Microsoft: Linux dominates Azure VMs, has Windows a future?

[German]At the Ignite 2018 conference last week in Orlando, Florida, USA, Microsoft management released interesting figures. For virtual machines running on Microsoft Azure, there is a massive migration to Linux: 50% runs on Linux – which raises the question of whether ‘Windows is running out’?


We know since a few years, that the hell won’t freeze over, if somebody says ‘Linux’ at Microsoft. Windows company Microsoft is heading toward Linux. The Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL) is even integrated into Windows 10.

But Microsoft’s approach is towards the cloud – customers are abre able to run virtual machines (VMs) with guest operating systems on Microsoft Azure. The customer can install Windows or Linux there. Yesterday I came across a tweet from Mary Jo Foley.

While last year it was ‘only’ 40% (2015 it was only 20%) of VMs running Linux as a guest operating system, Microsoft officials have now announced new figures. A whole of 50%, or every second VM, now runs Linux instead of Windows. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise Group, said in an interview: “It’s now about half [on Linux], but it varies from day to day because many of these workloads are elastic, but sometimes just over half of Azure VMs are on Linux”. No mention has been made of what this tweet is about: look at the price, the Linux VMs cost probably only half of a Windows server VM.

Microsoft later made it clear: “About half the Azure VMs run on Linux”. But Guthrie added in an interview: “Every month the share of Linux increases.” But not only Azure users rely on Linux. “Native Azure services often run on Linux,” Guthrie said. “Microsoft is developing more of these services. For example, Azure’s Software Defined Network (SDN) is based on Linux.”


Not only at Azure does Microsoft rely on Linux, as Guthrie explains. “Take a look at our simultaneous release of SQL Server under Linux. All our projects are now running under Linux”. If the trend continues like this, Windows will have virtually disappeared in 5 years – at least as far as Microsoft Azure VMs are concerned. Well, it won’t come that far – but it is an interesting development. If you are interested, Mary Foley has published this ZDNet article with further information.

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