Posted by Kerry Godes
Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

Today Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, including Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Windows Azure Virtual Network. This new service makes it easy for customers to move applications into the cloud on their terms, saving both time and money.

Infrastructure Services is the final puzzle piece in our broader cloud solution. Combined with our existing Platform Services, Microsoft is now the only cloud provider that can offer a comprehensive hybrid cloud solution. Customers have the flexibility to combine their on-premises investments with our cloud based on their unique needs and scenarios.

This release is strengthened by an unrivaled ecosystem of partners. Canonical, OpenLogic, and SUSE are a key part of the Windows Azure Virtual Machines offering, which expands Windows Azure’s Infrastructure Services capabilities by enabling customers to run their own customized Windows Server or Linux images. In addition, you can tap into the Linux resources at VM Depot from Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., a community managed repository of pre-configured virtual machines that enables customers to discover and deploy common solutions in just minutes.

“Windows Azure allows users to control and manage the computing resources they need to configure and scale compute capacity in a highly available, on-demand cloud environment,” said Michael Miller, VP of Global Marketing and Alliances at SUSE. “With Windows Azure Virtual Machines and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, customers can run a wide range of certified applications while receiving streamlined support from Microsoft and SUSE.”

Since the Windows Azure Virtual Machines service previewed last summer, more than 1.4 million virtual machines have been created on Windows Azure, with thousands being added every day. Compatible operating systems and images available through the online gallery today include: CentOS provided by OpenLogic, openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu, and Windows Server

“Having Ubuntu available on Windows Azure is a big step forward for users who want to migrate workloads to the cloud," said Paul Oh, Business Development Director at Canonical. “Users have the assurance that their Ubuntu images are created and backed by Canonical to safely develop and deploy applications. Windows Azure provides a high performance, scalable and open platform for enterprises to deploy the next generation of cloud applications."

This Windows Azure service reflects an ongoing commitment to work with the broader Linux community to provide customer choice.

“OpenLogic is excited to provide certified and supported CentOS images on the Windows Azure platform,” said Steven Grandchamp, CEO at OpenLogic. “By offering SLA support on one of the most popular enterprise Linux distributions, OpenLogic and Microsoft provide excellent value for enterprise cloud deployments. OpenLogic is proud to participate in this great effort of proven Linux providers and thrilled to see open source take another leap forward in the cloud.”

We’re fortunate to be working with these companies to make the promise of choice and flexibility a reality for our mutual customers. Please see our recent Openness blog interviews with Canonical, OpenLogic, and SUSE for more on the value they are delivering in the cloud.

For more details on this release, including Microsoft’s commitment to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services, please see the Windows Azure blog. Or join the more than 200,000 customers already on the Windows Azure platform and give it a try today.