Three and a half years ago, Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO, said Microsoft's cloud, "One in four [Azure] instances is Linux." Then, in 2017, Microsoft revealed that 40% of Azure virtual machines (VM) were Linux-based. So in the autumn of 2018, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive director for the cloud and the group, told me in an exclusive interview: "About half of the Azure world cup is Linux". Now, Sasha Levin, Microsoft Linux kernel developer, in a request that Microsoft be allowed to join a Linux security list, revealed that "Linux usage on our cloud has surpassed Windows".
Offensive do you say? Not really.
Linux is basically what drives the company's computing both on internal servers and on the cloud. Windows Server has been declining for years. In the recent IDC Worldwide Operating Systems and Subsystems Market Shares Report covering 2017, Linux had 68% of the market. That share has only risen since then.
It was only a matter of time for Linux to dominate even on Azure. As Guthrie said in September: "Every month, Linux goes up."
Not only Microsoft's Azure customers are turning to Linux. Guthrie explained: "Native Azure services often run on Linux. Microsoft is building more of these services. For example, Azure's Software Defined Network (SDN) is based on Linux."
Why are everyone, including Microsoft, switched to Linux and open source software? Guthrie explained: "It started more than 10 years ago when we open ASP.NET. We recognized open source is something that every developer can take advantage of. It's not nice, it's important. It's not just code it is society. " In fact, Guthrie claimed: "We are now the largest open source project manager in the world."
Even former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who infamously said, "Linux is a cancer," now says he loves Linux.
There are now at least eight Linux distros available on Azure. And it doesn't count Microsoft's own Azure Ball. This is a software and hardware stack designed to secure edge devices that included Microsoft President Brad Smith, who declared "a custom Linux kernel".
It's now a Linux world – even at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.