to the Red Hat customer portal.  This provides you the full breadth of Red Hat enterprise value delivered directly as part of the Azure on-demand experience.

Red Hat Customer Portal

Azure Container Service preview broadly available

In addition to enabling and contributing to the open source ecosystem, we continue advancing our portfolio by integrating open source into the services we deliver, offering you greater flexibility while we learn from the broader community. To that end today, we're announcing the Azure Container Service preview is available for everyone.

Containers have already been adopted in many development shops as they simplify the process of building, shipping and running applications. However, running containers in the cloud means working in a distributed environment across multiple hosts.

Azure Container Service builds on our work with Docker and Mesosphere to provision clusters of Azure Virtual Machines onto which containerized applications can be deployed, orchestrated, and managed. The Azure Container Service makes it easy to create and manage clusters of Azure Virtual Machines pre-configured with key open source components. This work couples Azure's hyper-scale and enterprise-grade cloud with your choice of proven container technologies, Mesos + Mesosphere's Marathon or Docker Swarm, to deliver the foundation needed for the orchestration service any team or company building container apps will want.

Azure’s approach is unique among cloud providers, combining the flexibility to choose among open source technologies with the power, governance, and convenience offered by Azure technologies such as Azure Resource Manager and Virtual Machine Scale Sets.

Now in public preview, we invite you to try the Azure Container Service today!

Deepening our commitment to the open source ecosystem

Open source has dramatically influenced our cloud offerings. Most recently we integrated dm-crypt as part of Azure Disk Encryption, launched the MCSA Linux on Azure certification and announced experimental Web App support for PHP 7 at php[world]. We have also released many solutions with open source technology partners such as Pivotal, Cloudera, MariaDB, Hortonworks and Datastax (check out the Open Source Hub to explore more)

Going back further, Microsoft Open Technologies originally announced VM Depot in 2013, an open VM image repository with a clear charter to incorporate contributions from partners and the community. It grew rapidly to hundreds of Linux and FreeBSD images, including Linux-based stacks from Bitnami. Today, we begin the next chapter in this journey as we certify for the Azure Marketplace a group of Linux images created by Bitnami, giving you confidence in deploying these open source images into your enterprise environment.

“Open source continues driving cloud innovation, and Bitnami is helping customers realize that value effectively,” said Erica Brescia, co-founder and COO of Bitnami. “We’re really excited about the next chapter of our journey with Microsoft as we deliver an extensive catalog of open source applications to Microsoft Azure customers around the globe.”

With this transition, we renew our commitment to a first-class customer experience through the Azure Marketplace for open-source solutions. We will certify many of the Bitnami created images over the next few months.

More choice for management and deployment across multiple clouds

We are constantly looking for opportunities to empower developers and system administrators to use the tools and the experiences they want to manage their cloud deployments on Azure. Partnering with Walmart and their WalmartLabs team, we are excited to enable OneOps on Azure, which offers an open-source cloud and application lifecycle management platform.

“At Walmart, we are excited about Azure’s support for OneOps as it enables easy deployment on to Azure’s hyper-scale public cloud while continuing to use OpenStack for our private cloud,” said Brian Johnson, Sr. Director @Platform. “The combination of OneOps and Azure's Linux images allows us to deploy on to Azure with 100% open source products.”

Enabling open source innovation for customers everywhere

I continue to be excited by open source solutions on Azure that spark new ideas and take advantage of the agility of the cloud. Take, for example, tritrue, the Tokyo-based startup behind Pathee, a next-generation location-centric search engine. Azure is helping tritrue build a strong hybrid pipeline with Cassandra clusters. Furthermore, tritrue is leveraging Azure’s hyper-scale to bring Pathee to a global market for which “support from Azure is essential.”

Beeline, one of the largest mobile operators in Russia, is another great example of cloud-centric, open source-driven innovation. Music Beeline, a service built in collaboration with Beeline’s partner ZED+, uses Postgres, Java and Backbone.js on CentOS to serve over 100K paid subscribers. A hybrid topology helps Beeline achieve their compliance requirements, and to grow their existing 200 TB data volume by 200 GB per day.

We have learned a lot from our customers deploying open solutions on Azure (see some of the common use cases) and if you want to learn more about how they are harnessing the power of open source in the cloud with Azure, make sure you register for our upcoming webinar on March 11.

We’re truly excited to continue bringing innovation to the market and to strengthen Azure as the open and flexible cloud platform that supports customers delivering great experiences around the world. That sure is a lot of love and a lot of choice.

See ya around,

Corey