In a special MSDN blog focused on interoperability, Microsoft Corp. outlined a strategy to expand the adoption and usage of the Microsoft Windows Azure platform through a new virtual machine portal. The move is an extension of Microsoft’s foray into the open-source space, which kicked off April 2012 under the introduction of the Microsoft Open Technology division.
The impetus behind the move was to have Microsoft formalize its relationship with open standards technologies, like HTML5, in addition to participating in the open-source arena through its own contributions. That spirit of software collaboration was herald by RedHat Inc., which called Microsoft’s moves a rising tide to “lift all boats,” and even commented with an official statement of encouragement, urging Microsoft to stay on this trail and continue its engagement with open-source communities.
It seems Microsoft got the hint. In a blog penned by Doug Mahugh, VM Depot is introduced, throwing open the doors for open-source technologies and operating systems to be deployed on Windows Azure.
Mahugh writes, “Do you need to deploy a popular OSS package on a Windows Azure virtual machine? The new VM Depot community portal is just what you need. VM Depot is a community-driven catalog of pre-configured operating systems, applications, and development stacks that can easily be deployed on Windows Azure.”
VM Depot acts a repository for pre-ready images of said popular platforms, including images for Ubuntu Linux, Alt Linux, Debian and a few other distributions (though RedHat is absent). VMs include other popular production platforms like Drupal and WordPress. To continue that level of interoperability, Microsoft has included command-line tools for Mac and Linux to make alternative operating systems more Azure-friendly and streamline the process of Azure provisioning on non-Microsoft machines.
Microsoft’s efforts to expand Azure’s capabilities are smart, especially given the continuing popularity of open-source technologies. It’s also the right thing to do — Microsoft would otherwise be limiting the marketability of its cloud platform, which limits its reach and Microsoft’s ability to compete with its cloud platform.
Although it’s still early in the game, it’s clear Microsoft is willing to remain open and continue this trend. With a floundering Surface and questionable success with Windows 8, Microsoft’s next best bet could be sustaining a cloud platform that is just as competitive and compatible as the rest of them.
Leave a Reply