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VM Depot repository off to a flying start

February 11th, 2013 No comments

It’s been just one month since Microsoft Open Technologies announced the early preview of VM Depot, a community-driven catalog of open source virtual machine images. Today we are proud to announce that the community has rallied to our call and already produced over 100 images. We are thrilled at the reception this preview has received and there are more images appearing every day. VM Depot, even in preview, is already a valuable resource for open source projects and their communities. On VM Depot the community can build, deploy and share their favorite Linux configuration, create custom open source stacks, work with others and build new architectures for the cloud that leverage the openness and flexibility of the Windows Azure platform.

We already have a range of base Linux distributions upon which you can build new images. These include, but are not limited to, Debian, Centos, Ubuntu and Mageia. There are images that include “big brand” open source projects such as WordPress, Drupal as well as developer stacks such as the LAMP, Ruby Stack and Apache Tomcat. All these are complemented nicely by more niche projects such as the Moodle course management system and PhPCompta, an accounting application adapted to Belgian legislation. Each day we are seeing more and more open source software published on VM Depot for deployment to Windows Azure. I can only thank the growing community for so fully embracing the VM Depot preview. It’s great to arrive here at Microsoft just as this is taking off, I look forward to working with you as we go from strength to strength.

If you haven’t already done so, now is a really good time to take a look at the ever growing range of images available. If you have an Azure subscription, you’re ready to try it out, if not you can quickly sign up for a free 90-day trial subscription. In addition to being able to deploy from your Azure portal we have provided cross-platform command line tools that give you all the control you need. All we ask is that you remember this is a community effort so please rate and comment on any images you try out. This will help users find the best images and help maintainers ensure they are meeting user’s needs.

Should the image you are looking for not be available yet you can let the community know via the VM Depot forums, with luck someone else will have the same need and publish their image for you. Alternatively, you can build and publish an image yourself. Instructions for publishing and managing images are available on the VM Depot website. If you need any assistance please post to the forums where I or another community member will be pleased to help you.

It is clear from the communities uptake of VM Depot that open source is front and center on Windows Azure, with your help we look forward to building on the early momentum this preview release has generated.

For your OSS image building and sharing pleasure … meet VM Depot from MS Open Tech

January 9th, 2013 No comments

By Gianugo Rabellino
Senior Director Open Source Communities
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

As I write this, I’m exploring the public preview of VM Depot, a new service from Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. VM Depot is a community-driven catalog of open source virtual machine images for Windows Azure. On VM Depot the community can build, deploy and share their favorite Linux configuration, create custom open source stacks, work with others and build new architectures for the cloud that leverage the openness and flexibility of the Windows Azure platform.

The preview launch of VM Depot today is an introduction of things to come: you can already easily deploy different Linux-based virtual machines that include custom and curated installations and configurations. (We have the latest, full-fledged distributions of Debian, Alt Linux and Mageia for your hacking pleasure.) You can comment on them. You can rate them. And, what’s more, you can remix them to your liking and possibly share the results with other members of the community. Or why don’t you go ahead and just create a new one from scratch with your favorite software? For ultimate speed, you can quickly deploy images already customized for specific business scenarios. All this is just a few clicks away, completely free of charge and just waiting for your input to make it better. To learn more, see Getting Started with VM Depot.

VM Depot is another illustration of how the Azure platform is effectively open. As complex as it may seem, VM Depot was relatively easy to build as it relies exclusively on published Azure APIs. As we explore the meaning of openness and interoperability of cloud platforms, I can now say that Windows Azure is at the forefront of the debate and provides compelling proof that documented APIs can do wonders to enable building amazing new applications that leverage the cloud.

Some days you can’t help smiling. I had a big smile on my face back in June when Microsoft announced it was making preconfigured Linux images available in Windows Azure gallery and today I have another reason to be happy as I see how Microsoft Open Technologies is helping open source communities work even more collaboratively with the Windows Azure platform.

VM Depot wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a number of partners who have contributed images and packages for this preview launch, including Alt Linux, Basho, Bitnami and Hupstream. Here what they have to say about VM Depot:

“Ease of deployment is one of the key discussions we have with all of the companies leveraging Riak for their highly-available, scalable data storage needs. The VM Depot indicates that Microsoft Open Technologies is dedicated to supporting the needs of today’s enterprise with the Windows Azure Platform” – Tyler Hannan, Director of Technical Marketing, Basho Technologies, Inc.

