Microsoft, Azul to put open source Java on Azure cloud

Microsoft will deliver an OpenJDK version that runs on Windows Server on top of Windows Azure by the end of the year

Microsoft's open source subsidiary is partnering with Java virtual machine technology vendor Azul Systems to deliver a build of OpenJDK, the open source version of Java, that will run on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

The technology will be delivered by the end of the year, with the OpenJDK version to run on Windows Server on top of Azure, said Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of open source communities at Microsoft Open Technologies, a business unit of Microsoft. A preview is expected before the final release: "The point is making sure that Windows Azure customers can use OpenJDK on our platform in a way that is fully supported and fully backed by Microsoft."

Azul will take the lead on actual development while Microsoft will provide Azure engineering support. Microsoft will update its Eclipse IDE plug-in for Azure to support the OpenJDK iteration coming from Azul.

The announcement is being made at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday. "This is a story of a small player with deep expertise in Java and a massive cloud infrastructure that is hungry for workloads," said analyst Al Hilwa of IDC. "Microsoft is serious about running any and every workload and is striking partnerships in every direction to make sure its vast cloud infrastructure is put to work. Of course, this is the Microsoft subsidiary that focuses on open source and Azul is an excellent partner that knows open source and can really bring its Java knowledge to Azure cloud enterprise clients," Hilwa said.

Developers and customers have been asking for a version of OpenJDK to use on Azure, according to Rabellino. Currently, in order to run Java on Azure, developers can use the Linux version of OpenJDK or Oracle's official Java version on Windows. "This adds OpenJDK on Windows," Rabellino said. An open source JVM for Azure will be delivered.

"[Azul is] going to be the commercial entity that builds, certifies, and delivers to Microsoft Windows Azure an actual OpenJDK build," said George Gould, vice president of business development at Azul. "We have 11 years of domain expertise uniquely focused on delivering JVMs."

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