Posted by Alfonso Castro
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft Open Solutions Group

Microsoft takes part in a range of open source events and gatherings around the world as a way to facilitate face to face discussions with our open source colleagues and help create greater synergies that will ultimately bring real benefits to customers, no matter their preferred platforms or unique needs. I’ve been lucky to be at many of these events, and this week I’ve been in Barcelona for LinuxCon Europe 2012 to talk about Linux and Windows Azure.

Microsoft is proud to sponsor this year’s show, which represents a great opportunity for us to further share our belief that interoperability is key for today’s IT environments, big and small. This is especially true with the continued growth of the cloud and customers’ desires to use cloud-based systems to produce results at potentially lower costs. Combine this with Linux and its strong community of vendors and users, and it makes even clearer sense as to why we’re striving to increase our openness across platforms, including Windows Azure.

With that mindset, we’ve made sure our customers can run official SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), openSUSE, CentOS, and Ubuntu images using Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Customers can easily bring their own customized images or select from pre-built images provided by some of the best-known Linux vendors to gain application mobility between the cloud and on-premises. This week during his show keynote, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth gave a nod to our work with his team on virtual machine support, saying, “The goal of Ubuntu is to be on every cloud, including Azure.”

Additionally, we’ve enabled support for other frameworks and open source applications, courtesy of Windows Azure Web Sites, to deliver even more convenience to developers wanting to use familiar tools or build across platforms. And for IT administrators who prefer to work with a mixed source, private cloud solution, we’ve also come together with Canonical, Red Hat, and others to enable popular Linux distributions to run as first-class guests on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

Interoperability efforts like these make it even more exciting to be at events like LinuxCon Europe. It’s a great opportunity to get community feedback on these efforts and illustrate how Microsoft is open in the cloud (and beyond!) Thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hello this week in Barcelona. Please share your favorite moments from the show in the comments below or let us know where you’d like to see us next!