Several Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Suse and CentOS are set to be available as virtual machine instances on Windows Azure, following Microsoft's announcement that it will support the open-source platform.
Microsoft announced this week an update to its Windows Azure cloud computing platform, adding Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities called Windows Azure Virtual Machines, which enable customers to operate persistent virtual machine images on Azure for the first time, including Linux as well as Windows instances.
Linux vendors that have already stepped up to offer distributions via the new Windows Azure Image Gallery are Canonical, Suse and OpenLogic, which provides enterprise support for CentOS.
Canonical said that users can now launch Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS images directly from the Windows Azure Gallery, but that users must currently go to Canonical for support. In the next update of Windows Azure due in the autumn, customers will be able to buy support directly from the Windows Azure Gallery.
Meanwhile, Suse Linux Enterprise Server and openSuse can both be run as Windows Azure virtual machines. Customers can deploy these to Azure ready-configured with applications using the one-click-deployment capabilities of Suse Studio, the firm's online Linux image creation tool.
Openlogic similarly said it will provide CentOS Linux via the Windows Azure Gallery, enabling developers to build out cloud apps using Linux and Windows Azure.
Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat was conspicuously absent from the Azure party, having launched its own CloudForms platform for creating and managing IaaS cloud computing environments earlier this week.
During the preview period for Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Microsoft will offer discounted hourly rates for Virtual Machines ranging from $0.013 per hour up to $0.64 per hour depending on the instance size.
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