Linux and Windows are popularly thought of to get along like a bad tempered Pekingese dog and an ill-mannered Siamese cat. Things have changed though since Bill Gates said that “The GPL (General Public License, Linux’s license] … makes it impossible for a commercial company to use any of that work or build on any of that work.” Things have changed. Now, Microsoft has announced that its Azure cloud will support persistent VMs which will enable users to run Linux distributions. These distros are: openSUSE 12.1, CentOS 6.2, Ubuntu 12.04 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP2.
This development isn’t as surprising as it may sound. As ace Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley reported earlier this year, “Running Linux on Azure has been a surprisingly big business-customer request.” A quick look at the Cloud Market analysis of operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) on June 7th found that there over 18-thousand Ubuntu Linux instances currently running and about 10-thousand otherwise unidentified Linux instances. In contrast, there were only 33-hundred Windows instances. It’s as plain as the nose on your face: businesses want Linux servers on the cloud.
In addition, Microsoft has been working with Novell, SUSE’s predecessor company, on Windows and Linux network and virtualization integration since 2006. More recently, SUSE and Microsoft have been working on Linux and Hyper-V integration. Making it possible to run openSUSE, SUSE’s community distribution, and SLES on Azure was the natural next move.