According to Microsoft, 40% of all virtual machines in Azure are running Linux. That’s up from “nearly one in three” from one year ago. Those numbers won’t surprise anyone close to the Azure platform. But, based on what I hear from clients, I think it could surprise a lot of people.
So, I’m setting out to dispel a few myths about Azure, our friendly open-source cloud platform.
The quick take in this case is simple: You can run anything in Azure. It doesn’t have to be a .NET application, or even a Windows platform.
The implications of using Azure are significant for CIOs and CMOs alike, but it’s surprising how many people still struggle to accept this state of affairs.
If Azure’s so open, why haven’t I heard about It?
Because history sets a powerful precedent; and in this case, Microsoft’s history is its own worst enemy. We’ve heard repeatedly — and for good reason — that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In general, this is true, which means that Microsoft’s image was forged during the browser wars, and sharpened during the intensely competitive era of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
What this means when it comes to Azure is that many people – some of them long-time IT buyers – are unaware of the commitment that Microsoft has made to “open source” and interoperability. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s current CEO, describes the business reasons for this in his book, Hit Refresh. But more compelling are the philosophical reasons he outlines for to open source. This isn’t just a new scenario for Microsoft, it’s the new status quo.
From a cloud infrastructure and data center perspective, this is fairly straightforward: You can essentially run whatever you want in Azure.
With Azure, Everybody Wins… Even the Clippers
The most common use of Azure today remains Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In layman’s terms, think of Azure the same way you think of your own data center—a big room with a whole bunch of servers running. Just like your own data center, you can walk in and plug in any sort of server you’d like, anytime you want. It doesn’t need to be a Windows machine. It doesn’t need to host a .NET application.
So yes, Linux boxes run in Azure, and in a big way. Oracle runs in Azure. Adobe Marketing Cloud is a Java application running on Linux servers, and Azure is its preferred cloud platform. With Azure IaaS, you really can make a legitimate case that everybody comes out ahead.
IT departments win because they can host any application in a single cloud. Business owners—including CMOs with those big CMS and e-commerce budgets—win because they can pick the best-of-breed applications they want, and not worry about IT carrying a specific skillset to support them. Under Nadella, Microsoft is successfully reinventing itself, going from a ferocious competitor to a cooperative and indispensable partner. And the ultra-competitive Ballmer? He’s successfully applying that winning mentality to his new passion, the NBA’s L.A. Clippers.
There you have it: Everybody wins with Azure.
Got an application that would be better served in the Azure cloud? Let us help you.