Microsoft Support Ubuntu on Azure
Microsoft revealed yesterday that its Azure cloud computing service is extending support to the open source Linux operating system. And in a blog entry this afternoon, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical is working with Microsoft to support the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution on the Azure platform.Canonical will supply official Ubuntu images for Azure and will provide its commercial support services to customers that are deploying Ubuntu in Microsoft’s cloud. After an Azure update that is coming in the fall, users will be able to purchase a Canonical support contract directly through Microsoft’s Azure Gallery.Cloud computing is an important market for Canonical, which has been trying to boost its visibility in the server market. Canonical has recently focused on increasing Ubuntu’s suitability for adoption in cloud environments with projects like the Metal as a Service provisioning tool and the Juju service orchestration framework. The company has also worked to build a presence in private clouds by working to support OpenStack and Eucalyptus.
It’s unsurprising that Canonical is trying to get a good foot in the door for Ubuntu on Azure. Microsoft will also benefit from having partners in the Linux ecosystem as it works to make Azure a competitive offering compared to the cloud services offered by rivals such as Amazon.In a blog entry about Canonical’s partnership with Microsoft, Shuttleworth described Azure as an "impressive new entrant" in the hosted cloud computing market. He also praised the Azure team, saying that they possess a "sophisticated understanding of Ubuntu and Linux in general."Canonical and Microsoft have had little interaction in the past. Ubuntu’s symbolic Bug #1, which was filed by Shuttleworth himself, declares that putting an end to Microsoft’s dominant position in the PC market is one of the Ubuntu project’s chief goals. In his blog post about partnering with Microsoft to support Ubuntu on Azure, Shuttleworth emphasizes that the relationship will not conflict with Ubuntu’s values.
"I know there will be members of the free software community that will leap at the chance to berate Microsoft for its very existence, but it’s not very Ubuntu to do so: let’s argue our perspective, work towards our goals, be open to those who are open to us, and build great stuff," he wrote. "There is nothing proprietary in Ubuntu-for-Azure, and no about-turn from us on long-held values."From a business standpoint, the relationship will be mutually beneficial for Microsoft and Canonical. Although some Linux enthusiasts might not be happy about seeing Canonical officially support Microsoft’s cloud offering, the reality is that Ubuntu will benefit from being able to run in that environment. If Azure support helps strengthen Ubuntu’s enterprise clout, it could help bring more resources and adopters to the Ubuntu ecosystem.