Microsoft and an Open Source affair


2018-01-10, 08:39 Posted by: Antti Arnell

Before we resume normal programming, I want everybody to check out IglooConf (http://iglooconf.fi/) in Helsinki. IglooConf is the largest purely Azure event in the Nordics and it is happening next week on 18-19 January. The event features a single track for two days with excellent speakers who are all MVP’s or work in Azure Engineering Team. This is a really unique chance to check out what can be done on Azure. Tickets are still available and of course, Cybercom will be there as we are sponsoring the event. So, come along to see interesting sessions and also get the chance to talk to our Azure team.

 

 iglooconf

 

In my last blog (unfortunately only in Finnish) I stated that Microsoft has for some time had a love affair with open source. This has caused some snarky comments at least in my fellow nerds. But is this the victory of open source community over Microsoft or is it a calculated strategy on Microsoft's side? Well I think it is bit of both.

Different groups have for long advocated on the benefits of open source and it seems that finally Microsoft has agreed. The saying "if you can't beat them, join them" might be a bit harsh but also quite apt. Microsoft has finally come to see that there is a lot of business sense in joining many others in developing open source software in addition to their old software. Because of this, this does not seem to be a temporary dalliance, but the way things are going to go for the foreseeable future.

The love for open source can be seen in many forms. One of the major ones is the release of Microsoft SQL Server on Linux this autumn. Now you can run SQL in Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu or Docker Engines. This opens up various interesting possibilities for development.

Another place where the love can be seen is also the most visible place to any Microsoft customer. Windows 10 operating system has had Windows Subsystem for Linux since the Anniversary Update. What this means basically is that you can have a full Bash shell in you Windows machine for your scripting needs.

command prompt bash
Installing bash into Windows 10.

But the most interesting place where support for open source can be found is of course Microsoft Azure. One of the very first places this can be seen is the Azure Cloud Shell that allows you to use bash with Azure CLI in your browser session to easily administer your environment.

Traditional IaaS side Azure also obviously supports virtual machines with open source distributions. You can bring your own Linux image or use one of the many Endorsed Linux distribution images provided by Partners. The marketplace is also chock-full of ready-made different software solutions all based on open source solutions.

On the more modern PaaS side of the cloud (You are running PaaS instead of IaaS, aren't you?), Azure App Service has since September supported Linux OS in addition to the Windows OS. This enables you to natively run all your .Net Core, Node.js, Ruby, and PHP needs with all the usual benefits of App Service like built-in CI/CD, deployment slots, and scaling.

Microsoft Azure , App Service
Open Source goodness in App Service.

And talking about .Net Core, if you are interested in developing .NET applications on Linux or even Mac, you are free to do so as .NET Core is free and open-source. If you find bug in PowerShell or it is lacking a feature that you need, just head to GitHub and start contributing. Certainly, doesn’t sound like the Microsoft some people think about.

Open Source is also heavily featured in containers and Azure provides support for them with Azure Container Service for orchestration with Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and DC/OS. You could also easily run a single container with Azure Container Instances for simple applications, tasks, or testing. For your microservices needs Azure Service Fabric also supports Linux containers.

On the database side Microsoft has in preview Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. This will enable migration of older open source software or development of new open source software into a more modern cloud PaaS environment. Microsoft also released into preview Azure Database Migration Service. This tool allows for simpler migration to Azure SQL from for example Oracle which are traditionally in open source environments.

This was obviously a small surface scratch on Microsoft and open source but if you are interested in more news you can follow https://open.microsoft.com/.  The site has news on what is happening and a weekly newsletter with changes, documents, videos, and more. You might also be interested in Azure Opendev which is a series of technical videos surrounding open source that can be found at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/opendev/.

Cybercom has a long history on the open source front with many certified experts and now also a strong partnership with Microsoft through our Azure cloud architects. RedHat and Microsoft have shared a lot of love between them lately with for example Microsoft being a platinum partner in many of Red Hat Forum events.  In 2018 we have many things planned regarding open source with RedHat and Microsoft so stay tuned for those.


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