Microsoft and Linux working together!


I’ve been thrilled to see the recent collaboration between Microsoft and various Linux distributions. Everyone has seen the Microsoft <3 Linux headlines over the last few months, and I’ve been curious about how this relationship has been reciprocated by the Linux community. So I decided to ask Stephanie Wonderlick at Red Hat and Rebecca Cradick at Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) a few questions about the current state of Linux and Microsoft’s cross-platform cooperation. After my initial contact with Stephanie, I was able to get a few questions over to Mike Ferris, Vice President of Business Architecture at Red Hat who had some great insights for me. I’ll present the full question and answer’s a little further down.

Both companies recognize that customers will have a mix of both Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux within their development and datacenter architectures and will look to deeper integration. – Mike Ferris

When you think about it, this type of strategic partnership makes a lot of sense and is mutually beneficial to both platforms. SQL Server will gain a wide audience of developers and administrator’s from the Linux community, and in return, Linux will be introduced and further integrated into the well-established SQL Server community. Mike Ferris of Red Hat says much the same in response to my questions about how a partnership like this develops; “Just as Microsoft saw increasing demand for Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Azure, Microsoft also recognized the importance and opportunity for SQL Server native availability on Linux in the enterprise.”

In fact, both Red Hat and Canonical credited Linux on Azure as being a major motivator for collaboration. Rebecca Cradick from Canonical states “we have a very good and close working relationship with Microsoft, in fact, Ubuntu is the most widely used Linux image on Azure and we continue to work on development with them.” In January of this year writing for insight.ubuntu.com John Zannos writes; “Working with Microsoft we have seen tremendous growth of Ubuntu on Azure. Use of Ubuntu on Azure is growing rapidly and, more than one in four VMs running on Azure are Linux”. With such a wide usage of Linux on Microsoft’s popular cloud service, it’s easy to see how interests between operating system distributors converged with customer demand in this case.

It seems apparent that all sides are taking this collaboration seriously. Here is the full transcript of the questions I had for Red Hat and the response’s I received from Mike Ferris.

Me: As a professional Linux Administrator I’m alway’s happy to see better integration of technologies across platform boundaries. Given the release of SQL Server for Linux, how do you envision the future of cooperation between Red Hat and Microsoft?

Mike Ferris: “We started the relationship with enabling our joint enterprise customers with Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Azure backed by integrated support from both companies. We then rapidly expanded our activities to include; making. NET on Linux available directly from Red Hat (http://developers.redhat.com/dotnet/) on both RHEL and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, integrating our management platforms including CloudForms and Ansible with Azure and making future statements about our work with AzureStack and SQL Server.  All of these and future activities are being driven directly by our joint customer requests and demand.”

Me: What part did Red Hat play in bringing SQL Server to the Linux platform? And how did such a massive project get started?

Mike: “Just as Microsoft saw increasing demand for Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Azure, Microsoft also recognized the importance and opportunity for SQL Server native availability on Linux in the enterprise.  We have jointly worked to enable the public preview of SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (https://www.redhat.com/en/about/blog/sql-server-linux-public-preview-now-available-red-hat-enterprise-linux).   This type of relationship is not new for Red Hat.  Our early work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux with both Oracle and IBM DB2 ensured scalability and performance of those platforms to meet enterprise needs.  Similar activities can also be applied to ensure SQL Server performance, reliability and security in the enterprise as well.”

Me: Does Red Hat have any plans to bring Linux technology to the Windows Platform? Bash is currently being integrated into Windows 10 does that provide any opportunity to bring more features across the isle?

Mike: “Both companies recognize that customers will have a mix of both Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux within their development and data center architectures and will look to deeper integration. In the same way that including native Bash capabilities into Windows empowers administrators and developers with familiar tools, we are also ensuring that development, operations, and management platforms such as JBoss, OpenShift, and CloudForms and Ansible become natively integrated become a natural extension to Windows environments where appropriate and provide a consistent set of capabilities across both Red Hat and Microsoft platforms.”

It would seem that SQL Server isn’t the only promising development coming out of these partnerships. Along with SQL Server coming to Linux, Windows 10 now has a fully featured Bash shell, thanks in large part to Canonical’s joint efforts with Microsoft.

Microsoft was genuinely interested in working with Canonical to deliver the full Ubuntu shell experience to Windows 10 users!” – Dustin Kirkland

Ubuntu’s work to bring Bash to Windows 10 is even further evidence that both parties are committed to the continued integration of computing technology. Writing for Linux.com Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland commented: “this was more than just a science project.  Microsoft was genuinely interested in working with Canonical to deliver the full Ubuntu shell experience to Windows 10 users!”

Not that long ago if someone would’ve told me that Microsoft and Linux were going to actively work together, and combine their respective strengths in such exciting ways I would’ve thought you were going a little crazy. I for one am happy to see this kind of collaboration, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Deeper integration of native tools across multiple platforms’s cannot be anything less than a dream come true for large I.T. organizations that must work within heterogeneous environments to provide highly available services at low cost.

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