“The launch of Azure Virtual Images and now the VM Depot demonstrate that Microsoft is serious about building out its cloud computing platform. We are thrilled to be a part of this new marketplace, which simplifies deployment of the top open source applications to the enterprise-ready Azure platform, taking Windows Azure to a whole new level.” – Erica Brescia, CEO of BitRock, developers of Bitnami

“The demand for cloud computing is there, and Hupstream had the skills to adapt a distribution to the specifics of cloud computing, and provide support as needed. We also wanted to make Debian and Mageia more accessible, and cloud platforms are the simplest way to get started. This was also an opportunity to establish a conversation between actors that traditionally shun each other. Notably, we had excellent collaboration with Microsoft engineers and other community members, while working on a common goal: expanding the reach of developers with Linux.” – Romain d’Alverny, Managing Partner & Engineer at hupstream

I have been doing a fair amount of traveling for MS Open Tech lately where I’ve met a number of great people from the open source community. After a wonderful holiday break, we’re off to an exciting and busy New Year. I know I will use every free moment this month to peek at the VM Depot dashboard and see our latest creation take its first baby steps. Expect more in the upcoming weeks and please help us make VM Depot the best place for open source communities to work together and build shared images for the cloud. See you there.

Categories: Linux, Open Source, Windows Azure Tags:

A New Milestone For Openness On Windows Azure

June 6th, 2012 No comments

Today Bill Laing, Corporate VP for Server and Cloud, announced a very important set of Windows Azure updates. With these new updates, Windows Azure is more than ever an open and easy platform to build and run applications in the cloud, and the place to be for developers who want to have choice and flexibility.

I am proud to say that Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has been working closely with the Windows Azure team and it has been a great journey together, exploring openness and taking interoperability to a new level. There is too much news in this release to cover in a single blog post, and I strongly suggest everyone attend the Meet Windows Azure event tomorrow, when Scott Guthrie and many others will provide a lot of additional information. At the same time, I would like to spend the next few paragraphs on some of the many facets of openness in Windows Azure, to further demonstrate how Windows Azure is living in interesting and exciting times.

Services and Partnerships

For one, I have to point out how all-encompassing the Windows Azure platform is becoming. We will talk in a minute about the support for IaaS, but I would like to draw your attention to how the Windows Azure platform has now announced a set of partnerships that will provide very compelling data services such as MySQL, CouchDB, and Apache Solr.

Those services can be enjoyed by PaaS and IaaS developers and come from the leading industry experts in the field: Microsoft is partnering with leading companies such as Cleardb, Cloudant and Lucid Imagination to provide true data-as-a-service and enable developers and customers to build applications at scale without the worry of provisioning and maintaining their databases. At the same time we and our partners addressed the needs of those who prefer to run software independently in their own PaaS and/or IaaS instances, providing easy installation packages of Windows Azure-optimized versions of Apache CouchDB and Apache Solr. Last but not least, we worked with 10gen to improve the installation experience of MongoDB on Windows Azure that was originally announced in December, and we are looking forward to building a great experience for Windows Azure MongoDB users. 

More importantly, both Microsoft and our partners are committed to always maintain full compatibility with the underlying Open Source applications so that our customers can always rest assured their data will work everywhere. With these technologies joining the existing pool of Windows Azure SQL Database and Apache Hadoop, Windows Azure is leading by leaps and bounds when it comes to data.

OSS on Windows Azure

If Windows Azure databases are now a few clicks away, applications are far from being out in the cold. The announcement of Windows Azure Web Sites – a hosting framework for Web apps that will work across both Windows Azure and private-cloud datacenters – unveils amazing opportunities to run popular Open Source applications in Windows Azure: be it WordPress or Drupal, Joomla or Umbraco, DotNetNuke or PHPBB, or one of the many apps in the Web Sites gallery, it has never been easier to deploy applications on the Windows Azure platform. And I can’t wait for developers to try the new releases of the Windows Azure open source SDKs (now including Python in addition to .NET, Java, PHP and Node.js) as well as the integration with Git.

We are also releasing a major update to the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java (by Microsoft Open Technologies that includes a number of user feedback-driven improvements. Among them is a significantly revamped deployment experience contributed by GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd, an established leader in helping enterprises move their Java applications to the cloud, who has recently joined in the development work behind the plugin. Their impressive “publish to cloud” wizard makes it much easier for Windows Azure developers working with Java to deploy their projects to the Windows Azure cloud directly from Eclipse. Read the more detailed blog post from Martin Sawicki that covers the Eclipse plugin in more detail.

