Posted by Kerry Godes
Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

In the cloud, openness is paramount for our customers. Microsoft is committed to giving customers the ability to transition to the cloud on their terms, navigating the path to cloud computing with a unique combination of technology, expertise, and an unrivaled ecosystem of partners.  Today is a milestone in this journey, when customers can meet Windows Azure during a live online event at 1pm PDT with Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President of Windows Azure.  As Microsoft’s Bill Laing detailed in his blog yesterday, Windows Azure is becoming an even more flexible, open, and powerful cloud platform. 
 
As part of today’s technical preview, Microsoft is expanding Windows Azure to include infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities through Windows Azure Virtual Machines, enabling customers to run both their existing Windows and Linux-based applications in the cloud.  Compatible operating systems and images available in the online gallery now include CentOS, openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu, and Windows Server, further illustrating Microsoft’s commitment to openness for customers and partners. 
 
Another new service, Windows Azure Web Sites, enables developers to easily build and deploy websites with support for multiple frameworks and popular open source applications, including ASP.NET, PHP and Node.js. With just a few clicks, developers can take advantage of Windows Azure’s global scale without having to worry about operations, servers or infrastructure. Also, a long list of interoperability updates, including new libraries for Java and Python, ensure that developers can build applications on Windows Azure using the languages and frameworks they already know
 
We couldn’t achieve these milestones without a thriving ecosystem of partners.  Check back on the blog tomorrow when we’ll hear more about key partners Canonical, OpenLogic, and SUSE, whose support for Linux on Windows Azure Virtual Machines is giving customers more choices to take advantage of the economics, scalability and functionality of the cloud. 

In addition, check out what some of the leading industry publications have to say about today’s Windows Azure news: