Microsoft Steps into the Spotlight at Open Source DevNation 2016

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By Jason Milgram, Director Software Development & Microsoft Azure MVP, Champion Solutions Group / MessageOps

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat applications available on Microsoft Azure

“Geeky and good fun” is how Linux professionals might describe the annual Red Hat DevNation event. Over the space of three to four days, developers and system, database, and network administrators can listen to a slew of presentations on the latest advances in Red Hat and associated technologies. DevNation is described by its organizers as a full stack development conference, featuring the best in open source.

So, it may have come as a surprise to some to see Microsoft sharing keynote speech time and cropping up in various presentations in the DevNation 2016 conference in San Francisco, June 26-29. After all, Microsoft has historically focused on closed source and its own server software solutions. However, times change. With Microsoft Azure a leader in the cloud provider space, the company now sees Linux platforms as an opportunity. Microsoft and Red Hat announced a partnership in November 2015, in which Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat applications would be made directly available on Azure.

Spreading the .NET Experience to Red Hat Linux and OpenShift
DevNation 2016 was the occasion for further announcements from Red Hat and Microsoft, including the support of Microsoft’s .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0 on RHEL and on Red Hat OpenShift, the container-based Platform-as-a-Service application. At the same time, Microsoft also announced the availability of Entity Framework Core, the cross-platform version of Entity Framework that enables new platforms and new data stores.

.NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0 are cross-platform server apps that together offer a modular, open source platform for developing server applications to run on Windows, Linux, and Mac. .NET Core offers a general development model and freedom of choice for developers in terms of development tools, while ASP.NET Core is framework specifically for building web and cloud applications. Developers can be assured that whether they run their .NET application on Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, they will receive the same level of support.

SQL Server 2016, Visual Studio Code, and CloudForms in the Azure-Red Hat Mix Too
In addition, Microsoft now runs its SQL Server 2016 database on Linux platforms and on RHEL in particular. The company has also demonstrated that SQL Server can run inside a Linux container using Docker Datacenter in a virtual machine using the on-premises version of Azure. Among others, this configuration corresponds to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform running on Azure.

Red Hat is also adopting the Language Server Protocol of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, which is an open protocol enabling certain rich editing features. At DevNation 2016, Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman demonstrated the IntelliSense feature in Visual Studio Code for context-based suggestions for completion of lines of code. In general, Microsoft’s commitment is that developers can then build cloud applications using any language, tool, or platform.

Further announcements included support of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1 for Azure, making state analysis, metrics, chargeback, and retirement functions available when managing Azure from CloudForms. To simplify deployment of OpenShift on Azure, Microsoft has also introduced an Azure Resource Manager template.

What Might We Expect, This Time Next Year?
In all, DevNation 2016 was the chance for Microsoft to provide yet more solid proof that it has now embraced Linux and Red Hat Linux in particular. It was also the opportunity for Red Hat to further differentiate RHEL as the only commercial Linux distribution with full, enterprise-grade support for .NET, and therefore the “go-to” choice for customers looking to use .NET in Linux and (thanks to Red Hat OpenShift) container-based environments. It looks like the only question left for the moment is what Microsoft and Red Hat might be working on together to announce in one year’s time at DevNation 2017.

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