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Microsoft is preparing to give its cloud platform users the capability to run Linux on its Windows Azure cloud in 2012, according to a report.

The All About Microsoft blog reports that Microsoft is poised to enable customers to make virtual machines (VMs) persistent on Windows Azure and is slated to deliver a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of its persistent VM capability in the spring of 2012.

The post goes on to say, "Customers who want to run Windows or Linux ‘durably’ (i.e., without losing state) in VMs on Microsoft’s Azure platform-as-a-service platform will be able to do so."

In addition, according to the report: "The new persistent VM support also will allow customers to run SQL Server or SharePoint Server in VMs, as well. And it will enable customers to more easily move existing apps to the Azure platform."

Back in June 2011, The Register reported that Microsoft was cozying up to Linux with support for Linux distributions on its Hyper-V virtualization stack.

"Supporting Linux on Hyper V also means that Microsoft can equip itself with the technical knowledge and driver-level support needed to run the open source OS on the company’s own Windows Azure cloud," the report said.

The Register report also stated that Microsoft was in the early stages of delivering support for Linux on Windows Azure and had an early prototype in place, but the company would not be ready to deliver anything for close to a year.

Yet, according to both reports, Microsoft is seeing demand for the capability to run Linux on Azure, as the IT world at large is predominantly heterogeneous and enterprises with Microsoft technology also tend to have some Linux in their shops.

According to The Register:

"Linux on any sort of Windows might be anathema to the Microsoft old guard and anybody outside Microsoft’s Server and Tools unit, but Linux on Azure would be a big win for the company’s customers."

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Microsoft Prepping for Linux on Windows Azure: Report