Last but not least, you probably have noticed the upcoming support for IaaS, Virtual Machines and Linux. I believe this move demonstrates how Windows Azure is built around what customers are asking for and with the idea of being the most inclusive platform ever. Customers are demanding high degrees of flexibility and want to be able to run every possible scenario in a seamless fashion: there are very interesting examples of hybrid private/public clouds out there, not to mention a number of creative contaminations of IaaS, PaaS and data services. We are most definitely moving away from monolithic architectures – customers and developers today want and deserve flexibility.

Linux on Windows Azure

Enabling use of Linux on Windows Azure is a key piece of the puzzle, and needs to be as easy as possible. As with data services, it’s all about strong partnerships with industry leaders: this is why you are seeing Windows Azure partnering with major Linux publishers to provide an amazing experience, and I’m sure this will be a very exciting and ongoing story. On top of that I have to note how partners like BitRock are doing very interesting work to provide more choice: two initial Linux images are available for Bitnami, and we look forward to extending the catalog much further.

Allow me to make a final example of openness and talk about the Windows Azure Command Line Tools for Mac and Linux (the ones Windows Azure users will run on local machines to deploy and manage their Windows and Linux virtual machines): not only they are Open Source, but they are available right now for Mac and Linux clients. And this is just the beginning – stay tuned for more exciting news.

Openness and Interoperability

When a journey reaches an important milestone it’s good to look back and think about the road so far: in my case I went as far as two years ago, when we shared our view on Interoperability Elements of a Cloud Platform. Back then we talked to customers and developers and came out with an overview of an open and interoperable cloud, based on four distinct elements: data portability, standards, ease of migration & deployment and developer choice. We have been laser focused on the quest for an interoperable and flexible cloud platform that would enable heterogeneous workloads, and it’s really rewarding to see how today’s announcement maps nicely to the vision that we outlined back then. More precisely:

  • A lot of efforts have been spent on data portability with great results. Allow me to remind you how on Windows Azure your data is either a JSON/XML call away or in any case available through open interfaces (think of JDBC/ODBC support for SQL Database, as an example). Working on open interfaces really pays off when I think of how our partners have been able to build data solutions (MySQL, Hadoop, Solr, CouchDB, MongoDB) that can run either as a service or as independent workloads. Our customer own their data, and this is near and dear to our hearts.
  • When it comes to standards Windows Azure has one of the most complete API layers around, exposed as REST, XML, OData, Atompub, JSON and others. We are working with standard bodies such as IETF, OASIS and DMTF to ensure that important topics such as identity and management in the cloud are exposed as standard-based APIs, and we have been proactive proponents of important standard efforts such as AMQP and OData among others.
  • Ease of migration & deployment is a key factor when building a cloud platform that preserves existing investments and enables co-existence between on-premise software and cloud services. I see a lot of progress in this area, as an example when I think of the work we have been doing to provide our Java customers and developers with a much improved Eclipse experience, while at the same time providing to everyone the flexibility of FTP and Git to deploy and manage applications. Windows Azure Web Sites is also a great example of how easy deployment can be in the cloud, putting your favorite applications (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PHPBB and many others) just one click away. While at it, you may want to check out our step-by-step instructions for running Magento.
  • And finally, developer choice, defined as the possibility to use a variety of development tools, runtime and languages. Here we have five SDKs layered on top of a standard APIs, covering .NET, Java, PHP, Python and Node.js. We support the widest possible variety of workloads: be it PaaS or IaaS, be it Windows or Linux, be it public, private or hybrid. We are working with Open Source communities and with leading vendors to provide the best of breed in applications and data services. No matter what your workload is, Windows Azure will be a great home for it.

I have broken every promise I made to myself to keep this post short, yet I barely managed to scratch the surface of this announcement. I have in front of me the plan for the upcoming weeks and I know it will be busy times for this and many other blogs in Microsoft as there is so much to share. It will all start tomorrow at the Meet Windows Azure event: be there!

OSBC 2012: Advancing Interoperability in the Cloud

May 21st, 2012 No comments

At the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco today, Sandy Gupta, the General Manager for Microsoft’s Open Solutions Group, along with Alan Clark, Director of New Initiatives and Emerging Standards for Open Source at SUSE, announced the release of a beta version of the SUSE Manager Management Pack for System Center.

