Azure Partner Community: The open source odyssey

by Tim Walton, Partner Technology Strategist, Azure and Open Source

In our May and June Azure Partner Community calls, we discussed the opportunity for partners to take open source software and integrate it with a Microsoft platform. The Microsoft approach is to provide an open and extensible cloud platform—a hybrid cloud approach that gives customers enterprise-grade technology in their own datacenter and in the Microsoft global datacenters.

On Microsoft Azure, you can deploy a full range of open-source and community-driven software solutions. Open source on Azure can extend a customer’s cloud investment. Nearly one in three Azure virtual machines run Linux, and the Azure Marketplace has more than 1,000 Linux images, testaments to the fact that Microsoft Azure supports the open source technologies that millions of customers rely on and trust. Learn more about Openness at Microsoft

Consider these points when talking to your customers about Microsoft Azure and open source:

  • Azure is a first class platform for Linux and open source technology, and there is a great story to tell about support for open source on Azure 
  • Ask your customers which open source technologies they use, where they use it, and what they use it for—you can complement what’s already there using Azure
  • There are several simple Linux workloads that can be shifted to the cloud—work with your customers to identify the right place to start
  • IT trends like the Internet of Things, DevOps, managed services, and cloud-based containers are opportunities that will let you expand a customer’s use of Azure assets


The Microsoft approach to open helps customers realize the value of their open source investments by providing them with a cloud platform they can trust. The principles of choice, interoperability, and trust are important to all customers and partners in both the open source and Microsoft communities.


The many open source projects that Microsoft is involved in, and continuing to dedicate resources to, help illustrate our commitment to openness:

Getting started as an open source contributor

Open source licensing

It’s important to understand what it means for a license to be called an open source license, and how these licenses are reviewed and approved. Open source license information


Community and contribution are key principles in open source. You can get involved through GitHub. GitHub is home to millions of open source projects, and Microsoft has several repositories where you’ll find documentation, SDKs, templates, source code, and more. If you’re interested in contributing, here are some resources:

Expand your OS and tools of choice

Get familiar with Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

Bash on Ubuntu on Windows gives you quick access to Linux and popular open source utilities from Windows. It is not a virtual machine running Linux, it is a redirection of Linux system calls to Windows kernel functions.

Get familiar with the Azure Command-Line Interface

There are three ways to interact with Azure:

  • Azure Portal
  • Command line – PowerShell or Azure Command-Line Interface (Azure CLI)
  • Azure SDK

The Azure CLI is cross-platform, and it works no matter what OS you are working on.

Learn more about Azure CLI and how to install it

The modern datacenter and Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the leading open source platform for modern datacenters. The Microsoft and Red Hat partnership lets customers maximize their Red Hat investments, with a hybrid deployment model that lets customers choose whether to run their applications—on-premises or in the cloud. Today, customers can move their Red Hat subscriptions to Azure, there’s an integrated enterprise-grade support experience, and other solutions will be available soon.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Azure has value to customers that includes:

  • Flexible consumption (on-demand or bring your own subscription)
  • Secure, stable, and modern platform for hybrid clouds
  • Cost savings from consistency and standardization
  • Consistent hybrid cloud management (Red Hat CloudForms)

A partner offering for lift and shift and business continuity workloads must include Enterprise Linux support. You’ll want to participate in both Red Hat and Microsoft partner programs to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your practice.

Partner opportunity and resources

Customers need partners to help them modernize their datacenters. With 30 percent of virtual machines on Azure running Linux today, and 50 percent of new VMs on Azure running Linux, there is significant opportunity. An immediate partner opportunity is enabling customers to run an enterprise hybrid infrastructure with Enterprise Linux.

These resources can help you start defining your modern datacenter practice.

Join Red Hat Connect for Business

Meet requirements for the Red Hat Datacenter Infrastructure specialization (download the guide for details)

Watch the on-demand open source on Azure webcasts

Get certified by earning the MCSA: Linux on Azure

Earn the MPN Cloud Platform competency

Utilize your Microsoft partner program and competency benefits

Microsoft Azure products and marketplace

Open source sessions at WPC 2016

If you’re joining us in Toronto for the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, below are my session recommendations for you. You can meet the Partner Technology Strategists on the US Partner Team, who will be staffing the US Regional Lounge on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 11:00AM–5:00PM. Look for more information about the US Regional Lounge in the US Partner’s Guide to WPC 2016.

Add these sessions to your schedule in Connect

  • CE401 Growing your cloud business through Linux and open source software
  • CE403 Big data infrastructure on Microsoft Azure with open source software
  • CE405t Containers on Microsoft Azure: Get started with Azure Container Service
  • CE404t DevOps in the cloud era: Get started with DevOps on Microsoft Azure
  • OFC21e-R1 Build modern client-side applications and web parts with the new SharePoint development framework
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