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Microsoft Expands Tech Support for Linux on Azure

Microsoft announced this week that it will offer more support for organizations trying to run Linux workloads on its Azure infrastructure, starting today.

The company mostly will help with installation and configuration issues for the Linux server operating system distributions supported on Azure. Those distributions include CentOS, CoreOS, OpenSUSE, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Ubuntu.

Microsoft will still defer to specific Linux vendors as the main contact for resolving other issues, but it sometimes will get involved if additional help is needed. That approach represents a switch from past practices in which the Linux vendor was the main contact regrading Azure troubles, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft still points its Azure customers running Linux back to the OS vendor for "advanced troubleshooting and performance tuning." It also provided a list of issues where it doesn't plan to provide help, namely:

  • Scenarios related to security are not covered.
  • Unless covered under the OSS Scope below, work with vendors directly for scenarios not supported by Microsoft. For example: Application development, troubleshooting custom applications and custom code.
  • Support for assistance in design, architecture or deployment of applications or solutions on Azure is not included.

While there's no custom code application support from Microsoft, it will provide limited support for installation and configuration issues associated with third-party platforms and applications, as well as support for application deployment and runtime errors or performance issues. Those currently supported third-party technologies were listed by Microsoft as follows:

  • Languages: PHP, Java, Python
  • Database: MySQL
  • Web and Application servers: Apache, Tomcat
  • Frameworks: WordPress

Microsoft's support for particular Linux distributions and third-party technologies will be subject to change, though. Microsoft expects to alter its support policies based on an assessment of demand on Azure, according to the company's announcement.

Microsoft lately has discovered that it can monetize Linux on Azure, which likely explains why it's getting more involved with Linux support issues. The company's new "Microsoft loves Linux" mantra, as expressed by CEO Satya Nadella, was underscored earlier this year by Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jeffrey Snover. He said that "in the context of Azure, Microsoft makes more money if you have 10 installations of Linux than if you have two instances of Windows."

Linux represented about 20 percent of the virtual machine workloads on Azure, according to a comment made by Nadella back in April.

About the Author

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

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