In a blog post, Gupta said the announcement, which was made in collaboration with SUSE, lets this management pack connect the Linux server management capabilities provided by SUSE Manager to System Center, Microsoft’s management platform.

“As a result, customers will be able to administer both Windows and Linux environments from a single management console,” he said.

Gupta positioned the management pack as one example of the work Microsoft is doing to advance interoperability for private clouds. You can try the Linux management capabilities this management pack provides for System Center here.

“On the public cloud front, there’s extensive work going on across the company to facilitate interoperability between Microsoft and open source cloud tools and services. One of the most exciting examples of this comes from the SQL Server Team — the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure, for which Microsoft released a second preview last month,” he said.

This solution for managing “big data,” connecting it and turning it into business insight, is a prime example of the type of value customers want to realize as a result of leveraging open source and Microsoft software together, he noted.

You can read his full blog post here.

FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on Windows Server Hyper-V

May 11th, 2012 No comments

Today, at BSDCan 2012, Microsoft and partners NetApp and Citrix announced upcoming native support for FreeBSD support on Windows Server Hyper-V.

This move continues our commitment to extend support across platforms to the Windows Server Hyper-V solution, making it easier for more customers to realize the benefits of server virtualization and more easily adopt cloud computing.

This will allow FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on Windows Server Hyper-V. The drivers and associated source code will be released early this summer under the BSD license, and will initially work with FreeBSD 8.2 and 8.3 on Windows Server 2008 R2.

You can read more about this on the Openness blog.

Joe CaraDonna, the Technical Director of Core Operating Systems at NetApp, says in an interview that he was thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Microsoft and Citrix to deliver Windows Server Hyper-V support to FreeBSD.

“I think the combination of these virtualization technologies helps round-out the FreeBSD virtualization story, and makes the FreeBSD operating system a more compelling offering.”

He also notes how committed Microsoft is to open source initiatives: “we decided from the very beginning that we were going to open source the code under the BSD license. No strings attached. They were as eager as us to support the project, and then give the code away. How cool is that?”

You can read the full interview here.

Announcing one more way Microsoft will engage with the open source and standards communities

April 12th, 2012 No comments

In case you missed it, I just wanted to flag this blog from Jean Paoli:

I am really excited to be able to share with you today that Microsoft has announced a new wholly owned subsidiary known as Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., to advance the company’s investment in openness – including interoperability, open standards and open source.

My existing Interoperability Strategy team will form the nucleus of this new subsidiary, and I will serve as President of Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

The team has worked closely with many business groups on numerous standards initiatives across Microsoft, including the W3C’s HTML5, IETF’s HTTP 2.0, cloud standards in DMTF and OASIS, and in many open source environments such as Node.js, MongoDB and Phonegap/Cordova.

We help provide open source building blocks for interoperable cloud services and collaborate on cloud standards in DMTF and OASIS; support developer choice of programming languages to enable Node.js, PHP and Java in addition to .NET in Windows Azure; and work with the PhoneGap/Cordova and jQuery Mobile and other open source communities to support Windows Phone.

It is important to note that Microsoft and our business groups will continue to engage with the open source and standards communities in a variety of ways, including working with many open source foundations such as Outercurve Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation and many standards organizations. Microsoft Open Technologies is further demonstration of Microsoft’s long-term commitment to interoperability, greater openness, and to working with open source communities.

Today, thousands of open standards are supported by Microsoft and many open source environments including Linux, Hadoop, MongoDB, Drupal, Joomla and others, run on our platform.

The subsidiary provides a new way of engaging in a more clearly defined manner. This new structure will help facilitate the interaction between Microsoft’s proprietary development processes and the company’s open innovation efforts and relationships with open source and open standards communities.

This structure will make it easier and faster to iterate and release open source software, participate in existing open source efforts, and accept contributions from the community. Over time the community will see greater interaction with the open standards and open source worlds.

As a result of these efforts, customers will have even greater choice and opportunity to bridge Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies together in heterogeneous environments.

I look forward to sharing more on all this in the months ahead, as well as to working not only with the existing open source developers and standards bodies we work with now, but with a range of new ones.

Thanks,

Jean

Avenda Announces $1 eAgent Introductory Pricing – From now until after the RSA Conference 2009

January 9th, 2009 Comments off

Here is a follow-up guest posting from our NAP Partner Avenda Systems.



