Running Linux Apps in the Cloud? Use Microsoft Azure

Microsoft's "if you can't beat them, join them" cloud strategy.

From the "I guess if you live long enough, you will see everything" file, comes today's post on the public preview of VMDepot brought to us by Microsoft Open Technologies (no, that is not an oxymoron) is an online app store or marketplace where you can choose open source programs to run on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

Actually, the lineup of programs available from VMDepot is pretty impressive. A great mix of programs and Linux derived OS'es including:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Riak
  • Debian
  • Ruby Stack
  • Tomcat
  • JBoss
  • PHP
  • Jenkins

The majority of the available programs on VMDepot were actually made available by Bitnami, which packages open source apps and makes them available to run either by download or on a hosted platform. According to this blog from Bitnami, soon the entire Bitnami catalog will be available on Azure.

In addition to Bitnami, other Microsoft Open Technology partners like Alt LinuxBasho, and Hupstream have contributed to VMDepot.

Microsoft Open Technologies is a Microsoft-owned spinoff that was started back in April of last year to handle Microsoft's interoperability efforts with open source software. Its efforts to make Azure more open source and Linux-friendly have certainly been fruitful, even if some in the open source community have been skeptical of Microsoft' intentions.

If you think about it, though, it is a smart move by Microsoft. The cloud-hosting market both IaaS and PaaS is way too competitive to ignore so many great applications just because they run on Linux instead of Windows. Microsoft's plans for Azure are to be a cloud provider of choice, not just a Windows-based cloud provider of choice.

While Microsoft has taken steps to offer Windows-based choices on Azure, it is good to see Linux-based programs on there as well. The WCM or web content management space is a great example of this. Microsoft has already announced a partnership with DotNetNuke, the .Net-based open source WCM system offered on Azure. Now, by offering WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! on Azure as well, users have a great selection of open source WCM to choose from on Azure.

Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director of Open Source Communities for Microsoft Open Technologies, in his blog post announced VMDepot gives credit to the power of APIs which allow all of this Linux goodness to play on Azure. Rabellino says that along with the day in June when Microsoft first announced that it was going to allow Linux VMs to run on Azure, today's announcement are two of  his best days at Microsoft Open Technologies.

To those who still question Microsoft's intent around open source, I hope this goes a long way toward putting to rest any doubts they may have. 

To me anyway, it means that Microsoft is doing all that it can to make sure that they will be a player in the cloud provider market in the years to come. While PC desktops may not be the dominant player in the market they were in years past, Microsoft is carving out a place in the service provider market. Just, who would have thought that it would be both Linux and Windows based?

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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