Microsoft Cozies Up to Linux Via Virtualization

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 29, 2013

As Linux becomes more firmly entrenched in businesses, and as cloud computing advances, Linux is becoming a significant factor in many cloud deployments.  As we noted here several times last year, Microsoft has steadily been reaching out to Linux with its Azure cloud platform. Months ago, the company announced plans to host Linux in virtual machines with Azure. Now, a new blog post confirms that with the release of Windows Server 2012 "Blue" (Windows Server 2012 R2), Microsoft will add features for users running Linux on Hyper-V in Windows Server.

The post, called "Enabling Open Source Software," says:

"How well does Microsoft virtualize and manage non-Windows platforms, in particular Linux? Our vision regarding other operating platforms is simple: Microsoft is committed to being your cloud partner. This means end-to-end support that is versatile, flexible, and interoperable for any industry, in any environment, with any guest OS. This vision ensures we remain realistic – we know that users are going to build applications on open source operating systems, so we have built a powerful set of tools for hosting and managing them."

That's a far cry from the stance that Microsoft took toward open source software years ago, when it typically refused to integrate it in any way with its platforms and applications. "A great deal of the responsibility to deliver the capabilities that enable the Microsoft Clouds (private, hosted, Azure) to effectively host Linux and the associated open source applications falls heavily on the shoulders of the Windows Server and System Center team," the post from Microsoft adds. Both Windows Server and Azure are going to work through virtualization with Linux. 

Without a doubt, the big businesses that Microsoft depends on, and is pitching Azure toward, want to be able to take advantage of both Windows and Linux. They don't want to be boxed in.

As we noted here, Microsoft is not only one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel, but virtualization at the server level is now easy and efficient enough that IT adminstrators are already running Linux and Windows together.  Specifically, many of them want to run Linux alongside Windows Server and on Azure, and that means that the Linux kernel and Windows Server, and Microsoft's cloud platform, and SharePoint and more tools need to be able to play together nicely. 

It looks like this level of integration is really going to happen.