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11 January 2013, 11:05

VM Depot brings more open source to Microsoft's Azure

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Azure and FOSS Microsoft Open Technologies, the open-source-oriented Microsoft subsidiary, has announced a public preview of VM Depot, a repository of open-source-based virtual machine images to run on Windows Azure. The company believes that this will make it easier for open source developers and Linux users to make use of Microsoft's cloud platform and create new open source stacks on it.

The VM Depot has opened its doors with images for Debian Wheezy, Mageia 3 beta 1 and Alt Linux 6.9.9alpha operating systems, but the majority of the images are of preconfigured applications and servers mostly based on Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the more obvious choice for a base operating system for these images, given that Microsoft added Ubuntu to its available virtual machines in June 2012, alongside openSUSE, SUSELinux Enterprise Server and CentOS, and Canonical creates custom Ubuntu images for Azure. Application virtual machine packages include WordPress, Drupal, Solr 4.0, phpBB, MediaWiki, DocuWiki and Joomla. Developers will find images for server platforms such as a Ruby stack, JRuby stack, Django stack, LAMP stack and Tomcat and tools including Gitorious and Jenkins. There is also a CentOS-based Riak database virtual machine in the current mix.

A short guide covers how to deploy images from the depot and how to create images which can be published in it. Within the depot, users can comment on and rate the images. "VM Depot is another illustration of how the Azure platform is effectively open," said Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director for Open Source Communities at Microsoft Open Technologies. Microsoft offers a 90 day free trial of Azure's services; a calculator allows users to work out potential costs after that.


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