Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL) not the only big-name channel partner with which Canonical, the company that develops Ubuntu Linux, has been forging closer ties lately. On Tuesday, as Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, Canonical was also playing up Ubuntu's seamless integration into the Azure cloud platform—a move that makes much more sense than it might at first seem.
Although Ubuntu's relationship with Azure so far has been a quiet one, it stretches back a while. Last June, Canonical released official images of Ubuntu for Windows Azure, and it has worked with Microsoft to optimize Ubuntu's performance for the cloud environment.
Microsoft's introduction on Tuesday of the Azure Infrastructure Services, which the company says will help organizations migrate existing infrastructure to the public cloud rather than having to rebuild for it, doesn't directly impact the Ubuntu Azure images. Still, Canonical took the opportunity to remind the channel of Ubuntu's deep compatibility with Azure. As it wrote on its official blog:
Today, Microsoft Corp. has announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, its public cloud offering with the ability to create and manage both Windows and Linux virtual machines. As part of Canonical’s Certified Public Cloud Program, Ubuntu on Windows Azure is fully certified and has been tested andoptimizedby Canonical and Microsoft for excellent performance and reliability. Enterprises that require both Windows and Linux can choose the right operating system for running their workloads based on application performance and availability.
Beyond that, the Canonical post doesn't actually say too much about Azure specifically. But it does remind readers that Ubuntu is "the leading guest OS in most major public clouds" (according to Canonical, at least—independent numbers to back up this statement are elusive) and can run a variety of major cloud applications across multiple clouds.
I'm not sure what that has to do with Azure Infrastructure Services in particular—after all, if they're designed to help migrate existing infrastructures into Azure, is this the best time to encourage organizations to deploy new cloud applications on Ubuntu if the ones they want to import into the cloud run on something different?
Still, this is another reminder of Canonical's tireless drive to corner any and all potential niches of the cloud market—even if it means closely partnering with companies that were once anathema to the open source ecosystem. But in the post-PC (can we say that yet?) age of cloud computing, the landscape has changed in major ways, and Canonical is doing the smart thing.