Red Hat makes a deal with … Microsoft?

Apparently the cloud is like politics; it makes very strange bedfellows. As Red Hat tries to unseat Ubuntu as the operating system of the cloud, and Microsoft tries to unseat Amazon Web Services as, well, the cloud itself, the two companies have joined forces, agreeing to help each other.  Yes, you read that right.

Microsoft will offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the default choice for Linux on its Azure cloud service, and Red Hat will provide support for it.  Red Hat will also make a “pay as you go” license available on the Azure cloud, just as it is on AWS.

Don’t think that means that Red Hat is giving up on OpenStack, of course; the companies said that part of the deal is that Azure will run on Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.

RHEL will also become the primary platform for developing and testing .NET Core on Linux. Microsoft’s cooperation in making the .NET environment cross-platform fits in with the hybrid nature of the deal, which will also see Red Hat’s CloudForms management project interact with Azure.

The partnership,” said Redmond Magazine, “will involve a Red Hat engineering team moving to Redmond to provide joint technical support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in the Microsoft Azure public cloud and on its hybrid cloud offerings. The pact also calls for applications developed in the Microsoft .NET Framework language to run on RHEL, OpenShift and the new Red Hat Atomic Host container platform.”

A Microsoft spokesman said there were no plans to run OpenStack natively on Azure, but Paul Cormier, Red Hat President of Products and Technologies, told the audience of the announcement webcast that the possibility existed for Windows VMs and containers to be run in the Red Hat OpenStack environment.

This deal is surprising because it wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft was calling Linux a “cancer” and threatening its users with patent infringement lawsuits.  Part of this deal involves both companies setting aside that kind of talk — for now.  Cormier told eWeek, “Red Hat and Microsoft did not acknowledge the validity or value of each other’s patents. This is a commercial deal spurred by strong customer demand for our solutions to work together.”

“As we said for the Ansible acquisition, our enterprise customers have complex heterogeneous IT environments and don’t want IT organizations to create redundant management silos, or embrace single vendor stacks if it’s not the best for their business,” Alessandro Perilli, General Manager, Cloud Management Strategy, wrote.  It’s not clear how this view meshes with the company’s “one OS to rule them all” attitude.

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