Posted by James Utzschneider
General Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

Yesterday, customers had the opportunity to meet Windows Azure and learn more about services in the technical preview that make Windows Azure an even more flexible, open, and powerful cloud platform.  The openness and success of the Windows Azure platform is sustained by an unrivaled ecosystem of partners, providing more choices for customers to transition to the cloud on their terms. 

As part of the technical preview for Windows Azure Virtual Machines, key partners Canonical, OpenLogic, and SUSE are expanding Windows Azure’s infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities by enabling Linux running on persistent virtual machines.  Compatible operating systems and images available through the online gallery now include: OpenLogic CentOS, openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu, and Windows Server.  This is because embracing Linux on our platforms is a real business for us. 

As enterprise adoption of public, private and hybrid cloud computing grows, Microsoft is working with the ecosystem of vendors and communities to deliver cloud solutions to customers based on their specific needs and scenarios. Further, this new Windows Azure service reflects an ongoing commitment to work with the broader Linux community to provide customer choice, including a core group of Linux kernel developers who accepted our code into the community’s staging tree and worked diligently with us to harden and improve it. 

Tom Hanrahan, Principal Group Program Manager of Microsoft’s Open Source Technical Center, has been at the center of much of this work the past several years. “These partnerships were invaluable in making the Linux experience we provide on Windows Azure today first class in every regard,” he says.

We’re also fortunate to have a thriving ecosystem of partners who are providing support for a broad range of open source applications and tools.  Please check out the Port25 blog for more on key partners like 10Gen, ClearDB, Cloudant, and Lucid Imagination who are helping customers implement and scale data services MongoDB, MySQL, NoSQL, and Apache Solr on Windows Azure.

Check back on the blog in the coming days as many of these partners will be participating in TechEd North America next week and we’ll post select interviews here, including their perspectives on how a combination of open source solutions and Windows Azure can help customers transition to the cloud.

As always, please let us know in the comments what you think of this week’s news and if there are other scenarios you’d like to see supported on Windows Azure.