Windows Azure provides high-performance IaaS hosting for applications and services running on both Windows and Linux operating systems. You can provision, migrate, manage, and deploy applications running on CentOS, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as other operating systems including Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
These capabilities make it easy to migrate applications and services from on-premises hardware to the cloud, where you can take full advantage of Windows Azure’s scalability, durability, and performance. On-demand scaling means you only pay for what you use, and your capacity can expand or contract quickly when needed.
Deploying a new virtual machine through the Windows Azure management portal is a quick and simple process. Select the operating system and instance size that you need, specify a username and password for remote access (either SSH for Linux instances or RDP for Windows), and your new virtual machine will be provisioned and deployed automatically. Current OS choices include:
In addition to these preconfigured OS images, you can create your own custom images for deployment via the management portal. For example, you can configure an image to include your choice of database, middleware, and application framework, then capture that image to your personal image gallery, and in the future that image will be available for new deployments.
Many developers prefer the power and flexibility of command-line tools, however, which can be automated via a scripting language. If you’re working exclusively on Windows machines, the Windows PowerShell cmdlets are your best option, but for mixed environments, the Windows Azure command-line tool for Mac and Linux provides a consistent experience across Linux, Mac OS, and Windows desktops.