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Open Source Software Gets Windows Azure Lift with VM Depot

It's now a little easier to deploy open source software to Microsoft's cloud-based Windows Azure operating system.

On Tuesday, Microsoft launched a preview of a community portal that houses prebuilt Linux open source software images, which can be ported to the Windows Azure cloud-based operating system. The portal, called "VM Depot," is free to use and contains a list of open source software images that can be pushed into a virtual machine on Windows Azure.

The software packages currently on display at the portal were created by the VM Depot community participants, but the portal also can be used to publish an organization's custom-built Linux images. Published catalog items currently include the Debian Linux OS distribution, RubyStack for Ubuntu Linux, the Joomla content management system for Ubuntu, WordPress for Ubuntu and a lot more.

Microsoft credited partners in helping to create VM Depot, including Alt Linux, Basho, Bitnami and Hupstream. The project was fostered by Microsoft Open Technologies Inc., which is a wholly owned Microsoft spin-off company created in April.

The portal can be used to deploy images already created for use in business environments, according to Gianugo Rabellino, senior director for Open Source Communities at Microsoft Open Technologies, in a blog post. Microsoft describes Windows Azure as an "open platform," and the new VM Depot portal relies on the use of Windows Azure's open APIs, Rabellino explained.

Virtual machines can be created via the VM Depot portal listings or users can upload their own Linux-based virtual hard disks to Windows Azure as .VHD files, according to a blog post by Doug Mahugh, lead technical evangelist at Microsoft Open Technologies, and Eduard Koller, senior program manager at Microsoft Open Technologies.

The actual virtual machine deployments to Window Azure can take place by using a Linux or Mac command-line tool. The command-line tool just needs to support Node.js, according to the blog post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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