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Cloud Services / Containers / Open Source

Microsoft Azure Now Offers Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Container Management

Feb 17th, 2016 10:00am by
Featued image for: Microsoft Azure Now Offers Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Container Management

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, thanks to a partnership between the two companies launched in November.

“Since we announced our partnership in November, we’ve seen strong interest and momentum from our customers looking to bring their Red Hat investments to Azure,” said Corey Sanders, partner director of program management at Microsoft and program manager on the Azure team, in a blog post announcing the support.

In addition to the RHEL support, Microsoft also formally launched the Azure Container Service, previewed last year.

Currently, over 60 percent of images in Azure are Linux-based, according to Microsoft. Microsoft customers are using Red Hat cloud services. So if Microsoft and Red Hat seem strange bedfellows, it’s because of customer demand for better integration.

“Customers are also looking for next generation functionality, and this partnership is a logical step in making that happen,” said Michael Ferris, director of business architecture at Red Hat, in a phone interview.

The most intriguing piece of this announcement is that Red Hat and Azure customer support engineers will be sitting together in Redmond, Washington.  Sanders said this integrated support and co-location of the engineers is critical to the success of the partnership.

“This provides the customer additional options in how and where they can consume the images,” said Ferris. “The support and services are deliverable in a constant fashion where ever the customer needs them, across all footprints.”

The two companies plan to expand this unique arrangement to other Azure locations as soon as the customer base supports it.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 and 7.2 images are now live in all Azure regions, except for China or for the U.S. government.

Microsoft has been busy incorporating other open source technologies into Azure as well. The company will start offering a set of certified Linux images packaged by Bitnami. It has also started supporting the open source OneOps cloud management software, developed by Walmart Labs.

Open source software also plays a crucial role in the now-live Azure Container Service, which based on Apache Mesos container management software as well as the open source components from Mesosphere’s Datacenter Operating System (DCOS).  In a TNS interview last October, Microsoft Azure chief technology officer Mark Russinovich noted that Microsoft saw a greater interest among its customers for Mesos over Kubernetes, another open source container management application developed by Google.


The Azure Container Service provides a set of API endpoints that can be used to link into container orchestration tools, such as Docker Compose or Apache Mesos. The service can work with other Azure technologies, such as the Azure Resource Manager and Virtual Machine Scale Sets.

TNS managing editor Joab Jackson contributed to this report. 

Docker and Red Hat are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: The New Stack, Docker.
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