Microsoft and Open Source

This week I spent 2 days in New Orleans at the RedHat North American Partner conference.   As A Microsoft employee, I did not think this would be something that would happen.  In a world of consumption economics, my attendance makes perfect sense.  In this post I will talk a bit more about the Microsoft’s open source landscape, our RedHat partnership, and why consumption economics brought us together.

While the embrace of open source appears as a is a tectonic shift in Microsoft’s company culture; the development and commitment to open source aligns us with our corporate mission statement.  If we are truly to enable everyone on the planet to do more, we need to arm them with the tools to do so and support efforts that are already moving to do that.  When I am in discussions with people about this topic they often question how committed we actually are.  They understand that we want people using Linux on Azure but how committed are your really?

At Microsoft our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential

To answer that question, it is best to let actions speak louder than words.  I can find no better example than our decision to make one of our flagship products, .NET, open source.  While that is a single example, here are some additional figures that we collect; today, as of this draft, Microsoft employees have committed 860,001 lines of code to open source projects.  We have committed 445,107,561 lines of code since we started tracking the numbers.  The current President of the Apace Foundation, Ross Gardler (Blog | Twitter) is a Microsoft employee.  If we created a slide with the logos of all the open source companies that we worked for, it would make NASCAR jealous.

I myself have even participated in those numbers.  I have created a repository on GitHub where I have published Azure solutions to help partners get started with some of our technologies.

The natural extension of our open source journey would then be to form a relationship with the largest players in the space.  We have done just that.  In November of last year, Microsoft and RedHat made the announcement that they were collaborating to get RedHat products working on the Azure cloud.  The announcement goes into deep detail about what the partnership means but some of the highlights are outlined below.

  • RedHat solutions available natively to Azure customers
  • Integrated support teams
  • Unified workload management across hybrid cloud deployments
  • Collaboration on .NET for a new generation of application development capabilities

In his book, Consumption Economics, J.B. Wood draws parallels between the rise of electricity and the modern power grid with the development of cloud computing.  Microsoft has embraced this idea with the development of our Azure platform and in doing so, added fuel to our open source alignment.  For Microsoft to provide the electricity that empowers people to do more, we had to work to ensure that our cloud platform worked with all of the ways that people might consume it.  It is because of this that we are so engaged in the most popular open source projects working today.  We want to ensure that the solutions developed on not only our technologies but open source work equally well on our platform.  The latest numbers that I heard, are that 25% of all virtual machines running on Azure are Linux based virtual machines.

So to that end, my role at the RedHat North American Partner conference was an extension of what I already do today.  I talked with RedHat partners about how working with Microsoft and our Azure platform can help their customers and am looking forward to the development of those relationships.  It is exciting new times we live in; I for one am looking forward to what our partners and customers do with this new RedHat partnership.

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