Microsoft Open Tech Brings Support For More Open-Source Projects To Azure

At O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore., today, Microsoft’s Open Technologies subsidiary announced two new partnerships that bring support for more open source technologies to the Microsoft Azure platform. Developers will now be able to use Azure with, for example, a service for creating machine images for multiple platforms from one source configuration. The other service the team now supports is OpenNebula, a tool for managing heterogeneous data center infrastructures.

OpenNebula now supports hybrid cloud deployments on Azure, and existing OpenNebula users — many of which are large telecom firms — can now move their applications to Microsoft’s cloud. They could, of course, use Microsoft’s own Azure tools to manage these deployments, but many of these users have made deep investments in OpenNebula already. It’s worth noting that Amazon and a number of other cloud vendors already support this service on their platforms.

“We believe in the coexistence of the private and public cloud, and all the team is excited about giving the OpenNebula users using the hybrid model the possibility of on-demand access to a leading cloud provider like Microsoft Azure,” said Rubén S. Montero, Chief Architect of the OpenNebula project in a statement today.

As for Packer, Microsoft will soon allow developers to create their customized images (including on Windows Server), save them to Azure’s blob storage and then quickly launch them from there. While this may sound like a replacement for the likes of Chef and Puppet, Microsoft notes that it actually plays together nicely with these technologies.

As Doug Mahugh, Microsoft Open Tech’s lead technical evangelist, and Robin Bender Ginn, a senior technical evangelist at Open Tech, told me earlier today, Microsoft OpenNebula’s existing users look at Azure as a virtual datacenter that they can now move to if they choose to move away from their existing solutions.

Microsoft argues that these two new partnerships complement the work Open Tech is already doing in the cloud space. As Mahugh told me, the team is constantly looking at what developers are interested in and how it can support them. Right now, that’s containers (and virtualization in general), for example, so Open Tech teamed up with Google and others to bring support for Kubernetes, Google’s technology for managing Docker containers, to Azure.

For many people, the fact that Microsoft does open source still comes as a bit of a surprise, but as Open Tech launches more of these projects, this surprise is slowly making way for acceptance. Open Tech now has a rotating group of over 200 engineers who work on a large variety of projects, and their contributions are clearly starting to make a difference in how Microsoft is perceived in the open source world.

“A few years ago, the news was that we were at these events [like OSCON],” Mahugh said. “Now, that’s not news anymore. Now people want to know what we’ve been doing lately.”