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We recently announced the Customer Technology Preview (CTP) of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities in Windows Azure. As part of that capability, Linux is one of the supported guest Operating Systems in the Virtual Machine (VM). The key to success however, is not just spinning up a VM in Azure, but being able to configure and deploy applications in Azure using this as easy as it is in your own datacenter or “private cloud”.
One of my team mates (Hanu Kommalapati) out of Texas wrote a very nice technical article on how to do this with Linux for a specific scenario – configuring Cassandra with Linux in Azure and accessing it from Node.js. Find his great article here: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/linux/other-resources/how-to-run-cassandra-with-linux/.