Microsoft and Red Hat join hands for Linux on Azure

05 Nov 2015


Microsoft and Red Hat yesterday announced a partnership to enable easy deployment of Red Hat's open source software on the Microsoft Azure cloud for enterprises.

With the deal, Red Hat Linux will emerge as the "preferred choice" for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure, the software giant's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform.

Microsoft and Amazon are two companies to have achieved Leader status in Gartner's Magic Quadrant report for IaaS.

The partnership would also call for a first-of-its-kind colocated enterprise support centre, with technicians from both Microsoft and Red Hat in the same building.

The centre, which would be physically located in Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond would commence operations in a few weeks, executives from both companies said during a webcast this morning.

The deal marks an alliance between two erstwhile competitors in a major paradigm shift. Microsoft, creator of the Windows operating system, had been in competition against Red Hat, which offered a top Linux operating system distribution and other open source solutions.

According to commentators, a deal of the kind would have seemed impossible a decade ago. Red Hat president of products and technologies Paul Cormier said in this morning's webcast that the creation of the partnership was driven by strong customer demand on both sides.

Azure would become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service some time in the next few weeks, which would make it possible at long  last for Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers to bring their own virtual machine images to run on Microsoft's cloud platform.

Microsoft had long offered Azure support for other Linux distributions, though Red Hat's key enterprise offering had been conspicuous by its absence.

The new partnership will allow Azure customers to access Red Hat's application platform, including the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, JBoss Web Server and Gluster Storage along with OpenShift, its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

The announcement had been a long time coming, according to Elias Khnaser, a research director with Gartner, IDG News Service reported.

"Microsoft should have done this 18 months ago," Khnaser said.

Microsoft, which reported a fourth quarter FY15 net loss of $3.2 billion, pulled down by its Windows Phone and the acquisition of mobile phone maker Nokia, is pinning hopes on cloud computing to boost its earnings.(See: Microsoft bets on booming cloud revenues despite $3.2-bn Q4 loss). 

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