 


Due to the interest in our recent blog entry – Five Ways to Draw More Value from Microsoft NAP Deployments – we’ve decided to help customers kick off 2009 with a little cost savings.  The calls and email have been overwhelming and have helped us understand that a lot of you are looking at role-based access and endpoint posture and health validation as a real way to leverage Microsoft’s NAP technology.


With the release of Windows Server 2008, network policy and services is something everyone should be considering to secure 802.1X-based wireless, wired, and VPN deployments.  Additionally, the NAP agent for Windows XP is in Service Pack 3, which was released worldwide earlier in 2008. As a result, a NAP client was expected to be available to some 80% or more of Windows laptops, by the end of 2008.


Avenda’s eAgents add the ability to extend Microsoft NAP capabilities and to support non-Microsoft operating systems.


From now until April 30th, one week after the end of the RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, each copy of our eAgents can be purchased for $1 each.  This includes the Windows and Linux NAP agents.

Categories: Linux, Partners Tags:

Avenda Announces $1 eAgent Introductory Pricing – From now until after the RSA Conference 2009

January 9th, 2009 No comments

Here is a follow-up guest posting from our NAP Partner Avenda Systems.



 


Due to the interest in our recent blog entry – Five Ways to Draw More Value from Microsoft NAP Deployments – we’ve decided to help customers kick off 2009 with a little cost savings.  The calls and email have been overwhelming and have helped us understand that a lot of you are looking at role-based access and endpoint posture and health validation as a real way to leverage Microsoft’s NAP technology.


With the release of Windows Server 2008, network policy and services is something everyone should be considering to secure 802.1X-based wireless, wired, and VPN deployments.  Additionally, the NAP agent for Windows XP is in Service Pack 3, which was released worldwide earlier in 2008. As a result, a NAP client was expected to be available to some 80% or more of Windows laptops, by the end of 2008.


Avenda’s eAgents add the ability to extend Microsoft NAP capabilities and to support non-Microsoft operating systems.


From now until April 30th, one week after the end of the RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, each copy of our eAgents can be purchased for $1 each.  This includes the Windows and Linux NAP agents.

Categories: Linux, Partners Tags:

Avenda Announces $1 eAgent Introductory Pricing – From now until after the RSA Conference 2009

January 9th, 2009 No comments

Here is a follow-up guest posting from our NAP Partner Avenda Systems.



 


Due to the interest in our recent blog entry – Five Ways to Draw More Value from Microsoft NAP Deployments – we’ve decided to help customers kick off 2009 with a little cost savings.  The calls and email have been overwhelming and have helped us understand that a lot of you are looking at role-based access and endpoint posture and health validation as a real way to leverage Microsoft’s NAP technology.


With the release of Windows Server 2008, network policy and services is something everyone should be considering to secure 802.1X-based wireless, wired, and VPN deployments.  Additionally, the NAP agent for Windows XP is in Service Pack 3, which was released worldwide earlier in 2008. As a result, a NAP client was expected to be available to some 80% or more of Windows laptops, by the end of 2008.


Avenda’s eAgents add the ability to extend Microsoft NAP capabilities and to support non-Microsoft operating systems.


From now until April 30th, one week after the end of the RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, each copy of our eAgents can be purchased for $1 each.  This includes the Windows and Linux NAP agents.

Categories: Linux, Partners Tags:

Avenda Announces $1 eAgent Introductory Pricing – From now until after the RSA Conference 2009

January 9th, 2009 No comments

Here is a follow-up guest posting from our NAP Partner Avenda Systems.



 


Due to the interest in our recent blog entry – Five Ways to Draw More Value from Microsoft NAP Deployments – we’ve decided to help customers kick off 2009 with a little cost savings.  The calls and email have been overwhelming and have helped us understand that a lot of you are looking at role-based access and endpoint posture and health validation as a real way to leverage Microsoft’s NAP technology.


With the release of Windows Server 2008, network policy and services is something everyone should be considering to secure 802.1X-based wireless, wired, and VPN deployments.  Additionally, the NAP agent for Windows XP is in Service Pack 3, which was released worldwide earlier in 2008. As a result, a NAP client was expected to be available to some 80% or more of Windows laptops, by the end of 2008.


Avenda’s eAgents add the ability to extend Microsoft NAP capabilities and to support non-Microsoft operating systems.


From now until April 30th, one week after the end of the RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, each copy of our eAgents can be purchased for $1 each.  This includes the Windows and Linux NAP agents.

Categories: Linux, Partners Tags: