Microsoft and GitHub grow closer

Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub closed last October. Today, at its annual Build developer conference, Microsoft announced a number of new integrations between its existing services and GitHub. None of these are earth-shattering or change the nature of any of GitHub’s fundamental features, but they do show how Microsoft is starting to bring GitHub closer into the fold.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft isn’t announcing any major GitHub features at Build, though it was only a few weeks ago that the company made a major change by giving GitHub Free users access to unlimited private repositories. For major feature releases, GitHub has its own conference.
So what are the new integrations? Most of them center around identity management. That means GitHub Enterprise users can now use Azure Active Directory to access GitHub. Developers will also be able to use their existing GitHub accounts to log into Azure features like the Azure

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Windows Virtual Desktop gives you a Windows 7 or 10 desktop on Azure

Enlarge / A VT100 remote terminal, which is basically the same thing as Windows Remote Desktop. (credit: Wolfgang Stief)
A new Windows version for multiple users was spotted last month, and now we know what it’s for: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a new service providing multi-user remote desktop and VDI in the Azure cloud.
WVD combines three things. Using the new Windows 10 version, WVD can be used to provide remote desktop sessions with multiple users remotely logged in to the same Windows 10 virtual machine (or, alternatively, a Windows Server virtual machine). This can provide both remoting of a full desktop session and of individual applications, serving as a replacement for the RemoteApp service that Microsoft cancelled last year. The service also supports full VDI, with remote users each having their own single-user virtual machine while both persistent and non-persistent VMs are supported. This is supported both with Windows

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Microsoft launches Azure-based Windows Virtual Desktop for running Windows in the cloud

Microsoft has announced Windows Virtual Desktop, a way to run virtualized instances of Windows and Office in the cloud. Running on Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop offers multi-user supports and enables several people to remotely log into the same Windows 10 virtual machine. Microsoft says that the service is also optimized for Office 365 ProPlus and notes that it includes free Windows 7 Extended Security Updates. While there are numerous services that provide access to virtual machines in the cloud, Windows Virtual Desktop is the only one that supports multiple users. It also offers Windows Store compatibility and the inclusion of… [Continue Reading]

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Microsoft Azure’s Container Service now generally available

Microsoft Azure’s Container Service in now available to help companies deploy and manage containers using their choice of software. Users of the service will be able to move their container workloads to the cloud easily and can still run their operations using open-source tools. The two most popular tools — Mesosphere’s Data Centre Operating System (DC/OS) and Docker’s Swarm and Compose — will be both be supported by Azure Container Service and users will be able to continue running their operations using the one they prefer. Mark Russinovich, Microsoft’s CTO for Azure, sees the support of both platforms as something… [Continue Reading]

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Ubuntu Linux and open source play key role in Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview


The current perceptions of Microsoft by some home users can be quite negative. This is likely due to privacy concerns with Windows 10, which is a legitimate issue. With that said, the company is still the darling of the enterprise. After all, Windows 7 and Office are integral tools for many successful businesses.

Windows and Office aside, another wildly popular business tool from Microsoft is Azure. This cloud platform is great, but some companies wisely prefer an on-premises solution. Enter Azure Stack. Today, Microsoft announces that the first Technical Preview of its hybrid cloud/datacenter product is coming this week. Bigger news, arguably, is that Canonical’s operating system, Ubuntu Linux, will play a key role. Once again, Microsoft is leveraging open source — noticing a trend here, folks?

“Today, Microsoft announced the first Technical Preview of Microsoft Azure Stack with Ubuntu. Azure Stack is based on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud model and allows organizations to deliver Azure services from their own datacenter. By including Ubuntu, Azure Stack supplies developers and customers the same great Ubuntu experience they are used to on Azure. Canonical is working with Microsoft to bring more choice and portability to the cloud, by having Ubuntu as a part of Azure Stack”, says John Zannos, Canonical.

Mike Neil, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Cloud, Microsoft explains, “through a series of Technical Previews, Microsoft will add services and content such as OS images and Azure Resource Manager templates to help customers start taking advantage of Azure Stack. Also, Azure has 100s of such applications and components on GitHub and as the corresponding services come to Azure Stack, users can take advantage of those as well. In this context, we are already seeing early excitement from partners — especially open source partners — like Canonical, who are contributing validated Ubuntu Linux images that enable open source applications to work well in Azure Stack environments”.

READ MORE: Ubuntu Linux 16.04 ‘Xenial Xerus’ Alpha 1 available now

Since Linux-based operating systems, like Ubuntu, are already quite popular on the traditional Azure platform, they should see continued success on the Stack variant as well. Canonical’s operating system in particular is very robust and stable, making it a smart choice. Of course, other Linux-based OS images will be available too.

READ MORE: Microsoft gives Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit to the open source community

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how Azure Stack will be received by businesses. With that said, its performance cannot truly be evaluated until a final version is released. We will have a better glimpse into the future this Friday, however, when the Technical Preview is released.

Do you think Azure Stack will prove popular in the enterprise? Tell me in the comments.

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Microsoft brings Debian Linux to Azure

penguin megaphone

While many Linux users are vocal Microsoft detractors, the truth is, the company is a proponent of the kernel. Yes, in years past, the Windows-maker seemingly looked at Linux with disdain, but times are changing, folks. The company is hiring open source professionals, and even developing apps for the world’s most popular Linux distro, Android. Not to mention, Azure has long supported a handful of Linux distributions.

Today, Microsoft is once again embracing Linux by announcing Debian support for Azure. Yes, one of the world’s most popular distros is coming to the Azure Marketplace. It is joining other operating systems based on the kernel, such as Ubuntu, RHEL, openSUSE and more.

“With this announcement, customers are able to provision Debian-based virtual machines in Microsoft Azure by selecting the most up-to-date point versions of Debian 7 (codename ‘wheezy’) and Debian 8 (codename ‘jessie’) built by credativ. credativ is an independent consulting and services company founded in 1999 offering comprehensive open source services and technical support and committed to promoting open source software through using, supporting and developing it. credativ has a presence in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, North America and India”, says Stephen Zarkos, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Azure.

Zarkos further says, “as an endorsed distribution, the Debian images provided in Azure Marketplace are supported by Microsoft Azure’s Linux and open source developer support teams as outlined in our support policy announced in July, 2015. Microsoft and credativ will work together to offer the most updated versions of Debian as Marketplace images, as well as to keep a transparent, community-oriented process for building the image”.

Because Debian is so popular and wisely used, it should immediately prove valuable to companies that leverage Azure. Linux professionals tend to prefer working with the distros they know and love — having Debian absent from Azure was like a huge pain point in many IT departments.

Image Credit: Bobboz / Shutterstock

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