Azure already supports a number of major Linux distributions (opens in new tab), like CentOS and openSUSE, but Microsoft is now taking things one step further by offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances through the cloud platform's Marketplace.
This comes as a direct result of Microsoft's partnership with Red Hat, which, among other things, is meant to "help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility deploying Red Hat solutions" on the software giant's cloud platform.
The versions of the Linux distribution that are offered through Azure's Marketplace are Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 (opens in new tab) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 (opens in new tab). Both are available in all regions with the exception of China and US government, according to Microsoft's announcement (opens in new tab).
Microsoft makes it clear that users who wish to take advantage of either of the two Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances will have to pay a separate hourly charge, on top of what they already pay for Azure. The pricing information can be found here (opens in new tab).
"Red Hat and Microsoft have worked together to ensure Red Hat subscriptions purchased through the Azure Marketplace provide unique, integrated subscription support and value through direct access to the Red Hat customer portal. This provides you the full breadth of Red Hat enterprise value delivered directly as part of the Azure on-demand experience", Microsoft says.
In addition, Microsoft has also started to certify a number of Linux images that have been created by Bitnami for the cloud platform's Marketplace. Users can expect to see "many" images being certified over the coming months; you can check Bitnami's virtual machine offerings here (opens in new tab).
Microsoft has also announced the general availability of Azure Container Service, which has been developed in partnership with Docker and Mesosphere.
As Microsoft puts it, Azure Container Service "makes it easy to create and manage clusters of Azure Virtual Machines pre-configured with key open source components". Interested users can try it here (opens in new tab).