CLOUD PROVIDER Microsoft will offer Ubuntu 12.04 images on its Windows Azure cloud service.
Microsoft announced support for Linux-based operating systems on Windows Azure after months of working hard to improve Linux kernel support in its Hyper-V hypervisor. Now Canonical has announced that Microsoft will be offering Windows Azure users the chance to load virtual machines with Ubuntu 12.04 installed.
Canonical's Ubuntu 12.04 was heavily promoted as an operating system for cloud deployment, with the firm revealing several new features along with a five year support plan for the operating system. According to Microsoft, the Spring release of Windows Azure will offer Ubuntu 12.04 support from Canonical, while the Autumn release will see Microsoft providing direct support.
When Microsoft announced Linux support on Windows Azure it called that a "key piece of the puzzle". The firm said its Windows Azure command line tools for Mac and Linux are open source, a very rare thing for Microsoft to do.
Canonical's Ubuntu operating system has gained popularity in cloud deployments, with Canonical claiming that it is the most popular instance on Amazon's EC2 cloud, a claim that Red Hat has cast doubt upon. Nevertheless, Ubuntu clearly has enough of a following for Microsoft to offer Ubuntu 12.04 on its once Windows-only haven of Windows Azure.
Microsoft had no choice but to support Linux-based operating systems on its Windows Azure cloud service if it wanted to be taken seriously as a cloud provider. With almost every other major cloud provider supporting Linux, Microsoft would have ended up losing business right and left from users that simply don't want to run Windows. µ